Regina H. Blackstock, professional genealogist

Conclusion

I believe this new evidence PROVES James B. Ward was not a resident of Wilkinson County, GA in 1820.  Furthermore, it infers James B. Ward (and John & Nathan Ward) were most likely living in Florida prior to 1820.

Therefore, the “fruit” of all theories derived from the belief he was a resident of Wilkinson County, GA in 1820 are no longer valid.

Mr. Merritt’s research STARTS with this fact and uses it to formulate all other conclusions:

Now that it has been proven James B. Ward was a resident of Jackson County, FL in 1820 via Tax Records, we can no longer assume he is the James Ward found on the 1820 Wilkinson County Census.  This also means we can no longer make the assumption his father died prior to 1820.

Wilkinson County, GA is approximately 220 miles from Jackson County, FL, and, while it is possible for James & his wife to make that trip, it doesn’t seem probable.  However, there remains the unexplained reason why their first child was born in GA about six months after the 1820 census.  IF, the James Ward enumerated on the 1820 Wilkinson County Census is our James B., then it is my theory James and Elizabeth traveled there to meet up with her mother – not James’ mother. Even today, pregnant women seek the comfort of their mothers during their first pregnancy. This offers another “theory” as to the identity of the elder woman and also breaks the starting hypothesis offered by Mr. Merritt.

This is what the EVIDENCE proves:

Based on this evidence we can DEDUCE (aka “guess” or “speculate”) the following about his early life:

One outstanding question remains – how did James B. Ward know enough about the land and people within the boundaries of Creek Territory to be hired as a spy?  He was a teenager.  This clearly indicates he had been traveling, and/or living, in this area.

Finding a father, occupation, or other element that answers this question may well provide the final “proof” everyone is trying to find.

Could James’ father have been a resident of Spanish West Florida prior to 1819?  If this were true, it wouldn’t explain why James, Nathan, and John say they were born in South Carolina.

Cattle ranching would be a good candidate as it would put them traveling through this territory driving their herds to market.  Nathan and John report owning cattle in 1824, but probably not enough to merit driving them to market -- unless they had already driven most of them to market and only report their remaining cattle.

New Timeline

There is still much research to be done.

I hope this body of work helps all of my fellow Ward researchers make new headway in resolving the mystery of “Who was James B. Ward’s father?”

It is time we move beyond the “it’s all fake” and actually look at the facts AND family lore.  It has been my experience that some element of truth exists in family lore.  James B. Ward obviously developed some type of connection to the Indians before he was 17 years old.  Was it at birth? When he was a child? How strong is this connection? 

More research is needed!



FOOTNOTES

1 Jerry Merritt, Unknown, Pensacola Links (http://pensacolalinks.com/ : accessed Jan 25, 2009), Finding James B. Ward’s Parents.

2 Jerry Merritt, Unknown, Pensacola Links (http://pensacolalinks.com/ : accessed Jan 25, 2009), Finding James B. Ward’s Parents.