A Short Biography of Josiah William Ware by Judy C. Ware

A brief overview of Josiah William Ware

Owner of Springfield Plantation in Clarke Co. Virginia

© Judy C. Ware 2010

Josiah William Ware

Col. Josiah William Ware

Josiah William Ware was a descendant of the James Ware family that settled in Virginia in the early 1700’s.  His great grandfather was James Ware I (born Nov.15, 1714) who married Agnes Todd.  His paternal grandfather was Dr. James Ware II (born on March 13, 1741) who married Virginia Catherine Todd, and his father was James Ware III (born on January 13, 1771) who married Elizabeth Snickers Alexander.  Most of the Ware family from this branch of the tree moved to Kentucky in the late 1790’s, but after helping his family to relocate there, James III returned to the state of his birth.  It was in his native home of Virginia that he married, raised his family, and died.

James and Elizabeth had two other children besides Josiah.  Their first child was a daughter named Sarah (Sally) Elizabeth Taliaferro Ware.  She was born on October 1, 1797.  Three years later, on July 3, 1800, the first son was born.  He was named Charles Alexander Ware, and then young Josiah was born just two years later on August 19, 1802.  Sadly his mother didn’t live very long after his birth.  Elizabeth Ware died at the age of 29 on August 29, 1803.  Josiah’s father did remarry, but the only child from that union who lived long enough to marry was a daughter named Lucy Catherine.  She was born in 1814, so there was a 12 year difference in their ages.  Josiah remained very close to his older sister Sally, especially after their brother Charles died unexpectedly at the age of 23.

On Feb. 22, 1827, at the age of 25, Josiah married a young lady named Frances Toy Glassell.  She was eighteen at the time and had come to Winchester to attend school and was staying at the Episcopal Rectory.  (ref. 26)  We own the trunk that she used during this time with the initials F.G. nailed in the top.  From the family letters written during this time, Josiah apparently was very smitten with his future bride.

Shortly before their marriage, Josiah began construction of Springfield Plantation on land he inherited from his mother. (ref. 2, 61)  The property originally belonged to Edward Snickers (a large landowner in Virginia around 1760) and was called “Springfield” even at that time.  Edward left the property to his daughter Sarah (Mrs. Morgan Alexander).  She, in turn, willed it to their daughter Elizabeth (Mrs. James Ware III), and they subsequently gave the property to their son, Josiah William Ware. (ref. 160)   He and Frances raised their family there and Springfield soon became known as one of the most prosperous, beautiful homes in the Shenandoah Valley.

According to one of Josiah’s children, “Springfield was a stock farm chiefly; thoroughbred horses and pure bred other stock.  Our house was large, and the rooms were spacious, and there were, I’m sure, at least 20 servants on the place.  The house was imposing in appearance; lumber was seasoned for three years before being used.”  (ref. 81)  One of Josiah’s grandchildren remembered it as “a very lovely, large house, cream stucco, with a cupola.   When President Rutherford B. Hayes visited, the Berryville band played lustily from the balcony.  There was an avenue of fine trees leading up to the house, which Grandfather had planted.” (ref. 3)

During the Civil War, a Yankee officer by the name of Captain Stevenson spoke of Springfield.  He said, “it was a fine old plantation near the Shenandoah.  He (Josiah) had some of the best blooded stock in Virginia and had spent a great deal of money in importing horse and sheep; some of his sheep costing $500.00 a head, and his horses fabulous prices.” (ref. 181)  Unfortunately, Josiah was not able to keep the plantation after the war.  As with many Southerners, the taxes became too high to pay and the cost of the years of fighting extended to more than just loss of lives and property.  A way of life had changed forever.

Before the country was torn apart by war, however, Josiah and Francis had six children.  Their first son, named James, was born on Feb. 16, 1831.  The baby only lived 8 months after birth, however, so when Frances had another boy on Nov. 26, 1832, they decided to name him James as well.  His full name was James Alexander Ware.  His middle name (Alexander) was Josiah’s mother’s maiden name.  James went on to serve as a colonel in the Civil War, married Jane Morton Smith, and later became a judge in Texas.

Another son, John Glassell Ware, was born on May 2, 1835.  His middle name was obviously honoring his mother’s maiden name of Glassell.  Unfortunately, John died of yellow fever at the age of 23 on Sept. 29, 1858.

On Sept. 30, 1837, a daughter arrived named Elizabeth Alexander Ware.  She had a fascinating history & I have tons of information on her; including a beautiful picture.    She married Dr. Edward Britton on March 10, 1864 at the age of 27.  They had one son named Josiah (after her beloved father), but tragedy struck in November of 1865.  Both Dr. Britton and the baby died of yellow fever in the same month!  Elizabeth later remarried in 1884 to Dr. James Mercer McGuire, but she never had any other children of her own.  There is a stained glass window in Grace Episcopal Church in Berryville, Virginia that is dedicated to her.

