The Life and Times of John Rudolph Ware, 4 Aug, 1864 – 11 Jul, 1925 (With Added Revision)

John Rudolph Ware was my great grandfather. Little is known about his personal and private life and he has been a mystery man to me, you might say, until recent years when I discovered that after his first wife died, he remarried and started a whole new family as you will learn about in this writing. John R Ware was just a name on a piece of paper handed to me by my mother when I left home as an adult in 1956 to take an over-the-road job as an owner-operator truck driver traveling all over America. Here I will attempt to put John’s life together on a few pages as best as I can. He will be referred to simply as “JR” in the remainder of this article.

JR was born on 4 Aug 1864, in the town of Bridgeton, Cass County, Illinois, the 2nd child of eight children to his parents David H Ware (3 Mar 1835-6 Apr 1924) and Mary Louise Stark Ware (26 Apr 1837-6 Aug 1901). While JR was still a young boy about age 6 years, his family packed up and moved to Silver Creek Twp, Mills County, Iowa as indicated on the 1870 U.S. Census report. The family continued farming here.

The 1885 Iowa State Census report shows the David H Ware family living in Dallas Twp, Taylor County, also in Iowa, where JR grew up to adult age. It was here he met a young lady named Ida Belle Morgason (sometimes spelled Margason, 1866 – 24 Feb 1893), who lived nearby in rural Taylor county. The couple was married at the home of the bride in East River Twp, Taylor County.

Deed Record #14, Taylor County, Iowa shows that on the 27th day of August, 1892, JR purchased 90 acres, more or less, located in Taylor County, from J.D. Platt and wife Julia E, for which he paid the sum of $1980.

To this marriage, three children were born: My grandfather, Walter Erasmus Ware (8 May 1887-7 May 1935); Harry Franklin Ware (1890-31 May 1896) and Geneva Glenn Ware (12 Dec 1893-26 Oct 1978). On 24 Feb 1893, about 2 months after her daughter Geneva was born, Ida Belle died. It is not known if she died of child birth complications or if she became ill during the cold winter and died as a result.  She is buried in the city cemetery located in Bedford, Taylor County, IA.

Grave marker of Ida Belle Morgason Ware

The three children were sent to live with relatives. I do know that Geneva was sent to her mother’s parents, Tandy and Phebe Ellen Thomas Morgason as she is shown with this family on census reports until her adult years. I have reason to believe that all three of the children were sent here.

Harry Franklin Ware died on 31 May 1896 and is buried a few feet away from his mother in the city cemetery, Bedford, Taylor County, Iowa.

Harry Franklin grave marker

Sometime before his tenth birthday, Walter Erasmus Ware was sent to live in the town of Danville, Hendricks County, Indiana, with the brother of his grandmother Phebe Ellen Thomas Morgason, Rev Erasmus Thomas a Baptist minister. As a small boy, I remember Rev Thomas as a tall, thin man always dressed in black. It was here Walter grew up, married my grandmother and ancestry was started.

After his wife’s passing, JR remarried on 11 April 1895 to Margaret Rose “Maggie” Duffy Lister. Like JR, Maggie has been married to a man named Kellum Perry Duffy and they had a son named John Lister. Maggie and Kellum had divorced. JR and Maggie welcomed the birth of their first two children, Jesse Hall Ware (29 Dec 1895-29 Oct 1969) and Naomi Louise “Lou” (16 Sep 1897-20Sep 1989), both born in Taylor County.


JR with his second wife Maggie

It was about this time that “Traveling Fever” took hold of JR as he, his new wife Maggie and her son John packed up their belongings and moved to the town of Inavale, Webster County, Nebraska, near the Nebraska and Kansas state line and near the town of Red Cloud, as indicated on the 1900 U.S. Census report. I can only imagine traveling that far by horse and wagon as I assume they did. It must have been an adventure to say the least.

It was here in Inavale, Nebraska that two more children were born to JR and Maggie. John Allen Ware (1 Apr 1900-27 Apr 1983) and Julie Ellen Ware (27 Jan 1902-19 Oct 1972) bringing the family now to seven members.

Shortly after the birth of Julie Ellen in 1902, the family moved again to Rexford, Sheridan County, located in Northwestern Kansas where 2 more children were born, Margaret Grace Ware (27 Feb 1905-28 Feb 1933) and Hazel Ruth Ware (8 Oct 1906-22 Mar 2000) bringing the family now to nine members.

Another move to Cherokee County, located in Southeast Kansas was in store for JR and his family where they resided for a short while and JR farmed with his older brother Charles.

