By Barry Verbiwski and Therese (Terry) Ward Neufeld
William Collie (daughter Annie Jane)
When William Collie left the highlands of Scotland in 1889 to emigrate to the unknown territory of Canada, little could he imagine his progeny would follow in his footsteps to become leaders in the discipline of conservation and “gamekeeping” in Canada.
He had been a “gamekeeper” in Scotland for the Duke of Leeds and other “lairds” for his entire adult life, and has written of this experience in his autobiography “Memoirs of William Collie: A 19th Century Deerstalker”.
His health necessitated a move, and since three sons had already left for North America, he came with his wife and daughter, Annie Jane, to join his sons, who had already taken up homesteading in Manitoba near East Shoal Lake, named Loch Monar after their home in Scotland. With this party came Annie Jane’s husband, Frank Ward, a well known auctioneer in his home country.
Anne Jane Ward (Daughter of William Collie, who married Frank Ward Sr)
While we can find no written record of Frank Ward Sr’s involvement with wildlife management, we believe that the influence of his wife Annie Jane and her father William Collie on her sons led to their interest and expertise in the flora and fauna of the surrounding area in the Interlake. Her father William’s stories must have been the stuff of legends as he told his grandsons of his escapades in Scotland. Two of these sons, Frank Collie Ward, and Edward, went on to become very well known and respected educators and practitioners in the field of conservation in Manitoba.
Frank Collie Ward (Grandson of William Collie)
Frank Collie Ward spent years working for Ducks Unlimited beginning in the 1930s; at this time it was just a fledgling conservation organization.
Frank travelled the breadth of Manitoba attending Ducks Unlimited and Manitoba Wildlife Federation meetings, and was noted for his “fine speaking skills” at these public gatherings. He never used any notes; he spoke from his traditional knowledge acquired by living on the land, and spoke from his heart.
In the late 1930s Frank Ward made contact with a local conservationist Arnold Collins from Pilot Mound, Manitoba. Together they traveled and surveyed the surrounding area and selected sites along Pilot Mound Creek and Baker’s Creek on the property of the Cruise brother’s land (Bob and Cliff). The two brothers used teams of horses and scrapers to construct dams to maintain small water impoundments and wetland habitat for ducks. Some of these are still visible today. This project has been unofficially identified by local people as the 1st Ducks Unlimited Project in Canada. In another project, Frank made arrangements with Arnold to meet a float plane on Swan Lake, north of Pilot Mound. Gerald Kennedy who was the husband of Betty Kennedy, a panelist on Front Page Challenge television show, piloted the plane. Arnold met the plane with a boat and together with Frank Ward the three men broadcast wild rice around Swan Lake intended as a source of feed for ducks.
When he passed away on March 5, 1959, Paul Murphy, Executive Director of the Manitoba Wildlife Federation, wrote a tribute to Frank, whom he referred to as
“Mr. Conservation, and ONE who leads all the rest of those working to protect and preserve our wildlife heritage and that Manitoba and Conservation suffered an “immeasurable loss”. He further wrote that “no citizen of Manitoba was so personally well known, that none knew so intimately every village, forest, slough and stream” as Frank Ward. He carried the “fight for wildlife sanctuaries all his life.”
Edward: “Ed” Ward (Son of Frank Ward Sr, wife Nellie their sons Peter, Torry and Russell and daughters Joan, Eileen, Sheila and Beulah).
Edward Ward was Frank Ward Sr’s second son. As a child growing up at Loch Monar, Manitoba and later known as Erinview, he worked as a guide for hunters who came out from the city to hunt upland game and waterfowl, under the watchful care of his father and older brother Frank. Not too watchful, however, as one of the guiding trips ended with Ed being shot accidentally by a sensitive trigger on a gun thrown over the shoulder of one of the hunters he was guiding.
After serving four years with the Royal Northwest Mounted Police (RNWMP) 1913-1916 policing the north and upon hearing of the declaration of war, Ed left in 1916 to serve his country in England. But before he resigned from the Force he had frozen his lungs on an extended dog team patrol. However even with this condition he enlisted to serve his country. After the war, he returned with a bride and began farming in the Interlake. His bride’s name was Nellie Kate. Hearing of a job over at Delta in 1926, he walked over 30 miles to apply to manage James Ford Bell’s property on the southern tip of Lake Manitoba and was hired on the spot. He remained in the employ of the Bell family until the late 1940s. This was during the time that James Ford Bell’s vision for waterfowl research and conservation was being formed. Ed worked right alongside some of the most respected and well known conservationists in the world, such as Aldo Leopold, Paul Errington and Sir Peter Scott. In his own right, Ed was very knowledgeable about the world he lived in.
