Thomas William “Peg Leg” Ward, second commissioner of the General Land Office, three-time mayor of Austin, and United States consul to Panama, was born in Dublin, Ireland, on June 20, 1807. In October 1835 he joined the New Orleans Greys and left for San Antonio de Béxar, and, on December 5 participated as an artillery officer in the attack that climaxed the Siege of Béxar. That morning a cannon ball smashed his right leg, necessitating its immediate amputation. He was fitted with a wooden leg and resumed his military duties, serving as a recruiter in New Orleans for Gen. Thomas Jefferson Green’s new brigade. In late May he returned to Texas as second-in-command of Green’s brigade, but by then hostilities had ended. Ward died in Austin on November 25, 1872 and was buried in the State Cemetery. In 1887 Ward County was named for him.
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