Samuel Ward Jr. Loses His Ship

Samuel Ward Jr. Loses His Ship

Samuel Ward, Jr. may have been the son of a more well known Founder, but he certainly earns the title on his own.

After serving in the Continental Army, Ward set up a merchant firm which helped the United States establish relationships around the world.

Samuel Ward and Samuel Ward

Samuel Ward, Jr was a graduate from one of Brown University’s first classes.

Known at the time as Rhode Island College, Ward’s father, Samuel Ward, Sr, was an original trustee. The older Ward was a longtime leader of Rhode Island, severing several times a Governor.

The father also happen to serve as a Delegate to the First and Second Continental Congresses, and it seems that he would have signed the Declaration of Independence had he not passed away just three months too soon.


Following in his father’s revolutionary footsteps, Samuel Ward, Jr. joined the Rhode Island Militia.

Serving in Rhode Island’s 1st Regiment under Christopher Greene, Ward participated in the Siege of Quebec. He was captured and held as a prisoner for almost a year before release. Adding insult to injury, Samuel’s famous father passed away while he was jailed.

Ward then returned to the field, participating in the Battle of Red Bank and the Battle of Rhode Island. After a consolidation of his unit, he resigned from the Continental Army during the final months of the Revolutionary War.

The Jay

Still a young man, Ward established Samuel Ward and Brothers which began trading goods with Europe. Although he was elected to the Annapolis Convention, he did not attend (like many others).

Eventually, Ward traveled to Africa and Asia, one of the first Americans to do so. He built up his reputation as a trader and, by the time of the Washington Administration, used his connections to assist Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson in understanding what events were playing out around the world.

During the First President’s tenure, one of Ward’s ships, the Jay was captured by the British. Ward worked with Jefferson and economist Tench Coxe to resolve the situation and have his company compensated for the losses. This event seems to have been the turning point which drove Samuel into the arms of the Federalist Party.

Over the years, Ward grew more and more fed up with the Democratic-Republicans.

Hartford Convention

By 1814, like many New England Federalists, Samuel was sick of ‘Little Jemmy Madison’s War’ (as many called the War of 1812). As such, he attended the Hartford Convention.

Despite accusations of treason (as separation from the Union was lightly discussed), nothing much came from this event…except the destruction of the Federalist Party!

Now firmly out of politics, Ward returned to his business, living a wealthy life till the end of his days.

Follow this site to read about another Founder tomorrow!

Until then, check out one of these articles on other Founders associated with the Hartford Convention.

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Timothy Pickering Serves at the Pleasure of the President

Want to read a great book about Ward’s 1st Rhode Island Regiment?

‘From Slaves to Soldiers’ is an informative look at desegregation in on segment of the Continental Army.

Pick up a copy through the Amazon affiliate link below (you’ll support this site, but don’t worry, Amazon pays me while your price stays the same) but be warned, it is very rare and therefore expensive.

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