The Life and Times of Another WARE

The Life and Times of Another WARE

By Conrad Wayne Ware

Conrad Wayne Ware was born on the 2nd day of June 1935 to his parents Walter Conard Ware and Irene B Trent Ware their first child. Conard and Irene lived their entire lives in Hendricks County. A country doctor was present and delivered him. His place of birth was in an old farm house located 2½ miles NW of the town of Danville, Hendricks County, Indiana.

The Ware Family Farm House taken about 1975. The Ware farm had been in the
family since about 1927.

When my grandmother Ada Pearl Cline Ware moved from this farm to town
(Danville, Hendricks County, IN) about 1949, our family moved there to take
over farming operations. My father Conard purchased the farm a few years

During his early years, Wayne had the usual amount of childhood diseases. At age 6, during the winter of 1941-1942, he came down with a terrible cold that resulted in pneumonia. He was taken to the Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis and placed in an oxygen tent for 3 days until he recovered. He was in the hospital for a total of two weeks. Wayne then spent the remainder of that winter at home in bed, losing much of his weight and strength and was almost too weak to walk when he finally was able to get up and around. A tutor came to the house several times a week that winter to keep him up to date with his first grade school lessons. Wayne said the thing that stood out in his mind was hearing the radio announcement of the bombing of Pearl Harbor on the 7th of December 1941 and how his family reacted to it. Several of Wayne’s uncles would be going into the war soon after that.

The Thomas Farm

One year after Wayne’s birth, his grandfather Walter Erasmus Ware suddenly passed away in the spring of 1936. Walter had been farming a 230 acre dairy farm, owned by a Baptist Minister Erasmus Thomas, a great uncle that had taken Walter in at about age 10 and raised him after the death of his mother.

My grandparents, Walter Erasmus Ware and wife Ada Pearl Cline Ware. Walter died in May 1936, so this photo was probably taken sometime in the early 1930’s.

Rev Erasmus Thomas may have also been Walter’s namesake. Walter was also farming the nearby Ware farm (to be described a bit later). Rev. Thomas wanted Wayne’s dad Conard and his family to come live there and take over the farming operations to which Conard agreed and the family moved there.

Conrad Wayne Ware at about age 3 or 4, standing in the front lawn of the old
Thomas Farm about 1938 or 1839

In the summer of 1945, the large cow barn on the Thomas farm caught on fire during the night and burned to the ground. Most of the farm equipment including tractor, truck, corn that was in the crib and new hay that had just been put in the loft was lost. The fire department was called, but the barn was already too far gone for them to extinguish.

Two and ½ years after the birth of Wayne, the Ware family was blessed with the birth of a second son in January 1938.  This completed this family of four.

The Walter Conard Ware family.

Rear: Irene B Trent Ware, Walter Conard Ware; front, James Edward (Jim) Ware
and Conrad Wayne Ware. Photo taken about 1944 or 1945 on the front porch of
the Old Thomas Farm house.

* Note the difference of spelling of my father’s middle name (CONARD) and
the spelling of my first name CONRAD) Both are correct. My name was
misspelled on my birth certificate.

They lived on the Thomas farm for the next 10 years. During this time, Conard milked 50 head of dairy cows twice daily with the help of a farm hand. In the summer of 1944, to step up from Grade B and meet Grade A milk specifications, a water well was drilled and a flowing well was struck at a depth of just 46 feet. What luck! A new milk house was build around that well and the cool water ran from the well through the cement milk can troughs in the milk house and out the back through a pipe into a livestock watering tank. Wayne said he remembered that people came from far and wide to see this flowing well, sample the water and even bottle some of it to take home with them. Many people called it an “Artesian Well”.

