John Dow Howard
JOHN L. (DOW) HOWARD.
"No record of the city of Duluth would be complete without a recognition of John D. Howard, who was not only one of the early business men at the head of Lake Superior, but who was active in the building of the city and also played a prominent part in the public life of Northern Minnesota. He was born in Springfield, New Hampshire, September 13, 1813, the son of Amasa and Alice (Burley) Howard. The father was born in Sturbridge, Massachusetts, in 1782, and the mother was barn in Dorchester, Massachusetts, in 1790. After gaining such education as the boys of the middle of the 19th century were able to obtain in the local schools, J. D. Howard became a regular Yankee merchant, traveling extensively in connection with his business.
In 1854 he started or, a western trip with Pike's Peak as his objective. The first part of the journey he made by way of the Great Lakes, but when he reached. Superior, Wisconsin, he liked the country so well that he stopped there and settled down. In Superior he started a general store, and also went into the real-estate business. He prospered and in the early days owned large sections of both Duluth and Superior. He also operated the first Sawmill in Duluth. From operating heavily in real estate he branched out into the mortgage loan business and all the latter part of his life was devoted to the handling of these interests.
"In the early development of properties at the head of Lake Superior John Dow Howard was one of the most active men of that day. He was the founder of the old village of Cloquet, Minnesota, and one of the organizers of the Old Settlers' Association of the Head of Lake Superior. Then in 1881, he was sent to the state senate and served in the 22nd Legislature of the State of Minnesota. In the senate he made an excellent record. He was a stanch republican and one of the first members of that party, which came into existence the year that he settled at the head of Lake Superior. He was also a prominent Mason.
"On March 1, 1847, at Sandwich, Massachusetts, John D. Howard was married to Hannah Sewall Fessenden, daughter of Sewall and Hannah Fessenden. The Fessenden
Family is one of the oldest in Massachusetts, or in America, the original
forbear having come from Kent, England, and settled in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1641.
Mr. and Mrs. John Dow Howard had a, family of six children, namely: Benjamin
F., John G., Julius D., Edward C., Ida Marian and Jay Cooke Howard. The last
named is the only one who resides in Minnesota. Mr. J. T. Howard died in 1889.
His father, Dr. Amasa Howard, was a practicing physician in New Hampshire, and is
prominently mentioned in the history of that state.
"John D. Howard came from a sterling line of ancestors and both as a pioneer
and a public man he proved himself a worthy scion of his family. In business he was
unusually successful and at his death he left a very considerable estate."
From "Minnesota and Its People" by
J. A. A. Burnquist, - Volume IV, page 406. S. J. Clarke Publishing Company,Chicago, 1924.
Copied by Mr. Wieland.
Typed copy made by Miss Anna Monson
March 16, 1939
following article taken from "The Morning Call, Monday, January 23, 1871.
THE RICH MAN OF SUPERIOR.
An oldish man came in. Tie thought he was a wood sawer or some other honest laborer looking for a job, and so we extended the right hand of fellowship. He wore buckskin boots, an ordinary knit blouse, and the whole get-up of the man was homespun in the extreme.
"You are the editor of the Morning Call I believe," drawing his wallet slowly from his trousers' pocket. "How much is it?"
Twenty-five cents per month, if you please.
"Well, there is fifty cents, I have had the reading of it for a month, and wish to pay the same as if I had been a subscriber."
You are too liberal my poor fellow. Where shall we send the -Paper?
"To J. D. Howard of Superior."
O!Ho! You are the Mr. Howard who owns so much property about here. Yes, yes; you are the rich man of Superior. And a very quiet, unassuming person you are. We rather like your style. How long have you lived in this country, 'Mr. Howard?
"I came in '36."
You have been engaged in farming here?
"Yes, I have done extremely well for the short time I have had my farm open. I shall commence on a more extensive scale next spring. My object now is to see this country developed. I want to demonstrate to the people, that this country is eminently susceptible of cultivation."
How much land have you Mr. Howard?
"I have eleven thousand acres in all. It lies principally in the vicinity of Duluth and Superior."
From an extended conversation with Mr. Howard, we gathered that he came to the Head of Lake Superior comparatively poor, and that from the very start he has acted upon the conviction that this at some day or other much be an important point. He has been engaged in the mercantile and lumbering business principally. He has worked
hard and even now goes about doing the work of an ordinary hired hand. His present wealth is probably not much short of a half million dollars, and his prospective wealth is, to say the least, immense, In fact, should he live to be seventy-five-his present age is fifty-five--we predict that he will die the richest man in America.
There are a few things we forgot to ask him. We wonder how he would like to hear the people talking about Howard's College,--Howard's Home for the Friendless:-Howard's Female Seminary--Howard's Home for the Blind:--Howard's Laborers' Free Library!--Howard's Home for Disabled Seamen and Sailors---Howard's House of Industry. Who knows how many of these names may become familiar to succeeding
It seems the writer's faith was misplaced, no such institutes or foundations exist. My father said that the land for Lester Park
in Duluth was donated by the family, perhaps they did more but didn't take credit for it. It is a little sad that few people
know about the family that were prime movers in the
creation of Duluth and Cloquet.
William B Jones
William C. Jones
Milo Jones and
William C. II
W.C. Jones II
of Russian Railway
Service in Japan
1917 - 1918
John G Howard
John G Howard's Obituary
John G Howard, age 62, pioneer of Duluth and actively interested in the development of the iron range,
died at 3:15 p.m. yesterday in his apartment at the Lenox hotel after a long illness.
