Tag Archives: howard family

Revisiting old friends in the Archives

I got to revisit some “old friends” in the Archives at work today. These were old friends from the Dayton Metro Library, but they found me at my new job as an archivist at Wright State.

They weren’t living people or current friends; not really friends at all, if I’m being honest. But in a way, they felt like friends at the time, so I consider them that, still.

I’m talking about (long-dead) people whose papers I arranged & described. People who never knew me; who might not have even liked me (or I them) if we’d known each other in real life; but whom I hold in a special regard since I handled, (to some extent) read, and lovingly organized some of their most personal thoughts, little pieces of themselves committed preserved paper, and thereby history.

The first of the day today was David W. Schaeffer (whom you can learn more about in this biographical sketch I wrote about him in July 2012). A researcher, and relative of his, came to visit us today in the Archives from the Los Angeles area. She had found my blog post about him (the one linked above) last year, and we emailed back and forth a bit. I’m not sure how much help I could be, since basically all that I knew, I had poured into the biographical sketch already. But she wanted to meet me and see what we might have at the Wright State Archives that could help her during her research trip to Ohio. We talked about a few things, and I think she told me more about David than what I told her—for instance, that his middle name was Winters. The Schaeffers and Winters families were both early settlers of Germantown, so there seems to have been some connection there. After she left WSU, I believe she was on her way to Germantown. I’m not sure if that was the plan before she stopped in to see me, but I told her she really needed to check it out before she left the area (tomorrow being her last day in Ohio, she said). If nothing else, it would be a nice drive to Germantown at this time of year… (She had already visited the Dayton Metro Library and looked at David’s papers there.)

The second “old friend” that I ran into today at work was Horton Howard (read my biographical sketch of him from Aug 2012 on this blog), an early Quaker settler of Ohio—and sometimes doctor—whose daughter Sarah was married to Dayton canal engineer Samuel Forrer; all of these people (and many others) have papers in the Forrer-Peirce-Wood Collection at Dayton Metro Library, which I processed in 2011-2012.

Anyway. I ran into Horton while hunting around one of our storage locations for some Sanborn Maps. I did eventually find the map books, and nearby was part of our collection of rare medical books. A large book with the name “Howard” stamped on the spine caught my eye:

Howard's rare medical books at Wright State University Special Collections & Archives

Howard’s rare medical books at Wright State University Special Collections & Archives

And I thought, Oh that can’t be the same guy; that has to be a really common name, and I’m sure any number of “Howard”s have written medical books. Then I saw the book right next to it—about botanic medicine—and, recognizing it was a subject that Horton had in fact studied and written about, I pulled it off the shelf to look.

Sure enough, the title page said Horton Howard:

Horton Howard's Botanic Medicine, at Wright State Archives

Horton Howard’s Botanic Medicine, at Wright State Archives

So I checked the other one. Yep, Horton Howard:

Horton Howard's Domestic Medicine, at Wright State Archives

Horton Howard’s Domestic Medicine, at Wright State Archives

The publication dates through me for just a minute, knowing as I did that Horton died during the 1833 cholera epidemic in Columbus (as did his wife, a daughter, a son-in-law, and 2 grandchildren). But it turned out these were just reprints. One of them (I forget which one, sorry!) was like the seventh printing since 1832.

Now, I wasn’t QUITE as giddy about these finds as I might have been, since I had found the full text of the botanic medicine book online already and gleaned what I wanted to from it—-mostly from the fantastic preface that gives tons of info [block-quotes in the blog post] about Horton’s early life and medical knowledge (most of which was self-taught). But it was still pretty darn cool to see real life, 3-D copies of the works, complete with old school leather covers (which were in much better condition than I would have expected for 150+ year old books), hold them in my hands, and, I don’t know…..just remember good old Horton.

Just as an aside… I could visit Horton Howard and his family in one collection at the Wright State Archives anytime, but I already knew about that so it wasn’t a surprise: There are a few letters from Horton, his daughters Sarah and Mary, and a few other related people, in the Dustin/Dana Papers (MS-207). I have so far refused myself the indulgence of sitting down with them and just reading them all (even though there are only 10- just goes to show how busy I am)…but maybe one of these days! I’ve read so many pieces of that family’s story; it’s like found treasure when I stumble across pieces I didn’t even know where “missing” and are now found…

So, that’s my story for today. Hope you enjoyed it. Just goes to show, you never know when history will find you.

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Bio Sketch: John H. Howard (1813-1878), lawyer in Dayton, Ohio

John H. Howard was born October 5, 1813, in Belmont County, Ohio, the son of Horton Howard (1770-1833) and his third wife Hannah Hastings (1774-1833).[1]

John Howard (object NCR.1998.L0010.070 from Dayton History, used with permission)

John Howard (object # NCR.1998.L0010.070 from Dayton History. Used with permission.)

.

John H. Howard's signature, 1832

John H. Howard’s signature, 1832 (Dayton Metro Library, FPW, Box 36, Folder 7)

Beginning in 1832, John attended Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio. He first attended the grammar school for the year 1832-1833.[2] He entered the sophomore college class in 1834. While at Kenyon, he was a member of the prominent literary society, the Philomathesian Society. John graduated from Kenyon College with an A.B. degree in 1837.[3]

Letter from John to his sister Sarah, 18 Sept. 1833, discussing school at Gambier

Letter from John to his sister Sarah and brother-in-law Samuel Forrer, 18 Sept. 1833, discussing school at Gambier (Dayton Metro Library, FPW, Box 36, Folder 8)

John moved to Dayton, Ohio, in 1839, and read law in the office of Odlin & Schenck. He was admitted to the bar in 1840. John was a lawyer in Dayton for nearly 40 years, several of which he practiced with Daniel A. Haynes in the firm Haynes & Howard, one of the best firms in the state. In later years, he practiced law with his son William, first as John Howard & Son, then as Howard & Howard.[4]

John served as mayor of Dayton from 1848-1854. In the 1876 election, John ran as a Republican candidate for U.S. Congress from Ohio’s 4th district, losing by less than 100 votes to the Democratic candidate John McMahon.[5]

John Howard contested the 1876 Congressional election but still lost after a re-count (Dayton Journal, 10 Nov. 1876)

John Howard contested the 1876 Congressional election but still lost after a re-count (Dayton Journal, 10 Nov. 1876)

On June 21, 1841, in Hamilton County, Ohio, John married Ann E. Loury, daughter of Fielding Loury, Sr. Ann was born about 1818 or 1819 in Troy, Ohio.[6]

John H. Howard died on May 8, 1878, in Dayton, Ohio. His wife Ann died September 14, 1886. They are both buried in Woodland Cemetery in Dayton, Ohio.[7]

John Howard (back row, center) and family, Woodland Cemetery, Section 66

John Howard (back row, center) and family, Woodland Cemetery, Section 66 (Photo by the author, 29 Oct. 2011)

John and Ann had at least seven children, although only two of their children lived to adulthood:

  1. William Crane Howard (1842-1900);
  2. Eliza P. Howard (about 1844-1884);
  3. Ann Howard (about 1845-1853);
  4. Alice Howard (1847-1848);
  5. Horton Howard (1850-1853);
  6. Mary Howard (about 1850-1853); and
  7. John Howard (1854-1860).