Moving Again

The springtime of 1946 found the Ware family moving to a 60 acre farm they had purchased located near the town of Pittsboro, also in Hendricks County. Wayne was now reaching an age to be a lot of help on the farm. When Wayne was about age 12, his dad made a promise to him that if he got up early in the mornings to help milk the cows, perform other chores on the farm, bring up his school grades and make the school basketball team he would buy him a car when he turned 16. The family lived here for three years. By that time, Wayne had taken well his responsibilities to the family’s farm operation, especially the field work on the tractor and needed more to do. As Wayne’s grandmother Ada Cline Ware still living on the Ware farm, was getting up in years and decided that was best for her to leave the farm and move to town. She wanted her son Conard and his family to live on her farm and take over the operation and run the dairy. So the 60 acre farm in Pittsboro was sold and the family moved in the spring of 1949. Wayne was a freshman in high school.

The Ware Farm

The Ware farm consisted of two places. There were 100 acres at the main farm and 80 acres about 2 miles away. The main farm was just down the road about ½ miles from the place where Wayne was born.  Wayne’s dad Conard had a very strict policy about milking the cows exactly every 12 hours. Wayne enjoyed dairying and working on the farm, whether it was field work, painting a barn, mowing a fence row or cleaning out the chicken house which was one job he dreaded he dreaded.  It was common for farm boys to miss a few days of school in the spring during crop planting time and Wayne was no exception. He loved those days. Wayne’s dad rented several farms nearby and together, he and Wayne farmed over 400 acres of crop land besides running the 18 cow dairy. During the times when Wayne stayed in the field to work late, his brother helped their dad with the milking cores.

The Ware family was very punctual and did their dairy work at precisely the same time each day. After the morning milking was done, 7:00 am found the family seated around the breakfast table. At exactly 12:00 noon lunch or dinner as it was called, was served and supper was on the table at precisely 7:00 pm every day.  Wayne was up at 4:45 am, in the cow barn and putting the milkers on the first cow at exactly 5:00 am. After breakfast, it was his duty to clean the milking utensils in the milk house according to Grade A specifications and then get himself ready for school. His father kept his promise to Wayne and purchased him a car when he was 16 years old. This car was Wayne’s pride and joy, a 1952 Ford Custom with V-8 engine which was soon to be nicknamed the “Gray Ghost” by his school mates because of its color, but mostly because “now you see it, now you don’t”.

Wayne, age 16, with his first car, a 1952 Ford V-8 Custom. Every girl in
school wanted a ride in this new car W. Being an obliging farm boy, they

High School Sports

Wayne was on both high school basketball and football teams. It was during his senior year, their football team won the first football Conference Championship in the history of the school. They competed against some much larger Indianapolis teams as well as other schools in Hendricks County. It was the start of the school football team going undefeated for the next few years in which Wayne’s brother led the team for the next 3 years. Wayne was an average student in school not really excelling in his studies but said he liked English class the best. Wayne and his brother used to kid their mom about how many pairs of jock straps, white socks and tee shirts she had washed over their years of their high school sports. Both boys played sports from Jr High School as well as 4 years in High School.

Early Adult Years – Leaving Home

Wayne left the farm at about age 20 and became employed at a factory in Speedway, Indiana for awhile as a machine welder. A few months later, the factory announced a large layoff and as Wayne was included in the layoff, he left shortly after his 21st birthday and turned to another type of work. In the fall of 1956, Wayne purchased a semi tractor and leased it to North American Van Lines whose home office was located in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. After a few weeks of company schooling and a couple of months of over-the-road driving with another operator to gain tractor trailer experience, at age 21, he became the youngest owner-operator driver to be hired in the history of the company. It was the company’s policy to hire drivers that were at least 23 years of age with a minimum of 2 years over-the-road experience operating a tractor-trailer unit, but they made an exception this time. As the company’s routes were irregular, Wayne saw more of our Nations land that he ever imagined. He said his first trip was to bob-tail (drive the tractor without a trailer) from Fort Wayne, IN to Chicago, IL, pick up a loaded trailer bound to Boston, MA. From there he said he reloaded to San Francisco, CA. Traveling over U.S. Highways before the Interstate Highway System came into being, was really a challenge. The trip took him a full week to get there. This was really an education for an Indiana farm boy. Some of his most precious memories were of driving over old U. S. Highway 66 many times over the years and seeing the country. Most of that old highway has long since gone, but memories live on. All the places he had read and studied about in school became real, such as Civil War battle sites in the east and south, historical markers and many, many other places.

