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Clarke Historical Library
Central Michigan University

Finding aid for
Eber B. Ward Family Papers

Finding aid created by
Marian Matyn

Summary Information
Title: Eber B. Ward Family Papers,
Creator: Ward, Eber B., 1811-1875.
Inclusive dates: 1807-1875, and undated
Extent: .25 cubic ft. (in 1 box)
The papers include mostly transcripts of Ward family correspondence, 1807-1875, and undated, genealogical notes, and memoirs of Emily Ward, both undated.

Call number: MSS.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University
250 East Preston Street
Mount Pleasant, MI 48859
Phone: 989-774-3352
Fax: 989-774-2160
Email: clarke@cmich.edu
Website: http://clarke.cmich.edu

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

no Acc#

Access Restrictions:

Eber B. Ward Family Papers are open for research.


Copyright is unknown.

Preferred Citation:

Eber B. Ward Family Papers, Folder # , Box #, Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University


Arrangement is chronological.



Eber Ward, father of Eber B. Ward, was the son of David and Abigail (Pray) Ward. He was one of ten children, the others being: Submit, Samuel (1784-1854), Nathan, Keziah (later married Mr. Lewis), Zael (male), Rhoda (married Elijah Button), John, Charlotte, and David.

In Upper Canada, Eber Brock Ward was born on December 25, 1811. After the War of 1812, his family returned to Wells, Vermont. In 1817, the family left for Kentucky. His mother died en-route, in Pennsylvania, causing his father to go instead to Ohio and later Detroit (1821). In 1824, they moved to Mackinac. Eber B. Ward served as lighthouse keeper at Bois Blanc Island, 1830-1831.

Eber B. Ward worked for his Uncle Samuel, then a prominent shipbuilder in Marine City, Michigan. Eventually, Eber B. bought the General Harrison (Schooner) and successfully delivered goods between St. Joseph, Michigan, and Chicago, Illinois. In 1839, Captain Eber B. and Samuel formed a partnership as the Ward’s Line of Steamers and successfully built steamers.

In1850, Eber B. returned to Detroit, making money as a proprietor of steamers transporting lumber and iron between Buffalo, New York, and New York (City). He invested heavily in pine lands, owning 50,000 acres near Ludington in addition to vast tracts of pine in Mich. and farm lands in Iowa, Wisconsin, and Ohio. His largest investment, however, was in mining. Eber B. financially rescued the Eureka Mining Company and then established rolling-mills and blast furnaces at Wyandotte, Michigan, Chicago, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He owned the New England Iron Mine at Marquette, Michigan, and other iron mines in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Arizona; Silver Island Mine on Lake Superior; smelting works at Wyandotte, Michigan, and investments in Eureka Silver Spring Mine, Utah. Eber B. had other investments in the Flint and Pere Marquette Railroad, Burlington and Southwest Railroad, and a Texas Railroad of Missouri. He served as President or Director of most of these companies.

On May 17, 1807, Eber B. Ward married Sally Potter (died 1818). Together they had: Emily (1809- ), Sally (1810- ), Eber B., Jr. (1811-1875), and Abba (1813- ). Sally Ward later married Melchiah Brindle. They had seven children: Emily, Ada, Elizabeth, Maryanne, Ana, Frances, and Florence. Abba Ward married Captain Benjamin F. Owen. Together they had five children: Eber W., Ellen, Tubal, Emily, and Orville.

In 1837, Eber B. married Mary McQueen. Together they had seven children: John, Henry, Elizabeth, Milton, Charles, Frederick, and Mary. After divorcing Mary, Eber B. married his next wife, Kate Lyon, with whom he had Eber B., Jr. and Clara.

Throughout his life, Eber B. remained very close to his sister, Emily, who never married and survived him. He died in Detroit on January 2, 1875 of apoplexy.

Collection Scope and Content Note

Except for one original letter dated Aug. 23, 1850, the Family Papers consist of typed transcripts of family genealogical notes, family correspondence, and the undated memoirs of Emily Ward, sister of Eber B. The correspondence, 1807-1875 and undated, is mostly between Ebe B.r; his father; his sister, Emily; and business associates. The correspondence discusses family news, business, traveling, fishing, and other business interests of Eber B. Ward and his son, Eber Ward, Jr.

The Clarke also has the published remonstrance concerning Eber B. Ward’s will (1875) and an account book from Jos. S. Stearns Lumber Company. Stearns worked early in life as an errand boy for Eber B. while the latter was President of the Pere Marquette Railroad. Eventually, Stearns married Catherine Lyon, Eber’s sister-in-law.

Subject Terms

    • Ward, Eber B., 1811-1875.
    • Ward, Emily.
    • Steamboats--Great Lakes (North America)--History.
    • Fishing--Michigan--Upper Peninsula.
    • Lighthouses--Michigan--Bois Blanc.
    • Lighthouses--Michigan--Thunder Bay Island.
    • Lighthouse keepers--Michigan--Bois Blanc.
    • Detroit (Mich.)--History.
    • Mackinac Island (Mich.)--History.
    • Detroit (Mich.)--Genealogy.
    Contents List
       Container / Location    Title
    Eber B. Ward Family Papers are open for research. [series]:
    Box   1 F   1
    General Family History, undated
    Box   1 F   2
    Correspondence (Typed Transcripts), 1807-1829
    Box   1 F   3
    Correspondence (Typed Transcripts), 1830-1832
    Box   1 F   4
    Correspondence (Typed Transcripts), 1833-1837
    Box   1 F   5
    Correspondence (Typed Transcripts), 1838-1839
    Box   1 F   6
    Correspondence (Typed Transcripts), 1840-1841
    Box   1 F   7
    Correspondence (Typed Transcripts), 1842-1849
    Box   1 F   8
    Correspondence, to J. W. Burks (Original), August 23, 1850
    Box   1 F   9
    Correspondence (Typed Transcripts), 1850-1875
    Box   1 F   10
    Correspondence (Typed Transcripts), undated
    Box   1 F   11
    Memoirs of Emily Ward (Typed Transcripts), undated