” The subject of this sketch was born in Salem on the 9th day of April, 1822. He was of the seventh generation from Robert Ware, whose enterprise and recognized ability secured a land grant in Dedham on the 12th of July, 1842.
Robert Ware was undoubtedly a native of Wrentham, Suffolk County, England; from which place he emigrated to England.
The family of Ware, or Weare (as it is written in the early records), is easily traced to a great antiquity by the records of the counties of Devon and Somerset, England.
The three oldest sons of Robert Ware were settled in that part of Dedham now known as Wrentham, in 1673. The youngest, Robert by name, was the father of Michael, and the direct descent of the subject of this sketch is Jabez, Amos and Erastus, from Michael.
In the long line of ancestry, the Wares were owners as well as tillers f the land; and many of the descendants of Robert have been noted as leading teachers in ethics and practicing physicians.
Ersatus Ware, the father of Benjamin P., moved from Paxton to Danvers in 1810, he, at that time being a young man of twenty-two years of age; ambitious and full of manly hope and enterprise, he commenced work on a milk farm and soon made himself a recognized leader and authority in all that appertained to agricultural industry.
In 1831 he purchased the Hinkley Farm in Marblehead, and commenced work on the same in 1833, Benjamin P. at this time being eleven years of age. This farm had been greatly abused by tenants who had cultivated it for fifty years with a single eye to securing the best crop for the tenant, with the least outlay of either capital or labor, and with a total disregard of the good of the land or the interest of the owner. Erastus Ware saw the possibilities of good husbandmanship upon the worn-out land; and ably seconded by his son, Benjamin P., and a brother, commenced work in good earnest to repair the waste places and bring back this neglected soil to a much better than its primitive condition. The best methods of agriculture learned by reading and observation were adopted in this work, and the systematic and well-ordered labor soon made Erastus and his sons the observed of all observers. It is not too much to say that the production of vegetables for the market was a leading feature (as well as a novelty in the town) in the Ware system of farming.
With long-neglected buildings, poor fences, neglected orchards, the outlook was little better that that of a new country. But energy, frugality and persistent industry soon produced a transformation from neligence andshiftlessness to thrift and prosperity.
So much physical exertion was required of the subject of this sketch that three months in the winter was all that he could be spared for intellectual training and supplementary to this public education, two terms at Phillips’ Academy, concluded his opportunities for rudimentary education. At the age of twenty-five, Benjamin P. married Hannah Clifton, of Salem, having the year previous built the beautiful Clifton House as a seashore summer resort, being a pioneer in adaptation of the coast-lined land of Marblehead as resorts for recuperation of professional and business men from the cares and anxieties incident to city life. This digression from the routine life of the farmer was the cause of many criticisms of doubt expressed by short-sighted and narrow-minded men. But the increased value of the land on the North Shore, and its now world-wide reputation as a place for rest and recuperation have convinced the most incredulous that the work has been that of a well-balanced and far-seeing mind, and the distinguished guests from this and other countries who have sought rest and repose amid the cooling breezes on the rock-ribbed coast gives full endorsement to this statement.
Nor has the enterprise of Mr. Ware been limited to the little spot which he has so beautifully adorned. The grand Atlantic Avenue connecting Swampscott and Marblehead is one of his early conceptions; and its completion was largely the work of his own enterprise. This great ocean boulevard met with violent opposition in its construction from bot Swampscott and Marblehead, but for the energy of Mr. Ware and a few others, the great increased valuation caused by its construction would have been longdeferred.
The Swampscott Branch of the Eastern Railroad owes its construction and completion largely to his individual work.
Mr. Ware was also a valuable co-operator of John P. Palmer in what seemed, at the time, a most preposterous scheme,–the making free to the public of the Salem Turnpike. This act was unquestionably the initial cause of securing freedom by legislation of all the toll bridges and roads of the State.
In matters of public education, he has long been prominent, having served sixteen years son the school committee of Marblehead, and ten years a trustee of the Massachusetts Agricultural College. He has also served as trustee of the Marblehead Savings Bank for five years; trustee of the New England Agricultural Society for nine years; president of Marblehead and Swampscott Farmers’ Club four years; Master of Subordinate Grange No. 38, six years; Master of the State Grange of Massachusetts two years; president of the Essex Agricultural Society thirteen years, and a leading member of the State Board of Agriculture.
From the first of his public life he has recognized the necessity and importance of exact knowledge in every department of agricultural industry. With this end in view he was first and foremost by speech and resolution to urge the establishment of an Experiment Station by the commonwealth, and is a prominent member of its board of Management. The acknowledged usefulness of the station, as now established, is a happy indication of his good judgement.
In his own farm industry he had never feared new methods; patiently watching and learning, he has often proved a leader where at first he appeared to be only timid and distant follower. The adoption and introduction of the Silo and its successful result in the preparation of ensilage on his own farm, is a remarkable instance of his readiness and ability to adapt himself to new conditions in agriculture.
As a public speaker Mr. Ware has filled an important gap in the wants of the agricultural population. With a rich, full voice, an easy flow of language, an ability to express in a concise and readily understood manner the results if both observation and experience, he is and ever-welcome guest on all public occasions where words of counsel from practical standpoints are needed or desired. As one of the committee of the Massachusetts Ploughman Association he has been prominent by suggestion and speech, in making these well-known public gatherings pre-eminently useful and instructive. He has often presided and led at these gatherings, and his practical talks, have had a wide reading as they have been reported phonographically in the Massachusetts Ploughman.
Mr. Ware has made many other addressed on agriculture and other subjects which have been reported to a greater or less extent in the daily and weekly papers.
At the age of sixty-five, he is in the prime of life and in full harmony and sympathy with every developing feature of science and art which has to do with the welfare of mankind and the prosperity of building-up of men and communities.”