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Chapter 14
Sacrifice and Service

The next few years brought unprecedented changes for the Ware family in Texas.  James and Jane Ware, finally reunited after all the years of wartime separation, would face moving from their beloved home in Corpus Christi to the hub of political activity in the state’s capital of Austin.  James was not only back in Nueces County, Texas, but was soon very active in state politics.  In a complete turnaround of circumstances, the ex-confederate soldier (formerly living in exile in Mexico) was actually sworn in as a United States District Judge for the state of Texas.  As his obituary stated:

“His fondness and adaptability for the law caused him to resume the [law] practice at San Antonio, where he remained for several years and was prominently engaged in many important civil cases and several most important cases before military court martial.  His practice extended from San Antonio to the Rio Grande River and gave him such prominence as a lawyer that in 1873 he was elected judge of the District Court.” (Ref. 8)

The first stirrings of change, however, could be felt by 1872, when “Democrats regrouped and overturned the Republican government in the Texas legislature, charging that the administration of Governor Edmund J. Davis (1870–74) was corrupt and extravagant.”  (Ref. Handbook of Texas Online, Nancy Beck Young")    Texans deeply resented the restrictions and programs that Davis enforced during the time period of Reconstruction.  Davis was the first Republican governor in the history of the state and the last that would hold the office for more than a hundred years.  Two of the most hated programs enacted by the Twelfth Legislature under Davis’ tenure were the creation of the State Militia and the State Police.”  (Ref. Reconstruction in Civil War Texas by Jeffery Robenalt, December 1, 2013)

With his background in law and his experience of leadership, it was only natural that James would be involved with the formation of new legislation for Texas.  A. J. Hood and James A. Ware sat on the Democratic State Committee; Ware as recently as 1872.” (Ref. 3329)


The following article in the newspaper, Austin Democratic Statesman, of September 1872, shows James listed as being on the Democratic State Executive Committee. 

Austin Democratic Statesman September 12, 1872

James had tried to get his law practice going again in Corpus Christi.  He ran several ads in the local newspapers like the one that was printed below in The Nueces Valley on January 27, 1872.

Newspaper advertisement for James Ware


By the summer of that year, however, it was clear that Austin would hold more opportunities for employment for someone with the legal skills and experience of James.  Just one month prior to the above article, Jane made a trip back to Virginia to see family.


She also traveled to Harper’s Ferry – just a short distance away.  It is not known if James traveled with her, but he probably stayed behind to insure his business ventures and political workings were being handled appropriately.  He had most likely heard by now that his father, Josiah Ware, was suffering great losses after the war and was in clear danger of losing the family plantation that had been handed down for several generations.  It only emphasized to James why he had to “make a go of it” in Texas – there was nothing left for him in Virginia.  As the eldest son of the family, he would have likely inherited Springfield, but that was (what felt like) a lifetime ago.  It was a different world now.  Since Josiah and his second wife, Edmonia, were ‘downsizing’ in expectation of moving to her property called Durham Farm, it is also possible that Jane had come to collect some things that Josiah specifically wanted James to have.  We know many beautiful pieces of furniture found their way from Virginia to Texas.  Whatever the reason for the trip, Peirce was obviously surprised that Jane had traveled to Virginia that summer – as can be gleaned from his following letter.


Original letter from T. W. Peirce – owned by James & Judy Ware

August 6, 1872

My dear Mrs. Ware,

Absence has prevented me from receiving your esteemed (card?) without date but postmarked July 19 at Harper’s Ferry.  I was quite astounded to hear of you so far north and did not know you


contemplated Virginia this season.  I am in sympathy with you in all your trials.  We all have them but know with your usual vigor you will surmount them all.  I am pleased you had so grand a close to your school and that everything went off so nicely and so much --.   I had a letter from Dr. Cosby saying that his daughter Mildred had been very sick but was then (?).  When you have formed your plans, let me know them.  I sympathize with you in all your trials and will aid you to the extent of my ability.  I may be obliged to go to Lucy’s in a few days but I am trying to avoid it but fear I will fail to.  (I) had a letter from the Doctor (your uncle) a few days since.  He seems quite reconciled to his condition.  Is quite well for him, he writes.  I am just leaving to New York and take the only moment I have had to write a line.

With much respect
I am truly your

T. W. Peirce

The ‘trials’ that Peirce mentioned in his letter were probably in reference to Jane having to leave her home in Corpus Christi and move to Austin.  Her parents, including most of her siblings, had already relocated to Belton, Texas, with George and Julia Smith ultimately settling in Salado.  In a letter from her mother in August (postmarked from Salado), Jane’s mother mentioned how hard it was to find work there too.  Her sister, Maggie Atwell Smith, had married Colonel
Daniel Lindsey Russell in Galveston on January 31, 1867, and the couple had also moved to Belton to start over.  Mrs. Smith wrote, “I fear that Mr. Russell will find it hard to make a living with 22 lawyers in that small place [Belton] and business dull.”  (Ref. 120)

Things would look brighter in 1873.  In the book titled, The History of Nueces County, it mentions how the “Democratic Convention, called by J. A. Ware, for the counties of Nueces and Duval was held on August 20, 1873, at Corpus Christi.”   (Ref. 2601)


 (Ref. 2601)
Notice about the election of 1873

Governor Coke

When Richard Coke took over the governor's chair from E. J. Davis, there were several tense days when the state capitol turned into an armed camp.  Davis refused to surrender his office.  It was only after President Grant refused his request for troops that Davis finally conceded and Coke was inaugurated.  Sensing that his future would be better secured by living in the state’s capital, James moved immediately to Austin.  Jane stayed in Corpus Christi to close the house up while she awaited news from her husband.   She received a letter from Mr. Peirce on May 23, 1873, validating that the move to Austin was the propitious thing for James at this time.



Original letter of T. W. Peirce
owned by James & Judy Ware

May 23, 1873

My Dear Madam,

I have this morning yours of the 13th - am very glad to hear from you.  Saw your husband at Austin two weeks since; looking so well and so very busy.  (He) inquired particularly for you and the children.  Glad to know you are very well.  (I) am very anxious to visit Corpus Christi.  From the description Mr. Ware gave me, it must be very pleasant.  Regret I cannot see you before returning.  I go to San Antonio tomorrow (or rather start from there.)  Expect to return here [to Galveston] in 10 days and then leave for home [Boston] after a day or two. I fear if you come now I will not be able to meet you unless you should happen here just at the time of my return.  I have not been anywhere to get magazines.  When I get home, will keep you supplied as I know how fond you are of literature.  I see the doctor almost daily – he’s not quite well.  Are the children well?  Are they at school or are you teaching them?  Always glad to hear from you.

Kind regards to the children and Mr. Ware if he is with you. 

I am very truly your friend
T. W. Peirce

Corpus Christi would be a closed chapter in their lives as James and Jane moved forward together into their future.


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