Edmund Asa Ware (1837 – 1885)

“WARE, Edmund Asa, first president of Atlanta university (1865-1867). was born in North Wrentham (Norfolk), Mass., Dec. 22, 1837, son of Asa B. and Catherine Slocum Ware.  His early education acquired in the school of his native born town.  When fifteen years old he removed with his father’s family to Norwich, Conn., where he was fitted for college at the Norwich free academy.  He was graduated from Yale in the class of 1863.

Upon his return to Norwich he accepted a position in the free academy as assistant to Prof.  Eldridge Smith, the principal.  Here he developed remarkable ability as a teacher.  In 1805 he served as principal in a newly organized public school in Nashville, Tenn.  While in Nashville he made the acquaintance of Gen. Clinton B. Fisk, and became interested in the organization of the Fisk university, and in 1816, under the auspices of the American missionary association, he commenced the educational work among the freedmen, to which he was to devote his life, by settling at Atlanta, Ga., and organizing schools for colored children.  He was appointed state superintendent of schools under the Freedmen’s bureau, in 1867, and traveled over the state in the interest of the public school system, which he sought, to establish.  The charter for the Atlanta university was obtained that year, largely through his efforts, and under his advisement.  In 1817 he became its first president, and continued to serve it until his death in 1885.

In 1869 he was married to Sarah Jane Twichell of Plantsville, Conn., three daughters and one son blessing the union. (Olive Ware, Gertrude Huntington Ware, ?, Edward Twitchell Ware.)

The university had no permanent building of its own until October, 1809, when the first of its buildings, intended as a girls’ dormitory, was occupied by the whole school.  In August, 1870, another large building was added, to accommodate about sixty boys, with additional schoolrooms, to which two others were speedily added.  The money for the erection of these buildings came entirely from voluntary contribution, mostly from without the state.  In 1870 the legislature of the state, as a compromise of the right of the colored people to the land donated by Congress under the act of July 7, 1862, and which was voted entirely to the (white) University of Georgia, gave to Atlanta university $8,000 per annum.  In 1871 the legislature refused to continue the appropriation, but in 1874 it was again placed in force, almost unanimously, and was continued until 1887.  It  is estimated that in 1893 over 150,000 colored children in Georgia were taught by the teachers who received their training at Atlanta university.  It had, in 1893, a vested capital in lands, buildings, library, etc., estimated at $250,000.

President Ware died at the university Sept. 25, 1885.”

Source:  The National Cyclopedia of American Biography, Vol.5, James T. White and Co.,New York, 1894, pages 380-1


Edmund Asa Ware (1837 – 1885) — 7 Comments

  1. Thank you for documenting this important history. E A Ware is an unsung hero of Atlanta and American Education.

    Yes. E A Ware is buried in front of Fountain Hall under a boulder brought by his students from Massachusetts in honor of his devotion to educating freedmen by establishing Atlanta University.

    I feel the YMCA should contribute to the preservation of his legacy in that they demolished E A Ware Elementary school to make room for their corporate headquarters.

    Fountain Hall which served as Administration building for Atlanta University which E A Ware established and served as President is in need of restoration & renovation.

    I initiated an online petition to gain massive visible support of this movement to restore Historic Fountain Hall


  2. Shortly after the death of Edmund Asa Ware, his widow Sarah died. The four children, under the wing of the oldest, Katherine, moved back north. Somewhere in my family archive records I have details and photos of headstones which she had put in a cemetery in Wrentham MA, where her father was from. Katherine Ware Smith was my great grandmother.

  3. He was originally buried at Westview Cemetery, but was subsequently moved to the college campus.

  4. Find A Grave says he was buried in Westview Cemetery, however the burial plot is based on Sexton’s records and may indeed be interred on the University campus. Thank you for your Comment.

    Ware Families Administrator

  5. As a student of EA WARE elementary school, located one block north of Morris Brown college campus, we were always told by teachers (whom graduated from MBC) that Mr Ware’s remains was buried on MBC campus, in front of the administration building.

  6. You really should check the dates in the short biograpy of Edmund Adsa Ware. It’s very confusing as it now stands.

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