Josiah William Ware and His First Wife, Francis
Josiah William Ware - Photo owned by James and Judy Ware
Colonel Josiah William Ware was the owner of Springfield plantation and the son of James Ware III and his first wife, Elizabeth Snickers Alexander Ware. He was born on August 19, 1802. The property upon which he built his lovely home originally belonged to Elizabeth’s grandfather, Edward Snickers (a large landowner in Virginia around 1760) and was called “Springfield” even at that time. Mr. Snickers left the land to his daughter Sarah, who married Morgan Alexander. She, in turn, willed it to their daughter Elizabeth (Mrs. James Ware III), and they subsequently bequeathed the property to their son, Josiah Ware. (Ref. 160)
Josiah was very active in the politics of the day and corresponded frequently with such influential men as John C. Calhoun, Daniel Webster, President John Tyler, President Zachary Taylor, Henry Clay, and especially President Rutherford B. Hayes and his wife, Lucy Ware Hayes, a cousin. In the 1830’s, he played an important role in the formation of Clarke County for “throughout the controversy he was the most articulate and visible advocate of a new county.” (Ref. 48)
In addition to politics, Josiah was known internationally for raising prize-winning English Cotswold sheep and breeding fine thoroughbred race horses. By importing the highest quality stock into northern Virginia, he helped establish the agricultural reputation of the Shenandoah region. As his granddaughter, Cornelia Ware Anker, wrote in a letter, Josiah “was president of the American Agricultural Society for at least two years and founder of the Maryland and Virginia Agricultural Association; this was the beginning of the U.S. Department of Agriculture into which it merged. I have been told that he was asked to be the first Secretary of Agriculture, but refused, saying he did not feel capable of undertaking it.” (Ref. 3)
There is no further documentation at this time to substantiate the position Josiah may have held in the national agricultural records, but the New York Times does have on archival files several articles concerning the subject from the years 1858 through 1860. Josiah is mentioned repeatedly as being on the Executive Committee of the United States Agricultural Society.
By New York State Agricultural Society
Executive Committee—Henry Wager, New-York; J. McGowan, Pennsylvania; Josiah Ware, Virginia; Frederick Smyth, New-Hampshire; Henry Wilson. Ohio; John Merryman. Maryland ; James W. Brown, Illinois.
Other publications of the time, such as American Agriculturist, Volume 18, The Cultivator, and American Turf Register and Sporting Magazine also featured articles concerning Josiah. He actually was the “lead-in” story in 1860 for the work he did with the United States Fair. See below
THE UNITED STATES FAIR.;
CINCINNATI, Thursday, Sept. 20, 1860.
If the Eighth National Fair has done nothing else for the country, it has at least been productive of one remarkable discovery, for which it, or rather one of its officers, has a fair chance of general notoriety. Col. JOSIAH W. WARE, of Virginia, is an old gentleman of high respectability and famous as a breeder of Cotswold sheep. He has also been, in his time, a fancier of thorough-bred horses, it is said, but at any rate possesses such qualifications, in that respect, as to have been deemed a proper person to make Chairman of the Judges on thoroughbreds.
Josiah served briefly during the Civil War, and was, at one point, imprisoned by the Union Army at Old Capitol Prison in Washington D.C. As with so many other Southerners, he lost his fortune and family estate once the war ended. Springfield was sold to the Clagett family, and Josiah and his wife spent their final years at “Durham” – the home that Edmonia had inherited from her family. Josiah died on August 13, 1883, and was buried in Grace Episcopal Cemetery. Upon the news of his death, The Baltimore Sun newspaper wrote the following tribute:
“Colonel Ware, during the magisterial system, was for many years a member of the court of his county. It was stated at the bar today that although hundreds of cases came before him, he was never reversed. The court adjourned at 12 o’clock today until 10 o’clock tomorrow, as a mark of respect to the memory of the deceased. Before the Civil War, Col. Ware was the most extensive sheep raiser in the valley of Virginia and did more than any man in his section to improve the breed of sheep by importing from England.” Baltimore Sun
Rev. Hayden wrote:
“It is said that he [Josiah Ware] was eminently useful as a citizen, both in private and public life. His methodical and industrious habits enabled him for many years to render important services to his friends and neighbors, who he was always happy to assist. Cheerful and buoyant, his presence was hailed with delight by the young, in whom he always seemed to feel a special interest and who looked up to him with pleasure and respect. His was an old age free from those infirmities of body and mind which so often mar the happiness of persons in advanced life. . .” (Ref. 6)
Obituary for Josiah Ware and grave of Josiah Ware
Both provided courtesy of James and Judy Ware
The inscription on the grave for Josiah reads as follows:
JOSIAH Wm. WARE
JAMES AND ELIZABETH
BORN AUG. 19, 1802
DIED AUG. 13, 1883
“I AM THE RESURRECTION
AND THE LIFE”
In my hand no present
Simply to thy cross
Transcription of the Obituary for Josiah William Ware
Death of Col. Ware – Col. J. W. Ware, a prominent and highly respected citizen of this county, died at his home on Monday morning after a brief illness. On the 5th he attended church, and seemed to be enjoying the vigorous health and activity so remarkably displayed by one who had passed his fourscore years, but during that week he was partially paralyzed, which was aggravated by softening of the brain, and on Monday morning he breathed his last, aged nearly 81 years. Col. Ware was as well known in some of the counties of Maryland as in the counties adjoining Clarke, owing to the great interest he always manifested in agriculture, having, in his younger days, imported stock for the improvement of horses and sheep. No man labored harder and was more instrumental than Col. Ware in getting the legislative to authorize the formation of the present county of Clarke, which was done, we believe, in the year 1835. Under the old magistrates court system he filled one of the positions on the bench for a number of years, and since the war has been an advocate for the restoration of that system as more economical and better adapted to the necessities of the people. Col. Ware, like many other men of influence, property and credit, suffered the loss of his old home by the depreciation in property that followed the financial panic of 1873. He several times aspired to be a member of the Virginia Assembly, but failed as an independent candidate. His remains were deposited in the graveyard attached to Grace Church on Tuesday evening.
The tall, slender, white tombstone that sits immediately to the right of Josiah’s has many of his immediate family’s names engraved on it. Although this is probably the location where Josiah’s first wife, Frances, was buried, the tall monument was clearly added at a later date. All the children’s names appear on the stone, but we know two of the son’s bodies were actually buried elsewhere.
Grave of Frances Toy Glassell Ware - photo courtesy of James and Judy Ware
The inscription on the front of the tombstone reads as follows:
FRANCES T. WARE
Josiah Wm. Ware
born July 25th 1809
died May 10th 1842
Frances Toy Glassell was the daughter of Louisa and John Glassell. We know from a letter written by Sigismund S. Ware in 1930 that “Fannie Glassell was sent to school in Winchester & stayed at the Episcopal Rectory with Reverend Alexander Balmain, who had married her aunt; Miss Lucy Taylor.” (Ref. #340) On February 22, 1827, Fanny (as she liked to be called) was married to Josiah Ware. He was 25 years old and she was 18. From a family letter written to Josiah in response to his wedding news, we can see how devoted the couple must have been to each other. His cousin wrote back to Josiah that “as there is nothing but darts and heartache, smiles, dimples and happiness, matrimony and the consummation of bliss, I could have no such good reason either for surprise or astonishment.” (Ref. 141) Frances and Josiah celebrated 15 years of marriage together before her untimely death in 1842.
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