William Crane Howard was born April 24, 1842, in Dayton, Ohio. From August 1862 until April 1863, William served as a second lieutenant in the 17th Independent Battery Ohio Volunteer Light Artillery. [For more on William’s Civil War service, see “A Tale of Two Howards,” especially Part 5, here on my blog.] He studied law with his father, and the two practiced law together from 1864 until John’s death in 1878. On December 5, 1865, in Montgomery County, Ohio, William married Anna Keifer (about 1843-1879). They had four children: Eliza K. Howard, Ann E. Howard, Louise Howard, and John H. Howard. Shortly after the death of his wife in 1879, William moved, with his children and his widowed mother, to the Cincinnati area, where he was a U.S. Clerk. He later moved to the San Francisco, California, area, where he died October 30, 1900. William was buried next to his parents and siblings in Woodland Cemetery in Dayton, Ohio.[8]

Eliza P. Howard was born about 1844 in Dayton, Ohio. On May 18, 1871, Eliza married Samuel Watts Davies (1838-1919), son of Edward Watts Davies and Mary Ann Peirce. They had three children: Mary D. Davies, Edward Watts Davies, and John Howard Davies. Eliza P. (Howard) Davies died May 9, 1884, and was buried in Woodland Cemetery in Dayton.[9]

*****

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, FPW, 36:20; John Howard to his family, [several letters], 36:7-8. John signed a few of his letters “John H. Howard.”

[2] Several letters from the time period of the August 1833 cholera outbreak are addressed to John at Gambier, Ohio. Also, according to Kenyon College historian Tom Stamp, it was not unusual for a young man of John’s age (19 or 20) to enter the grammar school at Kenyon, during that time period.

[3] Personal correspondence from Lydia Shahan, special collections assistant, Greenslade Special Collections & Archives, Kenyon College, Gambier, Ohio, 19 Mar. 2012. John Edgar, in Pioneer Life in Dayton and Vicinity (1896), p. 113, incorrectly states that John graduated in 1839.

[4] Edgar, Pioneer Life in Dayton, 113; David C. Greer, Sluff of History’s Boot Soles: An Anecdotal History of Dayton’s Bench and Bar (Wilmington, OH: Orange Frazer Press, 1996), 75; Dayton City Directories.

[5] “Mayors of Dayton” List, Dayton Metro Library Local History Question & Answer File; Greer, Sluff of History’s Boot Soles, 75; “How Soldiers Voted in Ohio: Why a Democrat was Elected to Congress from a Republican District,” 21 Oct. 1876, Cincinnati Enquirer, ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The Cincinnati Enquirer, 1841-1922; Dayton Journal, Aug.-Oct. 1876 [several articles].

[6] Ohio, County Marriages, 1790-1950 (database), FamilySearch, accessed 25 Jan. 2012, http://www.familysearch.org; Edgar, Pioneer Life in Dayton, 112-113; U.S. Federal Census, 1860; Woodland Cemetery & Arboretum Interment Database, accessed 26 Oct. 2011, http://www.woodlandcemetery.org.

[7] Obituaries of John Howard, 10 May 1878 and 11 May 1878, Dayton Daily Journal; obituary of Ann E. Howard, 15 Sept. 1886, Dayton Daily Journal; Woodland Cemetery & Arboretum Interment Database, accessed 26 Oct. 2011, http://www.woodlandcemetery.org. John and Ann Howard are buried in Section 66, Lot 125.

[8] Official Roster of the Soldiers of the State of Ohio in the War of the Rebellion, 1861-1866, vol. X (Akron: Werner Co., 1889), 583; Civil War Draft Registration Records, 1863-1865 (database), Ancestry Library Edition; Dayton City Directories; U.S. Federal Census, 1850-1900; Great Registers of California, 1866-1898 (database), Ancestry Library Edition; Obituary of William C. Howard, [1900], in James O. Oliver scrapbook, Vol. II, Part 2, page 180, Montgomery County Historical Society Collection, Dayton Metro Library, Dayton, Ohio; Woodland Cemetery & Arboretum Interment Database, accessed 26 Oct. 2011, http://www.woodlandcemetery.org. William is buried in Section 66, Lot 127.

[9] U.S. Federal Census, 1850-1880; Augustus W. Drury, History of the City of Dayton and Montgomery County, Ohio (Chicago: S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1909), 2:84-87; Ohio Marriages, 1800-1958 (database), FamilySearch, accessed 12 Mar. 2012, http://www.familysearch.org; Ohio Births & Christenings Index, 1800-1962 (database), Ancestry Library Edition; Woodland Cemetery & Arboretum Interment Database, accessed 26 Oct. 2011, http://www.woodlandcemetery.org. Eliza is buried in Section 66, Lot 127; her husband was later buried beside her.

Bio Sketch: Mary (Howard) Little Affleck (1809-1891), bearer of many sorrows

Mary Howard was born March 6, 1809, in Belmont County, Ohio, a daughter of Horton Howard (1770-1833) and his third wife Hannah Hastings (1774-1833).[1]

On September 21, 1827, in Franklin County, Ohio, Mary Howard married Harvey D. Little (1803-1833). On October 2, 1828, Mary was disowned by the Alum Creek Monthly Meeting for marrying contrary to discipline.[2]

Mary (Howard) Little's signature, 1831

Mary (Howard) Little’s signature, 1831 (Dayton Metro Library, FPW, Box 35, Folder 3)

Harvey Deming Little was born in 1803 in Wethersfield, Connecticut, and came to Columbus, Ohio, with his parents around 1816. He apprenticed to a printer and was a newspaper editor and publisher for a few years, before turning to the practice of law around the time of his marriage. Shortly thereafter, he returned to the newspaper business, managing the Eclectic and Medical Botanist, a major proponent of his father-in-law Horton Howard’s An Improved System of Botanic Medicine.[3] Harvey also wrote many published poems, some of which were published in a St. Clairsville, Ohio, newspaper under the pseudonym “Velasques.”[4]

Harvey D. Little's signature, 1827

Harvey D. Little’s signature, 1827 (Dayton Metro Library, FPW, Box 35, Folder 7)

[For some examples of Harvey and Mary’s poetry, see the post immediately following this one.]

