Joshua John Ward

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Joshua John Ward
Born(1800-11-24)November 24, 1800
DiedFebruary 27, 1853(1853-02-27) (aged 52)
Brookgreen Plantation Georgetown County, S.C.
OccupationRice farmer, plantation owner, slaveholder
Known forAmerica's largest slaveholder.

Joshua John Ward, of Georgetown County, South Carolina, was the largest American slaveholder,[1] dubbed "the king of the rice planters".[2]

In 1850 he held 1,092 slaves;[2] Ward was the largest slaveholder in the United States during his lifetime. In 1860 his heirs (his estate) held 1,130 or 1,131 slaves.[1][2]

One of his plantations, the Brookgreen Plantation, is now part of a park called Brookgreen Gardens.


In addition to his rice plantations, Ward served as the 44th Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina from 1850 to 1852, as a Democrat, under Governor John Hugh Means.

Family history[edit]

Ward was born November 24, 1800, at Brookgreen Plantation, South Carolina, the son of Joshua Ward, a planter and banker, and Elizabeth Cook. He was married March 14, 1825, in South Carolina to Joanna Douglas Hasell, and died February 27, 1853, at Brookgreen Plantation.[3]


  1. ^ a b The Sixteen Largest American Slaveholders from 1860 Slave Census Schedules, Transcribed by Tom Blake, April to July 2001, (updated October, 2001 and December 2004 – now includes 19 holders)
  2. ^ a b c "Boundaries and Opportunities: Comparing Slave Family Formation in the Antebellum South", Damian Alan Pargas, Journal of Family History, 2008; 33; 316, doi:10.1177/0363199008318919
  3. ^ Joshua John Ward / Joanna Douglas Hasell
Political offices
Preceded by
William H. Gist
Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina
Succeeded by
James Irby