Nielsen Hayden genealogy

Rev. Nathaniel Ward

Male Abt 1579 - Bef 1652  (~ 73 years)


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  • Name Nathaniel Ward  [1, 2, 3
    Prefix Rev. 
    Alternate birth 1578  [4, 5
    Born Abt 1579  of Stondon Massey, Essex, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [6
    Gender Male 
    Alternate death Bef Oct 1652  [6
    Died Bef Nov 1652  Shenfield, Essex, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [4, 5
    Siblings 1 sibling 
    Person ID I19871  Ancestry of PNH, TNH, and others | Ancestor of JTS
    Last Modified 22 Nov 2020 

    Father Rev. John Ward,   b. of Haverhill, Suffolk, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Between 9 Oct 1598 and 31 Oct 1598 
    Mother Susan,   d. Aft 1638 
    Family ID F9618  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Elizabeth,   d. Abt 1634 
    Married Bef 1607  [6
    Children 
    +1. Rev. John Ward,   b. 5 Nov 1606, Haverhill, Suffolk, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 27 Dec 1693, Haverhill, Essex, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 87 years)
    Last Modified 4 Nov 2017 
    Family ID F12392  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 
    • Emigrated to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1634; returned permanently to England in the winter of 1646-47.

      From Wikipedia:

      Nathaniel Ward (1578 - October 1652) was a Puritan clergyman and pamphleteer in England and Massachusetts. He wrote the first constitution in North America in 1641.

      A son of John Ward, a noted Puritan minister, he was born in Haverhill, Suffolk, England. He studied law and graduated from Emmanuel College, Cambridge University in 1603. He practised as a barrister and travelled in continental Europe. In Heidelberg he met a German Protestant reformer, David Pareus, who persuaded him to enter the ministry. In 1618 he was a chaplain to a company of English merchants at Elbing, in Prussia. He returned to England and in 1628 he was appointed rector of Stondon Massey in Essex. He was soon recognised as one of the foremost Puritan ministers in Essex, and so in 1631 was reprimanded by the Bishop of London, William Laud. Although he escaped excommunication, in 1633 he was dismissed for his Puritan beliefs. (Ward's two brothers also suffered for their non-conformity.)

      In 1634 Ward emigrated to Massachusetts and became a minister in Ipswich for two years. He then resigned because of ill-health. While still living in Ipswich, he wrote for the colony of Massachusetts The Body of Liberties, legal code, which was adopted by the General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Company in December 1641. This was the first code of laws established in New England. The Body of Liberties defined liberty in terms that were advanced in their day, establishing a code of fundamental principles based on common law, the Magna Carta and the Old Testament. However, Ward believed in theocracy rather than democracy. One of his epigrams was:

      The upper world shall Rule,
      While Stars will run their race:
      The nether world obey,
      While People keep their place.

      Ward thought that justice and the law were essential to the liberty of the individual. Some have said that The Body of Liberties began the American tradition of liberty, leading eventually to the United States Constitution.

      In 1645 Ward began his second book, The Simple Cobbler of Aggawam in America. This was published in England in January, 1646–1647, before Ward's return there, under the pseudonym of Theodore de la Guard. Three other editions, with important additions and changes, soon followed. The Simple Cobbler is a small book, which "in spite of its bitterness, and its lack of toleration" is "full of quaint originality, grim humor and power", according to the anthology Colonial Prose and Poetry: The Transplanting of Culture 1607–1650 (1903).

      According to the anthology, the book is "probably the most interesting literary performance" in the first half of the 17th century in the English colonies that later became the United States. The book was later reprinted in 1713 and 1843 in Boston, Massachusetts.

      He also wrote several religious-political pamphlets.

      At the end of the English Civil War, when Puritan beliefs were acceptable, Ward returned to England. Ward became the minister of the church at Shenfield in Essex and died shortly after in Shenfield.

  • Sources 
    1. [S1511] Genealogies of the Lymans of Middlefield, of the Dickinsons of Montreal, and of the Partridges of Hatfield, by Jas. T. Dickinson. Boston: David Clapp & Son, 1865.

    2. [S1431] The Snow-Estes Ancestry by Nora E. Snow and Myrtle M. Jillson. Hillburn, New York: 1939.

    3. [S756] Early New England Families Study Project: Accounts of New England Families from 1641 to 1700 by Alicia Crane Williams. Online database, New England Historic Genealogical Society.

    4. [S1617] Abandoning America: Life-Stories from Early New England by Susan Hardman Moore. Woodbridge, Sussex: The Boydell Press, 2013.

    5. [S76] The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press, 2004-ongoing.

    6. [S101] The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England, 1620-1633, Volumes 1-3 and The Great Migration: Immigrants to New England,1634-1635, Volumes 1-7, by Robert Charles Anderson. Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1996-2011.