American History Moment
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Artemas Ward was one of the first major generals of the Continental Army. He was born November 26,1727 in Worchester County, MA, in the town of Shrewsbury. He graduated from Harvard in 1748. He married Sarah Trowbridge in 1750 and they had eight children.
He had many careers: farmer, storekeeper, township assessor, justice of the peace, and politician; but it was his military career that he was known for. In 1755 during the French and Indian War, he was major of the Massachusetts militia and charged with protecting the Massachusetts western frontier. By 1757 he was promoted to colonel. In 1762 he was in Shrewsbury with Samuel Adams and John Hancock on the taxation committee of Massachusetts Bay Colony and he became an outspoken critic of the British Parliament, leading to the dismissal of his military commission in 1767. In 1774 the entire third regiment resigned from British service and elected Ward general and commander in chief of the colonies militia.
After the battles of Lexington and Concord sparked the Revolutionary War in 1775 the militiamen trained to protect Boston. Ward ordered the forces to fortify the Bunker Hill area leading to the Battle of Bunker Hill. In June the Second Continental Congress created a Continental Army with four major generals – Ward, Charles Lee, Philip Schuyler and Israel Putnam, with Ward second in command to General George Washington.
Ward was plagued by ill health and resigned from the army in 1777. Ward remained in public service. He was a state court justice, state representative, Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representative, a delegate to the Continental Congress, and ultimately a U.S. representative.
From Jauflione Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution