The Wares of Illinois

“Every family of many members is characterized by certain traits of character and conduct, easily discernible by those who know them, in whatever condition of life they may be found.  Without attempting to describe these characteristics, those of us who know the Wares of this county, know that these observations fit them in a marked degree.  Loyalty, sincerity, religious conviction and patriotism may in a word be said to be the leading characteristic possessed.  They see people as they appear, and not what my be hidden in their make-up.  They, as a family, are exceedingly practical, frank and straightforward.  Such are the Wares, and would there were more of them.

Over a hundred years ago, one Capt. Benjamin Ware possessed a home among the hills of old Vermont.  It was there that Benjamin, David, Obediah and Enoch Ware were born; and others, that we cannot describe .  These young men, at least three of them began to look around for opportunities of entering the arena of life’s battle, and conflicts.

At the age of about twenty-one, Benjamin went to New York, where for three years he sought to satisfy his ambition for better conditions, but he ‘western fever’ got hold of him, and he came to Indiana, where he stayed until 1823, then still not satisfied, he came to Greene County, Ill., and one year later to Montgomery County, and settled in what is known as Ware’s Grove in Butler Grove Township.

His brother Obediah, who had married in the old New Hampshire hills, came with him to this county, David, we believe, coming later.  A Miss Sarah Slayback who was an Ohio girl, having come here with the family of Israel Seward, became enamored of Benjamin Ware, and the marriage was the result.  One son, Justice Hurd Ware, lived and raised a numerous family to perpetuate the name of this early settler of our county.

Obediah Ware, who came here with Benjamin, was also born in Gilsum, N.H.; and became a settler of Butler Grove Township, as before stated.  He married Electra Post, when only about twenty-one, and within a month after his marriage he sought the ‘wild and woolly west’ in search of better opportunities.  To secure land and make a home was the impelling determination that guided these young men in all their wanderings. He entered the homestead in section 15 in Butler Grove Township, in 1823, and for over fifty years made that his home, and the rearing ground of his family.  Mrs. Thomas E. Harris, Mrs. Betsey Wescott, Mrs. W.A. Young (first wife), and Henry Ware, were among the children of this patriot.

David S. Ware, a son of David Ware, who was the brother of Obediah and Benjamin, came to Illinois in 1855, and he too became a part of the ‘Ware’s Grove settlement.  There his numerous family was raised, among whom we may mention John, Arthur, Lyman, David, Emma Osborne, and Beulah Chickering.  Except for the latter, who is in New Hampshire, they are all here today .  Related to these Wares mentioned, in varying degrees, may be mentioned the Burris’, the Osborns, the Macks, the Staples, the Clinesmiths and others.

Luciau Ware is, we understand, a descendant from the fourth New Hampshire brother named above, Enoch.  So that the four brothers are ll represented in our county.  It is said that if the relatives were to have a reunion, it would take a house that would hold 200 from this county alone.  Why not have such a reunion and make a history of it?…

With very few exceptions farming is the life work of all these people.  Contentment with one’s surroundings is one of the requirements to success, and they have shown that quality in a strong degree.  We close as we began, with the statement that wherever you find a Ware, you find the family characteristics obviously present, and impelling them, largely, to the same lines of thought and action.  Home loving, economical, honest, patriotic and intensely loyal to the church–by these distinguishing qualities are the Wares known.”

Note:  The personal biography of Sarah Slayback Ware, which can be read elsewhere on warefamilies, states she was born in Lexington KY., Sept 13th, 1805.

Source:  History of Montgomery Co. Illinois, Vol. 2, by Newton Bateman LL. D., Paul Shelby and Alexander T. Strange A.M., Munsell Publishing Co., Chicago, 1918, page 639


The Wares of Illinois — 1 Comment

  1. Ware’s Grove continues to grow with the WARE family. I’m not really sure at this time, but the only way anyone so far away could learn of it’s existance during this time period, was by written letter from relatives living there, which in some cases probably took weeks to deliver. Fascinating how so many family members ended up together in one area from far away locations.

    C. Wayne Ware
    Cedar Falls, IA

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