Marcus Lawrence Ward
Marcus Lawrence Ward (November 9, 1812 – April 25, 1884) was an American Republican Party politician, who served as the 21st Governor of New Jersey from 1866 to 1869, and represented the state in Congress for one term, from 1873 to 1875.
Ward was born in Newark, New Jersey on November 9, 1812, the son of Moses and Fanny (Brown) Ward. He attended Newark’s public schools, then joined his family’s soap and candle making business. The business was operated by Ward’s father and uncle, and Ward eventually became a partner. He was also active in other businesses, including serving as a director of the National State Bank and secretary of the Lawrence Cement and Manufacturing Company.
By the 1850s, Ward’s business success enabled him to concentrate much of his time and effort on civic causes and philanthropy. He was chairman of the executive committee of the New Jersey Historical Society and a founder of both the Newark Library Association and the New Jersey Art Union.
In the late 1850s, Ward became increasingly interested in the abolition of slavery, and in 1858 he traveled west to observe circumstances firsthand during the Bleeding Kansas controversy. He joined the Republican Party because of its anti-slavery stance, and was a delegate to the 1860 Republican National Convention.
During the American Civil War, Ward became identified prominently with the Union cause, primarily as an advocate for those serving in uniform. Nicknamed “The Soldiers’ Friend”, Ward devised and managed one of the first systems for enabling soldiers to set aside monthly allotments of their pay for delivery to their families in New Jersey. He invested personal funds to create a wartime hospital for convalescing service members, and later helped establish a soldiers’ home for wounded and disabled veterans. Ward’s activities proved so successful that he soon created an office devoted to aiding veterans, which assisted them in procuring pensions, medical care, and other benefits.
Republicans nominated Ward for governor in 1862, but he lost to Democrat Joel Parker. During the 1864 presidential election, Ward served on the committee that organized the National Union Party, and was chairman and treasurer of the party in New Jersey.
He ran for governor again in 1865, and bolstered by the votes of soldiers and veterans, he defeated Alexander G. Cattell for the Republican nomination and Democrat Theodore Runyon in the general election. He served from 1866 to 1869, and worked with new Republican majorities in the New Jersey Legislature to secure state passage of the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments.
While serving as governor, Ward was also elected chairman of the Republican National Committee, and he served from 1866 to 1868. In 1868, Ward became the first president of the Newark Industrial Exhibition.
After leaving the governor’s office, Ward resumed his business and civic interests. In 1872, he was a successful candidate for Congress in the newly created 6th District, and he served one term, 1873 to 1875. He was defeated for reelection in 1874 by Democrat Frederick H. Teese.
Death and burial
In 1840, Ward married Susan Longworth Morris, the daughter of John and Elizabeth (Longworth) Morris and a member of the same family that included Nicholas Longworth (1783-1863 and Nicholas Longworth (1844-1890) and Nicholas Longworth (1869-1931). The Wards were the parents of Joseph Morris (1841-1911), Elizabeth Morris (1843-1848), Frances Lavinia (1844-1846); Marcus L. Ward, Jr. (1847-1920), Catharine Almira Morris (1849-1860), Nicholas Longworth (1852-1857), John Longworth Morris (1854-1855), and Frances Brown (1856-1864). Only two children, Joseph and Marcus, lived to adulthood.
After Ward’s death, his son Marcus used part of the family fortune to found a home for elderly bachelors and widowers, the Ward Homestead. The site is now part of a larger retirement complex known as Winchester Gardens.
In 1941, the Schoolmen’s Club of Newark and the Newark Museum dedicated a memorial plaque to Ward in the Alice Ransom Dreyfuss Memorial Garden behind the Newark Museum. The museum was built on the site of Ward’s former home.
- Platt, Herman K. (1982). Stellhorn, Paul A.; Birknet, Michael J. (eds.). Biographical Essay of Marcus Lawrence Ward in The Governors of New Jersey, 1664-1974 (PDF). Trenton, NJ: New Jersey Historical Commission.
- U.S. Congress (2005). Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774-2005. Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office. ISBN 978-0-16-073176-1.
- “Historic Jewel: The History of Our Stunning Continuing Care Retirement Community in Maplewood, NJ”. Winchester Gardens. Maplewood, NJ: Springpoint Senior Living. Retrieved February 28, 2019.
- “Marcus Ward Dedicatory Exercises, Newark Museum Garden – May 16, 1941”. Newark’s Attic. Newark, NJ. July 25, 2015. Retrieved February 28, 2019.
- “Collection Description, Marcus L. Ward Papers”. Newark Archives Project. Newark, NJ: Newark History Society and Rutgers University-Newark. Retrieved February 28, 2019.
- “The Elections Yesterday: New Jersey”. Sacramento Daily Union. Sacramento, CA. November 4, 1874 – via California Digital Newspaper Collection.
- United States Congress. “Marcus Lawrence Ward (id: W000137)”. Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
- Marcus Lawrence Ward at Find a Grave
- Marcus Lawrence Ward at National Governors Association
- Marcus Lawrence Ward at the Political Graveyard
- Marcus Lawrence Ward at Dead Governors of New Jersey
| Governor of New Jersey
January 16, 1866 – January 19, 1869
Theodore Fitz Randolph
|U.S. House of Representatives|
| U.S. House of Representatives
New Jersey’s 6th congressional district
March 4, 1873 – March 3, 1875
Frederick Halstead Teese
|Party political offices|
Charles Smith Olden
| Republican Nominee for Governor of New Jersey
John Insley Blair
Henry Jarvis Raymond
| Chairman of the Republican National Committee