Manuscript Group 1146, Ward-Meeker Family Papers, ca. 1749 – 1939 (Bulk dates: ca. 1836 – 1895)

Archives Documents, Manuscripts, Maps, & Photographs

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Manuscript Group 1146

Ward-Meeker Family

Papers, ca. 1749-1939 (Bulk dates: ca. 1836-1895)

1.5 linear feet

Processed By: Blythe L. Boydston

December 1999

Biographical Note:

The Ward family, documented in this collection, were descendants of Joseph Smith Ward. Isaac Moreau Ward (1806-1895) was a homeopathic doctor for most of his life and was very active in the medical community in Newark where his homestead and family were. He also helped with the formation and organization of the American Institute of Homeopathy in Albany (1841), and while living there was president of the New York State Homeopathic Medical Society. He was also instrumental in establishing a Homeopathic Medical College for Women in Philadelphia (1853). He and his wife Mary O. Rankin Ward (1812-1896) were strongly religious. Their immediate family formed the base for this whole collection.

Isaac and Mary Ward had six children: Joseph Beers Ward, Emily Ward, Matilda Ward Breck, Mary Caroline Ward, Susan Ward (who died around age 22), and William Rankin Ward. William R. Ward (1843-1897) the youngest child in his family, married Mary Meeker in 1868 at age 25. He was active in the Presbyterian Church at Lyons Farms, the community in which he resided almost all his life. A noted horticulturalist, who cultivated fruits and berries and was in the business of selling these fruits, he helped create (1879), and was president (1882-1884) of the New Jersey Horticultural Society. He was a member of the State of New Jersey Board of Agriculture, and State Agricultural College Experiment Station. In 1893 he was chosen to run the agricultural exhibit at the World’s Colombian Exposition in Chicago. The exertion from this trip began the disease that eventually killed him.

Joseph B. Ward (1833-1911) the oldest son, was well educated. He practiced homeopathic medicine like his father, both in Brooklyn and Newark, and taught at the Homeopathy Medical College of St. Louis. During the Civil War he was an assistant surgeon to the 11th regiment in New York. He retired from medicine to pursue agriculture in connection with his brother’s extensive fruit business. All of Isaac and Mary’s daughters attended college.

The third generation of the Ward family recorded in this collection is made up solely of William R. Ward Jr. (1870-1955). He was the only surviving offspring of William R. Ward and Mary Meeker Ward. He was also a practicing homeopathic physician since 1893. He married Jennie Prentiss in 1903. He was an avid churchgoer and Republican Chairman of the Clinton Township Committee member of Clinton Township Board of Education.

Obadiah Meeker, a descendant of one of the original settlers in Newark was a farmer and a good citizen. He had five children: Abraham J. Meeker, Stephen Meeker, Mary Robinson, David Meeker, and Henry Meeker. Henry Meeker (1808-1883) was born on his family’s old homestead and was a farmer like his father. He seems to have been a model member of the Presbyterian Church, an Elder and Superintendent of Sunday school. Mary Meeker daughter of Henry Meeker is the link between the Ward and Meeker families. She was married to William R. Ward in 1868.

Sources outside the collection used for biographical data:

1. Genealogical and Memorial History of the History of the State of New Jersey, Volume 1, compiled by Francis Bazley Lee, 1910.

2. History of Essex and Hudson Counties New Jersey, Volumes 1&2, compiled by William H. Shaw, 1884.

3. Biographical, Genealogical, and Descriptive History of New Jersey, edited by William M. Brown, 1900.

Provenance Note:

The Ward/Meeker family papers were donated to


Documents, Manuscripts, Maps, & Photographs

by William R. Ward the 3rd in five parts between 1981-1986. Therefore, it has been arranged by provenance rather than in the original order that it arrived.

Scope and Content Note:

The Ward/Meeker family papers consist of 1.5 linear feet of materials documenting the Ward and Meeker families and span the years 1749-1939, with the bulk of documents dating from 1836-1895. This collection is contained in 3 boxes and is arranged into eight series which are described in greater detail below: Ward family correspondence, Meeker family correspondence, financial documents, legal documents, literary writings, printed materials, photographs, and miscellaneous.

