“JOHN WARE, a member of the Board of trustees of Cedar Township, and a highly respected citizen,is one of the early settlers of the Hawkeye State. He crossed the Mississippi while a mere youth, with his parents, and settled in Iowa when it was yet a Territory, and in watching the remarkable growth and development of this section of country has identified himself thoroughly with its interests and materially assisted in bringing it to its present condition.
The subject of this history is of English birth and parentage, born in Yorkshire, Feb. 3, 1830. His father, James Ware, was a native of the same shire as his son, the date of his birth been Nov. 8, 1799. At the age of seven years James Ware commenced the duties of life as a coal miner, and remained in the mines until 1843, when ill-health compelled him to abandon his occupation. He then purchased a small stock of goods and engaged in peddling for the two following years. But he was not satisfied with his condition or prospects in his own country, and resolved to emigrate to the United States, which seemed to land of promise for the enterprising and energetic young man. Accordingly, in the month of February, 1845, he set sail from London, accompanied by his wife and four children, and landed at New Orleans after a voyage of seven weeks and four days. Quite a party of Englishmen had come over the same time under the auspices of the English Mutual and Emigrant Society, and they all left New Orleans and, striking camp at Keoktik, Iowa, sent out a committee of three to select s suitable location for settlement. This committee selected the east half of section 32 and the west half of 33 in Cedar. Here the Ware family settled, and in due time the sons purchased land, and the parents lived with them the remainder of their lives, the father dying Feb. 12, 1853, and the mother surviving him until 1868, when she too passed to the silent land. The latter, before her marriage, was Miss Ann Wilson and her birthplace was in Yorkshire, near that of her husband. The parental household consisted of four children, as follows: William, the eldest son, went to California in 1852, and died there eleven years later; Charlotte married Mr. Atkinson of Cedar Township, and is now deceased; John, our subject was the third child; Issac lives in Van Buren County, Iowa.
John at the age of nine years went into the coal mine and was engaged in drawing the loaded cars to and from the shaft until old enough and strong enough to work as a miner. At this latter occupation he received the munificent salary of twenty-eight cents a day, and it may be supposed,was joyous with hope at the prospect of a different life in a new country. He was fifteen years of age when he came to America with his parents, and for the first two years after reaching this section he lived with his uncle, John Ware. He then engaged with a Mr. Maloy who was carrying on a sheep farm. At this labor he received $6 per month for six months, and then worked for one year, at the close of which he received $100. The second year his salary was in creased $44. He remained with this gentleman nearly three years, and being economical and industrious, and saving of his earnings whatever he could, he soon found himself possessed of sufficient means to become a real estate proprietor, and purchased eighty acres of unimproved land in Franklin Township. He at once commenced the improvement of his purchase, which he sold at a good profit, and in March, 1853, purchased the homestead which he now occupies; it consists of 195 acres, all tillable and under a good state of cultivation. He has a fine farm dwelling, good barns and out-buildings, valuable farm machinery and implements, and all appliances of a first-class agriculturist. Besides the home farm he has twenty acres of valuable timber in Van Buren County.
John Ware and Miss Jane Lightfoot were united in marriage in Harrison Township, Feb. 21, 1856. Mrs. Ware was a native of Manchester, England, and daughter of John and Mary Light foot, of English birth and parentage, who emigrated from their native country to the United States, and settled in Lee County at an early period in its history. By her union with our subject Mrs.Ware became the mother of five children, as follows: Mary A., Mrs. Kennedy, is a resident of Polk County, Iowa; J. Berry lives in Harrison Township; J. Frank is a resident of Kansas; W. Chase and Alice J. are at home. Mrs. Ware departed this life July 5, 1875. Mr. Ware was married the second time, Sept. 20, 1879, to Mrs. Albertine Taylor. This lady was born in Salem, Henry Co., Iowa, Feb. 27, 1849. Her fist husband was John Q. Baugher; died Dec. 3 1875. Of this union there were born three children–Margaret, John L. and Rosana.
Mr. Ware has been for many years prominently connected with the affairs of this township, and has taken great satisfaction in witnessing its progress financially and educationally. He has been the stanch friend of sobriety and morality, and has contributed generously of his time and means for the promotion of every worthy enterprise. He has been connected with the School Board, and prominently identified with all measures tending to culture and education. He is a striking example of the self-made man, having begun at the foot of the ladder, with indifferent prospects before him, but by his own preserving industry has climbed up step by step, and is now enjoying the well-merited reward of his early endeavors. To such men as Mr.Ware is due the rapid growth of the wide West and the march of her industrial and agricultural interests. For his earlier labors and his efforts in behalf of his community, he is now enjoying the esteem and confidence of his townsmen and the fruits of a well-earned competency.”
Source: Biographical Album of Lee Co., Iowa, Chapman Brothers, Chicago, 1887, pages 202-3