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Bio Sketch: Horton Howard (1770-1833), Quaker leader, Ohio pioneer, federal land agent, doctor, & cholera victim

Horton Howard was born January 22, 1770, in either Carteret or Craven County, North Carolina, the eldest son of Bartholomew Howard and Ruth Stanton. Horton’s namesake was his father’s step-father, Parmenas Horton.[1]

Signature of Horton Howard, 1799

Signature of Horton Howard, 1799 (Dayton Metro Library, FPW, Box 34, Folder 9)

The other children of Bartholomew and Ruth Howard were: Mary Howard (1773-?), who married Aaron Brown and lived in Logan County, Ohio; Henry Howard (1775-?); Avis Howard (1777-?); and John Howard (1779-about 1836), who married Cherry Dew and then Hannah Raley, and had several children, most of whom lived in eastern Ohio.[2]

Horton’s parents were members of the Society of Friends (also known as Quakers), but they were also slaveholders. The family owned about 26 slaves, according to the 1790 census for Craven County.[3]

Slave-holding was technically contradictory to Quaker beliefs, but freeing one’s slaves was discouraged in North Carolina, with a law actually forbidding it by 1796. As a way of getting around the problem, a Quaker could transfer ownership of his slaves to the Meeting to which he belonged, thus relieving the individual from owning slaves, and the slaves were often freed through colonization in places like Haiti or Liberia.[4]

Horton apparently used this method to free the slaves he had inherited from his father, according to his daughter Sarah:

Left by his father in possession of slaves, who might have made him wealthy, he freed them all at the age of 21… He left them in the care of the yearly meeting of Friends, who have since sent them to Hayti [sic], I have heard. He said he was much affected the morning he became of age…for he being the eldest had the first choice. After parting with his slaves Carolina was no place for him, and he determined to move to that part of the N.W. Territory now known as the State of Ohio…[5]

The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 created the Northwest Territory, where slavery was prohibited. This was attractive to southern Quakers, including Horton Howard, who wished to rid themselves of any local ties to slavery. The availability of good, relatively inexpensive land was surely alluring also.[6]

In 1799, the Contentnea Quarterly Meeting of eastern North Carolina decided to send a few men to investigate the lands and resources in the Northwest Territory, for a possible settlement by members of their community.

Borden Stanton later wrote about how this decision had evolved:

…for some years Friends have had some distant view of moving out of that oppressive part of the land, but did not know where until the year 1799, when we had an acceptable visit from some traveling Friends from the western part of Pennsylvania. They thought proper to propose to Friends for consideration, whether it would not be agreeable to best wisdom for us unitedly to remove northwest of the Ohio River—to a place where there were no slaves held, being a free country. This proposal made a deep impression on our minds… there were three of them who went to view the country…[7]

Those three men were Horton Howard and his father-in-law Joseph Dew, of the Core Sound Monthly Meeting, and Horton’s brother-in-law Aaron Brown, of the Trent Monthly Meeting. The three traveled first to the Quaker communities of Redstone and Westland in southwestern Pennsylvania (near Fredericktown), using these as a jumping off point to eastern Ohio.[8]

During their journey, Horton wrote the following to his wife Mary:

…We are now at Winchester in Virginia having crossed the Blue Ridge of Mountains and are between it and the Alligany [sic] Mountain about four Hundred and fifty Miles from Home and One Hundred and thirty six from Redstone. We have been favoured [sic] to get along so far with less Difficulty and fatigue than we expected but we have travailed [sic] slow…and now we all go Comfortably on Horseback being pretty well seasoned thereto.

Father seems considerably Heartyer [sic] than when he left home but has nothing at Present to write.

It hath so fell out that after leaving Contentney [sic], we have attended Meetings as they as they [sic] came of Course at all the settlements of Friends where we have come Viz. Jack swamp 1st day, Wayn Oak 4th day and Last of the Yearly meeting, 5th day at Curls, 1st day at Ceder Creek, 4th day at south Land Mo. Meeting, 7th at Crooked Runn Mo. Meeting over the Mountain and this being 1st day at Center Meeting within a Mile of this place; some of which have been seasons of refreshment…[9]

Check out these images of the original 1799 letter (click to view full resolution):

Horton Howard to Mary (Dew) Howard, 1799, pg 1 of 2

Horton Howard to Mary (Dew) Howard, 1799, pg 1 of 2 (Dayton Metro Library, FPW, Box 34, Folder 9)

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Horton Howard to Mary (Dew) Howard, 1799, pg. 2 of 2

Horton Howard to Mary (Dew) Howard, 1799, pg. 2 of 2

By mid-June, the three had safely crossed the mountains and reached the Westland Monthly Meeting, as evidenced by Westland’s meeting minutes for June 22, 1799:

Our esteemed friends, Joseph Dew and Horton Howard, attended this meeting and produced certificates from a Monthly Meeting at Coresound, in Carteret County, North Carolina, expressive of Friends’ unity with their viewing this part of the country and other parts adjacent, with a prospect of removing and settling within the verge of this, if way should open, and our friend, Aaron Brown, also attended…[10]

From Pennsylvania, the three men set off into Ohio to explore further:

They traveled on till they came to this part of the western country [near present-day Colerain, Belmont County, Ohio], where they were stopped in their minds, believing it was the place for Friends to settle. So they turned back and informed us of the same in a solemn meeting… This information, in the way it was delivered to us much tendered our spirits, and strengthened us in the belief that it was right. So we undertook the work…[11]

When the trio of explorers returned to North Carolina, they reported favorably on what they had seen in the new territory. Core Sound MM sent many families to the northwest, and the response from Trent MM was so overwhelming that all the families removed, with Trent MM actually ceasing to exist afterwards.[12]

Although most of these families did not begin the journey north until January 1800, Horton Howard was granted a certificate to Westland MM on September 1, 1799, and was received there on October 26, 1799.[13]

The Howards and the other Quaker families remained near Fredericktown, Pennsylvania, through several months of 1800, waiting for the opening of a new federal land office in the Northwest Territory, which would grant deeds for property in Ohio.[14]

On May 2, 1800, Congress passed the Harrison Land Act, which authorized four new federal land offices in the Northwest Territory, the first of which opened for business at Steubenville on July 2. Lands could be purchased in tracts of 320 acres each (a half section) for $2.00 per acre.[15]

Horton Howard’s family was among the first to leave Fredericktown. On September 16, 1800, he purchased a tract of land in what is now Colerain Township in Belmont County, near what would soon be known as Concord (now Colerain). By the end of the year 1800, approximately 800 Quakers had moved to Ohio.[16]

In December 1801, a new Quaker congregation—the Concord Monthly Meeting—opened in Belmont County, Ohio. This was the first Monthly Meeting of Friends in the Northwest Territory, and Horton Howard was among its charter members.[17]

Horton was appointed the first men’s clerk of the Concord Monthly Meeting in 1801. He was later the first clerk of the Short Creek Quarterly Meeting in 1807 and the first men’s Ohio Yearly Meeting from 1813-1815.[18]

Although Horton was much devoted to his work within the Society of Friends, he also needed a means of supporting his growing family. Horton became employed by the federal land office in Steubenville. He worked as a land agent, helping thousands of people locate and acquire suitable property in eastern Ohio.[19]

In April 1815, the Howard family joined the nearby Plainfield Monthly Meeting, which was also located in Belmont County.[20]

The family remained in Belmont County for another five years, until the summer of 1820, when the Horton was appointed as a land agent at one of the newly opened federal land offices further west.[21]

In April 1820, Horton wrote to his friend Thomas Rotch about his feelings in regards to his new assignment:

…it will require a great deal of dilligence [sic] and Industry to arrange my affairs and remove to Delaware on the Whetstone fork of scioto [sic] in Ohio to be ready to open the public sales of Land, as the Law contemplates as I suppose that is to be my residence for a time unless the President should think it would do to run the Risque [sic] of further displeasing the People of Indiana by giving appointment to a nonresident of the State of Indiana as he did last year in appointing General Harrison’s son to the Office of Vincennes. I believe this is all that prevents my getting the Brookville Office in that state which on account of the Great body of friends there &c. &c. I should have preferred.—But it is clearly an unequivocally settled that I get one of them and if in Ohio I get my Choice…[22]

Horton did not get the appointment in Indiana, and so he moved his family to Delaware, Ohio, as expected. In July 1820, Horton and his family were granted certificates to the Alum Creek Monthly Meeting in Delaware County, Ohio, and they were received by that congregation on August 31 of the same year. (The family would later be disowned from the Alum Creek Monthly Meeting in 1829 for joining the Hicksite faction of Quakers.)[23]

Probably in connection with his duties as a federal land agent, Horton Howard was apparently involved in surveying and mapmaking, his signature appearing on several early 19th century Ohio and Quaker maps.[24] As a matter of fact, when Horton sent his daughter Sarah to school in Cincinnati in the fall of 1825, he particularly encouraged her to learn “the art of painting or shading maps,” which surely would have been a useful skill to have in the family.[25]

The year 1828 had more changes in store for the Howard family. Horton wrote to his wife Hannah in February 1828:

…I expect to be at home in time to prepare for the new appointment as Receiver—But as there may be an order to remove the office at an earlier period, Joseph [Gest] must be prepared to be in readiness accordingly, and as soon as he shall be informed of the time fixed for the removal he should write to Neal McGaffy to make provisions for Joseph to take possession of the House I rented in Tiffin by the time the office must be there…[26]

The federal land office at Delaware did indeed remove to Tiffin in 1828, but the Howard family did not go with it. Instead, they moved slightly south to Columbus, Ohio, where Horton and his wife Hannah lived until their deaths.[27]

Although he was born in the pre-Civil War South, Horton Howard did not agree with slavery. In 1791, he freed all the slaves left to him by his father. His daughter Sarah later wrote of her father’s feelings towards his (former) slaves:

And when I tell you that his property consisted chiefly of slaves, you will agree with me that he acted from principle. He chose a life of comparative poverty, rather than live in affluence on the produce of slave labour, and yet he was not the abolitionist of our day [1851]. I have often heard him say that he could feel for the master as well as for the slave, that it is difficult to know what course to pursue… I suppose my Father would as soon have thought of selling his Children as his negroes