On the move again, JR and Maggie packed up their children and moved for the last time for Maggie to Doyle, St Clair County, Missouri where their last child was born, David Rudolph Ware (31 May 1909-14 Jan 1986). It was while living here in Doyle that Maggie became ill and passed away at the age of 41 years, 3 months and 26 days, on 30 Nov 1912. Her obituary reads that Maggie was converted to God at an early age and united with the Methodist Episcopal Church where she remained a faithful member until her death. Maggie’s long journey came to an end as she was laid to rest in Gods Acre Cemetery, located in Osceola, St Clair County, Missouri.

Sometime after JR’s wife Maggie died, it is believed JR returned Iowa to Shenandoah, Fremont County,  to live and farm with his uncle William Ware for a short period of time before moving to a place about three miles from the town of Hamburg, also in Fremont County about 1917. Here JR continued farming until an illness caused him to be hospitalized.  On 11 July 1925, JR passed away at the Grape Memorial Hospital, located in Hamburg and is buried in the Hamburg City Cemetery, Hamburg, Fremont County, Iowa. His obituary states his death came after a life long illness which caused him much suffering. I do not know the cause of his death, but I assume it was a bronchial or asthma type of illness. His one daughter, Margaret Louise “Lou” was buried beside him on 28 Feb 1933.

JR’s final resting place

In summary; JR and his family moved so many times and traveled so far in their lifetime, that one can only imagine the hardships of traveling with a family of small children by means of a team of horses and a wagon which I’m sure was their means of transportation. I’ve referred to this as “Traveling Fever” in this article which I believe I inherited from JR couple of generations down the line.

A Ware family reunion has been held every year since the JR and Maggie Ware family developed. During my discovery of this family in 2007 during a Ware family genealogy search and contacting family members, I was invited to attend and my wife and I have attended this reunion the past two years. This year, the reunion is being held in Nebraska City, Nebraska the 8th of August. I am looking forward to attending again this year and talking to the older folks to learn even more. It never ends, does it?

Credits: Direct conversations with family members of JR, U S and State of Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri Census reports, newspaper articles from Taylor and Fremont Counties in Iowa and St Clair County, Missouri.





As told by his great grandson, Conrad Wayne Ware

August 2013

 Who was John Rudolph Ware? Well, he’s the man of whom we have all descended from. John was an amazing man, an adventurer and farmer. He bought, sold and farmed the land in several states throughout the Midwest during his lifetime. Here is an accumulation of a few facts from census records, land ownership maps, family recounts and probabilities about John R as he will be referred to throughout this document.


John R was born 4 August 1864 in Beardstown, Cass County, Illinois, the 2nd of eight children born of his parents, David Hall Ware and Mary Louise Stark Ware.


The 1870 U.S. Census: shows the David H Ware family now living in rural Silver City, Mills County, Iowa. John R is now 6 years old. During the families time here, two more siblings join their two older brothers, Charles and John R in the family, sisters Jesse Priscilla and Margaret Grace. The family is growing.


Now here is when my imagination starts working. How did this family get from Cass County, Illinois to Mills County, Iowa with two small children, Charles and John R, by this time, are between the ages of about 4 to 6 years old or younger, sometime between the years of 1865 and 1870? I’m thinking they had to travel by horse and wagon or perhaps train, if there were any running back then. Just imagine this trip if you will. What could they take with them? Well, in my mind, just a few clothes, some cooking utensils, bedding and that’s just about it.


The 1880 U.S. Census: reports the David H Ware family now living in Mason Twp., Taylor County, Iowa. Four more and the last of John R’s siblings are now with the family, William Augustus, Orville DeWayne, Hellen “Nellie” and Mary Maude. This now rounds out the family.


Now, the David H Ware family is traveling with 4 children from Mills County to Taylor County, Iowa. Again, did they go by horse and wagon? How much of their belongings could they take in the wagon with them? Certainly not several teams of horses, harness and the implements needed to farm with. It had to be just bare necessities. Automobiles just hadn’t come out yet.


The 1885 Iowa State Census: reports the Ware family living on the family farm in Dallas Twp., Taylor County, Iowa and it appears that John R’s older brother Charles has become of age and has left home to be on his own. That leaves John R and six of his siblings still living at home with their parents.


During this time, John R, a grown man now, has met a young lady named Ida Belle Morgason also of Taylor County. Ida Belle came to Iowa with her parents and siblings from Danville, Hendricks County, Indiana and the family settled in farming nearby the Ware’s.


On August 1st, 1886, John R and Ida Belle were married in the residence of the bride’s parents in Dallas Twp., Taylor County. The East River Twp. Band gave them a serenade in their usual style, so states the article in the Clarinda Herald newspaper on 8 August 1886.