Mary and Harvey had four children:

  1. Caroline Augusta Little was born in 1828. [Check out this July 11, 1828, letter where Harvey talks about the new baby.]
  2. Horton H. Little was born about 1829.
  3. Richard Murry Little was born about 1831.
  4. Harvey D. Little, Jr., was born about February 1834.

Mary’s family was devastated by the Columbus cholera epidemic of 1833. In less than three weeks’ time, she lost her parents, a sister, her husband, and two children to cholera. In the first week of August 1833, five-year-old daughter Caroline Little and four-year-old Horton Little both died. Harvey D. Little, Sr., died on August 22, 1833; he was about 30 years old.[5] Mary was left a 24-year-old widow, with one remaining child and another on the way.

In the spring of 1834, Mary lost her remaining two children to scarlet fever. Three-year-old Richard died on April 30, and three-month-old Harvey Jr. died on May 7.[6] Mary had lost her husband and four children within the span of one year, leaving her a childless widow at only 25 years old.

Tombstone of Harvey D. Little and the four children, brought here to Woodland Cemetery in 1851

Tombstone of Harvey D. Little and the four children, brought here to Woodland Cemetery in 1851 (Photo by the author, 29 Oct. 2011)

On November 1, 1837, in Delaware County, Ohio, Mary married Dr. John G. Affleck (1802-1877), a widower with one daughter.[7]

John Gladstone Affleck was born in Scotland in 1802. He immigrated to Virginia in 1820 and studied medicine in Maryland. He was a doctor and newspaper editor in Belmont County, Ohio. John and Mary raised their family in Bridgeport, in Belmont County, not far from where Mary had grown up.[8]

John G. Affleck died February 5, 1877, at his home in Bridgeport, Ohio.[9]

Afterwards, Mary resided with her daughter Mary Sharp, first in Bridgeport, and later in Buffalo, New York. Mary (Howard) Little Affleck died April 24, 1891, probably in Buffalo.[10]

Mary and John had four children:

  1. Harriet B. Affleck (1839-1912);
  2. Howard Gladstone Affleck (1840-1862);
  3. Edward Tullibardine Affleck (1843-1911); and
  4. Mary Forrer Affleck (1849-?).

Harriet B. Affleck was born in July 1839 in Belmont County, Ohio. On September 30, 1858, she married Benjamin Clark Patterson (1827-1900). They had two children: John G. Patterson and George Edward Patterson. Harriet (Affleck) Patterson died February 24, 1912, in Belmont County, Ohio.[11]

Howard G. Affleck was born in 1840, in Belmont County, Ohio. From April 1861 to August 1861, Howard served in the 15th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Company B, in the Civil War. From December 1861 to April 1862, he served in the 46th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Company H. On April 6, 1862, Howard was fatally wounded at the Battle of Shiloh. He lingered for several weeks before dying at his parents’ home in Bridgeport on May 15, 1862.[12] [For more on Howard Affleck’s Civil War service, see “A Tale of Two Howards,” especially Parts 1-3, here on my blog.]

Edward T. Affleck was born August 23, 1843, in Belmont County, Ohio. In the spring of 1864, Edward enlisted as a first lieutenant and adjutant of the 170th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, in the Civil War. He was taken prisoner at Winchester, Virginia, on July 24, 1864, but was eventually paroled in March 1865.  [For more on Edward Affleck’s Civil War service, see “A Tale of Two Howards,” especially Part 12, here on my blog.] On May 17, 1871, in Columbus, Ohio, Edward married Laura Walkup. They had four children: Howard Gladstone Affleck, II; Florence Affleck; Rankin Walkup Affleck; and Edward Tullibardine Affleck, Jr. Edward Sr. had several occupations over the years, including railroad clerk, wholesale coal dealer, bank cashier, and vice president of a dairy. Edward T. Affleck, Sr., died January 27, 1911, in Toledo, Ohio, where most of his immediate family lived.[13]

Mary F. Affleck was born in April 1849, in Belmont County, Ohio. On June 4, 1874, in Belmont County, Ohio, she married Joseph Frank Sharp (1848-?). They had nine children: Edward Affleck Sharp; Howard Gladstone Sharp; Marshall Forrer Sharp; Sarah Peirce Sharp; Harry L. Sharp; Helen G. Sharp, who married George A. Neubauer; Frank W. Sharp; Herbert M. Sharp; and one unidentified child. The family eventually moved to Buffalo, New York, where Mary probably died, sometime between 1920 and 1930.[14]

*****

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, FPW, 36:20.

[2] Ohio Marriages, 1800-1958 (database), FamilySearch, accessed 12 Mar. 2012, http://www.familysearch.org; Hinshaw, Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy, 4:1166;

[3] William Turner Coggeshall, The Poets and Poetry of the West: With Biographical and Critical Notices (Columbus, OH: Follett, Foster, & Co., 1860), accessed 12 Mar. 2012, http://books.google.com/books?id=c4ssJ5obTk8C, 116-118; Emerson Venable, Poets of Ohio (Cincinnati: Robert Clark Co., 1909), accessed 12 Mar. 2012, http://books.google.com/books?id=vZ5AAAAAYAAJ, 42-43; Berman and Flannery, America’s Botanico-Medical Movements, 48.

[4] Coggeshall, The Poets and Poetry of the West, 116. Coggeshall describes Harvey’s poetry at length and includes four of his poems. At least two of Harvey’s poems can be found in Sarah (Howard) Forrer’s Album of “Original and Selected Pieces” of Poetry and Miscellany, FPW, 5:5. Another example (“The Dead Father”) can be found in The Columbian Star, 14 Aug. 1830, 110.

[5] 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; Ohio State Journal, 10 Aug. 1833, 24 Aug. 1833, 2 Nov. 1833; Woodland Cemetery & Arboretum Interment Database, accessed 26 Oct. 2011, http://www.woodlandcemetery.org. In 1851, the remains of Harvey, Caroline, and Horton Little were moved to Woodland Cemetery in Dayton.

[6] Ohio State Journal, 3 May 1834, 10 May 1834; John Howard to Samuel Forrer, 7 May 1834, FPW, 36:8; Woodland Cemetery & Arboretum Interment Database, accessed 26 Oct. 2011, http://www.woodlandcemetery.org. In 1851, the remains of Richard and Harvey Little Jr. were moved to Woodland Cemetery in Dayton.

[7] Ohio Marriages, 1800-1958 (database), FamilySearch.