Wayne said he once had a streak of gambling luck in Reno, Nevada. He was on his way east from the Bay area when he stopped there, parked his truck and went downtown to try his luck. At Harold’s Club, he hit a jackpot of $1000 on a dollar slot machine (they used real silver dollars back then, one at a time). He then went across the street to another casino where he said a pretty blonde was sitting at a roulette table near the door smiling at him as he entered. Wayne put 5 silver dollars down on number 13 (his old high school football number), the lady closed all bets, spun the wheel and it stopped on number 13. He said he was so excited that he cashed in, went back to his hotel, checked out, got in his truck and left town. He had to stop at the port of Exit at Wells, Nevada, for vehicle registration and fuel purchase check (truckers were required to purchase enough fuel in each state they traveled in to cover their mileage there for fuel tax purposes). While he was waiting to be inspected, he dropped some a few nickels in a slot machine and hit a jackpot there too. It was his lucky day and Wayne later said; “if only I had stayed in Reno, I might have broken the casinos. I think my stars were all in alignment that day”.

The Military Years

In April of 1958, Wayne was in Morgantown, WVA unloading his trailer of new hospital furnishings at a large hospital being constructed there. After finishing unloading, he called his dispatcher in Ft Wayne, Indiana and received a message he really didn’t want to hear right away but was expecting in the near future. The dispatcher said Wayne’s mom had called him and said that Uncle Sam had sent him an invitation to report for active Military duty. Wayne then drove to Ft. Wayne, Indiana, gathered up his personal belongings from his truck; put it up for sale giving the company permission to handle the deal. He then took a bus home to Danville, Indiana to get ready for his military duty by March 14th. His destination was Fort Knox, Louisville, KY for an 8 week training session.

Conrad Wayne Ware, age 23 in this photo that was taken just after completion of jump school, 82nd Airborne Div, located at Ft Bragg, NC. The wing pinning ceremony had not been performed when this photo was taken so my *“Blood” wings are not attached to my shirt yet.

*Blood wings are the ones that are awarded after completion of jump school and put away. Others that are identical may be purchased to wear on our uniforms.

After completion of his second 8 weeks of advanced basic training in Fort Jackson, South Carolina, Wayne volunteered for parachute jump school in the U. S Army 82nd Airborne Division located at Ft Bragg, North Carolina where his class completed the normal four week training in three weeks in the summer of 1958. The reason being this group was being mustered out to Germany and they wanted everyone to re-enlist for the 36 month duration. Since Wayne did not wish to re-enlist, he stayed in Ft Bragg. The final part of school was to perform a total of 5 training jumps within 2 days. Two “Hollywood” jumps, as they were called, the first day; that is no field equipment, just main and reserve parachutes and three full field gear combat like jumps the second day. Wayne spent the remainder of his two year obligation At Fort Bragg, making 4 more parachute jumps bringing his total to 9. His assigned duty was to work as a clerk in the Courts and Boards section of his unit as a military court recorder, for court marshals and disciplinary board actions. His duties included recording proceedings at the court martial trials and hearings, then typing up the summations to military specifications. Other duties included assigning officers in the group in rotation to make up the military justice courts and boards. He obtained the nickname by the officers in the group as “The Judge”.


Back On the Road

After an honorable discharge in March of 1960, Wayne returned to his job in April of that year as an owner-operator with North American Van lines for another 3 years. He now wanted get into the “big rigs”. So he left NAVL and leased his truck to an Iowa based Refrigerated Carrier transporting meat from the huge mid-western packing plants to eastern cities primarily New York City, Boston and New England areas in general. Wayne said; “This was about the best time of my life”. His over-the-road trips took him from the large meat packing companies located in the Mid-west from Texas north to Minnesota, to just about all points on the East Coast from Philadelphia to New England. For nearly a year Wayne had a steady run from Dakota City, Nebraska to White River Junction, Vermont where he unloaded early Sunday mornings at a large meat distributer. Wayne would then drive up to Presque Isle, Maine to be the first driver to load frozen French Fried potatoes on Monday morning back to the Midwest. An extra company trailer that was kept at the packing plant in Dakota City was loaded each Thursday, so after unloading either on Wednesday or Thursday, all he had to do was drive to Dakota City, drop his empty trailer, pick up the loaded one and head east again.

