Our Howard family first appears in Dutchess County, New York; Martin Howard and his brother Parker were born in that county in the 1790’s. Early on, about 1815, the family moved up to Jefferson Co., New York, an area known as the “Black River country.”
There both Martin and Parker married and had children.
The families, including Martin Freeman Howard and a number of other relatives, moved briefly to Ohio, then to Stephenson Co., IL. And that is where
Martin Freeman Howard became an adult, married and had eight children, (see genealogy)
The family seems to have prospered. They all lived to the west of the town of Lena on, I think, the stagecoach road to Galena, IL.
They established a tiny town named Howardsville with a Primitive Baptist church called Providence Church. The church was made of the same limestone as was used to build the home of Parker Howard.
But Martin Freeman by the early 1870’s, was thinking about moving west, as I found when looking for his grave. I also found that in Oct 25 1873 Martin Howard and EJ Perry purchased a 1/2 section of land in Dakota County; another 1/2 section was gained by patent June 13 1874, proved June 20 1879. This land was in the eastern edge of Hubbard Co. I discovered that the Howards were enumerated in 1880 Dakota Co., NE in Stephenson Co., a surprise.
So the family moved in 1880, and this is a family letter I treasure .. 23 Jan 1958 from Hattie Simmons Gallup [a granddaughter] to Nina Paul Shumway [ another granddaughter] Dear Nina, .. Am wondering if you know the Howard family went from Ill. to Neb in a covered waggon and a carriage with 3 teams of horses and a young cow so they would have fresh milk for me all the way. I was five years old but still remember lots of things about the trip. Don’t know how long we were on the road, but in the back of the waggon they had a cook stove, my bed and rocking chair. I had my doll and a small black dog with yellow spots over his eyes. Can’t remember his name. I can’t remember who rode in the carriage, but it was full so I had to ride with Uncle Walter and a hired man. Then Granfather Howard drove the carriage. I do remember grandmother Howard and Aunt Penny Foot. The rest must have been the three girls. Also the carriage always went up a head of us and when they wanted to camp they would leave the tent up, then when we got there the stove was put up and a hot meal was cooked, all so the next morning hot food to start out on. Expect you know all that and more. Think we must have had good weather all the way. I don’t seem to remember rain. … Herbert [Shumway] yoused to say if the Howard girls got together, they did not care for any one else. I don’t sleep so good any more nights, so when I am a wake so many things come back to me that I had forgotten. When we first went to Neb. the girls, your mother, Nell and Edith used to put on some kind of plays. At night they would go up to go to bed, then dress up in any old thing they could find, paint their faces with burnt cork or red cheese cloth that ____ or some thing. One night that stands out was the night that Edith was to have her head cut off. That was [the] end for me. I went under the bed and hid till they pulled me out to see she still had her head left on. I know how lonesome they must have been after Ill. [There] just a short way up the road was the Drickees [Durkee’s?] and on the other side was the other Howard family. The Stephensons were beyond Drickees, but nights they used to get together & have wonderful times. Well, they are all gone now.
Martin Howard seems to have been estranged from his wife after the move; his 1883 death announcement said “Mr. Howard will be remembered as an old respected citizen of Howardsville for many years, but who removed about three years since to Nebraska and from there to Maryville, where he has resided ever since.” His wife (or widow) Elizabeth Stevens Howard moved to Wakefield, Nebraska. She bought a brick house, perhaps the first brick house built in Wakefield.
For a time Elizabeth lived in Wakefield with sons Walter and Charles, daughter Edith and granddaughter Hattie Simmons. Nellie Howard met and married Herbert Shumway in 1883.
Somewhere between 1885 and 1891 Elizabeth Howard moved with Hattie Simmons to Hammond, Louisiana, and apparently Herbert and Nellie rented the house from her. Howard letters show her to have been something of a “tough cookie.” Maybe Nellie and Herbert were happier to have her as an occasional guest; at all events she died in 1900.
As mentioned in Hattie Simmons Gallup’s letter (above) the Howards loved to get together and have a good time – a few more pictures of their gatherings follow.
Martin Freeman Howard’s Family
Herbert & Nellie Shumway Family