Ward’s Flat History

Ward’s Flat, or race track, lay one mile south of Ward’s Mill on the Saline River. Dick Ward owned the mill, and the first of the family in the neighborhood was Ezekiel Ward, whose homestead was called old when the road districts were laid off in 1839.

Horses raced on a straight-away in those days, and the track at Ward’s was half a mile long over a level meadow. Many a man rode his favorite horse there, for professional jockeys would have spoiled the fun in the days when a man had the closest personal interest in his horse.

Sally Ward was a famous mare from this track, and was the dam of Troublesome Meg, another star of the local tracks. Also in this line was Little Maid, who won many a race near East St. Louis.

Jack Ward died because of a horse race. He and George Ramsey had challenged each other, and Ward’s horse crossed the line first. The spectators began congratulating the winner, but Ramsey was angry and threw a rock at his opponent. Ward started for his assailant; Ramsey drew a gun, shot Ward, and then ran away.

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(Extracted from Pioneer Folks and Places, Barbara Barr Hubbs, 1939 which is on sale at the Williamson County Museum)