Enroute to Boston, a favorite stop was the “Mass 10” Truck Stop located at exit 10 of the Massachusetts turnpike at Worcester (pronounced Woosta by locals). It was a large truck stop and most of the Refrigerated rigs from the Midwest stopped there for fuel and get their bearings on how exactly to get to their unloading site either in Boston area or New England. It was common to meet up with old friends  from the Midwest at this truck stop. Back out on the turnpike and not too far from this truck stop enroute to Boston, was an exit to the town or borough by the name of WARE. Wayne liked to say jokingly; “I wondered how long it would be before they named a town after me!”

Wayne said that there were many stories to be told about the long nights driving down the highway listening to the tires sing on the pavement and always paying close attention for any unusual sound from the engine that might happen and constantly observing the tiny colored lights on the left front corner of the trailer in the rear view mirror. The lights indicated the cycle system of the refrigeration unit, green for normal, blue for defrost, white for constant running and the red one for a malfunction that needed immediate attention. The precious cargo being transported demanded exact temperature control. It was during these long nights of solitude that solutions of many problems were worked out.

A terrible roll-over accident on a snow slicked highway in Ohio late one cold winter night enroute to Pittsburgh, PA, forced Wayne to give up his badly damaged rig and become a company driver for his company. Fortunately, Wayne escaped injury.

Nationwide Teamsters Strike

The year of 1965 saw a nationwide Teamsters strike that included all freight transporting companies. The perishable food carriers, being a separate Teamster division, were not affected by this strike and they continued to work, however, it became dangerous to drive over the road due to what appeared as sabotage incidents. Wayne gave up his job of driving over-the-road in that year and returned home to Indianapolis.


Wayne resumed a relationship with a young lady from his home town of Danville and the couple was married in 1965. The year 1966 brought the tragic still born birth of their first child. They were devastated. Wayne was then employed at a local freight company in Indianapolis as a city delivery and pickup driver. In 1967, Wayne decided to return to his over-the-road job in Iowa. They packed up their belongings and moved to Waterloo, Iowa where their second daughter was born in the summer of 1967. After a year of not being able to get home to Waterloo very often, the couple decided to move to Ft. Wayne, Indiana where Wayne was traveling through each trip to the East Coast and back. It was a very happy time for Wayne. His wife and young daughter drove to Ft. Wayne to stay with her brother and look for a home. A couple of weeks later, Wayne packed up their belongings and drove to Ft. Wayne to establish a new residence. In 1970 their third daughter was born.

During the summer of 1970, Wayne noticed his wife becoming despondent and appeared to grow more and more away from their marriage. One weekend when Wayne was home, he left to attend to some business and upon returning home a couple of hours later, discovered the family gone. Wayne received a summons to appear in court a few weeks later and it was here that Wayne learned she had left him with another man that she had met at her place of employment. It has been going on for several months. A man with an over-the-road job as Wayne had did not stand a chance of getting custody of his children and he felt that if he fought for it, the girls would wind up in foster homes until it was settled. The divorce became final some months later. It was the most devastating time of Wayne’s life. After a few allowed visits with the oldest girl only (the youngest daughter was just a few months old and not walking yet), they suddenly left Ft Wayne unknowingly to Wayne and their location unknown. He never did find them and spent the next 36 years seeking the location of his two girls.

Waterloo, Iowa and Office Work

Wayne continued driving over-the-road with his company until the fall of 1970, when he took a dispatch position at the home office in Waterloo, Iowa easily working his way to Operations Manager within a few months. Three years were spent here before leaving to work in the factory at John Deere also located in Waterloo. During this three year period, the trucking company tripled in size of the number of drivers and equipment under his guidance of keeping the trailers loaded and cutting down on deadhead (running empty) mileage. Kroblin Transportation Systems became the third largest perishable carrier in the nation.

