James Ward, Esquire, was born in Antrim, Ireland on August 1, 1814. In 1834, he traveled to America and lived at Auburn, New York as a farmer. He married Mary E. Hickson in 1840 and remained with her until her departure from this world in 1855.
Mr. Ward was a member of the Chicago Board of Education from May 1857 to 1863. During this period there was much progress and growth in the school system. At that time, he was the chairman of the committee on School Buildings and Grounds. As the chairman, he was responsible for the planning and supervision of the construction of the free schools in Chicago.