When living near Inwood, Manitoba, where there is an abundance of garter snakes, Ed discovered a foolproof, environmentally friendly but lethal method of controlling them which he demonstrated for staff from the Manitoba Department of Health who were trying to find a method to control these snakes, many of which invaded homes and business in Inwood. Ed had two scientific papers published, one on the “Effective Way to Control SNAKES” as published by M. Flattery of the Manitoba Department of Health in 1949, and the other on effective control of the overgrowth of phragmites in a marsh. The latter paper he presented “Phragmites Management” to the Seventh North American Wildlife Conference in 1942 at the Wildlife Management Institute in Washington D.C.
Peter (1st son of Edward Ward)
Ed and Nellie Kate had three sons and three daughters: Peter, Torry and Russell and Joan, Sheila and Beulah. Peter spent his whole working life at Delta, first working with his father helping to manage the duck hatchery, and later with speaking engagements and fundraising for the facility. He would later succeed his brother-in-law H. Albert Hochbaum as Director of the Delta Waterfowl Research Station.
Peter represented Delta on the Manitoba Waterfowl Technical Advisory Committee always cautioning federal and provincial waterfowl managers to delay the opening of the waterfowl hunting season dates until the redheads and canvasbacks had migrated. He advised from his wealth of experience that they migrated in mass around the middle of October. This migration pattern is still very much today as it has been for the past generations. He was also a very talented waterfowl artist, painting what he loved – waterfowl – looking out over Cadham Bay in the hamlet of Delta. Peter designed the pattern of the classic head of Duncan Ducharme’s canvasback working decoys. As well, he painted most of Duncan’s decoys, as did other members of the Ward and Hochbaum families at Delta.
Torry (2nd son of Edward Ward)
Torry also grew up working in the pens at Delta, helping to care for the hatchlings, gathering eggs, controlling predators and guiding alongside his father and his older brother Peter. Torry, and later his brother Russell, took their “Oath of Office and of Allegiance” as Manitoba Conservation Officers with the Manitoba Department of Mines and Natural Resources. Their primary focus was to patrol the Delta Marsh Fur Rehabilitation Block. In later years Torry started collecting waterfowl hunting memorabilia and began carving his own duck decoys. While he was busy carving his daughter Terry was kept busy painting the decoys.
Russell (3rd son of Edward Ward)
Although Torry’s service was short-lived, Russell was issued Badge Number 120 but was not issued a uniform. Conservation Officers would not be issued a standard uniform until 1955 or so. He served approximately four years. On October 1, 1949 Russell was promoted from Conservation Officer I rank to Conservation officer II, with a monthly salary of $135.00, and with an annual salary between $1,200 and $1,500. He was assigned to patrol the Lake Francis, St. Ambroise and St. Laurent trapping zones within the Delta Marsh Fur Rehabilitation Fur Block. His office at the time was located in St. Marks where he built and still maintains a lodge.
Russell recalls that when he started patrolling the Fur Block it was by dog team, then by horse and sleigh, Finally just before he retired the department provided a snow plane. While the Fur Block was managed and patrolled some trappers chose not to submit their muskrat pelts to the Head Trapper. Instead, they smuggled muskrat pelts hidden in their clothing and elsewhere so they could sell the pelts directly to the fur dealer. As well, each trapper was issued a quota of muskrats they could trap, usually around 200 – 250 muskrats only. Once this quota was reached the trapper could no longer trap on the Fur Block. Hence if they could smuggle some pelts out, they could exceed the quota they were assigned. In conversation Russell admitted that they never did issue tickets. Some of Russell’s other duties consisted of conducting patrols on the Delta Marsh to check hunters during the waterfowl and deer hunting seasons, and to assist farmers in reducing crop depredations by ducks primarily on cereal grains like wheat and barley.
After Russell’s service with the department, he managed a “wild rice ranch” in Minnesota but returned to Delta each fall to fish, hunt, trap and guide during the waterfowl season. Russell’s connection with Delta Waterfowl became even stronger when his sister Joan married Hans Albert Hochbaum, a Graduate Student from Colorado State University who would become the first Scientific Director of The Delta Waterfowl Research Station. Continuing the family tradition, Russell’s son Brian has taken up the carving mantle, and produces some beautiful birds. Members of several biologists’ families, influenced by the Ward family, entered the field of conservation. They continue what their fathers have dedicated their lives toward – a future for waterfowl conservation.