[8] Obituary of John G. Affleck, The Intelligencer, 6 Feb. 1877, in Affleck Family: Obituaries, FPW, 36:6; A. T. McKelvey, “Mrs. Harriet B. Patterson,” in Centennial History of Belmont County, Ohio, and Representative Citizens (Chicago: Biographical Publishing Co., 1903), accessed 21 July 2011, http://www.ohiogenealogyexpress.com/belmont/belmontco_bios_p.htm.

[9] Obituary of John G. Affleck, FPW, 36:6.

[10] Mellie Peirce to Howard F. Peirce, 24 Apr. 1891, FPW, 18:21; Mary Affleck to Mary (Forrer) Peirce, 1888-1891 [several letters, all postmarked Buffalo], FPW, 35:5.

[11] McKelvey, “Mrs. Harriet B. Patterson”; U.S. Federal Census, 1840-1910; Ohio Deaths,1908-1932, 1938-1944, & 1958-2007 (database), Ancestry Library Edition.

[12] Obituary of Howard G. Affleck, in Affleck Family: Obituaries, FPW, 36:6; American Civil War Soldiers (database), Ancestry Library Edition; U.S. Federal Census, 1840-1860; Sarah Forrer to Samuel Forrer, 9-24 May 1862 [three letters], FPW, 4:2; Howard Affleck to Mary Affleck, 10 Apr. 1862, Howard G. Affleck Civil War Diary and Mary Affleck Letter Book (Mss. A64-275), Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society, Buffalo, New York.

[13] McKelvey, “Mrs. Harriet B. Patterson”; Martins Ferry Historical Society, “Edward Tullibardine Affleck,” accessed 21 July 2011, http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~ohmfahs/cw-affleck.htm; American Civil War Soldiers (database), Ancestry Library Edition; U.S. Federal Census, 1850-1910.

[14] McKelvey, “Mrs. Harriet B. Patterson”; U.S. Federal Census, 1850-1930; Ohio Marriages, 1800-1958 (database), FamilySearch, accessed 12 Mar. 2012, http://www.familysearch.org; Ohio, County Marriages, 1790-1950 (database), FamilySearch, accessed 12 Mar. 2012, http://www.familysearch.org.

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)

.

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.

A Tale of Two Howards, Part 5: William Howard

…Howard chafes under failure to get into the army and the more because William Howard has succeeded…[1]

-Samuel Forrer to his daughter Mary, 24 Aug. 1862

 …I sent a letter this morning, telling of Howard’s disappointment. It is a great disappointment to him now but I think he will live to see the day that he will be glad it happened to him…[2]

-Sarah Forrer to her daughter Mary, [24?] Aug. 1862

*****

Throughout the summer of 1862, Howard Forrer and his cousin William Howard, both 20 years old, endeavored to join the fight for theUnion. I do not know the specific reasons why each boy desired to enter the service (although I explored possibilities in Part 4).

Howard Forrer recruited for the 112th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, a regiment that ultimately failed (more on that later), but his cousin William succeeded more quickly in joining up. Then again, although William entered the war sooner than his cousin Howard, he also left it sooner…

*****

William Crane Howard was born April 24, 1842, in Dayton, Ohio, the eldest child of John Howard, a prominent Dayton attorney who, between the time of William’s birth and the time of our story, had also served 6 years as Dayton’s mayor. In the summer of 1862, William was studying law in his father’s law office.

However, in early August, William began recruiting for a battery regiment, as Sarah Forrer wrote to her husband on Aug. 3rd:

…Willie has had permission given him to raise men for a Battery, and promise of a commission in ten days. I suppose he is sure of it…[2b]

Sure enough (with a couple of days to spare), on August 11, 1862, William enlisted as a second lieutenant in the 17th Independent Battery Ohio Volunteer Light Artillery, or 17th Ohio Battery (for short), which was recruited and organized at Dayton by Captain Ambrose A. Blount.[3]

According to Samuel Forrer, the 17th Ohio Battery nearly failed:

William Howard’s 17th Ohio Battery is now encamped on ‘Camp Dayton’. This battery after being fully made up and reported was rejected by Halleck as not being needed and was by order of the Governor required either to enlist as Infantry, or disband and go home. Your uncle [John Howard] and others, however, by much exertion and telegraphing to the authorities at Washington finally succeeded in having the Battery accepted.[4]

And so, the 17th Ohio Battery did in fact succeed at being accepted for service. Within a few weeks, the regiment marched off into action—or the threat of action, anyway—to aid in the defense of Cincinnati, which was believed to be under threat of attack from Gen. Kirby Smith; however, the anticipated attack never actually took place.[5]

Sarah wrote thus of her nephew’s departure:

Sept. 3rd. The 17th Battery was ordered to Cincinnati this morning, or rather they go this morning, they received orders last evening. I went down to see Willie before he went. They were all cheerful, and calm. That is[,] John[,] Willie[,] and Howard were cheerful, ever disposed to jest, and the rest of us by an effort were calm.[6]

Unfortunately, I have found little more about William’s time in the service. There are these few snippets that Sarah Forrer wrote about her nephew:

Sept. 7: “Willie has written once, directly after they arrived in Cincinnati. He said they were very comfortable.”[7]

Sept. 10: “Today John had a dispatch…saying Willie is in the Covington Hospital ill of fever and he dare not go to him because the citizens of Cincinnati are not permitted to go over the river… John went immediately. He said Will had a fever all night before he saw him, but thought he was better. I suppose it is an intermittent and he will bring him home.”[8]

Sept. 12: “John telegraphed, ‘Willie better, take him to Cincinnati today.’…”[9]

William’s illness and his return to Ohio were short-lived apparently, as Sarah wrote on Oct. 15: “John hears from Will almost every day. They are somewhere in northern K[entucky]. He is quite well…”[10]

These are the only manuscript snippets I have of William’s service. I have found some regimental history describing the 17th Ohio’s movements, and as I have no evidence on the contrary, I am inclined to assume that William’s movements during that time frame were essentially the same:

[T]he 17th marched via Lexington, Kentucky to Louisville, Kentucky, where the battery boarded transports for Memphis, Tennessee. On December 1, 1862, the organization accompanied General William T. Sherman’s command down the Mississippi River to the vicinity of Chickasaw Bayou, near Vicksburg, Mississippi. The 17th assisted the Northern force in destroying a portion of the O. and S. Railroad and also fought in the Union defeat at the Battle of Chickasaw Bayou (December 26-29, 1862). The battery next fought in the Battle of Arkansas Post (January 9-11, 1863), before entering winter encampment at Young’s Point, Louisiana.

