A CENTURY OF SERVICE: Ward Lumber

Delivery Fleet 1970's
The company’s delivery fleet in approx. 1970, which was managed by Bill Straight at the time. The new sawmill is in the background, and Sid Jr. is standing in front of his El Camino.

Sid Ward, Sr.

Sid Jr and Bill Ward Tree Growth 1956

1940s Arial Saw Mill

Top. Sidney Ward Sr.

Middle. Sid Jr. and Bill Ward measuring tree growth on the family tree farm.

Bottom. An aerial photo of the sawmill circa 1940 which burned in December of 1963. The lumber was piled by length and grade to air dry all winter. On the left are piles of slab wood to be delivered to customers in the community for their cook stoves and heating their homes.

Century ClubThe year was 1890 when Harvey J. Ward first entered the forest products industry in the Au Sable Valley of the Adirondack Mountains of N.Y. His work would later be continued by his sons—Amos, Ralph, Sidney and Harvey, known as the Ward Brothers.

When Sidney J. Ward, Sr. became owner of the business in 1944, he established a retail operation which sold the lumber from that mill to the surrounding area. Through the years, Sid Sr. had the foresight to purchase over 5,000 acres of timberland, which has now grown to 6,000, and managed by Northwoods Forestry Consulting, LLC, of Jay, N.Y., to ensure production of this renewable resource.

After Sid Sr.’s passing in 1970, his son Sidney Jr. became company president, with William L. Ward, served as vice-president. William became a logging contractor in early 1980 and left Ward Lumber. Their mother Agnes, secretary-treasurer, was an integral part of this family business upon marrying Sid Sr. 35 years earlier. Sid Jr. and Jan’s sons, Sid III, and Jeffrey joined the business in 1988 and became owners in later years. Sid III, better known as “Jay” is president and Jeffrey is senior vice-president.

Agnes Ward, wife of Sidney J. Ward, Sr., passed away in 2015, after dedicating 70 years of hard work and inspiration before she retired. Her fortitude and longevity in the family business was due to her desire to continue what her husband began over a half century earlier, her dedication to family, and her admirable work ethic.

As Ward Lumber grew over the years, it became necessary to delineate different segments of the business into two major operations: Building Materials Division, BMD, which is managed by “Jay”, and Lumber Manufacturing Division, LMD managed by Jeff. LMD is located, in Jay, N.Y., is composed of a modern sawmill, planing mill, dry kilns, and maintenance facility. Ward Lumber’s sawmill is one of the largest White Pine mills in New York State which is delivered to loyal customers throughout the northeast. BMD has two building supply yards: Jay and Malone, N.Y., with a delivery fleet and boom trucks at both locations.

Jay Ward, as a fourth generation owner, has not lost sight of the of the contributions made by employees when he said, “Ward Lumber was founded on values of hard work, customer service and quality products. Contributing to this success are the generations of hard working, dedicated men and women who have worked with us at Ward Lumber, including one family with a fourth generation currently on our team. Also, the support and patronage of the people who live in the communities we serve.”

Ward Lumber Co., Inc., celebrated its 125th anniversary in 2015, and looks forward to continued growth and expansion in the coming years.

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