Earl Clare Ward


March 22, 1918 - 1996
Role: Foreman

Earl was born in Victoria, Texas. He can trace his ancestors back to County Clare, Ireland. His parents were Earl Clare Ward and Frances Garner Brown. His great grandfather was born in Connecticut, but ran away to sea at an early age and ended up in Refugio where his grandfather, John W. Ward, was born. All of his ancestors were cow people in the Coastal Bend and all went broke in the Civil War having invested their money in the Confederacy. Fortunately the maternal side of his family was able to financially recover after the War and one of Earl’s mother’s uncles was a foreman for the O’Connors at Alligator Head, near the present Port O’Connor. Another of her uncles was a canal rider, much like a pasture rider, for the rice plantations. Earl’s father died when Earl was an infant and after being raised in the convent in Victoria, he went to work under Emmett Fagan at the O’Connor River Ranch when he was seventeen. The first time he worked cattle was on the William’s place when he was twelve. He worked for the McFaddins, the Welders, McCans, Hollimans, and Williams as well as the O’Connors. He worked under Konrad Valentine at McFaddin. He did a stint with the Border Patrol but after WW II he went back to the O’Connors where he spent the rest of his working life as a foreman.

Introduction to Earl Ward

Louise S. O'Connor
Voice of Earl Ward
Earl Ward – Soon as I was big enough I started going across the river and going to work there at the River Ranch when they were working cattle when I was sixteen or seventeen, when Emmett Fagan was the head honcho there. Then McFaddin, then the River Ranch, then McFaddin, then Salt Creek, then McFaddin, then Welder-McCan, then River Ranch. Wherever there was something going on beside damn hay work. That first summer after I got out of school I worked at the River Ranch until they got through shipping. And then there wasn't much cow work. But over there at McFaddin, you see, they shipped all winter long on fed steer. So I worked horseback through the winter there. Yeah, they were different. McFaddin, they were pretty progressive, you know…Claude McCan, they had a lot of farming, lots of farming. It wasn't just a matter of a few tenant farmers, so you'd have hands. They farmed a lot of country and they kept their steer calves – they wintered their steer calves, where O'Connor's always sold 'em, you know. Ok, Welders and McFaddin both, they wintered their steers and then they'd go to Garcitas with 'em, keep them till they were two or three years old, and go to Cranell (?) but they did at the Melon, too. But I think here at the Duke, and at the River, they sold weaning calves, and they were gone. Staying with the old way of doing.