The types of papers include, letters, a telegram, receipts, bills, checks, tax forms, a ledger, wills, inventories of estates, agreements, mortgages, deeds, and insurance policies, a sermon, a diary, essays, memoirs, and a funeral service. Other materials such as flyers, a broadside, newspaper clipping, invitation, awards, tracts, photographs, and other personal printed items make up the rest of the collection.

The Ward/Meeker family papers contain information relating to several generations of each family. The main characters, to which most of the information belongs, are the male heads of the two households; Isaac Moreau Ward, then William R. Ward (son of Isaac M. Ward), and Henry Meeker. Correspondence also mentions Isaac M. Ward’s parents, Joseph Smith Ward and Lucy Dodd Ward, whom could be considered a 4th generation represented in the collection.

In general the papers provide information about; family life and interrelations, religious life and evangelism, legal practices, inheritance customs, economic activities, land transactions, and taxation. The papers also document contemporary issues such as slavery, women rights, employment of Indians and blacks, religious sectarian debates, travel, and education. The collection extensively covers William R. Ward Jr.’s participation in the preservation of the Old Stone School house in connection with the Newark Museum in 1939.

Series Description

Series I: Ward Family Correspondence, 1836-1894 37 Folders in Box 1

Arranged by recipient.

This series consists of letters as well as one telegram, most of which dates from the years 1836 and 1883. Each family member wrote an abundance of letters to each other personally whenever they were away from the main family homestead in Newark, NJ. This series contains letters by each member of the Ward family and correspondence from other relatives that stayed in that family’s collective possession. In general the subject matter includes family concerns, spirituality and church activity. Some voice opinions on sexual and racial equality. Many simply describe daily activities and living conditions either in Newark at Hill Cottage, or away from it. Siblings also wrote details of college life and education away from home and family.

Series II: Meeker Family Correspondence, 1844-1894 6 Folders in Box 1

Arranged by recipient.

This series consists of letters between members of two generations of the Meeker family. Letters deal chiefly with family matters and church activities. Some provide genealogical information. Included is an interesting group of letters from David Meeker who went west to live in San Francisco. He describes the growth of the city and the growth of his business. Two separate letters mention the Christianizing of Chippewa Indians, and Indian attacks.

Series III: Financial Documents, 1850-1886 23 Folders in Box 2

Arranged by family member, then document type, then chronologically.

This series contains the financial documents, personal and business related, of Dr. Isaac M. Ward, William R. Ward, Henry Meeker, and Obadiah Meeker. Included are receipts for household goods, home improvement, livestock supplies, produce, church donations, county and federal tax receipts, water bills, returned bank checks, and one account ledger from the Meeker family farm.

Series IV: Legal Documents, 1749-1889 13 Folders in Box 3

Arranged by family member, then document type.

This series consists of legal documents relating to both the Ward and Meeker families. Included is the oldest document in the collection, the will of Stephen Meeker. This series also contains other wills and accounts of settlements with the heirs of certain estates, such as that of Obadiah Meeker. The two families’ interests in properties are reflected through mortgages and deeds for Essex County properties, a lease indenture, a hand drawn property map, and other documentation of land transactions in Virginia. A New York State Supreme Court settlement of a debt owed to Isaac M. Ward, an agreement made by Isaac M. Ward to pay a medical college scholarship, and various insurance policies are included as well.

Series V: Literary Writings, 1836-1939 9 Folders in Box 3

Arranged chronologically.

This series consists of a wide range of literary productions that reveal some very personal aspects of the collection. Included is a typescript travel diary from a trip west by boat and train to attend the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church. There are memoirs of the sickness and death of Henry Meeker written by two of his daughters, and a copy of the words said at the funeral of Isaac M. Ward. This series also contains a sermon preached by David Magie, two interesting essays by William R. Ward presumably written in his youth, a biographical sketch of William R. Ward, and an address given by William R. Ward Jr. at the dedication of the reconstructed Old Stone Schoolhouse at the Newark Museum.

Series VI: Printed Materials, 1853-1939 10 Folders in Box 3

Arranged chronologically.