He told the poor blacks, if they would go with him to the new country he would do the best he could for them… He gave a small piece of land to each of the men who came with him—they had labored for him and the land was given for that—that they might provide for themselves. They were much attached to us and we to them… [One man] came every year while we lived in the eastern part of the state, and brought his family to see us, when mother dear, king good mother collected all of Father’s old clothes for him, and her own, and ours for his wife and children, and when dear father died, there was a complete suit of his old master’s clothes sent to the poor old freedman…[28]

Although Sarah wrote that her father “was not the abolitionist of our day,” records show that Horton Howard was inclined towards abolition. In 1818, he wrote a letter to his friend and fellow Quaker Thomas Rotch, asking Rotch to assist with presenting an anti-slavery statement to Congress.[29]

In addition to being a leading Quaker pioneer in Ohio, a federal land agent, and a low-key abolitionist, Horton Howard was also trained in medicine, though he did not formally practice it. In 1832, he published a two-volume set entitled An Improved System of Botanic Medicine, giving an explanation of his medical background in the Preface:

From exposure in early youth, my health became much impaired, and my constitution weakened by sickness; insomuch that from the age of thirteen to twenty-one, I was a constant prey to disease, and all its concomitant ills—its pain and anxiety—its gloomy forebodings, and the repulsive prospect of a slow decay. During this period, I not only applied for medical aid to the best physicians of my native state (North Carolina), but I devoted a portion of my time to the study of medicine, in the hope not only of finding something to mitigate my sufferings, but also of acquiring the knowledge of a useful and honorable avocation for life. Stimulated by these earnest hopes and sentiments, I prosecuted my book studies, aided by the best physicians of my acquaintance, until I had acquired a competent knowledge of the practice of medicine.—But alas! My fondest anticipations were but idle dreams: neither my books, nor my physicians, brought that relief—that grateful solace to my sick-worn frame, which I so ardently desired, and so anxiously sought from their aid!

…Moreover, I became acquainted with the appalling fact, that with all the knowledge which I, or the best medical practitioner possessed, and with the use of such remedies as were generally relied upon in the treatment of disease, it would be a matter of uncertainly whether I should cure or kill! With these sentiments indelibly impressed upon my mind, I abandoned the idea of following a practice, which could only be pursued at the hazard of destroying life… My health was finally restored by a peculiar kind of regimen [botanic medicine] which will be particularly described in my medical work.

From these considerations, and from these alone, I abandoned the idea, of following the practice of medicine as a profession; although I have practiced very considerably among my immediate neighbors, more especially in sickly seasons; but for which I have never charged, nor have I ever received, any compensation.

In the summer of 1825, the bilious fever prevailed epidemically, which swept off numbers of my acquaintances, amongst whom I lost a lovely daughter [Hannah]… Other branches of my family, as well as several of my neighbors, suffered by the same epidemic, all of whom recovered by the assistance of such medical aid as I was then capable of affording them; which indeed I had reason to believe was at least equal to any that could have been derived from any other source.

About the time of which I am now speaking, or soon after, I heard much talk of the botanic physicians, usually styled steam, or patent doctors; and as prejudice in the mind of the multitude, often goes in advance of almost every great and good work, so it was in this instance; and myself with the rest, and particularly with the medical faculty, imbibed prejudices the most hostile, and feelings the most contemptuous, towards this infant institution of rational medicine…[30]

However, in the winter after the bilious fever epidemic of 1825, Horton changed his mind about botanic medicine after observing its use in healing an extremely sick neighbor.

I had seen the effects of the new medicines in but one case; but that was one of virulent character, and it yielded to the means employed, as if they acted by a charm: I came to the conclusion that it was my duty as a man, and as a Christian, to forego all my prejudices, and avail myself of the knowledge of these botanic medicines, for the benefit of my own family.[31]

Horton then studied Dr. Samuel Thomson’s system of herbal medicine and became convinced of its effectiveness:

Sickness in my own family, as well as amongst my neighbors, and friends in distant parts of the country, soon afforded opportunities which confirmed my highest opinions of the new practice; and I commenced, with zeal and energy, proclaiming my convictions to the world. I pursued this course because I believed that mankind would be benefitted by the new system, and that it was my duty to encourage its promulgation.[32]

Horton soon became an agent for Thomson directly. However, Horton eventually found Dr. Thomson’s original system to be imperfect, broke with Thomson, and improved upon the botanic system. Knowing that Dr. Thomson would resent the publication of a “revised” version of his original book, Horton published his own book on the subject—An Improved System of Botanic Medicine—in 1832.[33]

After the publication of the first volume of the work, Thomson filed suit against Horton Howard, but Horton apparently won the case, because the second volume of An Improved System of Botanic Medicine was published the same year. Horton published a third and final volume, specifically focusing on women’s medicine—A Treatise on the Complaints Peculiar to Females: Embracing a System of Midwifery; the Whole in Conformity with the Improved System of Botanic Medicine—which was also published in 1832.[34]

Unfortunately, Horton Howard’s botanic remedies were no match for the cholera epidemic that struck Columbus in the summer of 1833. Horton Howard’s immediate family lost six members during that epidemic, including Horton himself, his wife Hannah, a daughter Ann, a son-in-law, and two grandchildren.[35]

Horton Howard died on August 14, 1833, of cholera, at his home in Columbus, Ohio; he was 63 years old. He was buried the following morning in Columbus. His wife Hannah (Hastings) Howard died August 20, 1833, of cholera, at home; she was 59 years old. She was presumably buried near her husband in Columbus. The remains of both Horton and Hannah Howard were eventually moved to Woodland Cemetery in Dayton in 1851.[36]

Tombstone of Horton and Hannah Howard, Woodland Cemetery

Tombstone of Horton and Hannah Howard, Woodland Cemetery (Photo by the author, 29 Oct. 2011)

Horton Howard was married three times and had 11 children.