In March 1863, the 17th moved to Milliken’s Bend, Louisiana, where the organization joined the 13th Army Corps, and on April 15, 1863, embarked upon Ulysses S. Grant’s Vicksburg Campaign.[11]

But when the 17th Ohio marched off towards Vicksburg—the 47-day “siege” of which culminated in a Union victory on July 4, 1863, and when combined with the win at Gettysburg the previous day, is often cited as the “turning point” in the war—William Howard did not go with them.

No, he hadn’t died…although I can see why you might think that’s where I was going.

According to the official record, 2nd Lieut. William C. Howard resigned on April 2, 1863.

Now, to be perfectly honest, I was surprised to see the word “resigned.” This Civil War story of the Howard family is the most Civil War research I have ever done in any real detail, with following certain individuals and regiments and troop movements. Sure, I have taken broad courses on the Civil War in general, but many of the fine, specific points still elude me.

For instance, I understand that much of the Civil War was fought by volunteers. But at the same time, men generally signed up for a specific period of time. In William’s case, he had signed up for a 3-year period of service.[12] I guess I just assumed that, while your initial enlistment may have been voluntary, once you signed those papers, you were (legally) committed until your service term ended or the war ended (whichever came first), unless you died or were discharged.

Even this initial entry from the “Record of Events for the 17th Independent Battery” seems to support that line of thinking (at least in the case of this particular regiment, which is really the one I’m concerned with at the moment anyhow):

August 21.—Muster-in roll of Captain [Ambrose] A. Blount’s Company, Seventeenth Battery, Light Artillery Regiment, of Ohio Volunteers, commanded by Captain A. A. Blount, called into the service of the United States by the President from the date of their respective enlistment, August 21, 1862 (date of this muster), for the term of three years or during the war, unless sooner discharged[13]

(So if anyone out there knows how resignations were “allowed” or fit into the grand scheme of volunteer regimental organization/discipline, I’d be interested to hear about it.)

** Update (2/24/2012) : According to Wright State University history professor Dr. Edward Haas (who teaches the Civil War courses), an officer of a volunteer regiment — of which William Howard was one (he was a lieutenant) — could resign at any time. /End Update **

I cannot tell you how or why William Howard resigned from the 17th Ohio Battery. I just know that the official record states that he did so, on April 2, 1863. He wasn’t the only one either; apparently, within the span of 6 months in 1863 (from February to August), three other officers also resigned. The regiment’s original organizer, Ambrose Blount, was among them, resigning on July 2, just two days before Grant’s forces took Vicksburg.[14]

William Howard was definitely not present for the Vicksburg triumph either. Even if I hadn’t found the record of his resignation, I found his June 1863 draft registration: William Howard, age 21, student, white, single, 2nd Ward, Dayton, Ohio.[15]

Indeed, for whatever reason—(not-quite-debilitating-enough-to-get-you-discharged illness or injury? conduct? fear? exhaustion? lost faith in the cause? scandal? We may never know!)—William resigned from the service returned to Dayton, and resumed his studies in his father’s law office.

I wonder how he felt when he read the papers and saw that his remaining comrades in the 17th Ohio Battery had participated in one of the war’s great victories, only a few months after he departed. He too might have enjoyed the honor and glory of victory—or, he might have been one of the several thousand casualties.

Before the war ended, William and his father became partners in the law firm John Howard & Son.[16] In December 1865, William married Anna Keifer, and the couple had four children before Anna died in 1879, two weeks after the birth of their son.[17] William later moved to the Cincinnati area to be a U.S. Clerk and eventually moved to the San Francisco area, where he died on October 30, 1900.[18] William C. Howard is buried near his parents and siblings in Woodland Cemetery (Section 66) in Dayton.[19]

William C. Howard, 1842-1900, Woodland Cemetery, Dayton, Ohio

William C. Howard, 1842-1900, Woodland Cemetery, Dayton, Ohio

Of the five men in my story, William Howard’s experience is by far the least traumatic—at least, as far as I can tell. I do not know the circumstances under which he left the service. But as far as I know, he was not captured or seriously injured. The only thing I can tell you for certain is that William Howard was not killed in the Civil War, which is more than I can say for three of my five…


[1] Samuel Forrer to his daughter Mary Forrer, 24 Aug. 1862, Forrer-Peirce-Wood Collection (hereafter cited as FPW), Dayton Metro Library (Dayton, Ohio), 1:10.

[2] Sarah Forrer to her daughter Mary Forrer, [24?] Aug. 1862, FPW, 4:5.

[2b] Sarah Forrer to her husband Samuel Forrer, 3 Aug. 1862, FPW, 4:2.

[3] Official Roster of the Soldiers of the State of Ohio in the War of the Rebellion, 1861-1866, vol. X (Akron: Werner Co., 1889), 583.

[4] Samuel Forrer to his daughter Mary Forrer, 24 Aug. 1862, FPW, 1:10.

[5] “17th Ohio Independent Battery of Ohio Volunteer Artillery,” Ohio Civil War Central, accessed 13 Feb. 2012, http://www.ohiocivilwarcentral.com/entry.php?rec=770&PHPSESSID=0068d44627ed900de9f492844b2f3a5a.

[6] Sarah Forrer to her daughter Mary Forrer, 3 Sept. 1862, FPW, 4:5.

[7] Sarah Forrer to her daughters Mary Forrer and Augusta Bruen, 7 Sept. 1862, FPW, 4:5.

[8] Sarah Forrer to her daughters Mary Forrer and Augusta Bruen, 10 Sept. 1862, FPW, 4:5.

[9] Sarah Forrer to her daughters Mary Forrer and Augusta Bruen, 12 Sept. 1862, FPW, 4:5.

[10] Sarah Forrer to her daughter Mary Forrer, 15 Oct. 1862, FPW, 4:5.

[11] “17th Ohio Independent Battery of Ohio Volunteer Artillery,” Ohio Civil War Central.

[12] Official Roster of the Soldiers of the State of Ohio in the War of the Rebellion, 1861-1866, vol. X (Akron: Werner Co., 1889), 583.

[13] Janet B. Hewett, ed., Supplement to the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Part II – Records of Events, vol. 50 (Wilmington, NC: Broadfoot Publishing Co., 1997), 483.

[14] Official Army Register of the Volunteer Force of the United States Army for the Years 1861, ’62, ’63, ’64, ’65, Part V (Washington, DC: Adjutant General’s Office, 1865), 40.

[15] U.S. Civil War Draft Registrations Records, 1863-1865 (database), Ancestry Library Edition.

[16] Dayton City Directory, 1864-65.

[17] Ohio County Marriages, 1790-1950 (database), FamilySearch.org; obituary of Anna Keifer Howard in the Dayton Journal, 17 Mar. 1879;

[18] U.S. Federal Census, 1880; U.S. Federal Census, 1900.

