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-- Manuscript Group 286, Stafford-Ward Family Papers, 1811-1957 (Bulk dates: 1811-1836)


Documents, Manuscripts, Maps, & Photographs

Manuscript Group 286, Stafford-Ward Family

Papers, 1811-1957 (Bulk dates: 1811-1836), 0.25 linear feet / 1 small box

Call Number: MG 286


Family correspondence, documents, and genealogical notes pertaining to the Stafford and Ward families of Newark, New Jersey.  Includes letters of Hannah Ward Stafford and her father Thomas Ward (ca. 1759-1842), a Democratic politician and U.S. Congressman, as well as letters to his son Thomas Ward (1807-1873), a poet and playwright.  There are letters and documents recommending Rev. Ward Stafford, signed by Archibald Alexander, DeWitt Clinton, and Theodore Frelinghuysen.  Ward Stafford moved to Youngstown, Ohio in 1829 or 1830 with his wife Hannah Ward Stafford, accepting charge of a Presbyterian church.


Biographical Note:

Hannah Ward Stafford was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Ward (ca. 1759-1842).  She was born on June 25, 1791, the sixth of eleven children.  Her father, Thomas Ward, was a lawyer, judge, Congressman (1813-1817), and, until his death, a General in the cavalry.  The Ward family resided in Newark, New Jersey.  General Ward’s children were: Matthias (b. 1781), William (b. 1783), Thomas (b. 1786), Betsey (b. 1788), Isaac (b. 1790), Hannah (b. 1791), Isaac (b. 1793), Sally (b. 1795), Jane (b. 1797), and Sally (b. 1800).

Hannah Ward married the Reverend Ward Stafford of New York City on March 30, 1819.  Ward Stafford was a Presbyterian clergyman, who was active in missionary work.  About 1829, Rev. Stafford accepted the position of minister for a church in Youngstown, Ohio, and moved his family there.  Hannah Ward Stafford had five children while still residing in Newark and three more after the move to Ohio.  They were: Henry Martyn (b. 1820), Mary (b. 1821), Ward D. (b. 1823), Thomas Ward (b. 1825), Julia (b. 1828), Elizabeth Harper (b. 1831), John (b. 1834), and Jane (b. 1836).  Hannah died on December 13, 1836 probably of complications from childbirth.  The baby, Jane, lived only one day.

Rev. Ward Stafford remarried after the death of Hannah.  His second wife, Mary ( ) died in 1843.  Ward Stafford died in 1851.


Provenance Note:

The source of this collection is unknown.


Scope and Content Note:

This collection dates from 1811-1957 with bulk dates of 1811-1836, and is primarily made up of the correspondence of Hannah Ward Stafford to her husband Ward Stafford, and to her father, Thomas Ward.  The letters have been divided by author and recipient and then arranged chronologically.  The remainder of the correspondence is that of Ward Stafford and includes letters of recommendation from Theodore Frelinghuysen, Dewitt Clinton, Archibald Alexander, and H. McCauley.  These letters include those Ward wrote to his father-in-law upon Hannah Ward Stafford’s death.

There is also one folder of miscellaneous items.  Of particular interest is a short play in the hand of Hannah Ward Stafford called, "The Great Assize or Day of Judgement."  This folder also contains a small amount of genealogical information.


Folder List:





Hannah Ward (Stafford) to Thomas Ward ( 2 items)

--letter fragments commenting on the wedding of Maria Ogden; the accessibility of newspapers; a great snow storm; and other matters.



Hannah Ward (Stafford) to Thomas Ward (2 items)

--concern her brother Isaac’s illness; the ill-tempered horses Thomas Ward used to travel to Washington, DC; brother Thomas’s refusal to go to school.



Hannah Ward Stafford – Letters to father and sisters (7 items)

--praises the beauty of the Ohio countryside; the funeral of a child; a temperance society meeting at Vienna, OH; remarks on the way married women dress; the premature death of young Thomas Ward; a trip to Johnstown via railroad and canal and onward to Pittsburgh; a description of her children’s daily activities; characterizations of life and routine on the Ohio frontier.



Hannah Ward (Stafford) to Ward Stafford (1 item)

--written before her marriage, Hannah explains that she has not corresponded because she has burned her finger and has been unable to write.



Hannah Ward Stafford to Ward Stafford (3 items)

--letters concern the health of the children; a refusal to take in boarders; the failure to send clothes to New York (for Ward Stafford) because of the danger of their being lost; sewing pillow cases for money; reference to the Priscilla Society, a woman’s organization.



Hannah Ward Stafford to Ward Stafford (2 items)

--letters concern the health of the children; a request to purchase scissors; a church service. (ND – Although undated, these letters were written after 1829 because they emanate from Ohio.)



Ward Stafford – letters received (11 items)

--subjects include Ward Stafford’s forthcoming ordination to the ministry at Middlebury, Connecticut; the Dartmouth College case debated at Exeter; Hannah’s comments on the quality of husbands; family matters; the severe heat wave of 1821; discussions of an individual named Sam, whom Hannah calls the "enemy," and who apparently intended to harm the Wards in Newark, causing great alarm among the household (see letter of September 23, 1822); little Henry’s illness; upcoming Fourth of July celebrations in Newark including a collection on behalf of the New Jersey Colonization Society; efforts by the congregation to retain Rev. Dr. Sprague as Minister; reference (Merwin to Stafford, Sept.25, 1830) to the African Church in New Haven, Conn.; family matters.  (Correspondents are Hannah Ward Stafford and Samuel Merwin.)



Ward Stafford – recommendations (5 items)

--endorsements of Stafford by Theodore Frelinghuysen, Dewitt Clinton, Archibald Alexander, and H. McCauley.



Ward Stafford to Thomas Ward (3 items)

--reporting the death of Hannah Ward Stafford.



Stafford-Ward Family miscellany (11 items)

--genealogical data concerning the family of General Thomas Ward of Newark; legal document of Mary Stafford; stitched booklet of homilies; manuscript play "The Great Assize or Day of Judgement" in the hand of Hannah Ward Stafford; marriage certificate of Amos Lock and Anna Thompson.

Various dates


"Of Books and Things-From the Library," written by Fred Shelley, published in N.J. Historical Society Proceedings 1957, Vol.75, pg.285-289.



Processed by Kim Charlton, November 1999 as part of the "Farm to City" project funded by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

Container list by C.A.L., 1984

Submit a request to copy part of this collection


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