Durbin Ward


He was born at Augusta, Bracken County, Kentucky, February 11th, 1819. The paternal ancestry, in both lines, were of English extraction, and settled on the eastern shore of Maryland and Virginia about 1734. His father, Jesse Ward, served in the war of 1812, and fought at Bladensburgh, and in defense of Baltimore. After the war he removed to Kentucky. In Kentucky he married Rebecca Patterson, the daughter of a substantial farmer who had also served in the war of 1812, at the River Raisin, in Michigan. The subject of our sketch was their eldest child. The family subsequently removed to near Everton, Fayette County, Indiana, and there young Ward was brought up, aiding his father in the rude labors of the farm. At eighteen, having acquired by his own unaided studies, knowledge of the rudiments of Latin, algebra, and geometry, he entered Miami University, and by teaching during the vacations, and living economically, he managed to maintain himself there for two years. Having chosen the law for his profession, he removed to Lebanon, Ohio, where he commenced studying under the preceptorship of Judge Smith. He completed his law studies under Governor Corwin, with whom he entered into partnership in 1843, and they remained associated in business for nearly three years. The partnership was dissolved on account of Mr. Ward's election to the office of prosecuting attorney of Warren County. After holding that office for six years, he became one of the representatives in the lower house of the Ohio general assembly. At the next election he declined to be a candidate, deciding to return to the practice of his profession. When the war broke out in 1861, he immediately joined the Union forces, going into the ranks as a common soldier. He served in West Virginia under McClellan, and afterward becoming major of the 17th Ohio volunteer infantry, served for the remainder of the war under General Thomas in Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia, taking part in the battles of Rich Mountain, Mills' Spring, Pittsburgh Landing, Perryville, Stone river, and Chickamauga, the Atlanta campaign and Nashville. He never served a day in garrison duty, but was always at the front, and rose to the rank of Brigadier General by brevet. He was shot through the body at Chickamauga, near the close of the second day's battle, and his left arm was thereby disabled for life. He was then mustered out of the service on account of permanent disability; but he immediately went to Washington, got the order revoked, and returned to the field, commanding with his arm in a sling during the whole of the Atlanta campaign. At the close of the war he opened an office in Washington for the prosecution of soldiers' claims, and remained there for nearly two years. In November 1866, he was appointed United States district attorney for the southern district of Ohio, and served for nearly three years. In 1870, against his consent, he was nominated and elected to the State senate for a broken term, to fill the vacancy occasioned by the resignation of the Hon. L. D. Campbell, but he declined a reelection. He married November 27th, 1866, Miss Elizabeth Probasco, sister of Judge John Probasco, a former partner of Governor Corwin.


From an 1897 edition of Headlight: Sights and Scenes Along the C. & O. Route which featured Augusta.