[19] Woodland Cemetery Records Database, accessed 13 Feb. 2012, http://www.woodlandcemetery.org/. (I have also personally seen his grave there.)

A Tale of Two Howards, Part 4: Why Enlist?

I think if [Howard] and Willie could have seen what has befallen their poor Cousin, it would cure them of all desire to enter the army. He was patriotic and brave, And see, his life has been thrown away, we may say, in that miserable battle of Shilo [sic]…[1]

-Sarah Forrer to her husband, May 15, 1862

As Sarah wrote these lines, her 21-year-old nephew Howard Affleck lay dying; he did not live out the day. Sarah already feared for the lives of her own son, Howard Forrer, and another nephew, William Howard.

And even as she grieved for her older son, Mary Affleck (Sarah’s sister) already feared for the life of her younger son Edward, wishing to send him back to Dayton with Sarah as a distraction:

She is distressed for fear Edward is going to the war. She wishes him to return with me, And go to school, or at least make a visit. She…thinks he would be diverted from going [to war] by visiting us…[2]

*****

All three of these young men – Howard Forrer, William Howard, and Edward Affleck – would eventually enlist voluntarily in Union Army, despite the hopes and wishes of their mothers and aunts (and possibly female companions).

I think that at this point in the story, it would be appropriate to address the following question:

“Why on earth would anyone who had heard/read/saw the tragic (and gruesome) tale of Howard Affleck [see Parts 1, 2, & 3] voluntarily enlist to fight in the Civil War?”

This might seem like a ridiculous question with obvious answers. And maybe it is. But I’m going to discuss it a little bit anyway.

Mostly, I’m going to share some relevant bits from James McPherson’s For Cause and Comrades: Why Men Fought in the Civil War. (McPherson is one of today’s premiere Civil War historians, and this particular book is one of my favorite history books.) For Cause and Comrades discusses the categories of soldier motivation first proposed by John A. Lynn:

Lynn posited three categories: initial motivation, sustaining motivation, and combat motivation. The first consists of the reasons why men enlisted; the second concerns the factors that kept them in the army and kept the army in existence over time; and the third focuses on what nerved them to face extreme danger in battle.[3]

Now, I’m not going to discuss every category or every motivation from the book, because that’s not my purpose at the moment. This isn’t a book review. (Although, I did write a review of this book for a graduate seminar; that’s when I read it the first time. That’s also how I knew that I should look over it again for this blog entry! By the way, it’s awesome. If you like Civil War history, you should read it.)

I’ll be pulling out pieces from here and there in McPherson and making an educated speculation about how the point might apply in my tale of the Howard cousins.

(Please note my careful word choices in what follows. Since I have few sources written by the soldiers themselves, I cannot provide concrete explanations of their motives, only educated guesses. Expect a lot of perhaps, maybe, might have, could have, and probably.)

*****

Many enlistments can be traced back to the motivations of patriotism, honor, and duty—and, in some cases, a longing for excitement.[4]

The initial impulse came from what the French call rage militaire—a patriotic furor that swept North and South alike in the weeks after the attack on Fort Sumter.[5]

Howard Affleck almost certainly fell into this category. Lincoln called for troops on April 15, 1861, and by April 18, Howard had enlisted in the 15th Ohio Volunteer Infantry as a private.[6]

Another relevant family member, whom I don’t believe I have yet mentioned in this story, was Luther B. Bruen, Sarah Forrer’s son-in-law. Luther was a 38-year-old Dayton lawyer (and father of three) when he enlisted in the regular army on May 14, 1861. He was commissioned a Major with the 12th U.S. Infantry.[7]

The rage militaire of April and May 1861 eventually cooled. But it flared up again at later points of crisis in the war… Additional Northern volunteers flocked to the colors…after the setback of the Seven Days in June and July 1862.[8]

It just so happens that William Howard and Howard Forrer, both 20 years old, enlisted in the late summer of 1862, but I’m not sure it had much to do with the Battle of the Seven Days. From the sound of Sarah’s letter in May, both boys were already eager to join up.

William enlisted with the 17th Independent Battery Ohio Volunteer Light Artillery (Sarah calls it the “17th Ohio Battery” for short) at its formation in August 1862. He signed up for three years and was made a second lieutenant.[9]

Howard recruited for the 112th Ohio Volunteer Infantry throughout the summer of 1862, and when the regiment failed to fill up, it was eventually combined with the 63rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry in November. Howard was Adjutant of the 63rd O.V.I., having enlisted for three years of service.[10]

Recruitment Ad for the 112th O.V.I. in the Dayton Daily Journal, 23 Oct. 1862, pg. 1

Recruitment Ad for the 112th O.V.I. in the Dayton Daily Journal, 23 Oct. 1862, pg. 1

Patriotism and nationalism as enlistment motivations sometimes included reference to the Founding Fathers: “If disunion destroyed this nation, the generation of 1861 would prove unworthy of the heritage of republican liberty.”[11]

A man’s sense of honor and duty was often cited as a reason for serving, also.

The consciousness of duty was pervasive in Victorian America… Victorians understood duty to be a binding moral obligation involving reciprocity: one had to defend the flag under whose protection one had lived.[12]

Furthermore: “Duty and honor were closely linked to concepts of masculinity in Victorian America.”[13] If a man failed at a real or perceived duty, he might appear to have lost some or all of his honor.

Not surprisingly, McPherson points out that women didn’t always “get” the whole duty/honor thing. While a man might feel it was his duty to serve, his wife might argue that his duty to his family was more important.[14]

I think this could be similarly extrapolated to mothers: Most mothers probably care much more deeply for their sons’ lives than their reputations. (I seriously wonder how many of those ancient Spartan mothers really meant it when they said, “Come back with your shield or on it.” Come to think of it, I wonder if any of them ever actually said that, since all those old histories were written by men. But I digress…)

I guess at some point the mothers knew they must just let them go. Sarah Forrer made numerous references in her letters and journal of her aversion to Howard’s army service. But when the time came for him to march off to the front for the first time, she did not fuss:

I feel as great dislike to his going as ever I did, and to his being connected with the Army in any way, but there seemed a necessity, just now, and I could not prevent him if I would. I think too he felt better that I bade him fare well quietly and without manifesting much emosion [sic]. Nothing else would serve him, I hope and trust I shall soon see him again…[15]

Patriotism, duty, and honor were certainly among the reasons that men served in the Civil War. But I think we would be foolish if we presumed that all motivations were pure.