This series consists of printed materials that reflect many of the interests and activities of the Ward and Meeker families. Their concerns over education continued through the generations and the Ward family’s participation in the preservation of the historic Old Stone Schoolhouse are documented here. Also reflected are business dealings, William R. Ward’s involvement in horticulture, and the families’ religious dedication.

Series VII: Photographs, c.a.1888-1939 3 Folders in Box 3

Arranged chronologically.

This series consists of three photographs. One is of David Meeker in San Francisco. The others regard the Old Stone Schoolhouse; where it used to stand at he corner of Elizabeth Ave. and Chancellor Ave., and William R. Ward Jr. with school children at the reconstructed building at the Newark Museum.

Series VIII: Miscellaneous Documents, 1827-1849 2 Folders in Box 3

Arranged chronologically.

Items unable to be classified with any other series are contained in the miscellaneous file. It includes the attendance record of Henry Meeker in the company training of the Union Troop of Horse Artillery, and a hand written subscription book to purchase religious tracts.

Container list:

Box Folder Title Dates

Series I: Ward Family Correspondence 1836-1894

1 1 To E.J. Richards from Isaac M. Ward Feb 9, 1854

2 To Emily Ward from Family Members 1853-1862

3 To Isaac M. Ward from E.J. Richards 1842-1858

4 To Isaac M. Ward from sister Francis Nov 1837, Apr 1838

5 To Isaac M. Ward from Joseph B. Ward 1850-1852

6 To Isaac M. Ward from Joseph B. Ward

(From Oberlin and Brown University) Jan 1853-July 1854

7 To Isaac M. Ward from Susan Ward Apr 1858-Jan 1861

8 To Isaac M. Ward 1839-1845

9 To Isaac M. Ward ` 1848-1853

10 To Isaac M. Ward Mar-Nov 1854

11 To Isaac M. Ward Jan 1855-Dec 1856

12 To his father from Isaac M. Ward Nov 1851, Feb 1861

13 To his daughters from Isaac M. Ward Oct-Dec 1852

14 To Joseph B. Ward from young William R. Ward ca. 1855

15 To Family Members from Joseph B. Ward 1851-1855

16 To Mary Caroline Ward from Family Members 1852-1858

17 To Mary Caroline Ward from Family Members 1876-1895

18 To Family Members from Mary Caroline Ward 1854-1860, 1885

19 To Mary Meeker Ward from sister, Fannie 1851, 1853-1854

20 To Mary Meeker Ward from Henry Meeker July 1883

21 To Mary Meeker Ward from Matilda Meeker Pollack 1889-1894

22 To Mary Meeker Ward from William R. Ward (From World’s Fair Chicago) 1893

23 To Mark Meeker Ward from William R. Ward Jr. 1893

24 To Mary R. Ward from Isaac M. Ward May–June 1836

25 To Mary R. Ward from Isaac M. Ward Apr-May 1839

26 To Mary R. Ward from Isaac M. Ward (From Albany) Apr-June 1843, 1844, 1847

27 To Mary R. Ward from I.N. Rankin Oct 20, 1855

27 To Mary R. Ward from Joseph B. Ward (Brown University) 1853-1854

27 To Mary R. Ward 1844-1878

28 To Matilda Ward Breck from Family Members 1853-1858

29 To Family Members from Matilda Ward Breck 1851-1853

30 To Susan Ward from Family Members 1842-1857

31 To Family Members from Susan Ward 1856-1859

32 To William R. Ward From Family Members (At Hopkins Grammar School) 1853-1860

33 To William R. Ward 1888-1894

34 To Family Members from William R. Ward (At Hopkins Grammar School) 1860

35 To Family Members from William R. Ward (From World’s Fair Chicago) 1893

36 Telegram, To Isaac M. Ward May 17, 1854

37 Copy of letter fragment. Author Unknown Feb 24, 1856

Series II: Meeker Family Correspondence 1844-1894

