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Benton County, Iowa ~ Biography and Family Information


Source:  City of San Diego and San Diego County, Vol. II.
  By Clarence Alan McGrew.
The American Historical Society,
Chicago and New York. 1922.
Pages 202-203
Martin Luther Ward. There is no profession in which the admonition to "make haste slowly" can be more advantageously followed than in that of the law. It will be found that the great national figures, most of whom have had a legal training, and those who have acquired eminence solely in the law, have been men of the most thorough preparation. However great their native talents, the unformed fledgings are not reaching the high posts of honor today, only those whose education and training have enabled them to survey a broad field of knowledge before their entrance upon the activities of their career. In these days a thorough and broad education is recognized as being one of the essentials to honorable elevation in any of the professions or walks of life. Martin Luther Ward, senior member of the firm of Ward, Ward & Ward, attorneys of San Diego, is a typical modern lawyer, who has laid a broad foundation for continuous personal development and professional progress. He was born in Athens County, Ohio, March 12, 1850.

The parents of Mr. Ward were Philip and Martha (Chaney) Ward, the former of whom was born and reared near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, of Quaker parentage, and the latter near Bangor, Maine, a lineal descendant of John and Priscilla Alden of historic fame. When Martin Luther Ward was still a child the family moved to Green County, Wisconsin, and there he attended the public school and later became a student of Cornell College, Mount Vernon, Iowa, from which he was graduated in 1873 with the degree of Bachelor of Arts. Thereafter, in 1875, he received from the same institution the degree of Master of Arts.

Prior to taking his collegiate courses Mr. Ward taught school in Green County, Wisconsin, and he was also an instructor in the College for the Blind of the State of Iowa, at Vinton, and it was while there that he studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1876. From 1877 until 1887 Mr. Ward was engaged in a successful practice at Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and in 1886 was elected county attorney, but resigned the office in 1887 and moved to San Diego, California, where he has since been in active practice. Since coming to this city he has been exceptionally prominent, in 1892 being elected district attorney of San Diego County, and holding that office for one term, which expired in 1894. In 1903 he was elected state senator from San Diego County, and held that office for four years. Since 1907 he has been president of the State Normal School of San Diego. Since 1915 he has been a director of the Peoples State Bank of Chula Vista, California, of which his firm have been the attorneys, and they are also attorneys for the Merchants National Bank of San Diego, as well as carrying on a large and very lucrative practice.

Mr. Ward is very prominent in Masonry, having filled all of the offices in the Masonic Lodge up to that of worshipful master; all offices in the Commandery up to and including eminent commander of San Diego Commandery No. 25, K. T. For many years he has been a member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. He is a member of the University Club, ex-president of the Iowa Society of San Diego, and belongs to the Society of Mayflower Descendants in the State of California. At present he is president of the Board of Trustees of the First Congregational Church of San Diego.

On February 24, 1881, Mr. Ward married at Vinton, Iowa, Ella B. McCartney, a daughter of John McCartney, who was one of the pioneers of Vinton, Iowa, where his daughter was born. He later was probate judge of Vinton County, Iowa, and a member of the Iowa State Legislature. Mr. and Mrs. Ward have the following children: John McCartney Ward, who married Jessie Lash Smith, a daughter of Captain Mifflin Smith, a retired army officer; Martha Corinne Ward, who is the wife of Warner Edmonds, cashier of the Peoples State Bank, Chula Vista, California: Paul Philip Ward, who married Ruth Mittman; and Martin Luther Ward, Jr., who is unmarried.

Since old enough to cast a vote Mr. Ward has been a republican, and has always been active in local politics. His interest in San Diego is sincere and constructive, and during the over thirty years he has resided in the city he has witnessed changes which are remarkable and has borne his part in those of most importance. As an attorney he ranks with the leading members of the bar of San Diego, County; as a citizen he measures up to the best standards of true Americanism: and as a man he sets an example of upright probity and high living all would do well to emulate.

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