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Descendants of James Ward and Huldah Gibbs

[For more information on the ancestry of James Ward, please visit "Robert Kline's Genealogy Page". This site contains a link to Mr. Kline's RootsWeb database and information about that work. As James Ward is not part of my line, I will probably not carry my research any further back in time.]

Generation One

     1. James1 Ward was born 20 February 1757 in Somers, Tolland Co., CT;1,2,3 married Hulda Gibbs 25 January 1781 in Somers, Tolland Co., CT; he died 2 January 1839 in Troy Twp., Bradford Co., PA.3,4

     James Ward first appears in Pennsylvania records in the 1800 federal census of Wysox Twp., Luzerne Co.2 The household contains nine people: a boy under 10, two boys aged 10 to 16, a male over 45, presumably James, two girls under 10, two aged 16 to 26, and a female over 45, presumably James's wife. His signature appears on the 1801 Connecticut claimants petition to Congress, immediately preceding those of Aldrich and Eliphalet Ward.5 James Ward also appears as head of household in Burlington Twp., Lycoming Co., in the 1810 federal census, that household missing only the two older daughters, presumably married by this date.1 James Ward does not appear in the grantee indexes in Bradford County, but he and his wife Huldah do appear as grantors in two deeds, both dated January 1815. The two deeds sell approximately 75 acres of land, parts of the Henry Drinker warrants 999 and 1005 dated 3 April 1792, which James Ward probably claimed from the Susquehannah Land Company, and repurchased from Drinker. The larger portion, 67 acres 80 perches, "land whereon James Ward is now seated", was sold to Silas Rockwell for 5 shillings and the conditions of an agreement which was not quoted.6 The smaller portion, just over seven acres in "the town of Murraysfield", was sold to James Hickok for $30.6 Land owned by Aldrick Ward bordered both lots. James Ward does not appear in any other area records this author has examined to date.

      Although indirect in nature, this evidence was enough to suggest that the family of James Ward of Bradford County, Pennsylvania, was identical to the family of James Ward of Litchfield County, Connecticut. Information on the Connecticut family included the following: On 25 January 1781, James Ward Jr. married Hulda Gibbs in Somers, Tolland Co., Connecticut.7 In neighboring Barkhamsted in Litchfield Co., a James and Huldah Ward had these children: Bethiah, b. 28 Oct 1781, Huldah, b. 19 Oct 1783, Aldrack, b. 31 Dec 1785, Eliphalet, b. 1 Apr 1789, Dolla, b. 16 Apr 1792, and Sarah, b. 2 Oct 1794.8 The Barkhamsted children match the James Ward family in the 1800 and 1810 federal censuses, assuming an additional son born after the family left Connecticut. The Bradford County Ward brothers, Aldrich and Eliphalet, lived in close proximity throughout their lives. According to census information, the two men were born in Connecticut and their ages correspond to those of the Barkhamsted Ward brothers. In fact, Eliphalet's age at death yields a birth date of 1 Apr 1789! Records of the Troy Baptist church show that Eliphalet, Aldrich, and Dolly Ward "later Cook" were all baptized in 1809. The Ward's neighbor and contemporary, Zina Dunbar, married a woman called Bethiah in land records, whose maiden name was supposedly Ward.9

     Additional evidence has been found which shows that James Ward of Bradford Co., Pennsylvania, and James Ward of Tolland and Litchfield counties, Connecticut, are identical. First, the regular army enlistment of Eliphalet Ward states his birthplace, Barkhamstead, Litchfield Co., Connecticut.10 Given Eliphalet's unusual name and the exact correlation in birth date and place, there can be no doubt that he was the son born to James and Huldah Ward.