It was during this three year period that Wayne met his present wife and in the winter of 1973, they were quietly married in Cedar Falls. They had worked together in the dispatch office of the trucking company.

Some Over-The-Road Memories

When asked if he would like to share some of his over-the-road experiences with us, Wayne replied; “There were so many interesting places he saw, the terrible weather conditions he drove in and some of the events that occurred, he would like to talk about, but it would take too long to describe even a few of them in this writing”. He promised he would love to talk about some of them in the future if anyone expressed an interest. He further said that during his years of over-the-road driving, he received a great education and developed a deep respect and admiration for our country and the people that made up America.


Wayne retired from John Deere in August 1997 and now spends much of his time researching his ancestors, mowing the lawn, planting a few flowers in the springtime and helping neighbors remove snow from their driveways and walks in the winter with his John Deere garden tractor snowblower.  He and his wife Jan have traveled around the country quite a bit and spent several years wintering in Tucson, AZ, his wife’s favorite place.

Health Problems

December 1973, while working at his job at John Deere, Wayne was suddenly seized with severe chest pains. He was sent to the local hospital in Cedar Falls, IA where he was diagnosed as having angina. Several tests later, it was determined that he had several artery blockages in his heart. His doctor discussed Wayne’s problem with a physician at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN and in March of 1974, at age 40, Wayne underwent double bypass open heart surgery there. Just shy of 3 months later, in the first week of June, he had completely recovered and was back on the job at John Deere with no physical limitations.

In the spring of 1986, Wayne suffered a massive heart attack while at home and was taken immediately to the hospital where a newly marketed clot dissolving drug was administered to dissolve blood clots in his heart. Wayne said later that this was the worst kind of pain he had ever endued. He recovered quickly and after the normal time of recovery, he returned to work.

The summer of 1991 found Wayne back in the hospital for his 2nd double bypass open heart surgery. Again, he recovered from this, slowly, but completely. It is now 21 years later and Wayne is active and feeling well.

Daughters Finally Located

Most stories have a good ending and this one is no exception. Good things do eventually happen for those who can be patient. In March of 2007, one of Wayne’s daughters Googled her father’s name and found his online Ancestry Family Tree which contained his e-mail address and sent him a message hoping that he might be the one who was her father. When asked later, Wayne said; “My heart jumped into my mouth when I opened that message. After years of searching dead ends, I knew instantly who it was from by the wording of the message”. A few messages and phone calls later, he discovered his two daughters were living in Florida within a few miles of one another. Several trips to Florida after that brought Wayne and the girls together again. It was an extremely delightful and happy time for them. One of the girls had been married and her marriage produced two boys, grandsons for Wayne, but unfortunately, her marriage failed.  Wayne was bitterly displeased, however, that the girl’s mother never told them anything about their father. All the girls knew was the information that was on their birth certificates. Now, Wayne and the girls stay in close touch weekly by e-mail and regular phone calls. Peace of mind at last.


The Life and Times of Another WARE — 4 Comments

  1. What a great story, Wayne! Very well written and I loved the photographs that helped with the narrative!

  2. Wayne, I am happy to have posted our biography and read your recollections of my home town, Reno. Your gambling experiences brought back many memories of my parents and Harold’s Club. Sadly the building was torn down years ago, but the big Pioneer sign was saved and it graces the side of one of our fairgrounds buildings. Alas the waterfall no longer flows.

  3. Wayne – what a remarkable life you have led!! I can’t begin to tell you how happy I am that you finally located your daughters. I’m sure they missed having you in their lives as much as you missed having them.
    Thank you for sharing your story. My huband & I are very familiar with Fort Bragg – one of our sons was born a ‘Tarheel’. We were at Pope AFB though – MUCH smaller than Bragg!!
    Thanks again for insights into a life well lived,
    Judy Ware

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