Horton’s first wife was Anna Mace. They were married August 7, 1791, at the Clubfoot Creek Meeting House, which was near the Neuse River in Craven County, North Carolina. Anna was born about 1769 and died of tuberculosis on March 12, 1797, in North Carolina; she was 27 years old.[37]

Horton and Anna had two children, both of whom were born in North Carolina:

  1. Henry Howard was born June 13, 1792, and died August 30, 1840.[38]
  2. Ruth Howard was born December 15, 1794, and died of croup on April 15, 1796.[39]

Horton’s second wife was Mary Dew, daughter of Joseph and Vylee Dew. They were married February 25, 1798, at the Clubfoot Creek Meeting House in Craven County, North Carolina. Mary was born February 24, 1771, and died of “inward decay” on September 5, 1804, probably in Belmont County, Ohio; she was 33 years old.[40]

Horton and Mary had three children:

  1. Joseph Howard was born December 20, 1798, in North Carolina, and died about April 1856, probably in Ohio. He married Pharaby J. Patterson in 1821.[41]
  2. Rachel Howard was born May 15, 1802, in Belmont County, Ohio, and died of bilious fever in August 1829. She was unmarried.[42]
  3. Horton J. Howard was born March 23, 1804, in Belmont County, Ohio, and died July 21, 1883, in Mount Pleasant, Iowa. He was a newspaperman and printer at St. Clairsville. He married Mary M. Bates in 1825, then later Eliza W.[43]

Horton’s third wife was Hannah Hastings, daughter of John and Sarah Hastings. Hannah was born February 24, 1774, in Wilmington, Delaware. Horton and Hannah were married December 5, 1806, at a public meeting of Quakers in Wilmington, Delaware.[44]

Signature of Hannah Hastings (later Mrs. Horton Howard), 1804

Signature of Hannah Hastings (later Mrs. Horton Howard), 1804 (Dayton Metro Library, Box 34, Folder 21)

Horton and Hannah had six children, all of whom were born in Belmont County, Ohio:

  1. Sarah Hastings Howard was born December 27, 1807, and died December 11, 1887. She married Samuel Forrer in 1826.[45]
  2. Mary Howard was born March 6, 1809, and died April 24, 1891. She married Harvey Little in 1827, then Dr. John Gladstone Affleck in 1837.[46]
  3. Ann Howard was born June 11, 1811, and died of cholera on August 9, 1833, in Columbus, Ohio. In 1851, her remains were removed to Woodland Cemetery in Dayton, Ohio.[47]
  4. Hannah Howard was born March 7, 1812, and died of bilious fever on August 6, 1825, in Columbus, Ohio. In 1851, her remains were removed to Woodland Cemetery in Dayton, Ohio.[48]
  5. John H. Howard was born October 5, 1813, and died May 8, 1878, in Dayton, Ohio. He married Ann E. Loury in 1841.[49]
  6. Jane Howard was born February 2, 1816, and died August 6, 1819, probably in Belmont County, Ohio. In 1851, her remains were removed to Woodland Cemetery in Dayton, Ohio.[50]

*****

This biographical sketch was originally written by Lisa P. Rickey in April 2012 for the Forrer-Peirce-Wood Collection (MS-018) finding aid at the Dayton Metro Library, 215 E. Third St., Dayton, Ohio, 45402; phone (937) 496-8654.

Additional information about the sketch’s subject can be found in that collection. For more information about the manuscript collection’s contents, please see the original PDF finding aid available in the Local History Room of the Dayton Metro Library, the OhioLINK EAD Repository entry, or the WorldCat record.

Please contact the Dayton Metro Library or this blog’s author for more information about how to access the original finding aid or the manuscript collection.


[1] Howard Genealogical Information, Forrer-Peirce-Wood Collection (hereafter cited as FPW), 36:20, Dayton Metro Library, Dayton, Ohio; Sarah Forrer to Dewitt Clinton Howard, 15 Mar. 1851, FPW, 4:12; William Wade Hinshaw, Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy (Ann Arbor, MI: Edwards Bros., 1936), 1:271-272.

[2] Howard Genealogical Information, FPW, 36:20; Sarah Forrer to Dewitt Clinton Howard, 15 Mar. 1851, FPW, 4:12.

[3] Sarah Forrer to Dewitt Clinton Howard, 15 Mar. 1851, FPW, 4:12; 1790 U.S. Federal Census, Ancestry Library Edition.

