Was born in Claremont county, Ohio, December 18th, 1804. He had three brothers and two sisters. His father and mother emigrated from the state of Kentucky to Ohio in 1790, residing at Withamsville.
Mr. James Ward was married, at quite an early age, to Miss Sarah Bradbury, and soon after was elected justice of the peace of the abovementioned town, which office he filled for twelve years. Subsequently he was elected one of the directors of the Ohio Turnpike Company, and about the same time was appointed postmaster of Withamsville, under President Van Buren. The building of the Ohio Turnpike lasted several years, and during that period a great portion of Mr. Ward's time was spent as president of the board of directors, and also as superintendent of the work. During a portion of the time he was a diligent student of law, under the instruction of the Hon. R. W. Clark, who remains, as yet, a steadfast friend. About the year 1832, in company with Hon. David Doane and David Prebble, Mr. Ward erected a large steam flouring mill in the village of Withamsville, and continued at the milling business for several years. He then retired from that business and engaged in the practice of law until 1843, when he moved with his family to the state of Illinois, locating in Griggsville, Pike county. In the fall of 1847 Mr. Ward was elected to the office of county judge, which position he ably filled. His wife died the year he was elected judge, with a full assurance of a happy immortality. She left one child, who is now a widow.
In 1848 the judge was married to Miss Emily Gray. They have had a family of five children. In 1842 he was re- elected county judge for four years longer. After his term of office expired, he became proprietor of and kept the Mansion House, in Pittsfield, for two years. He then removed to Griggsville, and, under the administration of James Buchanan, through the influence of Hon. J. N. Morris and Stephen A. Douglas, he was appointed general mail agent for the state of Illinois, and the duties incumbent upon the office he faithfully performed; but when there became a misunderstanding between Stephen A. Douglas and the administration, all the Douglas men, as is well known, were discharged from office. Since that time he has been engaged in the practice of law. He now holds the office of justice of the peace for the seventh time.
It may be proper to state here that Mr. Ward is strictly a temperance man, and is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church. During the late war the judge was ranked among the war democrats, and was in favor of using the strongest measures necessary for a prompt suppression of the rebellion.