WARD, SAMUEL. (1725–1776). Governor of Rhode Island, member of Continental Congress. Born in Newport, Rhode Island, on 27 May 1725, Ward was son of a prosperous merchant who was governor of Rhode Island from 1740 to 1742. Samuel himself was elected governor in 1762, 1765, and 1766. In Rhode Island politics, Ward was leader of the conservative group centered around the merchants of Newport, while Stephen Hopkins was the more successful champion of the Providence radicals, though Ward had led the opposition to the Stamp Act while he was governor. In 1774 the former political enemies were united as delegates to the first Continental Congress. In the Second Congress, Ward presided frequently over the Committee of the Whole, becoming a firm advocate of independence before Hopkins. He died of smallpox in Philadelphia on 26 March 1776. He was the father of Samuel Ward Jr.
Ward Papers. Rhode Island Historical Society, Providence, Rhode Island.
revised by Michael Bellesiles