Josiah and Frances had another daughter on Jan. 10, 1839.  Her name was Lucy Balmain Ware.  Her middle name was bestowed on her out of a deep friendship the family had with a minister by that name.  Lucy, at the age of 20, joined the George Washington family tree by marrying one of Washington’s favorite nephews; Edward Parke Custis Lewis.  He was the son of Lorenzo & Esther Lewis and grandson of Nelly Custis {Lewis} – the adopted daughter of George Washington.  Lucy had a very sad life in that she lost so many children.    Her daughter Eleanor Angela died at 7 months, son Lawrence Fielding died as an infant, son John Glassell also died as an infant, and son Edward Parke Custis died at 19 months.  The only child she had that lived to adulthood was Lucy (named after her), but Lucy Balmain died shortly after her birth.  The baby was raised for a while by her sister Elizabeth; until E.P.C. Lewis remarried years later and served as an ambassador to Portugal.  There is an entire alcove and stained glass window dedicated to Lucy Balmain Ware in Grace Episcopal Church.

The last child born to Josiah and Frances was Charles Alexander Ware who was born on April 26, 1841.  Charles went to Medical School at the University of Virginia.  He later served with J.E.B. Stuart during the Civil War and became the head surgeon for Imboden’s Corps until the war ended. (ref. #34) Charles never married and later took up residence in St. Louis where he practiced medicine for many years.  He died at age 74 in 1915.  We have many letters from him that truly reflect his great wit and humor.

Josiah lost his beloved Frances in 1842.  He was left with 5 children left to raise; the oldest (James) was only 11 and young Charles was just one year of age.  He remarried on January 30, 1845 to  Edmonia Jaquelin Smith, the daughter of Edward Jaquelin Smith and Elizabeth Macky.   She was 28 years old at the time of the marriage, and the wedding took place at her family home of Smithfield. (ref.84)  After the ceremony, Josiah and Edmonia moved into Springfield.  They ALSO had six children together.

Jaquelin Smith Ware was their first child together, and he was born on Feb. 7, 1846.  He served in the Confederate army as a courier for J.E.B. Stuart, and he later married Helen Grinnan.  They had no children, but “Uncle Jaque” was well loved by all.  There is a beautifully engraved brass marker on the pulpit in Grace Episcopal Church in Berryville that serves as a memorial to him.

Josiah William Ware Jr. was born on July 8, 1847, but sadly he only lived to be 4 months old.  He passed away on Nov. 13, 1847.  He was followed by a brother named Sigismund Stribling Ware who was born on June 27, 1849.  Again, however, this poor baby didn’t live long either.  He died at 7 months on Jan. 1, 1850.

On Feb. 3, 1851, another son was born and they named this one Sigismund Stribling Ware too.  It was a common practice in those times.  If a child died very young, it was not unusual to use the same name again.  The baby was named after Josiah’s brother-in-law, Dr. Sigismund Stribling.  After he was grown, Sigismund became an Episcopal Clergyman after attending the Theological Seminary near Alexandria, Virginia; thus becoming Reverend S.S. Ware.

Another son was born two years later.  Josiah William Ware Jr. was born on Nov. 23, 1853.  He also became an ordained Episcopal minister.  He had a parish on the Eastern Shore of Virginia in Accomac County.

Josiah’s last child, Robert Mackey Ware, was born on May 5, 1857.  Josiah was 55 years old and Edmonia was 40.  Robert later moved to Chicago and married Caroline Waughop.

During his lifetime, Josiah Ware was quite a “mover and shaker” in Virginia.  He was active in politics and often entertained Congressmen and Presidents at Springfield.  His cousin, Lucy Ware Webb Hayes, was the wife of President Rutherford B. Hayes, and he frequently stayed with them at the White House and corresponded with them on a regular basis.  His social circle included such noted statesmen as Daniel Webster, Henry Clay, Robert E. Lee, and John Calhoun.  Generals from both the Northern and Southern armies wrote him letters and most of those letters have been carefully passed down through the generations.  He died at the age of 81 on August 13, 1883.



A Short Biography of Josiah William Ware by Judy C. Ware — 3 Comments

  1. My name is Paul T. Huck, Jr. Birmingham Alabama. I am a member of the SCV and tracking relatives fought in the War. Nothing on my father’s side, his father’s family moved from Chicago after the war. His mother’s side founded Theodore AL. Her maiden name was Theodore, My Mother’s side- Grandfather from S.t Paul MN, so nothing there. BUT my maternal Grandmother’s maiden name was Ware. Her mother’s name was Thompson. I was able to find a Pvt. Robert Ware in VA and a Pvt. Thompson in AL. However, my grandfather (from MN) was a big civil war buff and he told me his wife (my maternal grandmother) had people who rode with Mosby. He had a first edition of Mosby’s War Remembrances (I still have it). Recently I got a copy of Ghost, Thunderbolt, Wizard about Mosby, Hunt & Forrest. Page 72 chapter 3 I found reference to Josiah William Ware. Tonight i did a Google search and found your page. And more. I will research all I found, but you are first.
    Finally and at last I have found an Officer relative that served with Mosby to confirm my family ‘legends’.

  2. I have seen the memoir that says “Springfield was a stock farm chiefly; thoroughbred horses and pure bred other stock. Our house was large, and the rooms …” above. I think it was by Josiah William Ware Jr. One of his sons, Kennard Knottingham Ware married Margaret Parkhurst. They had a daughter named Ellen Ware, who was my mom.

  3. This is very interesting as I was born in Charles Town Wv(Jefferson county). Right next door to Clarke County Va. My grandfather was Clinton Augusta Ware born in 1865 in that general area. I have no record of his origin other than he was born in what was Jefferson County Va then.

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