Eugene F. Ware Dies Suddenly in Colorado

Courtesy of John Stein

Note:  Article submitted by Marti Martin of the Woodford Co. Historical Society from the Albuquerque Journal, July 3, 1911.





Served Through Civil War With Distinction; Was Noted Lawyer and Commissioner of Pensions Under Roosevelt.

(By Morning Journal Special Leased Wire)

Colorado Springs, Colo.  July 3.–Eugene F. Ware, United States pension commissioner under President Roosevelt and one of the best known lawyers in the west, died suddenly from heart disease last night at Cascade, a summer resort a few miles west of this city.  Although he had been affected by the heat at his farm near Fort Scott, Kan. before his arrival her last Friday to spend the summer, he seemed in his usual health when he talked all Saturday afternoon with a friend, D.W. Heiser, former mayor of Colorado Springs.  Ware retired to his cottage about 11 o’clock and started to undress.  Suddenly he fell back upon the bed and died five minutes later.  Last May on his seventieth birthday, he retired from the law firm of Ware, Nelson and Ware, Kansas City, Kan.  The dead man of national repute as a writer and poet, was attorney in the United States district court in Colorado for plaintiffs L.A. Digger of Topeka and Cascade town company, of Cascade, Colo., against the Empire Water and Power company of Colorado Springs.  In the suit Ware raised for the first time in law annals the value of natural scenic beauty, and secured an injunction against the water company restraining it from interfering with Cascade canyon by building pipe lines, etc.  The case was appealed to United States court of appeals.

In addition to his widow, Mrs. Jeannette Ware and daughter, Miss Amelia Ware, the only members of the family with him in Colorado, he is survived by two other daughters, Mrs. Dr. Nelus of New York city, and Mrs. Ralph Nelson, who lives in Idaho; a married son, Eugene F. Ware, Jr., aged twenty-six, recently gave up the practice of law to settle with his father on his big farm near Fort Scott.

Eugene Ware was born in Hartford Conn., May 29, 1841, and when a young man moved to Iowa with his parents.  When nineteen years old he joined the First Iowa Volunteer regiment on the day Fort Sumpter was fired upon, and served throughout the Civil war. He mustered out as captain of the Seventh Iowa cavalry.

After the war Mr. Ware moved to Fort Scott, Kas. and later went to Cherokee county.  It was there that he became interested in the study of law.  According to the story told by Mr. Ware in Southeastern Kansas, where at that time white men were few, he spent his leisure time in the office of a justice of the peace and in many cases when the justice was required to decide points he would ask Mr. Ware’s opinion.  This started the Kansan to study law and after being admitted to the bar he returned to Fort Scott where he began to practice.

Until a few years ago, Mr. Ware took an active part in politics, having moved from Fort Scott to Topeka in 1893. He served five terms in the Kansas senate and was appointed commissioner of pensions by President Roosevelt in 1903.  He resigned two years later.

According to close friends, when Mr. Roosevelt offered Mr. Ware the place he declined, saying he did not like the work.  To this Mr. Roosevelt replied: ‘That is just the reason I want you to take it.  The longer you hold the job the less you’ll like it.’

The Kansan accepted the position May 10, 1902, and it is said his resignation was placed at the disposal of Mr. Roosevelt May 11, 1903 to be accepted two years later.

As ‘Ironquill’ Mr. Ware became famous for short poems be published.  One of those that attracted much attention was that referring to Dewey’s victory over the Spanish fleet in Manilla bay.  Probably the poem which brought Ware the greatest recognition was ‘The Washerwoman’s Song.’



Washington July 3.–While Captain Eugene F. Ware was commissioner of pensions he drew forth a storm of disapproval from Grand Army men by his reference in an annual report and in a speech in San Francisco to ‘obelisk of gold,’ which he said could be erected, with the money paid out in pensions.

Commissioner Ware in 1903, attended a meeting at Thomas post at San Francisco.  The commissioner was called on to speak after explaining that the government since its re-establishment had three billion, two hundred millions of dollars in pensions, concluded,

‘One Sabbath day I figured that if I had all of this vast sum in coined gold I could build myself an obelisk ten feet square at the bottom and one hundred and seven feet, eight inches in height.’ “


Eugene F. Ware Dies Suddenly in Colorado — 1 Comment

  1. Some of my direct WARE family about 3 generations ago, resided and farmed in Cherokee County, KS. I wonder if they knew one another. Great article.

    C. Wayne Ware
    Cedar Falls, IA

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