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Marcus Lawrence Ward

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Marcus Ward
Ward c. 1860
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New Jersey's 6th district
In office
March 4, 1873 – March 4, 1875
Preceded byConstituency established
Succeeded byFrederick Teese
Chair of the Republican National Committee
In office
September 3, 1866 – May 21, 1868
Preceded byHenry Raymond
Succeeded byWilliam Claflin
21st Governor of New Jersey
In office
January 16, 1866 – January 19, 1869
Preceded byJoel Parker
Succeeded byTheodore Randolph
Personal details
Marcus Lawrence Ward

(1812-11-09)November 9, 1812
Newark, New Jersey, U.S.
DiedApril 25, 1884(1884-04-25) (aged 71)
Newark, New Jersey, U.S.
Resting placeMount Pleasant Cemetery
Political partyRepublican
SpouseSusan Longworth Morris (1840–1884)

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 Essex County for one term from 1873 to 1875.

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Early life

Marcus Lawrence Ward was born in Newark, New Jersey, on November 9, 1812, to Moses and Fanny (née Brown) Ward.[1] His father Moses was a prosperous candle manufacturer and a descendant of John Ward, one of the founders of the city of Newark in 1666.[1]

He attended Newark's public schools and then joined his family's soap and candle making business.[1] The business was operated by Ward's father and uncle, and Ward eventually became a partner.[2] 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.[2]

By the 1840s, Ward's business success enabled him to concentrate much of his time and effort on civic causes and philanthropy.[1] He was chairman of the executive committee of the New Jersey Historical Society, director of the National State Bank, and a founder of both the Newark Library Association and the New Jersey Art Union.[1]

Civil War

By 1856, Ward became interested in the growing movement for the abolition of slavery, which led him to become involved in the new national Republican Party.

In 1858, he traveled west to Kansas, a figurative and literal battleground between pro- and anti-slavery forces, to support the free-state cause.[1] He soon returned to Newark, joined the Republican Party because of its anti-slavery stance, became involved in local Newark politics. He was a delegate to the 1860 Republican National Convention.[1]

During the American Civil War, Ward became identified prominently with the Union cause, primarily as a philanthropic advocate for those serving in uniform.[1] Ward devised and managed one of the first systems in New Jersey for enabling soldiers to set aside monthly allotments of their pay for delivery to their families and gained the nickname "the soldiers' friend."[1] 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.[1] Ward soon created an office devoted to aiding veterans, which assisted them in procuring pensions, medical care, and other benefits.[3]

Later in his career, Democratic critics and opponents would accuse Ward of making personal profit through his management of soldiers' pay, which Ward and Republicans denied.[3]

Governor of New Jersey

1862 election

On the strength of his personal popularity and bipartisan support for his philanthropy, Ward was nominated on the National Union Party ticket for Governor in 1862, but he lost to Democrat Joel Parker. Soldiers serving in the field were unable to vote in the election, which may have cost Ward votes. Opposition to emancipation in the state may have also boosted Parker's support.[4]

During the 1864 presidential election, Ward was chairman and treasurer of the National Union Party in New Jersey.[2]

1865 election

In the post-war environment, the atmosphere was ripe for a Republican victory. Ward stood for the Republican nomination as the representative of Newark, East Jersey, and veterans. He was opposed by Alexander G. Cattell, a wealthy grain merchant who had only recently returned to the state. At the 1865 Republican nominating convention in Trenton, there was a deadlock between the two candidates that refused to break. One strategy involved delegates working to convince influential General Hugh Judson Kilpatrick to give his support, but he refused. It was finally broken on the fourth ballot after a collection of civil war veteran delegates voted to hand the nomination to Ward. George M. Robeson, the leader of the Cattell campaign, made the nomination unanimous. In the general election, Ward defeated Theodore Runyon by a large margin bolstered by the veterans' vote.[4][2]

Term in office

Ward served as Governor from 1866 to 1869. His administration was marked by active support for and involvement in the federal Reconstruction process, a marked contrast from his predecessor Joel Parker. Though the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution had been ratified without New Jersey's vote, Ward made it a priority to symbolically ratify the amendment and "redeem" the state. He also led the state in ratifying the Fourteenth Amendment.[4]

On purely state affairs, Ward was convinced that active, energetic government could produce wise social and economic policies. His administration focused on reforming the state prison, establishing a state reform school, funding public education and instituting a statewide uniform health code. He also called for state action in riparian water rights, asking that owners of underwater land compensate the state for the right to build improvements.[4]

Ward's governorship was marked by division within the Republican Party, leading to the downfall of the party in the state. In an effort to stave off criticism from Cattell, he appointed George Robeson Attorney General and attempted to steer a middle course, but was criticized for favoring Newark Republicans, such as in his appointment of Frederick T. Frelinghuysen to the U.S. Senate. In his early days in office, Ward confidently predicted New Jersey was now "firmly fixed among the Republican states,"[5] but the state would not elect another Republican governor until 1895.

While in office, Ward also served as chairman of the Republican National Committee from 1866 to 1868.[5] In 1868, Ward became the first president of the Newark Industrial Exhibition.[2]

Later career

After leaving the governor's office, Ward resumed his business and civic interests.[5] In 1872, he was a successful candidate for Congress representing Essex County (numbered the 6th district). He served one term, 1873 to 1875, but was defeated for reelection in 1874 by Democrat Frederick H. Teese.[5][6]

After leaving Congress in 1875, Ward devoted the rest of his life to his family and personal affairs.[5]

Personal life

In 1840, Ward married Susan Longworth Morris, a relative of Nicholas Longworth. The Wards had eight children, though only two lived to adulthood:[2]

  • 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)
  • Frances Brown (1856–1864)

Death and legacy

Ward contracted malaria while on a trip to Florida in early 1884.[5] He returned home, but did not recover.[2] Ward died in Newark on April 25, 1884, and was buried at Mount Pleasant Cemetery.[7]


After Ward's death, his son Marcus used part of the family fortune to found the Ward Homestead, a home for elderly bachelors and widowers.[5][8] The site is now part of a larger retirement complex known as Winchester Gardens.[8]

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.[9] The museum was built on the site of Ward's former home.[9]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Platt, p. 135.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Newark Archives Project.
  3. ^ a b Platt, pp. 135–136.
  4. ^ a b c d Platt, p. 136.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Platt, p. 137.
  6. ^ Daily Union, p. 2.
  7. ^ U.S. Congress, p. 2116.
  8. ^ a b "Historic Jewel".
  9. ^ a b "Newark's Attic".



  • 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. Archived from the original (PDF) on August 12, 2011. Retrieved November 26, 2021.
  • 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.



External links

Party political offices
Preceded by Republican nominee for Governor of New Jersey
1862, 1865
Succeeded by
Preceded by Chair of the Republican National Committee
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Governor of New Jersey
Succeeded by
U.S. House of Representatives
New constituency Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New Jersey's 6th congressional district

Succeeded by
This page was last edited on 2 March 2024, at 05:15
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