The Wares of Ware’s Grove in Butler Grove Township, 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 may 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 now 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 the ‘western fever’ got hold of him, and he came to Indiana, where he stayed till 1823, then, still not satisfied, he came to Greene County, Ill., and one  year later to Montgomery County, and settled in what is now 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 the enamored of Benjamin Ware, and the marriage was the result. One son, Justice Hurd Ware, lived to raise 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 Electa 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 he made that his home, and the rearing ground of his family. Mrs. Thomas E. Harris, Mrs. Betsy 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 a 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 Osborn, and Beulah Chickering. Except 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 all 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? One branch of the writer’s relatives held such a reunion in Indiana last year, which was said to have numbered over 300, and the account of it makes interesting history.

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.”

Source:  Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Montgomery County, Vol. 2, by Newton Bateman, Paul Shelby and Alexander T. Strange, Munsell Publishing Company, Chicago, 1918, 639-40

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