     James Ward provided an affidavit in support of a neighbor's application for a Revolutionary War pension. This pension application also contained a letter stating that the Pension Office would find enclosed the applications of Thomas Merritt and James Ward [italics added]. In his own application for a Revolutionary War pension, James Ward's affidavit dated 20 September 1832 states that he was a resident of Troy township, aged 75 years, and was born 20 February 1757 in Somers, Connecticut. James's birthdate as found in various online sources is 22 Feb 1758, but the date found in his own affidavit may be more accurate. He claimed that "he has a record of his age in a Bible in the house where he now lives", but a copy of that Bible record was not provided. He first enlisted May 1776 under Captain Abial Peas and served until 1 January 1777. He reenlisted in the spring of 1777 and served four months under Captain Robinson; two months in 1778 under Captain Tyler; and one month fourteen days in 1779. He was drafted for three months in 1781, but hired a substitute for this term, paying him six dollars and providing his "war accoutrements". The pension application provides James's date of death, 2 January 1839, and a paper stating that the children of James Ward were paid under the act of 6 April 1838.3

      This final pension payment voucher provides the last piece of evidence in the James Ward family puzzle. The voucher, dated 9 May 1840, shows that the sum of $18.18 for 121 days pension owed was paid to "Aldrick Ward, Eliphalet Ward, and James Ward, sons of James Ward Decd. and Bethiah Dunbar & Sally Oliver Daughters of said James Ward Deceased".4 No further information on his children appeared in the file. Either Huldah and Dolly were dead by this date, or they did not reside in Bradford County.

     Hulda Gibbs was born in CT. She died between 19 January 1815 and 2 January 1839.

     Information on the birth and early life on Hulda(h) Gibbs is not included here as this family is beyond the scope of my research. I have no new information to add. She died some time after 19 January 1815, the latest deed in which her name appeared, and before her husband's death 2 January 1839. If she had been living at that time, it's likely that she would have applied for a widow's pension; and it's certain that she was deceased by the date of the final payment voucher to her children. If she were living, that money would have been paid to her. Although she probably died in Bradford Co., Pennsylvania, she may have died in Angelica, Allegany Co., New York. Heverly suggests that James Ward left Pennsylvania about 1816 and the ambiguous wording of the final payment pension voucher points to Angelica, New York, as the new residence.

     The seven known children of James1 Ward and Hulda Gibbs were as follows:

  • + 2. i. Bethiah2 Ward, born 28 October 1781 Barkhamsted, Litchfield Co., CT; married Zina Dunbar.

  • 3. ii. Huldah Ward was born 19 October 1783 in Barkhamsted, Litchfield Co., CT.8

  • + 4. iii. Aldrich Ward, born 20 November 1785 Barkhamsted, Litchfield Co., CT; married Abigail Merritt; married Hannah (--?--).

  • + 5. iv. Eliphalet Ward, born 1 April 1789 Barkhamsted, Litchfield Co., CT; married Polly Case.

  • 6. v. Dolla Ward was born 16 April 1792 in Barkhamsted, Litchfield Co., CT;8 married (--?--) Cook say 1812.11

         Dolly Ward was baptized in 1809 in the Troy Baptist Church with her brother Aldrich. The entry adds the notation "later Cook" to her name. Her husband has not been identified by this author.

  • 7. vi. Sarah Ward was born 2 October 1794 in Barkhamsted, Litchfield Co., CT;8 married (--?--) Oliver say 1815.4

         Sally Ward's husband is not identified in her final pension payment voucher, but it is possible that she married John M. Olver. The 1850 federal census enumeration of Troy Twp. shows a John M. Oliver, age 52, born in New York, and presumably his wife, Sarah, age 54, born in Connecticut.12 The name, age, and birth place are consistent with the known information on Sarah Ward.

  • 8. vii. James Ward Jr. was born circa 1796 possibly in Luzerne Co., PA.5

         James Ward is possibly the James Ward who appears in Delmar Twp., Tioga Co., Pennsylvania, enumerated in the 1840 federal census. His household contains a male age 40-50, i.e. James born between 1790 and 1800, two boys under five, one boy age 10 to 15, one girl under 5, one girl age 5 to 10, one girl age 15 to 20, and one woman age 30-40.13 This could be the same James Ward who appears in Wysox Twp., Bradford Co., Pennsylvania, in the 1850 census enumeration. The family would be compatible with that shown in Delmar in 1840. This James Ward is age 53 and born in New York.12

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