[4] H. E. Smith, “The Quakers, their Migration to the Upper Ohio, their Customs and Discipline,” Ohio Archaeological and Historical Society Quarterly 37 (1928): 39-41.

[5] Sarah Forrer to Dewitt Clinton Howard, 15 Mar. 1851, FPW, 4:12.

[6] Smith, “The Quakers…,” 41; Hinshaw, Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy, 4:137.

[7] Borden Stanton to friends, 25 May 1802, quoted in Smith, “The Quakers…,” 45-46.

[8] Smith, “The Quakers…,” 41-42; “Horton Howard,” Quakerpedia, last modified 29 Aug. 2007, accessed 1 Mar. 2012, http://www.quakerpedia.org/index.php?title=Horton_Howard.

[9] Horton Howard to his wife Mary (Dew) Howard, [no date] 1799, FPW, 34:9.

[10] Smith, “The Quakers…,” 42.

[11] Borden Stanton to friends, 25 May 1802, quoted in Smith, “The Quakers…,” 46.

[12] Smith, “The Quakers…,” 42-43.

[13] Smith, “The Quakers…,” 42-43; Hinshaw, Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy, 1:272, 4:40.

[14] “Horton Howard,” Quakerpedia; Smith, “The Quakers…,” 42-43; John S. Williams, “Our Cabin, or Life in the Woods,” American Pioneer 2 (1843), accessed 29 Feb. 2012, http://vault.hanover.edu/~smith/w11comphist.htm.

[15] Carol Willsey Bell, Ohio Lands: Steubenville Land Office, 1800-1820 (Youngstown, OH: Carol Willsey Bell, 1983), i, v; “Horton Howard,” Quakerpedia.

[16] Bell, Ohio Lands, 7; Smith, “The Quakers…,” 43-45; Williams, “Our Cabin, or Life in the Woods”;

[17] Hinshaw, Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy, 4:[7], 4:137; “Horton Howard,” Quakerpedia; J. A. Caldwell, Hisory of Belmont and Jefferson Counties, Ohio (Wheeling, WV: Historical Publishing Co., 1880), 186.

[18] “Horton Howard,” Quakerpedia.

[19] “Horton Howard,” Quakerpedia; Bell, Ohio Lands, 172; Horton Howard to Thomas Rotch, [several letters dated 1811-1823], Thomas and Charity Rotch Papers, Massillon Public Library, Massillon, Ohio, accessed 29 Dec. 2011, http://www.massillonmemory.org.

[20] Hinshaw, Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy, 4:338.

[21] Horton Howard to Thomas Rotch, 16 Dec. 1819 and 28 Apr. 1820, Thomas and Charity Rotch Papers, Massillon Public Library, Massillon, Ohio, accessed 1 Mar. 2012, http://www.ohiomemory.org; “Horton Howard,” Quakerpedia.

[22] Horton Howard to Thomas Rotch, 28 Apr. 1820, Thomas and Charity Rotch Papers, B-95-10, accessed 1 Mar. 2012, http://www.ohiomemory.org/u?/p15005coll39,1400.

[23] Hinshaw, Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy, 4:338, 4:1166.

[24] “Horton Howard,” Quakerpedia; “Topographical Map of the State of Ohio” Map (1828), http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/29048990; “Map of Meetings in the Contiguous Parts of Pennsylvania, Virginia, & Ohio” (1813-1828), http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/697639491. Horton also mentions mapmaking in some of his correspondence (FPW).

[25] Horton Howard to Sarah Howard, 23 Nov. 1825, FPW, 34:13.

[26] Horton Howard to his wife Hannah (Hastings) Howard, 14 Feb. 1828, FPW, 34:10.

[27] Horton Howard to his wife Hannah (Hastings) Howard, 14 Feb. 1828 and 11 Aug. 1828, FPW, 34:10.

[28] Sarah Forrer to Dewitt Clinton Howard, 15 Mar. 1851, FPW, 4:12.

[29] Horton Howard to Thomas Rotch, 30 Oct. 1818, Thomas and Charity Rotch Papers, B-95-7, accessed 1 Mar. 2012, http://www.ohiomemory.org/u?/p15005coll39,1436.

[30] Horton Howard, An Improved System of Botanic Medicine; Founded upon Correct Physiological Principles; Embracing a Concise View of Anatomy and Physiology; Together with an Illustration of the New Theory of Medicine (Columbus, OH: Horton Howard, 1832), accessed 1 Mar. 2012, http://www.archive.org/details/improvedsystemof01howa, 1:3-4.

[31] Howard, An Improved System of Botanic Medicine, 1:5.

[32] Howard, An Improved System of Botanic Medicine, 1:5-6.

[33] Howard, An Improved System of Botanic Medicine, 1:6-7; Christopher Hoolihan, “Horton Howard,” An Annotated Catalogue of the Edward C. Atwater Collection of American Popular Medicine and Health Reform (Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2008), accessed 1 Mar. 2012, http://books.google.com/books?id=nGcDUS7WUqYC, 3:371-372; Alex Berman and Michael A. Flannery, America’s Botanico-Medical Movements: Vox Populi (New York: Pharmaceutical Products Press, 2001), accessed 8 Oct. 2011, http://books.google.com/books?id=gIWWi3HZU8oC, 47-48.