Mr. Howard had extensive holdings of mineral lands in Lake and Cook counties and was
regarded as one of the best informed miningt men in the nation. He had lived in Duluth
since 1859 when he came here with his parents from Newport, Vt. He had been in ill health for nearly a year.
He was a member of the Masonic order and of the Old Settlers' association.
Surviving are the widow, a daughter, Mrs. Robert McMartin of Duluth; a sister, Mrs. Ida Gilbert of California; three brothers, Benjamin of Winnipeg; Edward of Katchikan, Alaska, and Jay Cooke of Duluth. Funeral arrangements will be made on the
arrival of Benjamin Howard.
My great aunt Catherine, Kitty, married John G. Howard. She was the daughter of William C. Jones I, and my grandfather's only sister. My father spoke of watching them draw up in front of the opera house in a sleigh being drawn by six white horses and descending elegantly dressed for the evenings preformance, and not acknowledging their raggedly dressed nephew shivering in the cold. In fairness, they did take in her other brother's daughter Florence to raise. However, they did leave Florence's two brothers in the orphanage, and as far as I can tell, did nothing to help Dad's family when his father disappeared.
There appears to have been some emnity between Kitty and my grandmother. There seems to have been a feeling that she drove my
grandfather off, which could very well be true. She was probably overly protective of her little brother and did not approve
of his choice of a wife. In the end, the Howards did not escape tragedy as their only son Julius died as a child.
Their adopted daughter married a Robert McMartin and the McMartins had a daughter named Pansy who, last I knew lived in Wisconsin
and was talented artist.
Catherine was known as Kitty. As a child I remember my aunt Kitty as an always properly dressed and coifed old lady who spent a lot
of time primping herself in the mirror. She would descend on us and stay for a month or so, much to the chagrin of my mother who had three little kids to take care of. Kitty was a LADY and expected to be waited on. It is funny the things a child will remember, she had a pair of clip on glasses that were attached to a self retracting broche pinned to her shirt, and there was always an air of scented powder that traveled with her. She wore high collars and I was fascinated by her boots that needed a boot hook to lace them. I don't remember much else as she would stay with us only a few times a year, and she was only one of many elderly aunts that flowed in and out of our lives, and we spent much of our time around them dodging kisses. By default, my father had become the patriarch of the family to whom everyone turned to for help, and he usually found a way to help, even if it was to our detriment.
The Howards are an old Duluth family that according to the family were quite well off. John Dow Howard came to Duluth in 1853 and became one of the wealthiest men in the city, through lumber and land. He turned the real-estate business over to his son Jay Cooke Howard, the lumber business to Benjamin and the shipping business to John G Howard. There was a Howard Shipping Company that started shipping lumber on the lakes and then went to shipping iron ore and grain. I understand the company went into demise in the fifties. On the Superior side of the Saint Louis Bay there is a Howard's Pocket or Howard's Bay that takes the name from them. This is where John Dow had his lumber mill, an ideal spot for lake shipping.
It is interesting that despite their vast wealth, there is nothing in Duluth to mark their existance except for Howard Bay. I am told that they had donated some park land, but haven't found out where it was.
Today there is an active ship repair yard in the Howard's Pocket, but no new boats have been built there in years. At one time there was a going ship building business there which the Howards may or may not have been a part of. My father reported being present at some boat launchings when he was a child. The boats were launched sideways into the bay.
Below are records taken from the files of Forest Hill cemetary in Duluth, Minnesota. The Howard lot is lot 1, of block one, making them among the first to buy into the cemetary.
Recorded 9/20/1893, the price was $600 and was jointly owned by Benjamin F. Howard, John D. Howard and John G. Howard.
"John Dow Howard and Hannah S. Howard, his wife, their lineal descendents and connections named designated as follows:
John G. Howard, Edward C. Howard and Cora Howard, sons and daughter, and Alice Burleigh Gilbert, Grand-daughter, Minnie
Greer Howard, deceased wife of Jay Cooke Howard hereinafter named, Catherine M. Jones, mother-in-law of said John G. Howard, all of whom are now deceased and intered therein; and also for Julius D. Howard, son, now deceased and elsewhere interred, and the following deceased and elsewhere interred, and the following named persons now living to-wit:
Benjamin F. Howard, the Grantor above named Ida M. Gilbert, and Jay Cooke Howard, together with the above named deceased sons and daughter comprise all the children born to the said John Dow Howard and Hannah S. Howard: and also for the respective spouses, whether pre-deceasing or surviving, of all the said children of John Dow Howard and Hannah S. Howard; without preference of preference of precedence in right of one over another except as hereby established in the order in point of time in which, the said persons named and designated henceforth shall respectively decease."
on east half of lot
Grave 1, Howard, Mrs. John Dow, 8/18/89
Grave 2 Howard, Eva 10/23/91
Grave 3 Gilbert, Alice B. no date given
Grave 4 Jones, Catherine M. 5/10/06
Grave 5 Howard, John G. 6/25/21
Grave 6 Howard, Edward C. 8/27/26
Grave 7 Howard, Catherine 9/4/54
on west half of lot
Grave 4 (also East 1) Howard, John Dow 9/26/91
Grave 5 Howard, Millie G. 5/20/02
Last Updated on June 25, 2004 by Dale C Jones