Marcus Lawrence Ward

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Marcus Ward
Marcus Lawrence Ward (1812-1884) circa 1860.jpg
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
Spouse(s)Susan 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 the state in Congress for one term, from 1873 to 1875.

Early life[edit]

Ward was born in Newark, New Jersey on November 9, 1812, the son of Moses and Fanny (Brown) Ward.[1] He attended Newark's public schools, 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]

Civic career[edit]

By the 1850s, 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 and a founder of both the Newark Library Association and the New Jersey Art Union.[1]

Civil War[edit]

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.[1] He joined the Republican Party because of its anti-slavery stance, and 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 an advocate for those serving in uniform.[1] 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.[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'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.[3]


Republicans nominated Ward for governor in 1862, but he lost to Democrat Joel Parker.[4] 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.[2]

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.[2] 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.[4]

While serving as governor, Ward was also elected chairman of the Republican National Committee, and he served from 1866 to 1868.[5] In 1868, Ward became the first president of the Newark Industrial Exhibition.[2]

Later career[edit]

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

Death and burial[edit]

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]


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).[2] 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).[2] Only two children, Joseph and Marcus, lived to adulthood.[2]


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.[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 Platt, p. 135.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Newark Archives Project.
  3. ^ Platt, pp. 135-136.
  4. ^ a b Platt, p. 136.
  5. ^ a b c d e 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.
  • 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[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by
Charles Olden
Republican nominee for Governor of New Jersey
1862, 1865
Succeeded by
John Blair
Preceded by
Henry Raymond
Chair of the Republican National Committee
Succeeded by
William Claflin
Political offices
Preceded by
Joel Parker
Governor of New Jersey
Succeeded by
Theodore Randolph
U.S. House of Representatives
New constituency Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New Jersey's 6th congressional district

Succeeded by
Frederick Teese