Julian Ware

Julian Vivian Ware, born August 7th, 18741 in Arkansas,2 was a professional baseball player with the Sault Ste. Marie, MI, Soos in 1904 and a Negro league baseball player with the Hot Springs Arlingtons. He was also a pioneering black athlete at the University of Wisconsin.


Ware with Fisk University, circa 1895.
Ware with Fisk University, circa 1895.
In spite of the typical limitations that prevented turn-of-the-century black Arkansans from succeeding, Julian Ware achieved an eclectic life that included roles as a collegian, teacher, professional baseball player, silver prospector in Canada, electrical engineer, and a medical doctor. In addition, he was what black sportswriter David Wyatt called, "perhaps the most intelligent and all-round athlete among our race."3 He was born Julian Jones, the son of Susan Lucy and an unknown father.4 Ware evidently adopted the surname of his stepfather, Beverly Ware, whom Susan married when Julian was about three years old. Ware appears to have spent his earliest years in Lonoke, AR, but later resided in Hot Springs, AR.5 Although the details of his ethnicity are not clear, Ware was considered black.6 However, he had relatively fair skin and could pass for caucasian.7

As early as 1892, Ware began attending Fisk University in Nashville, TN.8 In addition to participating on the school's baseball team, 9 Ware served as Fisk's instructor of gymnastics. After graduating in 1897 with his Bachelor of Arts degree,10 Ware accepted a teaching position in Evansville, IN, becoming professor of mathematics and sciences at Clark Street High School.11 He spent the 1897-1898 and 1898-1899 school years teaching in Evansville, earning a very favorable reputation.12 Despite this, Ware decided to continue his education, and in the fall of 1899, he began studying electrical engineering at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, WI.

At Wisconsin, Ware quickly became recognized for his athletic abilities, as well as for his race. When Ware began practicing with the school football team, newspapers were quick to point out that he was black.13 However, Ware's participation in athletics was not inhibited, and in the spring of 1900, Ware successfully joined the Wisconsin baseball team. In doing so, he and fellow teammate Adelbert Matthews became the first black athletes at Wisconsin.14 In the summer of 1901, Ware played with a white team in Ashland, WI.15 Despite sustaining injuries early in his collegiate career, Ware became a well-respected first baseman and was elected team captain for the 1902 and 1903 seasons. His playing time was cut short, however, when early in the 1903 season he was ruled ineligible to play due to poor classroom work.16 Nevertheless, Ware remained involved with the team. He was considered a candidate to become the team's coach in 1904, but some members of the Wisconsin faculty were reportedly opposed to having the position filled by a black individual.17 Still, Ware assisted in coaching the team unofficially.18

After the 1904 spring semester, Ware left the University of Wisconsin and moved to Sault Ste. Marie, MI. There, he found employment playing for the independent Sault Ste. Marie Soos baseball team. Until then, Ware's only experience playing professionally had come with the Hot Springs Arlingtons, a Negro team in his home town, probably about 1897.19 By joining the Soos, however, Ware was given the opportunity to play on an otherwise all-white team, marking the first known instance of a black Arkansan to play professional baseball.20 As captain and first baseman, Ware performed well, playing competitively on a team that included such future major league stars as Eddie Cicotte and Donie Bush.21 He became well-respected, and after the 1904 season closed, Ware was able to secure a job working for the Edison Sault Electric Company in Sault Ste. Marie.22

At the beginning of the 1905 baseball season, the Sault Ste. Marie Soos joined the class D Copper Country Soo League. As one of Sault Ste. Marie's most popular players, Ware was offered a position on the team. However, because of time restraints, Ware was inclined to turn the offer down.23 By doing so, Ware missed his opportunity to become one of only a few black individuals to play minor league baseball before the integration era. Nevertheless, in a letter to the Evenings News, Ware stated his intention to maintain his position at the Edison Sault Electric Company and remain a strong supporter of the Soos. Indeed, for a year and a half longer, Ware continued to reside and work in Sault Ste. Marie, save for the months of June and July 1906. During this time, Ware adventured to Cobalt, Ontario, to join the Cobalt Silver Rush.24 After prospecting yielded no apparent increase in wealth, however, Ware returned to Sault Ste. Marie and resumed working at the electric company until October, at which point he resigned and moved to Chicago.25

