JULIUS HENRY WARD. In every town there are a few men of whom the citizens in every crisis turn for advice and assistance, for it has been proved to them through past experiences that these men will follow the right course and will permit no moneyed interests or personal advancement to stand in the way of the good of the community. Such a one is Julius Henry Ward, known throughout the county as a business man, stock raiser, merchant, salesman and farmer. It is in the first capacity, however, that he has attained the greatest success, and as one of the firm of Ward and Brother his reputation for business sagacity and honesty has become widely known. One can not place the cause of Mr. Ward's success upon the shoulders of his ancestors and say that he inherited his ability, for they do not seem to have had any taste in that direction, therefore we are forced to come to the conclusion that with a mind fitted to grasp large affairs and to deal with matters where a considerable risk only added to the interest of the case, by close observation of people and things and by steady application to the business in hand, he has carved out his niche in the world all by himself. He is deeply interested in making DuQuoin a model city and has given his services in behalf of the public many times, believing that if men of his type, busy men of affairs, men who are too much absorbed in the daily routine of their business to pay any attention to politics and consequently leave the professional politicians to run things as they choose, if such men would take an active part in politics we would have a cleaner government.
Julius Henry Ward was born at Hartford, Connecticut, on the 4th of August, 1846, the son of Henry Ward. The latter has been born and reared in the same locality, his birth occurring November 30, 1819. Henry Ward was one of four children, Nelson, who died in Benton county, Arkansas; Henry; Phoebe, who married George Roberts and died in Connecticut; and a daughter who also died in that state, never having married.
The life of Henry Ward was not an extraordinary one. He spent his childhood amid country surroundings and early in life married Lucy Todd. Their home was that of a humble and industrious couple, who believed that in contentment was the only true happiness to be found. Shortly after his marriage he gave up farming to take up the lumber business, but in 1857, when they came to Illinois, he abandoned this vocation. He located near Carbondale and again took up farming, in which occupation he spent the remainder of his active life. When he was well along in years he left the farm and came to live with his sons in DuQuoin, where he died at the age of eighty-three years. His wife passed away December 1, 1894, and of their children only two are living: Elmyra died in her youth in her native state of Connecticut; Julius Henry; Dwight, who died in DuQuoin on the 11th of January, 1908, after having achieved one of the greatest business successes in the history of Perry county, and having been associated for nearly a third of a century with his brother, Henry, as Ward and Brother; George F. N., a leading merchant of Mount Vernon, Illinois; and Samuel who died in East St. Louis.
The country schools furnished the education for Julius Henry Ward, and as soon as he could escape from the birch rod and the blue-backed speller he joyfully Went to work as a farmer. His father gave him "his time" at the close of the war of the rebellion and he began to farm on a place in Williamson county. The scarcity of cotton during the years following the war, owing to the rnin and devastation that had not spared an acre in southland, induced him to venture planting twenty acres of his land in cotton. He made a bumper crop, harvesting
a thousand pounds to the acre, and he sold the staple to Mrs. John A. Logan at Carbondale for forty cents a pound. Mrs. Logan was then living in Carbondale, engaged in buying cotton, while the General was attending to his public duties in Washington. This first stroke of good fortune acted as a great incentive to the young farmer, and he continued to devote himself to agriculture until he came into Perry county to join' his brother Dwight in the livery stable business. They became the successors of Edward Hinckley, and extended their field of operations so as to include dealing in live-stock of every sort. They shipped horses and mules to all parts of the country, were an important source of supply to the stock markets that desired cattle and hogs, and their operations extended far beyond the limits of Perry county. Mr. Ward remembers as one of the experiences of those old times how he took a car load of mules down to Tampa, Florida, expecting to get a good price for them, but found on his arrival that others had thought the same and that the market was overstocked, so he brought them by boat to New Orleans, and found conditions there unimproved, so there was nothing to do but ship the animals back to DuQuoin and wait for a return of sane prices. It is in such circumstances as these that a man finds his mettle and Mr. Ward was not daunted by a few failures and unfortunate turns of luck.
Ward and Brother branched out in various directions, whenever a new field seemed promising or an old one was made vacant they were the first ones on the ground. They engaged in the butcher business and in the grocery business, they had extensive interests in farming and at the opportune moment went into the lightning rod business. Henry Ward managed a force of men engaged in selling this article for some years. Whenever a financial or commercial enterprise in DuQuoin was in need of capital Ward and Brother were always glad to put some of their money into the combination, so that at the dissolution of the firm by the retirement of Henry Ward in 1898 the firm was ranked among the strongest of the business concerns of DuQuoin.
Although no longer actively connected with a mercantile establishment, Henry Ward has about all he can handle in the managment of his big farm of nearly two thousand acres in Perry county. Planting, harvesting and reaping his crops takes much time and the personal oversight that he gives to every piece of work that is done on the place makes the task much greater. He understands men and knows how to make them work; perhaps that is the reason his farm seems to go so smoothly. He received a fine preparation for just such work far back in the time when all over this middle west the twin lines of steel were spreading a net work over the land, and he was a contractor, doing railroad grading and handling gangs of men of every composition. It was at this time also that he operated a saw-mill and ran a cotton gin.
Next in importance to his farming interests come his interests in some of the important financial enterprises in DuQuoin. He was one of the organizers of the First National Bank of DuQuoin, and has been a member of the board of directors ever since the institution was founded. He has always been an ardent enthusiast in any move toward civic betterment, and when any step is considered that may place DuQuoin a few points higher on the roll-call of progressive cities he is always the first to urge that it be taken. He was one of the promoters of the ice-plant and is at present president of the company. He is also interested in a company of the same sort in Murphysboro, of which company he is a heavy stockholder. He has served the town a number of times as a member of the town council, his constituents being ever anxious for him to serve another term, for they feel so perfectly safe when their
interests are in his hands. He is a Democrat, and as such was elected a county commissioner of Perry county, which is a rare event, his party being decidedly in the minority in that section of the county. He is now one of the commissioners of public utilities in DuQuoin, which board has in its charge the management of the water, ice and lighting plants. Recently Mr. Ward has acquired an interest in the coal mines around DuQuoin, having joined Harry E. Ross, Thomas J. Howell and William Hayes in the purchase of the "Imperial Mine" from the Weaver interests. The mine is being operated under a lease, and is apparently living up to the expectations of its new owners.
On the 11th of May, 1876, Mr. Ward was married to Cephiese Slawson, a native of New Orleans and a daughter of Hiram Slawson and a niece of John B. Slawson, the street car magnate of New Orleans prior to the Civil war. Mr. Slawson was born in New Jersey in 1825, but went to New Orleans as a young man and was associated there with his brother. When the city was captured by the Federals under Ben Butler he slipped out under cover by a clever disguise and the darkness and thus managed to evade capture by the Union army. Since 1909 Mr. Slawson has resided in DuQuoin. He married Lucy Wright and Mrs. Ward is one of their seven children.
The only child born to Mr. and Mrs. Ward was Hiram Henry Ward, who was born September 19, 1878. He was educated in the DuQuoin schools and later graduated from Bryant and Stratton's Business College in St. Louis. He was extremely popular, having great charm of manner and a keen intellect, and the result of this was his election as county clerk in 1902, when he was only twenty-four years old, being the youngest man ever elected to that office in the state. He was marked down as a sacrifice to the dreaded white plague and died at El Paso, Texas, where he had gone in search of health. The great consolation that his mother and father have in his loss is the presence in their home of his wife, who was Mamie Lemmon, and the two grandchildren, Hiley and Merrill.