Genealogical Notes On Comfort Ward of Middlefield CT, Champion NY, and "Carolina"

Comfort Ward is not a direct ancestor of mine, but he was close to that line, and was born near Middletown, Connecticut, where they were hanging out at the time. It seems that he moved as a young man to Champion, New York (near Watertown, in Jefferson County), and is said to have died at a young age in "Carolina."

If Comfort had children in "Carolina" before his death, then these may be the connection to various fourth and fifth cousins in the Southern states, which have been discovered using autosomal DNA analysis techniques. All of the Ward lines that I know of stayed in the northern tier of states until well into the middle of the nineteenth century.

Of course, it is possible the connection to the South is through someone else entirely. But Comfort has a good possible story, and is worth trying to find out more about.

Ward Family Background

The early years of the William Ward family of Middletown, CT, have been well covered in Some Descendants of William Ward of Middletown, CT. by M. Wheeler Molyneaux (1983). My line is, briefly,

A brother to Thomas Ward [II] was William Ward [called Sr.], b. 1687 in Middletown, died 1761; married Mary Harris. His second son was named James Tappan Ward (after the Tappan family; James Tappan was his uncle, I believe).

James Tappan Ward, b. Middletown 1751, d. 1839 in Middlefield, CT. In 1799 he bought land in what was Oneida County at the time; ref: Oneida Deeds [6:391]). He had three daughters, and four sons [see Atkins, below]:

Molyneaux believed that the Comfort Ward shown living in Champion, NY, in the 1800 Federal Census is this same Comfort. That portion of Oneida Co. was split off to form Jefferson Co. in 1805.

Others of the various Ward family members moved to Floyd, Oneida Co., New York, where they raised families and left descendants. Some Wards lived in both places, confusing the situation quite a bit. I'll see if I can straighten that out.

The census lists three other men living with Comfort (who, at 22, would have been in the age 16-26 category), two aged 26-45 and the third aged 10-16. I'm not sure who these men were: older brother and cousin, younger brother? Comfort's father would have been age 48 or 49 at this point, and seems to have remained in Middlefield.

Comfort was said to have died in "Carolina" on 27 October 1806 [ Atkins, Thomas, History of Middlefield and Long Hill, 1883, online at Google Books]. He is mentioned on p. 115, the "death records" section, but not elsewhere in the book. I suspect that this information came from interviews Atkins conducted with surviving members of the Ward family in Middlefield, who could have remembered hearing about his travels, but would not have had the details.

It is possible Atkins was told Comfort "died in Champion" and misheard it as "died in Carolina," or that the story was slightly garbled over the 77 years between the event and the report. So I'm trying to find if there was any truth to the "Carolina" story. Currently I have written to the genealogical volunteers at the Flower Memorial Library in Watertown, asking if they know anything about this. If no death can be found, then I will have to start researching "Carolina."

The 1800 Federal Census for Champion shows another Ward family: John Ward, with one male 45 or older, one male 26-45, two males 16-26, and one female 45 or older. If these were cousins of Comfort Ward, I have not yet been able to track which ones they were.





Update history: This page created 8 june 2011. Latest update 8 June 2011

Compiled by Michael J. Ward, San Jose, CA. Contact: mjward at-sign