[34] Hoolihan, “Horton Howard,” 3:372.

[35] Howard Genealogical Information, FPW, 36:20; Ebenezer Thomas to Samuel Forrer, 9-20 Aug. 1833 [four letters], FPW, 1:15; Samuel Forrer to Horton Howard, 12 Aug. 1833 [two letters], FPW, 1:13; William T. Martin, History of Franklin County, Ohio (Columbus : Follett, Forster & Co., 1858), 305-306; Ohio State Journal, 9 Aug. 1833, 17 Aug. 1833, 24 Aug. 1833, 7 Sept. 1833, 2 Nov. 1833; Berman and Flannery, America’s Botanico-Medical Movements, 48.

[36] Ebenezer Thomas to Samuel Forrer, 15 Aug. 1833 and 20 Aug. 1833, FPW, 1:15; Howard Genealogical Information, FPW, 36:20; Ohio State Journal, 17 Aug. 1833, 24 Aug. 1833, 2 Nov. 1833; Hinshaw, Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy, 4:1166; Woodland Cemetery & Arboretum Interment Database, accessed 20 Dec. 2011, http://www.woodlandcemetery.org. Horton and Hannah Howard are buried in Section 66, Lot 125.

[37] Howard Genealogical Information, FPW, 36:20; Sarah Forrer to Dewitt Clinton Howard, 15 Mar. 1851, FPW, 4:12; Hinshaw, Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy, 1:271-272.

[38] Howard Genealogical Information, FPW, 36:20; Sarah Forrer to Dewitt Clinton Howard, 15 Mar. 1851, FPW, 4:12.

[39] Howard Genealogical Information, FPW, 36:20; Sarah Forrer to Dewitt Clinton Howard, 15 Mar. 1851, FPW, 4:12.

[40] Howard Genealogical Information, FPW, 36:20; Sarah Forrer to Dewitt Clinton Howard, 15 Mar. 1851, FPW, 4:12; Hinshaw, Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy, 1:272.

[41] Howard Genealogical Information, FPW, 36:20; Sarah Forrer to Dewitt Clinton Howard, 15 Mar. 1851, FPW, 4:12.

[42] Howard Genealogical Information, FPW, 36:20; Sarah Forrer to Dewitt Clinton Howard, 15 Mar. 1851, FPW, 4:12.

[43] Howard Genealogical Information, FPW, 36:20; Sarah Forrer to Dewitt Clinton Howard, 15 Mar. 1851, FPW, 4:12; Hinshaw, Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy, 4:224.; Find A Grave, accessed 29 Feb. 2012, http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=78237126.

[44] Howard Genealogical Information, FPW, 36:20; Sarah Forrer to Dewitt Clinton Howard, 15 Mar. 1851, FPW, 4:12; Hinshaw, Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy, 4:150.

[45] Howard Genealogical Information, FPW, 36:20; Forrer Genealogical Data, FPW, 7:12. See also FPW, Series I: Samuel Forrer Family.

[46] Howard Genealogical Information, FPW, 36:20.

[47] Ebenezer Thomas to Samuel Forrer, 9 Aug. 1833, FPW, 1:15; Howard Genealogical Information, FPW, 36:20; Ohio State Journal, 17 Aug 1833, 7 Sep 1833, 2 Nov 1833; Hinshaw, Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy, 4:1166; Woodland Cemetery & Arboretum Interment Database, accessed 26 Oct. 2011, http://www.woodlandcemetery.org.

[48] Howard Genealogical Information, FPW, 36:20; Howard, An Improved System of Botanic Medicine, 1:4; Woodland Cemetery & Arboretum Interment Database, accessed 26 Oct. 2011, http://www.woodlandcemetery.org.

[49] Howard Genealogical Information, FPW, 36:20.

[50] Howard Genealogical Information, FPW, 36:20; Woodland Cemetery & Arboretum Interment Database, accessed 26 Oct. 2011, http://www.woodlandcemetery.org.

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A little Quaker love story, Part 3

When you’re working with history, you sometimes find yourself in a situation where you don’t have all the pieces of the puzzle, many times far fewer than you’d like, and so you use your brain and you do some guesswork and speculation to hopefully help you connect the dots, get from A to B, explain whatever it is you’re trying to explain. But always keep your eyes open for hard evidence that will eventually tell you that you’re barking up the wrong tree.

During this investigation, lacking for any other documentary evidence (as yet), I wandered down what turned out to be a false trail myself for a while.

I mentioned in Part 2 that Horton Howard and his family were “disowned” in 1829 for joining the Hicksites. But what did that mean? Well, I don’t want to spend a lot of time on this, but suffice it to say that the Ohio Quakers found themselves divided in 1828, and when the dust settled, the more conservative members stayed with the “Orthodox” Quakers, and the more liberal members joined the Hicksite faction (named for Elias Hicks, whose ideas they agreed with). [If you are really interested, you can read more about it at the “Ohio YM (Hicksite)” entry on Quakerpedia. Yes, there is a Quakerpedia.]

