Franklin Wilmer Ward – Major General, United States Army

Franklin Wilmer Ward was born in 1870.  He served as an Infantry Officer in World War I and later as the Adjutant General of the Army.  General Ward died in 1938 and was buried with full military honors in Alrington National Cemetery.  His wife, Mable Loretta Ward (1871-1934) is buried with him.

“Between The Big Parades”

Interesting memoir written by Colonel Franklin W. Ward, who deployed overseas with the 27th Division and took command of the 106th Infantry Regiment in October 1918.  Ward later became the Adjutant General of New York.  His book contains many personal anecdotes told against the backdrop of the 27th’s arrival in France, its costly battles in Belgium, and return to the U.S.A.  A digital image of the book’s dust jacket and digital images of the press reviews on the book are also included.


ALBANY, New York, September 1, 1934 – Mrs. Mabel Loretta Ward, wife of Adjutant General Franklin W. Ward, died here today after a long illness.  She was born in Hormel, sixty-two years ago, a daughter of Patrick Downs of Brooklyn, one of the few surviving members of the Seventy-Second New York Volunteers.  In the early days of the World War Mrs. Ward was active in relief work as a member of the Albany Relief Committee. When General Ward sailed for France she served for the remainder of the war in the Federal Bureau of Censorship in New York City.  Besides her husband and father, Mrs. Ward is survived by a son, Captain John Franklin Ward, a sister and a brother.

Retired Commander of State Military and Naval Forces Spent Life as Soldier
Was Hero of World War
Led 106th Regiment In Somme Offensive – He Wrote Several Army Textbooks

ALBANY, New York, March 17, 1938 – Major General Franklin Wilmer Ward, eight years Adjutant General of the State’s militia and naval forces, died at St. Peter’s Hospital today of complications resulting from an intestinal operation last month.  He was 67 years old.

Flags on the State Capitol and armories throughout the State were ordered to half-staff by Governor Lehman shortly after the death was announced. The Governor said: “I am shocked and grieved to learn of the passing of General Ward.  He rose in ranks of the National Guard from an enlisted soldier to the high office of Adjutant General from which he recently retired with the rank of Major General.  His record of service in the World War was recognized by citations from his own and foreign nations as being conspicuous.  I have directed that the flag be at half-staff from the State Capitol and armories throughout the State as further recognition of his long and faithful service.”

General Ward was a descendant of John Reeves, who served with the New Jersey forces during the Revolutionary War.  His father was an officer in the Confederate Army.  General Ward began his military service with the Pennsylvania National Guard, being promoted to the rank of First Sergeant.

In 1898 he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant with the 109th New York Infantry and later was promoted to First Lieutenant in the old Ninth Infantry.  He became a Major in 1907 and a year later was detailed to the State Examining Board for artillery officers.

During the Mexican Border campaign General Ward received the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and in 1916 became Assistant Chief of Staff with the troops on the border.  In the World War he was Chief of Staff and Adjutant of the Twenty-Seventh Division in France and Belgium and later commanded the 106th Regiment in the Somme Offensive.  He was decorated with the Distinguished Service Medal, the Belgian Croix de Guerra with Palm, the State Conspicuous Service Medal and the State Twenty-Five Year Faithful Service Medal in addition to an officership in the French Legion of Honor and the title of Commander of the Order of Polonia Restitutia.

In 1921 General Ward became Brigadier General of the Fifty-Third Infantry and was assigned to War Department duty.  In 1930 he was elevated to the rank of Major General by Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt with the consent of the State Senate.  In 1926 Governor Alfred E. Smith had appointed him Adjutant General to replace Edward J. Westcott, who died February 9, 1926.  He retired under the age limit, December 4, 1934.

General Ward wrote or assisted in the writing of several military textbooks. His reminiscences of the war, entitled “Between the Big Parades,” went into four printings.  He was elected first vice president of the National Guard Association of the United States in 1923.  He was also a member of the Sons of the Revolution, Society of the War of 1812, Sons of Confederate Veterans, United Spanish-American War Veterans, American Legion, Military Order of the World War and the Twenty-Seventh Division Association.

Surviving are a son, Captain John F. Ward, who was at the General’s bedside when he died; a sister, Mrs. Sue Ward Clark, and two brothers, Walter F. and Thomas P. Ward all of New York.  Funeral services will be held Monday and burial will be Tuesday in Arlington National Cemetery.

General Ward served in every rank in the National Guard, both non-commissioned and commissioned, before he became Adjutant General of the armed forces of the State.  In that position he held executive command over nearly 25,000 men in the National Guard, Naval Militia, Uniformed Reserve Forces and Independent Organizations, which he pointed out in a report to Governor Roosevelt, outnumbered the standing armies of thirty-three countries.

The War Department accepted “The Service of Coast Artillery,” of which he was co-author, as a textbook for both the regular army and the National Guard.

When General Ward succeeded the late Edward J. Westcott as Adjutant General one of the first of his duties took him to Cuba, as one of a commission which unveiled a monument to the New Yorkers who fell at the battle of San Juan Hill during the Spanish-American War.  In 1930 General Ward was appointed by Governor Roosevelt as head of a commission to male plans for the establishment of a $1,000,000 memorial to the State dead in the World War.

General Ward once had the occasion to order the mobilization of National Guard forces in sensational circumstances.  This was during the prison riots at Auburn in December 1929, when armed convicts captured the warden, Colonel Edgar S. Jennings, and held him as a hostage for their release.

On the instructions of Governor Roosevelt that no compromise with the rioters would be made, an entire regiment of the National Guard was mobilized for duty and prepared to back the State Troopers who stormed the prison with teargas bombs.

Honor ex-Chieftain at Albany Rites
Arlington Burial Today

ALBANY, New York, March 21, 1938 – Funeral services were conducted today for Major General Franklin W. Ward, former Adjutant General of the State National Guard, who died Thursday.  Tonight the body was sent to Washington for burial tomorrow at Arlington National Cemetery.

A solemn requiem mass was celebrated by the Rev. Lawrence J. Ryan, Assistant Pastor of St. Vincent de Paul’s Catholic Church.  Honorary pallbearers included Governor Lehman, Brigadier General Walter G. Robinson, present Adjutant General, and other high ranking officers of the National Guard and Naval Militia.  Active bearers were enlisted men who served with General Ward in the Spanish-American War, the Mexican Border campaign and the World War.  He served as Adjutant General from 1926 to 1934.

WASHINGTON, March 21, 1938 – Representatives James W. Wadsworth and William T. Byrne will serve as honorary pallbearers at the funeral of General Ward tomorrow at Arlington.  There will be a full military service.  Chaplain John F. Monahan will officiate at the services, which will be held at 10 A. M. according to arrangements announced today by the War Department.


  • DATE OF DEATH: 03/17/1938


  • DATE OF DEATH: 09/01/1934


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