Returning to Canada to raise Charolais cattle, Russell began carving decoys, and by his own estimate has carved over 2,000 decoys, mostly ducks but some geese, grouse and shore birds. He carved an entire working rig of decoys for Cecil Bell, the grandson of James Ford Bell, owner of General Mills. He was one of the first Trustees of the North American Wildlife Foundation, having donated time, money and land to the dedicated scientists that came to study at the world renowned Delta marsh.
Russell had to give up carving a few years ago as he was beginning to experience some health issues. He was not a painter, so other members of the Ward and Hochbaum families like Terry and George Hochbaum initially painted his decoys. Russell’s son Brian has now taken over the decoy carving and painting.
H. Albert “Al” Hochbaum (son-in-law of Edward Ward, married to Ed’s daughter Joan, sons George, Peter and Albert Hochbaum Jr)
Edward also had three daughters: Joan, Eileen, Beulah, and Sharon who died at birth. Joan married H. Albert Hochbaum. He came as a student from Denver to Delta and never left, having been appointed the first director of the Delta Waterfowl Research Station established there. Albert Hochbaum’s life and artistic talent has been well documented over the years, as well as in his books, particularly “The Canvasback on a Prairie Marsh” and “Traditions and Travels of Waterfowl” and “To Ride the Wind.”.
George Sutton Hochbaum, undergraduate student, Colorado State University on duck banding project on Lake Dauphin, Manitoba, 1967.
George Hochbaum (Son of Joan and H. Albert Hochbaum
Joan and Al’s late son George followed in his father’s footsteps and having worked as an undergraduate student on Lake Dauphin banding ducks in 1967 and 68, went on to graduate with his PhD from UBC, serving as a Waterfowl Biologist with Environment Canada (Canadian Wildlife Service). He authored and co-authored many scientific papers including the summary of the Five-Year Period of Stabilized Waterfowl Hunting Regulations in the mid-1980s. George’s second career was that of collecting antique hunting equipment which included an immense collection of waterfowl working decoys.
Albert Ward Hochbaum (Son of Joan and H. Albert Hochbaum)
Albert Ward Hochbaum, served as Natural Resource Officer with Manitoba Natural Resources, Game and Fisheries Branch (1964-2007) for 42.5 years.
For two or three seasons he worked with Bill Newman, Conservation Officer, on waterfowl crop damage prevention program at Delta. In fact, it was through Officer Newman’s encouragement that Albert chose a career as a Natural Resource Officer (NRO). Newman was the second Conservation Officer in the picture who conducted joint patrols with Torry Ward, Albert’s uncle.
In later years when Albert was stationed in Winnipegosis as an NRO, it was broadcast via departmental radio that Bill Newman had been killed while saving two young boys who were fishing off a bridge in Alberta. Apparently, he pushed the two brothers out of the path of the vehicle but only to be struck by the vehicle and killed.
Kevin and Miles Ward (Sons of Peter Ward and grandsons of Edward Ward)
Peter Ward’s son Kevin, a life-long resident of Delta, is a manager at the Delta Waterfowl Research Station and continues to be involved with the day to day operations of the facility remaining there. His brother Miles worked his entire adult life, until two years ago, at the Waterfowl Station, following in his father’s footsteps of caring for the Delta residents, staff, students and visitors, a 24-hour-a-day, 12 months of the year job. These men are unsung heroes; although not involved in active research, they were the grease that kept the machine going for many, many years.
Peter Weller Hochbaum (Son of Joan and H. Albert Hochbaum, and grandson of Edward Ward)
Peter “Weller” Hochbaum, Albert “Al” and Joan’s son, is a very talented pen and ink waterfowl and landscape artist after the pattern of his father, and a talented singer and song writer. He continues to make reconnaissance surveys daily along Cherry Ridge of the world-renowned Delta Marsh. In 1971 the Manitoba Department of Mines, Resources and Environmental Management contracted Peter to write a book using his own pen and ink illustrations on the Delta Marsh. Aside from his own father’s books this is likely among the first publications to feature the Delta Marsh.
Brian Ward and Lyle Ward (Sons of Russell)
Brian Ward, Russell’s son, is a very talented decoy carver and painter while his brother Lyle Ward manages a wild rice lake in Minnesota where his father once worked.
Therese (Terry) Ward Neufeld (Daughter of Torry Ward)
Torry’s daughter Terry Ward Neufeld is also a Fifth Generation member of this prestigious lineage. She is the Knowledge Keeper of the WARD FAMILY HISTORY but has contributed to waterfowl and wildlife management through her art, music and at one time served on the Board of Directors of Manitoba Wildlife Federation.
