John Ware was an African-American cowboy who was influential in the early years of the burgeoning ranching industry in Southern Alberta. Remembered for his excellent horsemanship, he was among the first ranchers in Alberta, arriving in 1882 on a cattle drive from the Unites States and settling to ranch until his death in 1905. John Ware was born in 1850 into slavery in South Carolina, After the Civil War, John left the Carolinas for Texas where he learned the skills of a rancher and became a cowboy.
Upon his arrival in Calgary he found work at the Bar U and Quorn ranches before starting his own ranch, the “4 Nines” near the Red Deer River. By 1900, he and his wife, Mildred Lewis, had six children. Ware moved from the Calgary area to a spot northeast of the village of Duchess, Alberta. In 1902 his first home was destroyed by the spring flood. He rebuilt on higher ground overlooking a stream, now called Ware Creek.