The Ward Family
This family made their mark on Winter Park for many years.
Charles Hezekiah Ward was an eighth generation Englishman, born on a farm outside of Montpelier, Vermont. Charles dabbled in a variety of occupations before entering into a partnership in a general store. At age 24, he married Emma Ruth Chubb, a young school teacher. For the sake of Emma's poor health, the couple, along with their two sons and Emma's brother, moved to Orange Park, Florida, near Jacksonville, in 1879. After an unsuccessful venture in the citrus industry, the family again relocated, this time further south to Central Florida. In the village of Osceola, Charles leased 100 acres of land on the eastern shore of Lake Mizell and rented the Spier House at Mizell and Phelps in 1886. The Big Freeze of 1894-1895 once more complicated Charles' attempts at growing oranges and grapefruits. Determined to succeed, Charles cancelled his lease and purchased 10 acres of grove land on Lake Sylvan, which had been the residence and farm of Holland Griswold. They established their permanent home at this location, as Emma's health had been restored, and all thoughts of returning to Vermont had disappeared.
Charles was very active in the civic affairs of Winter Park. At different times a deacon, treasurer, and a lay Bible teacher for the First Congregational Church, Charles supplied the church with flowers and grape wine from his own garden. He was also involved in education and beautification in Winter Park. He even developed a fresh water pumping system which was suitable not only for the irrigation of citrus groves but also for supplying the old Osceola settlement with water.
Charles died in 1930 at 82, and Emma in 1944 at 95. They are buried at Palm Cemetery. They had three sons. Charles Frederick Ward engaged in truck farming, poultry raising, and dairy operations before entering politics - he served four consecutive terms as Mayor and city manager of Winter Park. Harold Anson Ward managed his father's general store in Winter Park, then graduated to the management of the Winter Park Land Company with Mr. Charles Morse. Raymond Ward excelled in music and practiced carpentry his entire life, serving in Europe during World War I building airplanes.
This article was written by former archivist, Barbara White, MLIS.