So I was beginning to piece things together in my head: Hmm, so I know that there are later letters from Horton Howard to Sarah and Samuel addressed to “dear children” and they seem generally pleasant, so if he failed to give his blessing to their marriage, he obviously didn’t “disown” them himself or stay mad forever. And now, here I have this bit of information stating that he sided with the liberals during this religious schism in 1828, so I suppose that probably means he was one of the more, well, liberal Quakers himself. So could it stand to reason that perhaps he just went ahead and gave his “permission” for Samuel and Sarah to get married with a “devil may care” attitude towards what the rest of the congregation might think? But then again, he was one of their leaders, so that probably wouldn’t have looked very good, and maybe he was concerned about keeping up appearances, even if privately he didn’t care who she married?

You can see how my brain might have been starting to implode, with all these “what ifs” swirling around and seemingly no way to confirm any them.

(Here’s where I shake my fist on behalf of historians everywhere and encourage each and every one of you out there to write down more about your lives—and keep it safe, and in print—so that future generations will know the whos, whats, whens, whys, and hows of…well, more of your life than if you write down nothing. Now, back to our regularly scheduled 19th century tale…)

Just as I was about to resign myself to perhaps never knowing whether Horton Howard gave his blessing to Samuel and Sarah to be married, but knowing that whatever he said, they definitely did get married….I found this:

Letter from Samuel Forrer to Horton Howard, Feb. 13, 1826, Page 1 of 2

Letter from Samuel Forrer to Horton Howard, Feb. 13, 1826, Page 1 of 2

Letter from Samuel Forrer to Horton Howard, Feb. 13, 1826, Page 2 of 2

Letter from Samuel Forrer to Horton Howard, Feb. 13, 1826, Page 2 of 2

Why yes, that is a letter from Samuel Forrer to his new father-in-law Horton Howard, dated February 13, 1826, a little less than week after Samuel and Sarah were married on February 8. Apparently, they were married in Cincinnati—even all the biographical sketches I found claimed they were married in Delaware, Ohio, since that’s where her family was…

But here are the words, straight from Samuel’s own mouth…er, pen:

Smith’s Tavern, Feby. 13, 1826

H. Howard Esqr.

Dear sir,

With feelings of gratitude and pleasure on account of my peculiar good fortune I hasten to inform you that your daughter Sarah is now my wife— All that is now wanting to make my situation all that I can wish it is that yourself and family will excuse the step I have induced your daughter to take in opposition to the rules of your society and without the consent of her much loved parents, and that you will permit me to address you by the endearing name of Father in any future correspondence— This would relieve my dear Sarah from all doubts of your feelings, in regard to our union— We were married on Wednesday evening feby. 8 by the Revd. William Burke, at his dwelling house, and passed the evening at our good friends Mr. M. T. Williams, where we had the pleasure of the company of a most agreeable little party of our friends, all of whom seemed to congratulate us with much pleasantness and sincerity of feeling— Joseph Gest, who had not been made acquainted with the situation of affairs until about the time we were to be married at first doubted whether he ought to pay us a visit or not on the evening we had our little party at Mr. Williams— He however did come and I was much rejoiced to find him as cordial in his congratula- [page 2] tions as we could wish—by his and Mr. Gest’s particular request we passed the next evening with a party of friends at his house. On Friday morning Mr. Joseph Evans call’d and gave us a warm invitation to spend an evening at his home but we had determined t leave the city that day and consequently declined his and several other kind invitations to parties— I mention these little circumstances to show that the mutual friends of Sarah and myself, in this city, approve of the course we have taken— Sarah and myself approve of it I am sure— And that her much esteemed parents brothers and sisters will also approve of it (aside from the common objections under similar circumstances) is now the only wish of both of us— I have not yet fixed on a place of residence for any length of time; but it is my intention to locate myself for some time at some point on the Miami canal where I can spend the most time at home with the least possible injury to the public service— At present we are boarding at a genteel country tavern two miles from Cincinnati on the Hamilton road— The house is owned by Oliver Martin a friend of Joseph Ridgeway’s son. Mr. Williams will also probably bring his family here, in which case we shall both make it a summer residence— Sarah and myself will expect a letter from you very soon— Do indulge us and believe me[,] yours with much esteem—

Saml. Forrer

(Our mutual love to the family)

[Written on the side:] Direct your letter to Cincinnati.

So there you have it, folks: “without the consent of her much loved parents.” Mystery solved—that one, anyway. Apparently, dad said no, and they big fat did it anyway. Although it seems to have worked out all right in the end. Like I said, Horton Howard clearly wasn’t so angry that he cut off contact with them or anything. (He sent them several letters afterwards addressed to “dear children” and signed “your affectionate father.”) Heck, maybe he wasn’t really angry at all, but for the “official” record had to deny the request. Very interesting stuff, religion and politics.

But hey, let’s not forget our final point of interest: There’s that name again—M. T. Williams. (Remember, he’s the man whose home Sarah was staying in when Samuel met her?) And for that matter, now that I have this second letter, who are all those other guys? Samuel sure seems to think that the fact that he knows these people and the fact that they approve of his marriage to Sarah ought to win him some brownie points with his new father-in-law. Like, “Look, Dad—er, I mean, ‘Sir’—these guys think I’m good enough for your daughter, so you should too.” So who were they?

I think I may save that for Part 4. And I promise, Part 4 will be the final installment of this particular adventure.