Ware, 1921.
Ware, 1921.
After working for many years at the Commonwealth Edison Company in Chicago,26 Ware again decided to return to school. He began attending Rush Medical College at the University of Chicago in 191427 and was awarded a Bachelors of Science degree in 1918.28 Although he completed his fourth year of school in 1920,29 he did not earn his M.D. until 1927 when he completed his internship at West Suburban Hospital in Oak Park, IL.30 Afterward, Dr. Ware moved to Los Angeles, CA, and practiced medicine in the area for many years. At some point, he married Etta B. Powell, who died in 1945 and was buried in her hometown of South Bend, IN.31 Almost year later, on July 8th, 1946, Dr. Ware died also.32 After a funeral service was held in Long Beach, CA,33 Dr. Ware was buried in the South Bend City Cemetery next to Etta.34

Ware's signature.
Ware's signature.


"Professor J. V. Ware, who has been the guest of friends in the city, left Thursday evening to attend school at Wisconsin University. Evansville Courier and Press, 9/23/1899"35

"Among the new men who have appeared in [the University of Wisconsin football practice] the past few days is Ware, a colored boy from Fiske [sic] university, at Nashville, and he puts up an active game as halfback. After playing him on the second eleven for a time yesterday afternoon he was put on the first eleven for a trial."36

"Ware, the Ashland colored first baseman, is one of fastest men ever seen in this part of the country and playes [sic] magnificent ball."37

"Julian V. Ware, captain and first baseman of the University of Wisconsin base ball team, has been re-elected captain."38

"Julian V. Ware, who is to captain the Wisconsin nine this season, is a senior in the college of engineering and has been connected with the baseball team since his freshman year. At present he is considered one of the strongest hitters at the varsity and this year will probably play first, where he has played the last two seasons."39

"Julian V. Ware, captain, first baseman and the heaviest batsman of the University of Wisconsin baseball team, had been declared ineligible by the University Athletic council, the charge being that of professionalism and failure to keep up his college work. The same dealing was given to Wisconsin’s star pitching, Muller. There is to be a contest made by the athletic authorities for the reinstatement of Ware and it is said this may be successful. There will be no attempt to save Muller. The team is greatly in need of the services of Ware in the field and with the stick. It is understood four other players are on the "ragged edge.""40

"Julian V. Ware, the big captain of the University of Wisconsin baseball team who was called before the athletic council and temporarily disqualified, will play in the opening college game of the season at Madison to-day against Beloit. He has cleared himself of the charges of professionalism, but is still under the ban of delinquent classroom work. He will be allowed to play in the home games, but will not be able to accompany the team on its trips."41

"In the [Wisconsin] baseball department there is a struggle over the election of a coach, it being rumored that the manager and some members of the faculty are inclined to draw the color line of Julian V. Ware, a southern-grown baseball star of dark skin, though he professes to be of French and Spanish origin."42

"The veto of Mr. Cassibone leaves former Captain Julian V. Ware the leading candidate for the coachship [of the Wisconsin baseball team], but faculty disapproval of his is strong because of his dark complexion, suggesting that he is wholly or partly of negro origin. Mr. Ware asserts that there is not a drop of negro blood in his veins and he will resent the insult if the faculty draws the "color line" against him."43

"Ex-capt. Julian V. Ware will play, although he has not appeared yet for practice and may miss some of the early games of the schedule."44

" . . . One of the good men listed for the Lock City [Sault Ste. Marie, MI] bunch is J. V. Ware, a first baseman of good record. Ware held down first bag two years for the Wisconsin University team, during which time he was captain. He has a good record and will doubtless be a strong addition to the team. He has a satisfactory record with the stick."45

"At a meeting of the stockholders of the [Sault Ste. Marie Soos] baseball club held last night, F. A. Durham was appointed manager and J. V. Ware, coach . . . Ware has arrived in the city and will be with the team from now on. He has been coaching the Wisconsin University team and is feeling good."46

"J. V. Ware. When “Cap” Ware arrived in the Soo the team lacked team work. There were plenty of good individual ball players but they did not play together. Now there is no team in the state playing independent base ball which has team work down to a more scientific basis than the Soo. “Cap” is also a hard hitter and the opposing pitchers usually take good care where they hand it up to him for a ride on one of his liners is apt to be dangerous. At first Ware has played good base ball and has been of great value to the Soo."47