On 3 May 1887, a son named Erasmus Walter Ware (who became this author’s grandfather) arrived, the first of three children to be born of this marriage.


In 1890, a second son Harry Franklin Ware was born, followed by a daughter, Geneva Glenn, who was born on the 12th of December 1892.


The following year on 24 February 1893 and just two months after the birth of her daughter Geneva, Ida Belle passed away. It is not known at this time if her death was contributed to childbirth or if she became gravely ill during the winter. Ida Belle was laid to rest in the Fairview Cemetery, located in the town of Bedford, Taylor County, Iowa. No cause of death certificate has been found.


Probably almost immediately after the death of their mother, the three children, Walter, Harry and Geneva, still a baby, were sent to live with their mother Ida Belle’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Tandy Morgason who lived and farmed nearby. Certainly, there were no day care centers back then and the children had to be cared for. John R was extremely busy farming probably from sunup to sunset. How was he to care for his three small children without help?


Sometime after the death of his mother and before the 1900 U.S. Census report, child Walter was sent to Danville, Hendricks County, Indiana to live with the brother of his grandmother Phoebe Ellen Thomas Morgason, the Rev. Erasmus Wilson Thomas, a Baptist Minister and his wife who raised Walter until he graduated from high school and became an adult. Now you have the beginning of the “Indiana Connection” to this Ware family. There will be more on this a bit later.


On 12 August, 1892, John R had purchased approximately 90 acres in Taylor County.  So with this farm purchase and being busy farming it and after the death of his wife a few months later and his three children living with their grandparents, John R must have undergone tremendous amounts of grief over his loss finding himself carrying this burden alone now.


It was probably about this time that John R met a lady named Margaret Rose “Maggie” Duffy Lister. Maggie had been married, divorced and had one son named James Aaron Lister. She was an attractive young lady and they were married in the town of Clarinda, Page County, Iowa on the 11th of April, 1895. Soon afterwards, the first two of 7 children were born in Taylor County, Iowa, Jesse Hall and Naomi Louise.


On 31 May 1896, more devastating news comes for John R. His son from his first marriage, Harry Franklin Ware passed away at age 6, we expect from a childhood illness. Young Harry was buried in the Fairview Cemetery, in the town of Bedford, Taylor County, near his mother. No cause of death record has been found.


The 1900 U.S. Census: dated 21 June of that year, finds John R, his wife Maggie and family living in rural Invale, Catherton Twp., Webster County, near the Kansas Border. Here John R has purchased another farm adjacent to his Brother Charles’s farm.   John R and his brother Charles seemed to have been very close throughout their lives and it is not clear if Charles traveled with John R and Maggie and their children from Iowa or if Charles was already there in Nebraska setup farming. It is here in Webster County, NE, that two more children are born to John R and Maggie, John Allen and Julia Ellen.


Again, with 3 small children, Jess Hall, Naomi Louise “Lou” and James Aaron Lister, Maggie’s son from her first marriage, the travel from Taylor County, Iowa to Webster County, Nebraska must have been a real ordeal. Were they traveling by horse and wagon, by train? I’m sure stage coaches were not running then? Automobiles still were not the rural mode of travel back then, because there just weren’t any roads to speak of yet, only trails. What did they take with them? Did they set up camp each night and sleep under the stars? How did Maggie feel about this adventure and was she confident of her husband’s decision to travel this far to the unknown? It appears that they were extremely happy together.


The 1905 Kansas Census: shows the John R family living in Cook Twp., Decatur County, of NW Kansas. Two more children were born here, Margaret Grace and Hazel Ruth.


Now on this trip, John R and Maggie have to travel with 5 children from Webster County, Nebraska to Decatur County, Kansas. Automobiles were just starting to come on the market, but did they have one? How did they get there? This is an unanswered question in my mind.


The 1910 U.S. Census: shows John R and Maggie living in Doyle, St Clair County, Missouri. It is here, that the last of John R and Maggie’s seven children was born, David Rudolph. John R’s second family is now complete. I’m sure John R is farming, either his own land or renting, however, no county land ownership records for John R have been found here. John R and Maggie traveled here, with 7 children. It’s very possible they had a car by this time, but this isn’t certain. There were automobiles on the market at this time, but were there roads for them in rural areas at this time?


Tragedy strikes John R again. On 30 November, 1912, his wife Maggie passed away after an operation for an illness and is laid to rest in God’s acre Cemetery, Osceola, St Clair County, Missouri.  John R’s eldest daughter “Lou”, now 16 years of age, must now take over household chores and raise her younger siblings. It will be an extreme hardship for the family.


