John Ward Snr was born into a large and complicated clan of Wards in Dronfield. His father was one of three, possibly four, Thomas Wards raising a family in the town and countryside around it.
John was the youngest of four children, raised on a farm in the Birchitt area. In 1798 his father Thomas was paying land tax on his own farm and that of a tenant: in fact, many of the wider Ward family were landowners at that point.
There is no evidence to suggest a profession or occupation for John Ward. His older brother Thomas, we presume, would eventually inherit the farm, and the birth records of John’s children suggest that his family were based in the township of Dronfield itself, not in the surrounding countryside.
We know there was a Sheffield connection – John’s daughter-in-law came from that city and John himself was living there when he died. However, it seems that his widow and sons remained in the Dronfield area and his body was brought back home for burial. So perhaps it had been just a short visit.
Another of those things we will never know!
Born at Birchitt and baptised John Ward on 24 November 1781 at Dronfield, Derbyshire
Married Elizabeth Sydall on 17 February 1803
Died in Sheffield and buried at Dronfield on 9 April 1838