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Ward, John (1848–1911)

Art Leatherwood Biography Entry

John Ward, Medal of Honor recipient, was born in Arkansas in 1848. On April 25, 1875, Sergeant Ward of the Black Seminole scouts was under the command of Lt. John Lapham Bullis, Twenty-fourth United States Infantry. Bullis, Ward, Pompey Factor, and Isaac Payne were pursuing a band of twenty-five to thirty Comanche Indians when they came to the Pecos River. The scouts dismounted and attacked the Indians for almost an hour, killing three and wounding another. As they were about to be surrounded, they retreated and mounted to escape. Bullis's horse had broken away, leaving him on foot, so Ward turned around into the face of the Indian fire and mounted Bullis behind him. The scouts alternated in carrying the lieutenant to safety; all three were awarded the Medal of Honor. Ward died on March 24, 1911, and is buried in the Seminole Negro Indian Scout Cemetery at Brackettville.

George Allen Collection, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. Committee on Veterans' Affairs, United States Senate, Medal of Honor Recipients, 1863–1973 (Washington: GPO, 1973). Kenneth Wiggins Porter, "The Seminole Negro-Indian Scouts, 1870–1881," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 55 (January 1952). Frost Woodhull, "The Seminole Indian Scouts on the Border," Frontier Times, December 1937.


  • Peoples
  • African Americans
  • Military
  • Native American
  • Soldiers

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Art Leatherwood, “Ward, John,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed October 21, 2020,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

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