JOHN WALLACE HOWE
Buried in Mount Hope Cemetery, Independence, Kansas
Died: June 1, 1924
A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans,
written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State
Historical Society, Topeka. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, copyright 1918;
John Wallace Howe
JOHN WALLACE HOWE. Few men are able to
comprehend within a period of less than seventy years such a variety of
experience and achievement as John Wallace Howe of Independence. He is one of
the youngest veterans of the Union army in the war between the states. Besides
the part played by him as a faithful soldier in that struggle, he has been a
farmer, a carpenter, has lived in a number of different localities, and was one
of the pioneer settlers in Montgomery County, Kansas, having established his
home there on the frontier more than forty-five years ago. Public honors have
come to him and he has discharged his responsibilities with the same care and
fidelity which he displayed while following the flag on southern battlefields.
He has been a merchant, a homesteader, a traveling salesman, and is still in the
harness as one of the leading insurance and real estate men of Independence.
His ancestors, the Howes, were originally
English people, emigrated to the North of Ireland, and from there came to
America. John Wallace Howe was born in Bartholomew County, Indiana, July 5,
1848. His father, Isaac Howe, was born in the North of Ireland in 1800, came to
this country as a young man and located in Cincinnati, where he married Miss
Rosanna Dunlap, who was from Scotland. She was born in 1806, also in the North
of Ireland, and came to this country with her parents, who lived in Cincinnati.
Isaac Howe soon after his marriage moved to Bartholomew County, Indiana. He was
a ship carpenter by trade, having worked at that occupation in Belfast, Ireland.
In America he followed farming, and from Bartholomew County, Indiana, he moved
to Breckenridge in Missouri in 1867, and was one of the capable farmers and
early settlers of that locality, where he died in 1896, when in very advanced
years. He was a republican in politics, and a member of the Presbyterian Church.
His wife died in Breckenridge in 1893. Their children were: James, Mary
Elizabeth, Nancy Jane, all deceased; Rebecca, who lives at Grand Junction,
Colorado, the widow of Charles May, who was a carpenter and died at
Breckenridge, Missouri; John Wallace, who is the fifth in age; Robert, a
carpenter and builder and owner of a ranch at Grand Junction, Colorado; William,
a harness maker living near Kansas City, Missouri; James, who died in childhood;
and Charles, a painter and decorator, who died at Independence, Kansas.
John Wallace Howe had a limited education
in the public schools of Bartholomew County, Indiana. He was only fifteen when
on October 3, 1863, he enlisted in Company A of the 120th Indiana Infantry.
Though a boy, he served through some of the hottest campaigns of the war. He was
honorably discharged and mustered out at Indianapolis February 13, 1866. He went
to the front in time to participate in the great movement through the heart of
the Confederacy beginning in Eastern Tennessee and continuing until the
Confederate forces were crushed and scattered. He participated in the following
noted battles: Buzzard Roost, Resaca, New Hope Church, Peach Tree Creek,
Franklin and Nashville, Tennessee, and wound up at Kingston, North Carolina. He
was first a member of the Army of the Ohio, commanded by General Schofield, and
was under Sherman during the Atlanta campaign and then under Schofield in the
campaign against Hood around Franklin and Nashville. After the Battle of
Franklin he was advanced to the grade of first sergeant.
After the war he spent a year in Indiana
working in the engine room of a grist mill. Then one year was passed as a farmer
at Breckenridge, Missouri. He then went to Southern Missouri and in the Iron
Mountains spent a year running his uncle's mills. On returning to Breckenridge
he followed the trade of carpenter until he came to Kansas.