1 38 To Henry Meeker from David Meeker (Of San Francisco) 1845, 1867-1884

39 To Henry Meeker from Mary Robinson 1844, 1855, 1868

40 To Henry Meeker 1872-1875

41 To Obadiah Meeker July 20, 1863

42 To Matilda Meeker Pollack from Kitty Dean Feb 4, 1890

43 To a Friend from Abraham J. Meeker Oct 31, 1864

Series III: Financial Documents 1850-1886

2 1 Isaac M. Ward. Receipts 1853-1876

2 Isaac M. Ward. Receipts Re: Park Hall 1878

3 Isaac M. Ward. Water Bills 1880-1884

4 Isaac M. Ward and William R. Ward. Clinton Township Taxes 1868-1883

5 William R. Ward. Federal Taxes 1868-1870

6 William R. Ward. Receipts 1868-1869

7 William R. Ward. Receipts 1870-1872

8 William R. Ward. Receipts 1873-1877

9 William R. Ward. Receipts 1878-1880

10 William R. Ward. Receipts 1881

11 William R. Ward. Receipts 1882-1883

12 William R. Ward. Receipts 1885-1886

13 William R. Ward. Returned Bank Checks 1870-1882

14 William R. Ward. Accounts for Fruit Sales 1880

15 William R. Ward. Accounts for Fruit Sales 1881

16 William R. Ward. Accounts for Fruit Sales 1883

17 William R. Ward. Agreement and Receipt Feb-Sept 1883 to Buy Ice

18 Henry Meeker. Receipts 1850-1859

19 Henry Meeker. Receipts 1860-18`66

20 Henry Meeker. Receipts 1870-1875

21 Henry Meeker and Obadiah Meeker. Taxes 1851-1876

22 Henry Meeker. Returned Bank Checks 1878-1883

23 Meeker Farm. Proceeds and Expense Ledger 1876-1883

Series IV: Legal Documents 1749-1889

3 1 Stephen Meeker. Will 1749

2 Obadiah Meeker. Will 1855

3 Henry Meeker. Will 1883

4 Mary R. Ward. Will 1889

5 Settlement of the Estate of Abigail Chandler 1831-1847

6 Settlement of the Estate of Obadiah Meeker Apr 1882

7 Isaac M. Ward. Supreme Court Settlement 1845

8 Isaac M. Ward. Medical College Scholarship Agreement to pay for student 1854

9 Land Transactions. Jefferson Co. VA 1808

10 Henry Meeker. Lease Indenture 1858

11 Henry Meeker. Property Map 1859

12 Mortgages and Deeds 1835-1885

13 Insurance Policies 1880-1889

Series V: Literary Productions 1836-1939

3 14 Rev. David Magie. Sermon Jan. 27, 1836

15 Isaac M. Ward. Typescript Travel Diary May-June 1836

16 William R. Ward. Essay on Horses n.d.

17 William R. Ward. Essay on Wives n.d.

18 Biographical Sketch of William R. Ward n.d.

19 Matilda Meeker Pollack. Memoir of her Father’s last sickness Aug 1883

20 Mary Meeker Ward. Poem and Memoir of her Father’s death Aug 1883

21 Isaac M. Wards Funeral Service Mar 1895

22 Address. By William R. Ward Jr. Re: Old Stone Schoolhouse 1939

Series VI: Printed Materials 1853-1939

3 23 Nametag and Flyer. Brown University 1853

24 Newspaper Clipping Re: Public School Education 1864

25 Broadside Re: Newark Ave. Elizabeth Plank Rd. Mar 24, 1866

26 William R. Ward. Invitation Oct 1888

27 William R. Ward. Agricultural Society Awards Oct 1890

28 Religious Tracts ca. 1895

29 Museum Flyer Re: Old Stone Schoolhouse 1939

30 Business Card. Haney & Hesser Coal Dealer n.d.

31 Brochure. Gaut & MacLaurin’s Mercantile Institute n.d.

32 Miscellaneous Printed Materials n.d.

Series VII: Photographs ca. 1888-1939

3 33 David Meeker. Of San Francisco n.d.

34 Corner of Elizabeth Ave. and Chancellor Ave. (Where Old Stone School House used to be) ca. 1888

35 William R. Ward Jr. at Old Stone Schoolhouse 1939

Series VIII: Miscellaneous 1827-1849

3 36 Henry Meeker. Troop Service Attendance Record 1827-1828

37 American Tract Society Subscription Book 1849

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