Some men enlisted because they were looking for kicks; they had this idea that war is exciting, glorious, and romantic.[16] What little boy doesn’t like toy soldiers and war stories? So I guess it’s not surprising that when a real war came along, many young men thought it would be an adventure. (I do think the excitement angle probably had some influence over the young men in my story.) Of course, “once they had seen the elephant [a real battle], few Civil War soldiers were eager to see it again.”[17]

I do think the excitement angle probably had some influence over the young men in my story. The way Sarah turns the phrase “cure them of all desire to enter the army” makes me imagine a couple of boys chomping at the bit for war news every morning, watching their friends join up and march off, and moping around that their mommies won’t “let” them go play too.

Or maybe I’m way off base. But that is the way my imagination fills in the gaps—because let’s face it, when you don’t have enough actual facts to paint a complete picture, your imagination tries to fill in some of the gaps whether you meant to or not. (Just remember to keep facts and fiction clearly marked in your head—and, if applicable, your blog!)

There were other motivations for enlisting that weren’t totally noble, and I think that recruitment ads like this one (and the one several paragraphs above, for that matter) illustrate the point pretty well:

Recruitment ad for the Dayton Rangers in the Dayton Daily Journal, 15 Aug. 1862, pg. 2

Recruitment ad for the Dayton Rangers in the Dayton Daily Journal, 15 Aug. 1862, pg. 2

Notice the offer of a bounty and the mention of a potential draft. There were many others very similar to this one—you can see some of them on the Dayton Metro Library “Civil War Misc.” Flickr set. It’s like the ads are shouting: “We’ll give you money, and you can choose to enlist voluntarily, rather than waiting for the dishonor of joining only because you were forced to by the draft!”

There was no large scale national draft in the North until the Enrollment Act of 1863. However, individual states had to come up with quotas of soldiers for the army, and if these quotas weren’t met by volunteer enlistments, there might be smaller scale drafts to fill the empty spaces.

The threat of draft was definitely not the case for Howard Forrer’s enlistment, however. His father Samuel wrote on August 24, 1862:

[Howard] cannot even be drafted because our ward and indeed the city has furnished its full quota of the active force of the army called for to their time.[18]

The Forrers lived in Dayton’s Ward 2, which is the ward that includes most of downtown. Back in those days, many of Dayton’s upper crust folks lived in luxurious homes that were right downtown. Therefore, it’s not surprising that the 2nd Ward had already fulfilled its quota, since many of the early volunteers (often officers) came from upper- and middle-class backgrounds.[19]

These men “had enlisted early in the war from motives—in their own eyes at least—of duty, honor, and patriotism.”[20] Sure, they didn’t need the bounty money if they were already rich. Nor did they need to fear the draft, if their communities were quick to fulfill the quotas. But if a man is already wealthy and influential, what would he worry about more than money? His reputation perhaps? And remember, the honor code was still a pretty big deal in Victorian America.

I think some weren’t just being patriotic or dutiful for the sake of patriotism and duty only. Some probably joined because they felt what essentially amounts to peer pressure: the need to appear honorable, dutiful, and patriotic, whether they really felt that way or not. Even if a man might really prefer to take his chances with the draft, he couldn’t because his high-minded peers “looked down on the conscripts, substitutes, and bounty men who had been drafted or had enlisted for money.”[21] I’m sure he didn’t want to look like a coward either.

Obviously, if the man actually was poor, he might really need the money. Or if he happened to not be concerned about his reputation, he might just wait for the draft. But I have zeroed in on the upper-/middle-class angle just now because all the men in my story were from that group. I don’t think any of them would have been swayed by money as a reason for enlisting: Howard Affleck and Edward Affleck’s father was a doctor; Luther Bruen was a lawyer; William Howard’s father was a lawyer (and William himself a law student); and Howard Forrer’s father was the canal engineer (and Howard had job as a teacher).

In short, what do I propose to have been their reasons then? Well, like I said, I can’t tell you for certain, because I don’t have any letters where each man actually says, “I’m enlisting, and here’s why…” But my guess in the case of the first four—Howard Affleck, Luther Bruen, William Howard, and Howard Forrer—is that patriotism, duty, and the honor code all played their parts. (In the case of the 3 younger men, I think that sense of adventure probably also played some part.)

But wait, I’ve almost forgotten about Edward Affleck. He doesn’t really fit the profile of the big waves of patriotism in 1861 and 1862 (although I’m sure there were little ones). The younger brother of the ill-fated Howard did not serve on the front until 1864. He was 20 years old when he enlisted in the 170th Ohio Volunteer Infantry on May 2, 1864. The regiment was composed of two National Guard battalions, including the 74th from Belmont County (his home).[22] I wonder if he was already a member of it, and if he had been in the Guard long? I wonder if that was a compromise between his mother’s wish for him to stay away from the war and his own wish to join up. Was it for reasons of patriotism, duty, or honor? I hate to even mention the romantic, cliché-sounding idea that he might have been eager to avenge the gruesome death of his brother, but it’s a possibility. After all, award-winning historian James McPherson mentioned that motivation, too:

“The desire to avenge comrades or relatives killed by enemy bullets burned as hotly in Northern as in Southern hearts.”[23]

Then again, I think if he was hot to avenge his brother, he would have marched right up to the enlistment office in May 1862 and not waited two years. (Maybe he did go to back to Dayton with his aunt to go to school? I didn’t find any references to that, though.) Who knows?

That’s really about the only concrete thing I can say to you from this entry (at least, in respect to the five guys in my story): who knows why they enlisted? I really don’t. Even if I did have letters, or even perhaps diary entries, where the men wrote down their reasons, could we trust them? McPherson points out that “the motives of many volunteers were mixed in a way that was impossible for them to disentangle in their own minds.”[24]

If they didn’t even know why (let alone leave a record of it for me to find), how could I? I never promised to figure out the precise enlistment motives of these five men. I just thought it would be an interesting path to wander for a while.

In the next part, we’ll return to our regularly scheduled facts…


[1] Sarah Forrer to her husband Samuel Forrer, 15 May 1862, Forrer-Peirce-Wood Collection (hereafter cited as FPW), Dayton Metro Library (Dayton, Ohio), 4:2.

[2] Sarah Forrer to her husband Samuel Forrer, 15 May 1862, FPW, 4:2.

[3] James M. McPherson, For Cause and Comrades: Why Men Fought in the Civil War (New York & Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997), 12.

[4] McPherson, 14-34.

[5] McPherson, 16.

[6] American Civil War Soldiers (database), Ancestry Library Edition.

[7] American Civil War Soldiers (database), Ancestry Library Edition.

[8] McPherson, 17.

[9] Official Roster of the Soldiers of the State of Ohio in the War of the Rebellion, 1861-1866, vol. X (Akron: Werner Co., 1889), 583.