Shortly after the death of his wife, John R moved again with his children and purchased a farm in Lyon Twp., Cherokee County, Kansas, adjacent to farms owned by his two brothers William and Charles.  Together, the three brothers are farming over 600 acres. As best as can be determined at this time, John R and his children only lived here about 3 years. The oldest son Jesse Hall is not listed on the census at this time and has grown up and in all probabilities, left home to be on his own.


The 1920 U.S. Census: reports John R purchasing another farm in Rural Sidney, Fremont County, Iowa. It is not clear how long John R lived and farmed here before moving to Missouri. The family is on the move again.


Soon afterwards and moving again from Sidney, Iowa, John R purchased a farm in Atchison County, Missouri, just South across the Iowa state line from Hamburg, Fremont County. It is not clear how long John R lived here, but on 11 July 1923, John R, suffering from a long time illness, passed away and was found at his farm home here in Missouri. He was laid to rest in the Hamburg Cemetery, Hamburg, Fremont County, Iowa. Several efforts have been made to find a death certificate from both the state of Iowa and Missouri, however, it cannot be found. We do not know what type of illness John suffered from.




Earlier, we learned that John R’s first born son from his first marriage, Erasmus Walter Ware was sent to live with his grand Uncle, Rev Erasmus W Thomas in the town of Danville, Hendricks County, Indiana. Young Walter graduated from high school there and soon afterwards met a young lady named Ada Pearl Cline. The two were married on 29 August, 1906. Ten children were born to this marriage, eight of which survived to adulthood. This author’s father Walter Conard Ware was the fifth born child who grew up, graduated from the Danville High School and soon afterwards met and married a pretty young lady named Irene B Trent, of the nearby town of North Salem, Hendricks County, on September 1934. To this marriage, two children were born, Conrad Wayne Ware, June 1935 and James Edward Ware, January 1938.


At age 21, I became an over-the-road truck driver leased to a nation-wide company for about 2 years. Answering a call from Uncle Sam, I served in the U.S. Army, from 1958-1960 then returned to my road job. Then, in 1963, I came to Iowa, leased my equipment to a refrigerated transportation company in Waterloo, KRX,

transporting meat products from the Midwest packing plants to the New England States and return, finally settling down here in Cedar Falls. It is here, I met Jan and we were married in 1973. A year later, I became employed at John Deere Tractor Works in Waterloo, retiring in 1997. As a hobby, I developed an interest in tracking down my ancestors and have enjoyed this very much.




It must have been difficult in the early years for John R, his wife and small children traveling from one place to another. I’m sure they had to travel by horse and wagon, taking only necessary pieces of furniture, their clothes and bedding with them. I’m thinking that at each place, John R had to not only purchase the land, but the horses, implements and tools necessary to farm with unless all this came with the land when he purchased it. Still, John R seemed to have prospered somewhat from his endeavors. The burden upon Maggie had to be terrific feeding 8 children three times a day, cooking, washing, ironing cleaning, darning and mending countless articles of clothing, besides getting her children ready for school each morning. Most of this was done without electricity and running water in the early years.



Vivian Arlene Dooley Houts, her brilliant mind and vivid memory has provided me with many personal details of her mother and the John R family. This has been extremely valuable to me in formulating my ancestors. The visits to her home looking at old photographs and her recalling memories of events and conversations were so important to me.

The WARE Family Tree, written by Wayne Willard Ware and Donna Leigh Houts has provided me with the names of all the people I needed to get started in my own search. Without this document, I would have been lost. The traveling around with Wayne and Karen Ware the past few years to our various ancestor grave sites so I could photograph them throughout SW Iowa has meant so much to me..


The conversations with various family members at the WARE Family Annual Reunion over the past few years have been instrumental in recalling memories of long ago family events, places and the personal activities of earlier family members. Personal recalls are always the most interesting.


It has been a pleasure accumulating this information about John Rudolph Ware. For several years, I’ve followed his paper trail from birth to death on my computer screen. In my mind, he became alive moving from place to place and I could feel his compassion of wanting to see what was just around the next bend in the road and over the next hill. I, too, had that urge as a young truck driver. More information can be found about John Rudolph Ware, his ancestors and family, in my Conrad Wayne Ware Family Tree, online on

If anyone finds errors in this document, or need more copies, please contact me at:

Conrad Wayne Ware

2415 Valley Park Dr

Cedar Falls, IA 50613-5209

Cell: 319-269-6732




The Life and Times of John Rudolph Ware, 4 Aug, 1864 – 11 Jul, 1925 (With Added Revision) — 1 Comment

  1. When I took this photo of JR’s tombstone, I placed my hands on it and held on for the longest time. It was a very emotional time for me. Somehow I felt much better when I left. I’ve made a vow to myself to return here to visit with him, so to speak, God willing.

    Wayne Ware

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