In April, 1870, Mr. Howe arrived in
Montgomery Connty, locating at Old Liberty. His work there during the first year
was as a carpenter. Then going to the old Government strip southwest of Arkansas
City, he took up a claim of 160 acres, and remained there trying to cultivate it
during the discouraging conditions prevailing at that time. After two years he
sold out and returning to Liberty spent about two years in a store, and in 1874
identified himself with Independence. Here he was employed in the New York
Store, and going to Winfield, Kansas, started a store for J. P. Baden, which he
conducted a year, and then had charge of Henry Baden's dry goods business in
Independence five years. From local business he was led to the road as a
traveling salesman for a millinery house and then for a dry goods firm, and
acquired an extensive acquaintance among retail merchants all over Southern
Kansas during a number of years of traveling life. For about two years Mr. Howe
conducted a store at Independence, handling novelty goods. Retiring from
mercantile lines, he engaged in the real estate and insurance business. Then in
1904 he was chosen by the people of Montgomery county as their county treasurer,
and two terms, from 1905 to 1909. Since leaving office he has applied all his
time and energies to building up a real estate and insurance business, which is
one of the most reliable firms of the kind in Southern Kansas. He represents
many of the leading companies in the insurance field, including the New York
Life, the Commercial Union, Assurance Company of London, the Palatine of London,
the American Central of St. Louis, the Mercantile Fire and Marine Underwriters
of St. Louis, the New Hampshire Fire Insurance Company, the Casualty Company of
America, the Employers Liability Insurance Company of London, the Rochester
German-American Insurance Company for Automobiles, the Chicago Bonding Company
and a number of others. His offices are at the corner of Sixth and Myrtle
In the meantime Mr. Howe has managed his
own affairs judiciously and enjoys a comfortable competence. Besides his
residence at 601 Myrtle Street, he owns a house a few doors away on the same
street, fifteen city lots, 120 acres of farming land in Montgomery County, and
40 acres in Ozark County, Missouri. While living in Independence he has served
as a member of the city council and is treasurer of the Independence Building
and Loan Association. He was the first senior counsel of Independence Lodge No.
45 of the United Commercial Travelers, and for the past nineteen years has been
secretary and treasurer of the Independence Council, United Commercial
Travelers. He is also affiliated with Fortitude Lodge, No. 107, Ancient Free and
Accepted Masons; Keystone Chapter No. 22, Royal Arch Masons; St. Bernard
Commandery No. 10, Knights Templar; Lodge No. 780, Benevolent and Protective
Order of Elks. He is a republican and attends the Presbyterian Church.
In May, 1871, at Liberty, Kansas, soon after he came to Montgomery County, Mr. Howe married Miss Lillian Watts, a daughter of D. C. and Mary Watts Her father, now deceased, was a merchant, while her mother resides in Ottawa, Kansas. Mr. and Mrs. Howe have two children: James, who died at the age of two years, and Byrdie, who lives at home with her parents, the widow of the late Captain Howard Scott, who was captain of Company G in the 20th Kansas Infantry and afterwards was a successful attorney.
William G. Cutler's History of the State of Kansas
JOHN W. HOWE, dealer in millinery, born in Bartholomew County, Ind., July 5, 1848. He enlisted, September 3, 1863, in Company A, of the One Hundred and Twentieth Indiana Volunteer Infantry. He served in the Twenty-third Army Corps, and was mustered out, February 21, 1866, as Orderly Sergeant. He was in the battles of Lookout Mountain, Kenesaw, Peach Tree Creek, Franklin, Nashville, and many other battles and engagements. Returned to Indiana, and in September, 1866, moved to Missouri, and clerked in a store at Carrollton. In 1869 he came to Kansas, locating at old Liberty, Montgomery County, where he worked at carpentering, and afterwards clerked in a store. In 1879, was traveling salesman for Baxter & Wade, wholesale grocers of Independence. In 1880, became a salesman for Pool, Thayer & Williams, fancy dry goods, notions and millinery. January 1, 1883, he engaged with Joel J. Bailey & Co., fancy dry goods, and Kohn, Adler & Co., millinery both of Philadelphia. He travels through Kansas. He also owns a retail millinery store in Independence, which is managed by his wife. They have an excellent stock of goods and an extensive trade. He is a member of the Masonic order. Was married, May 15, 1873, at Liberty, Kan., to Miss Lillian Watts. They have one child - Mary E., born August 8, 1874.
Contributed by Mrs. Maryann Johnson a Civil war researcher and a volunteer in the Kansas Room of the Independence Public Library, Independence, Kansas.