Judge Thomas Ward


March 10, 2007|By Jacques Kelly

Baltimore Circuit Court Judge Thomas Ward says he is "98 percent" recovered from his recent bout with a neurological disorder, Guillain-Barre syndrome. At age 80, he'll be back on the bench next month.

Although technically retired, he also has a 1,600-acre cattle and timber farm that spreads out along the Cheat River in West Virginia to keep him busy, as well as his daily Baltimore walks, which take him from his Bolton Hill home to Pennsylvania Station, where he likes to watch the city's ever-increasing passenger train traffic pass.

Ever the activist, he has also created a walking tour to describe the lives of the 19th-century Irish railroad workers he calls the "uncelebrated people" of Southwest Baltimore.

Ward will lead a walk at 10:30 a.m. today beginning at the parking lot of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum, Pratt and Poppleton streets.

The free tour will take visitors to the restored Irish Immigrant Worker's Home (an 1848 house on tiny Lemmon Street), the Hollins Market and St. Peter the Apostle Roman Catholic Church and its seldom-viewed inner courtyard bracketed by the Sisters of Mercy convent and the rectory. The tour takes a little more than two hours.

Ward (who is from a B&O working family and in 1943 worked at Camden Station) also speaks regularly to groups about Irish immigration to Baltimore. He notes that the B&O advertised for workers in the Irish newspapers. "That brought tremendous numbers of the Irish to Baltimore," he said.

It's a little known fact, but Ward owns a 1922 B&O wooden caboose with a coal-burning stove. He keeps it on his farm.

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