"J. V. Ware has accepted a position with the Edison-Sault Electric Company."48

"Base ball fans will be sorry to learn that J. V. Ware, one of the fastest players on last year’s team, will not be in the game with the locals this year. Mr. Ware is a popular player and the Soo will lose a valuable man by his absence from the field. In a communication to The Evening News, Mr. Ware says: “In reply to the numerous inquires made of me daily as to whether I should again play with the American Soo baseball team, I desire to state that I have declined Manager Earle’s offer to again occupy the same relative position to the team as I held last season, but shall remain in the employ of the Edison-Sault Electric Co. While lack of time prevents my being an active participant in the team’s work, my interest in its success shall nowise be abated. With the good team the management will have, coupled with the local uncompromising support of all who truly love the sport, the success of the will be assured. J. V. Ware"49

"J. V. Ware and Edward Crowe got away today on their prospecting tour in the Cobalt company. They expect to remain in the woods for a month or six weeks."50

"J. V. Ware returned to the city [Sault Ste. Marie, MI] yesterday after spending two months prospecting around Cobalt."51

"J.V. Ware has resigned his position with the Edison Sault Electric company and left Tuesday for Chicago."52

"Julian Ware, perhaps the most intelligent and all-round athlete among our race, lived here [Hot Springs, AR]. Ware was captain of the baseball team and was a member of the football team of the University of Wisconsin. After he graduated he managed clubs in the copper country league for several years. Ware was a good boxer and of ideal build. He was also a pitcher and a first baseman. He now has a position in Chicago which pays him $150 per month."53

"Mrs. Willie Kaufman Ruth and Mrs. Lula Galbraith were in Long Beach Thursday, July 11, attending the funeral of Mrs. Ruth’s cousin, Dr. Julian V. Ware. Funeral services were conducted at the Sheelan McFadyen chapel at 11:30 a.m."54
1 Ware's WWI Draft Card lists his birth year as 1877. However, his California Death Index card and grave marker both give his birth year as 1874. Based on the 1880 census, in which Ware is listed as five years old, 1874 seems like a more likely birth year. Also, Ware began schooling at Fisk University in 1892, which aligns well with the 1874 birth date.
2 The 1880 Census, 1910 U.S. Census and Ware's California Death Index card each give Ware's birth place as Arkansas.
4 Ware's California Death Index card lists his mother's maiden name as Lucey. The Arkansas County Marriages index shows that Susan Lucey married Beverly Ware on December 16th, 1878 in Lonoke, AR. Beverly and Susan appear living in Lonoke in the 1880 Census along with "Julian Jones," listed as Beverly's stepson. Julian and Susan are listed as "mulatto" while Beverley is listed as "black."
5 The 1892-1893 Fisk University Catalogue lists Ware's hometown as Hot Springs, AR. Also, David Wyatt mentioned that Ware lived in Hot Springs in the The Freeman (Indianapolis), 2/5/1910
6 The 1880 U.S. Census listed Ware as "mulatto." Ware himself described himself as "Negro" in his WWI Draft Card. The fact that Ware attended black schools (e.g. Fisk) and played with the Negro Hot Springs Arlingtons suggests that he was considered black.
7 The 1900, 1910 and 1920 U.S. Censuses list Ware as "White."
9 "Julian Vivian Ware," UWBadgers.com. Also, an image of a Fisk University baseball team from circa 1895 shows a player with considerable resemblance to Ware.
11 Evansville Courier and Press, 8/29/1897
12 Evansville Courier and Press, 6/21/1899
19 The Freeman (Indianapolis), 2/5/1910. Dave Wyatt, who played with the Arlingtons in 1897, listed Julian Ware as another Arlington's player.
20 In this instance, "Professional baseball" excludes professional Negro baseball.
24 Evening News (Sault Ste. Marie, MI), 5/28/1906
27 Seventy-Third Annual Announcement of Rush Medical College, May, 1915. Ware is first listed as a student at Rush in this annual.
28 It's not entirely clear if Ware was awarded the Bachelors of Science in 1917 or 1918. The Seventy-Sixth and Seventy-Seventh Annual Announcements of Rush Medical College credit Ware as having earned the degree in 1918. Later annuals, however, state the degree was earned in 1917.
31 Etta B. Ware was buried next to Julian V. Ware in South Bend, IN, suggesting she was Julian's wife. According to Social Security Death Index information, Etta was born in Indiana and her father's surname was Powell and her mother's surname was Banks. Based on this information, it can be assumed from census records that Etta grew up in South Bend, IN, her father was Harrison Powell and her mother was Louisa Banks.
35 Evansville Courier and Press, 9/23/1899
39 Chicago Tribune, 3/22/1903
50 Evening News (Sault Ste. Marie, MI), 5/28/1906