La Ward is on State Highway 172 in southern Jackson County. It was originally part of the Red Bluff settlement. The community was built in 1904 on the St. Louis, Brownsville and Mexico Railway and named for local rancher Lafayette Ward. It had a section house and two stores. By 1914 La Ward had developed into a banking and shipping center. In 1940 it had an independent school district and a population of 200. The population crested in 1962 at 300. In the 1960s La Ward began a period of decline. By 1971 the population was 116. The town was incorporated in 1980, and by 1988 it had 204 residents and eight businesses. In 1990 the population was 162. By 2000 the population reached 200.