The material discussed here is from the Forrer-Peirce-Wood Collection (MS-018), which can be found at the Dayton Metro Library, Main Library, Local History Room, 215 E. Third St., Dayton, OH 45402. For more information on the collection, contact the library, or feel free to leave a comment on this blog.

A little Quaker love story, Part 2

When we left Part 1, Samuel Forrer had written a letter to his beloved Sarah’s father Horton Howard, asking permission to marry her and hoping that, if he objected, it would be “only on the ground that I am not a member of your society.” And by “society,” he meant the Society of Friends, or Quakers. This piqued my interest, so I decided to do a bit of searching into the marrying customs of Quakers.

The most useful resource that I found on the subject was The Quaker Family in Colonial America: A Portrait of the Society of Friends by J. William Frost (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1973). Granted, I wasn’t interested in the colonial period, but the 1820s; however, Frost’s work was the most comprehensive scholarly book I could readily get my hands on—and after all, this was just an intellectual curiosity—and I figured that the colonial period would be close enough for general background on Quakers customs. I did a little investigating into Frost himself, finding that he was a well-credentialed Quaker scholar and historian, and was later a professor at Swarthmore College, a Quaker college in Pennsylvania (which incidentally has his Papers).

Frost’s book was very helpful, in particular Chapter 8 “Choosing a Wife.” I learned the following helpful bits of information from it:

  • “The Quakers, who had no sacraments, agreed to register the event of a marriage ceremony with the government, but they insisted that since God alone could join people in holy wedlock the meeting should participate in all formalities” (p. 150). (The “meeting,” by the way, is the basic organizational unit of Quakers, like a congregation.) Quakers married each other; they were not married “by” someone. This was part of the objection to marrying outside of the Society “since a marriage involving a non-Friend entailed being wed by a cleric” (p. 158).
  • “Parents had the right to consent to the marriage of a son or daughter no matter what their ages… If…the parents allowed or did not actively oppose a marriage out of unity, Friends might discipline them and the newlyweds” (p. 155). A “marriage out of unity” was a marriage someone who was not a Quaker.
  • “The records of monthly meetings in America illustrate the great amount of time devoted to the problem of improper marriage. Throughout the colonial period marriage out of unity was the most frequent offense for which Quakers were disowned” (p. 159). Furthermore, Frost further states that by 1765, about 75% of Quaker marriages were “exogamous” (p. 159). From the sound of it, “marrying out” was rather common, at least in the colonial era. And I’m guessing that trend didn’t suddenly reverse itself as time went on.
  • Anyone who was disowned for an offense, including “marriage out of unity” or “marriage contrary to discipline” (being married by a cleric), “who appeared to be sorry and was willing to confess his sin could in time gain readmission. … The admission of guilt was not…for marrying a particular person but for violating a tenet of the Society” (p. 160).
  • And finally: “While there were no direct challenges to the endogamous pattern of marriage in meetings, both the frequency of marriage out of unity and the occasional comments show that some Quakers questioned this tenet” (p. 160).

A search for members of the Horton Howard family in the Encyclopedia of Quaker Genealogy by W. W. Hinshaw (Ann Arbor: Edwards Brothers, Inc., 1936+) yielded some interesting results and examples of the above. With a little help from this Glossary of Quaker Terms on Ancestry/RootsWeb, I was better able to understand the meanings of the abbreviations used in Hinshaw’s Encyclopedia.

I found the following entry in Hinshaw, Volume 4, page 1166, from the records of the Alum Creek Monthly Meeting:

  • HOWARD. 1827, 5, 3 [May 3, 1827]. Sarah Forrer (form Howard) con mcd.

What did that mean? I already knew that Sarah Howard did marry Samuel Forrer on February 8, 1826. The Glossary of Quaker Terms helped me understand. It meant that Sarah (Howard) Forrer had “condemned” her own misbehavior, that misbehavior being “marriage contrary to discipline.” (They were married by a reverend.) [Incidentally, Sarah’s sister Mary was “disowned” the following year later for the same offense, a record on the same page indicated.] I found it a little strange that there was no mention of a “marriage out of unity” since Samuel Forrer himself stated that he was not a member of the Society of Friends. Perhaps he joined? However, Samuel Forrer is mentioned nowhere in Hinshaw’s compendium. Interesting.

Also interesting and a bit mysterious was the entry just below Mary (Howard) Little’s disownment:

  • HOWARD. 1829, 1, 1 [January 1, 1829]. Horton &w, Hannah, &dt, Ann, dis jH.

In 1829, Horton and the rest of his family were disowned by the Alum Creek Monthly Meeting, for the apparent sin of “jH,” whatever that meant. I did have a hunch what “jH” might mean, based on the time frame and some other things I had read about Quakers, and as it turned out, I was right. Although Hinshaw failed to define the abbreviation “jH” in the front of Volume 4, a later supplement (online here) verified the answer: “joined Hicksites.”

More to come in Part 3.

The material discussed here is from the Forrer-Peirce-Wood Collection (MS-018), which can be found at the Dayton Metro Library, Main Library, Local History Room, 215 E. Third St., Dayton, OH 45402. For more information on the collection, contact the library, or feel free to leave a comment on this blog.