In all, there are five generations represented by the Ward family, a legacy not likely to be replicated. From William Collie, gamekeeper – to his son in law Frank Sr and daughter Annie Jane Ward – to their sons Frank Collie Ward and Ed Ward – to Ed’s sons Peter, Torry and Russell and his daughter Joan – to their children who are now entrusted with the carrying on of the traditions of the Ward family heritage. To summarize would include them as artists, authors, musicians, song writers, poets, waterfowl and wildlife managers, and scientists that spans over 150 years, beginning in the Highlands of Scotland with William Collie, gamekeeper, to the shores of Shoal Lake and eventually the Delta Marsh north of Portage la Prairie, Manitoba.
RUSSELL ARTHUR WARD
Dr. Michael Anderson, Waterfowl Biologist and former Director Delta Waterfowl Research Station and Emeritus Scientist at Ducks Unlimited Canada, paid tribute to Russell A. Ward on Russell’s 92nd birthday this past February (2021) as
“One of the kindest most interesting characters I’ve had the pleasure to know.”
Russell’s history at Delta has been recently featured in the Delta Waterfowl Magazine. The article by Paul WAIT, editor of the magazine, is entitled “Master of the Marsh”. A second article by Brian SHORT of Stonewall for the Hunting and Fishing Collectibles Magazine entitled “The Ward Family and Canada’s Delta Marsh” recognizes Russell as a premier carver of duck and goose decoys nationally and internationally.
On October 9, 2021, just over 72 years after taking his Oath of Office and Allegiance, a reception to celebrate and acknowledge Russell’s service was held at his cottage at St Marks with members of his family and friends present. This cottage is near to Jimmy Robinson’s famous “Sports Afield” hunting lodge at St. Ambroise and the home of Duncan Ducharme, renowned decoy carver who also served as Russell’s family barber. Russell’s contribution to wildlife management was acknowledged with the presentation of an appreciation letter from the Premier of the Province of Manitoba, presented by Ian Wishart, the MLA for Portage la Prairie Constituency. formally recognizing and thanking Russell for his service. Chief Conservation Officer, Earl Simmons representing the Manitoba Department of Agriculture and Resource Development, presented Russell with a plaque, which in part reads:
“Thank you for your Dedication and Contribution Protecting Manitoba’s Natural Resources. Your lifetime of work in conservation and wildlife management leaves a natural legacy for future generations of Manitobans to enjoy”
Officer Simmons has also made arrangements for a steppingstone engraved with Russell’s name and years of service to be placed at the North American Game Warden Museum located within the International Peace Gardens. Russell, at 92 still lives independently at Portage la Prairie, Manitoba. Nowadays he keeps himself busy with projects. In the spring of 2020 he decided to strip his wood floors in his house, so using a floor polisher and steel wool, he sat on his walker and did the living room and dining room, and then sealed them. His latest project is designing a net puller to be used by commercial fishermen on Lake Winnipeg. He has now made a second net puller with design improvements from his first prototype. His mind is always looking ahead, and that’s what keeps him young at heart, along with his sense of humor!
Note: To Albert “Ward” Hochbaum for his memories of his great grandfather, grandfather and his many uncles and his own father H. Albert Hochbaum and about his memories of Bill Newman, and a “thank you” for his service as a Conservation Officer with the Manitoba Department Conservation. To Andre Desrosiers, retired Conservation Officer (Manitoba Department Conservation) who encouraged that this history of the Ward Family be presented as part of a recognition of the Ward family. Brian Short for his article on the Ward Family. And a very special thank you to Therese (Terry) Ward Neufeld as the Keeper of the Ward Family History who without her knowledge and contribution including photographs and her extensive editing and as a co-author on this article “Through the Generations” of the Ward family would not have been possible. Thank you for sharing your family with me.
As a footnote to this history of the five generations of one family, the Wards, it should be noted that their dedicated service to waterfowl and wildlife management and research has influenced several non-family careers in these disciplines. Many of these came about through friendships with the Ward and Hochbaum sons and daughters who lived along Cherry Ridge at Delta. Some of these include brothers Brian and Murray Gillespie, Robert “Bob” Carmichael and Dale Caswell and then Arnold Collins who was an associate of Frank Ward, his two sons (Jan and Gene), not to mention in addition, my own career which started with George Hochbaum and I banding ducks on the Lake Dauphin in 1967. Although not blood related to the Ward family, my son Tim’s career path, that of Murray’s son Mark, and Dale’s son Jason represent a 6th generation and Brian Gillespie’s granddaughter Ana Lambert represents a 7th generation, all because of the Ward family influence; Ana’s love of things wild and free is only matched by her grandfather Brian’s enthusiasm. The legacy and influence of the Ward family continues through and into the ages.
Will the Circle Be Unbroken
(Ada R. Habershon , 1907)