Merced Express [Merced, CA]
Saturday, April 10, 1913
Death of a Pioneer
Captain J. F. Ward, for many years one of the best known business men and farmers of Stanislaus and Merced counties, died at his home in Santa Cruz on April 1st, following a short illness, aged 84 years.
Captain Ward was born in Bowling Green, Kentucky, and came to California in the late 50's, engaging in the river boat business. He built his first boat in 1858 and for ten years was engaged in river traffic on the Sacramento and San Joaquin. Removing to Turlock in 1869, he established a general merchandise store before the railroad was built in the valley. Captain Ward conducted this store successfully until 1880, when he removed to the Merced river, four miles from Livingston, and engaged in farming. After following farming for seven years, Captain Ward sold his ranch of 1400 acres to the Crocker-Huffman Land & Water Company and removed to Madera, where he resided until about three years ago, when he removed to Santa Cruz. Captain Ward was a member of the Board of Supervisors for a number of years during his twenty-three years residence in Madera county.
His first wife died while the family resided at Turlock and Captain Ward disposed of his interests there and removed to Livingston. In 1880 he married Mrs. McConnell, mother of John, Frank and William McConnell.
Four children survive Captain Ward, namely, John E. Ward of Los Angeles, Mrs. Chas. Oswald of Bakersfield, Mrs. J.A. Gordon of Stockton, and Walter B. Ward of Livingston.
The funeral was held in Santa Cruz on the 3d inst. Capt. Ward was one of the last survivors of the early day river men in California. His mind was clear almost to the last and he was able to recount his early experiences in an entertaining manner. Well known throughout this section of the San Joaquin valley, Captain Ward was respected and loved by a very large circle of friends.----Livingston Chronicle.
transcribed by: Alma