A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.


Artemas Ward

26 November 1727 - 28 October 1800

Artemas Ward was born on 26 November 1727 in Shrewsbury, MA. Ward graduated from Harvard in 1748. He was a farmer and local judge, becoming justice of the Court of Common Pleas in 1762. Ward gained valuable military experience serving with provincial forces during the French and Indian War, rising to the rank of colonel. He also opposed royal authority throughout his career, which created some difficulties for him as a local politician. Ward became Commander-in-Chief of the Massachusetts colonial militia and assumed command of the forces around Boston on 20 April 1775, the day after the battle of Lexington and Concord. He directed the Battle of Bunker Hill, and then became second in command when Congress appointed George Washington Commander-in-Chief. Ward continued to command in Boston until 1777. He then served as a legislator in the Continental and U.S. Congress. Ward died on 28 October 1800 in Shrewsbury.