Ward, Matthias (1805–1861)

By: Anne W. Hooker

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: February 16, 2019

Matthias Ward, lawyer and politician, was born in Elbert County, Georgia, on October 13, 1805. He lived for a time in Alabama, where he attended an academy at Huntsville, taught school, and studied law before he moved to the Republic of Texas in 1836. Settling in Bowie County and then at Clarksville, Red River County, in 1845, he engaged in trading. He served in the Seventh and Eighth Congresses of the Republic. After his removal to Jefferson, he served in the Texas Senate, 1849–50, and unsuccessfully campaigned for the lieutenant governorship in 1851. Ward was a delegate to the Democratic conventions in Baltimore in 1852 and in Cincinnati in 1856 and president of the State Democratic convention in 1856. In 1855 Ward was the Democratic candidate for the eastern district seat in the Thirty-fourth United States Congress, conducting an unsuccessful proslavery and states-rights campaign against Lemuel Dale Evans, the Know-Nothing (American party) candidate. As a reward for his various services to the Democratic party, he was chosen by the state legislature to replace James Pinckney Henderson as United States senator on the latter's death in 1858, and Ward served in the Senate from September 27, 1858, to December 5, 1859. In 1859 Ward sought his party's renomination to the senate, but Louis T. Wigfall was chosen instead by the Democratic party caucus. Ward died at Warm Springs, North Carolina, on October 5, 1861, and was buried with Masonic honors in the Old Cemetery at Nashville, Tennessee.

Biographical Directory of the American Congress. Houston Post, January 7, 1962. Billy D. Ledbetter, "The Election of Louis T. Wigfall," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 77 (October 1973). Texas House of Representatives, Biographical Directory of the Texan Conventions and Congresses, 1832–1845 (Austin: Book Exchange, 1941).

  • Third Legislature (1849-1850)
  • Senate

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

Anne W. Hooker, “Ward, Matthias,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 20, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/ward-matthias.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

February 16, 2019