Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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WARD, Artemas, soldier, born in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, in 1727; died there, 28 October, 1800. He was graduated at Harvard in 1748, entered public life at an early age as a representative to the general assembly, and was afterward chosen to the executive council. In 1752 he was a justice of the peace in his native town. In 1755 he served as major in Colonel Abraham Williams's regiment, and in 1758 he was major in the one that was commanded by William Williams. He accompanied the expedition under Gem James Abercrombie against the French and Indians, attaining the rank of lieutenant-colonel, and succeeded to the command of the 3d regiment. Afterward he represented his native town in the legislature, where he took an active part in the controversies between the colonial governors and the house of representatives and was one of the regularly chosen members that were displaced by the "mandamus councillors" in 1774. On 27 October, 1774, he was appointed a brigadier-general by the Provincial congress of Massachusetts, to which he was a delegate, and on 19 May, 1775, he was made commander-in-chief of the Massachusetts forces. He was in nominal command at the battle of Bunker Hill, though he remained at headquarters in Cambridge and had no share in determining the events of that day. On 17 June he was appointed by the Continental congress first on the list of major-generals, and he was in command of the forces besieging Boston until the arrival of General Washington, after which he was second in command, being stationed with the right wing on Rexbury heights. In consequence of impaired health he resigned his commission in April, 1776, but at the request of General Washington he continued to act until the end of May. He was elected chief justice of the court of common pleas of Worcester county in 1776, was president of the Massachusetts executive council in 1777, and a member of the legislature for sixteen years, serving as speaker in 1785. In 1779 he was appointed a delegate to the Continental congress, but, owing to failing health, did not take his seat. Being afterward elected to congress as a Federalist, he served from 4 October, 1791, till 3 March, 1795. He possessed integrity and unyielding principles, and his judicial conduct, especially during Shays's rebellion in 1786, was highly commended.--His son, Artemas, jurist, born in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, 9 January, 1762; died in Boston, Massachusetts, 7 October, 1847, was graduated at Harvard in 1783, studied law. was admitted to the bar, and practised in Shrewsbury until 1809, when he removed to Boston. He served in the legislature, was a member of the council, and was elected to the 13th congress as a peace candidate, serving from 24 May, 1813, till 3 March, 1817. From 1.820 till 1839 he was chief justice of the court of common pleas. Harvard gave him the degree of LL.D. in 1842.
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