Before we get into the diary, so background of the man might be in order. I am indebted to Judy Ware and her website waregenealogy.com for this information.
Sigismund’s parents were Josiah and Edmonia Ware. Josiah William Ware was owner of Springfield Plantation in Clarke County. Born in 1802, he was active in the creation of Clarke County corresponded with many of the key political leaders of the time and raised prize winning sheep. Ware’s family extended back to James Ware I and his wife, Agnes Todd Ware who settled in Gloucester County, Virginia in the 1700’s
Sig had an older brother, Jaque Being older, however, Jaque joined the Confederate Army while his younger siblings were still at home.
There is a story of young Sigismund drove a carriage through enemy lines to help bring a pair of boots to his older brother. He was only 12 years old at the time:
“At times a soldier, when near enough to his home and when he could be spared, would get a furlough to visit his home for a few days. On one such occasion Jaque got as far as the east side of the river, then he learned that the Union soldiers in the country were in such numbers that he could not reach home. His whereabouts became known through underground telegraph and Mother and ‘Sister Anne’ Stribling started in the carriage with old blind ‘Queen’ and ‘Sig’ as driver to ‘spend the day with a friend.’ Under her hoops Mother carried a pair of big cavalry boots . . . suspended from her waist. In the boots were, I am confident, some yarn socks and I do not know what else.”
He later graduated from Episcopal High, he ventured to Indianapolis and worked in a relative’s wholesale business and then came back to Va. to enter Virginia Theological Seminary. Sig’s daughter Cornelia later wrote, “Father had done very well financially in Indianapolis and was able to pay his own way through the seminary and also help his younger brother with his education." He was ordained a deacon in 1878 and a year later as a priest. In 1878, he also married Elizabeth Walker, daughter of Cornelius Walker a professor there.
He served two parishes before coming to St. Peter’s – Antrim, Halifax County, Virginia from 1878-79. and 1879 to 1888 in Shelburne Parish, Hamilton, Virginia.
Based on Rev. Fall’s Hidden Village, Ware was very much admired and endeared to the community, he suffered losses – his son Edward 1896, an infant daughter Edmonia Jaquelin Ware (1890) and later his wife in 1914. One daughter Margaret Cornelia Ware (“Cornelia”) lived from 1887-1978, marrying John Anker who worked for the federal government. It was Cornelia who transcribed numerous letters of the family.
From the diary, he loved to garden, take walks and read. It is rare to find a page where did not mention visiting someone in the village. In the sacristy are several books that he owned and two that Cornelia owned. Here is one with his signature in the inside front cover:
Ware left St. Peter’s in 1918 and lived until 1934. Apparently he was a much beloved man. Rev. Fall in his book Hidden Village writes “Fifty years later, citizens both black and white still remembered Ware with affection.” The credence shelf in the church sanctuary holds a brass tablet as a memorial to Ware.
The Vestry inscribed in the minutes to his honor, “We reluctantly accept the resignation of the Rev. S.S. Ware, but we cannot refrain from expressing our deep regret that the pleasant and cordial relations existing between us, as Vestrymen and individuals, for 30 years shall now be severed, and we will ever gratefully remember the faithfulness and earnestness with which he ministered to us as a congregation and as a community.” He was buried in Grace Episcopal cemetery in Berryville which has a close connection to the family. Here is the Ware section of the cemetery in the left picture. He is buried behnid his mother in the right picture.