[10] American Civil War Soldiers (database), Ancestry Library Edition; various letters from Samuel Forrer & Sarah Forrer to their daughters Mary Forrer & Augusta Bruen, Aug.-Nov. 1862, FPW, 1:10, 4:5; Official Roster of the Soldiers of the State of Ohio in the War of the Rebellion, 1861-1866, vol. V (Akron: Werner Co., 1887), 383.

[11] McPherson, 18-19.

[12] McPherson, 22-23.

[13] McPherson, 25.

[14] McPherson, 23.

[15] Sarah Forrer to her daughters Mary Forrer and Augusta Bruen, 7 Sept. 1862, FPW, 4:5.

[16] McPherson, 27-33.

[17] McPherson, 33.

[18] Samuel Forrer to his daughter Mary Forrer, 24 Aug. 1862, FPW, 1:10.

[19] McPherson, 8.

[20] McPherson, 8.

[21] McPherson, 8.

[22] Official Roster of the Soldiers of the State of Ohio in the War of the Rebellion, 1861-1866, vol. IX (Akron: Werner Co., 1889), 415, 417.

[23] McPherson, 153.

[24] McPherson, 28.

A little Quaker love story, Revisited (Part 6)

I intend this to be the true final installment in my story of how Samuel Forrer and Sarah Howard met in 1825 and married in 1826 without her parents’ consent, but you just never can tell. I keep finding things!

In my last entry, I attempted to riddle out the school Sarah was attending in Cincinnati when she met Samuel. I had to concluded that it was probably one or the other of two schools, but unfortunately I couldn’t make a clear decision between them. No matter…

I included a transcription of an interesting letter from Horton Howard to his daughter Sarah, discussing her schooling, from 23 Nov. 1825. It seems that sometime between Nov. 23 and Dec. 11, when he wrote his daughter another, very differently toned letter, Horton had probably caught wind of Sarah’s blooming relationship with Samuel. The Dec. 11, 1825, letter gives general news, mentions little about school, and offers the following parental admonishments:

Mother says…[for me to tell Sarah] ‘to keep to meetings, to be careful of the company she keeps and not throw herself away.’ This is the earnest solicitude of thy tenderly affectionate parents. It is the Counsel of the giver of every good and perfect gift. If thou art attentive thereto the blessings of everlasting preservation will be afforded and no good thing will be withheld from thee. We are anxiously expecting a letter from thee. Micajah [Williams] is here and in good health, says he rec’d a letter from [his wife] Hannah telling that you were well and that thou wast pleased with the School, all of which is very satisfactory… I intreat [sic] thee my dear Child, write frequently, and freely withhold nothing from us which would be interesting to us or interesting or desirable or useful or relieving to thy self…

Given that Micajah Williams knew Samuel, Sarah, and Sarah’s father (see Part 4, Aug. 14, 2011) — and that Horton mentions Micajah has paid him a visit — it makes me wonder if he (Williams) was the one to tip off Sarah’s parents. In any event, it does sound like they heard about it.

To me, Horton’s letter sounds like the 1825 equivalent of: Watch out for boys [or in this case, men]. Don’t forget about church [especially since your new beau is not of our same religion]. You like your new school; remember how we sent you to school to get an education, not to meet boys [er, men]. And, of course, the classic: Is there something you want to tell us? [We already know, so spill it.]

I don’t know exactly whether Sarah ‘fessed up herself. I can only really go by the correspondence that I actually have.

I know that at some point Samuel asked for Horton’s permission to marry Sarah (see Part 1, Aug. 9, 2011) — which, although what I have is an undated draft, could not have been written very long after Horton’s Dec. 11th letter, because Samuel and Sarah did get married on Feb. 13, 1826 — apparently “without the consent of her much loved parents” (according to Samuel’s Feb. 13, 1826, letter to his new father-in-law Horton, informing him of his and Sarah’s marriage; see Part 3, Aug. 11, 2011).

At the time that I wrote Part 3, I had not yet finished processing the Forrer-Peirce-Wood Collection of manuscripts (from which all of these letters originated), so I did not know exactly how Sarah’s father reacted but speculated about how he seemed to have taken the news (see Part 3B, Aug. 13, 2011).

Since then, however, I came across a letter from Horton to Sarah and Samuel, dated 21 Feb. 1826, that I had not yet found when I wrote Parts 1-4. This letter, addressed to “My dear children” includes the following [brackets mine]:

I have just time to acknowledge the receipt of Samuel’s letter of the 13th instant  [the one informing Horton of the marriage] and say we shall always be glad to hear of your welfare and to see you as often as we can and wish you to come and see us whenever you can conveniently but considering the distance [between Columbus and Cincinnati] and Samuel’s engagements [as canal engineer, which involved frequent travel] we do not wish to press you to come sooner nor oftener than you reasonably can. I think it probable that in a month or six weeks I shall come to Cincinnati and possibly may bring some one or more of my family to see you, but do not expect it with too much certainty, as we may be disappointed. I wish you to let us hear from [you] as often as one at least in two weeks or at most every month. Give my love to Micajah [Williams] and Joseph Gest and their wives and all inquiring friends, not forgetting Judge Bates and the whole Corps of Engineers. I should be glad to hear how the engraver is getting on with respect to my map, how you are progressing with the Canal, when you expect to let out more to contractors, how much, &c…

Is it just me, or does that come across a little cold? We’d love to see you, IF we have time, and if all our schedules are not too busy. We might come in six weeks, but don’t get your hopes up. Perhaps I’m reading too much into it. Then again, he also obviously (as we can tell from the document) did not gush with excitement and congratulations either.

I suppose it probably was a shock. He sent his 18-year-old daughter away to college, apparently only just in September (or so it sounded from the Nov. 23 letter; see Part 5, Dec. 13, 2011), and in a matter of just a few short months (literally could not have been more than 5 months!), she has gotten married, and to a much older man her father disapproves of, no less, and won’t be coming back home! Really, when you put it that way, it sounds like Horton took the news pretty well!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little tangent of history. I know I’ve enjoyed piecing it together (or at least trying to!). And what fun is a sleuthing out a story if you don’t share it?

Note: This post was written in advance, on Dec. 17, 2011.

*****

Bibliography

Forrer-Peirce-Wood Collection (MS-018), Dayton Metro Library, Dayton, Ohio. This collection is publicly available for research at the Dayton Metro Library, Main Library, Local History Room, 215 E. Third St., Dayton, OH 45402.

For more information on Sarah Howard and Samuel Forrer, contact the Dayton Metro Library, or feel free to leave a comment on this blog.