William Ward, eldest son of career soldier, George Ward, grew up on the banks of the Thames River in an area called Paint Creek, Longwoods. Much later this area was named for his father and mother, George Ward and Margaret (Shaw) Ward. Both parents were born in Ireland but arrived in this area of Upper Canada as a soldering family. At the request of Lieutenant Governor John Simcoe, George Ward was appointed to command a block house on the Thames River as well as four gun boats. George Ward was also to establish a public house (halfway tavern/inn) in the Paint Creek area.
George Ward was born in Ireland in 1743 and as a young man he joined the British 58th Regiment of Foot, which was first formed in 1755 during the Seven Years war (1754-1763). He basically spent his entire adult life in service for the British. He served in many cities in Ireland, went to Quebec in 1776 and fought successfully at Three Rivers. Following that battle he became a sergeant over a company of the best marksmen from each of the 9th, 20th, 21st, 24th, 34th, 53rd and 62nd regiments. This company was ordered to Ticonderoga, where they beat the enemy at an outpost but were defeated later and taken as prisoners to Prospect Hill, near Boston. His great uncle was a Rebel general and as such offered George a position on his side but George declined and was later taken to Rutland where he along with 17 corporals and a drummer boy escaped. They headed for the British safe haven of New York.
John Ward was born in England in 1771 and joined the British Army. He is mentioned in John Gray’s novel, Soldiers of the King on page 156 as being a Private in the Flank Company 1st Regiment Kent Militia. Ward returned to England after the War of 1812 having left his wife and small child there. Ward applied for a land grant in Canada West and settled in the Burford area. He outlived his wife and son and died at the age of 83 in 1855. He is buried in the Congregational Cemetery in Burford.