The Howell family is thought to have originated in Wales. There are a vast number of Howell families along the Atlantic seaboard dating from the 1600s. They chose many similar first names: John, Joseph, William. Researching this line has proved difficult as it is hard to know you have the right man. The following is my Howell family research as it stands today:
1. Daniel Howell, [17??-1797]
Daniel Howell is the earliest known ancestor in our Howell lineage. Very little is known about him. He lived in Union County, South Carolina prior to the American Revolution. Apparently, Daniel Howell fought first for the Crown and then later for the Rebellion. I am uncertain if this was indeed done by one man, or perhaps by two. There are so few court records for any Daniel Howell that I am still working my way through this puzzle.
The Daniel Howell who fought for the Crown was married to Jeane Lee. Jeane Lee was the daughter of William and Sarah Lee. This family has a confusing background of their own.
Daniel Howell wrote his will in Union County, SC on 17 DEC 1796 and it was probated there on 22 JUN 1797. In it he remembered his son Joseph Howell, his own beloved wife, and his daughters Sarah Lee and Roseanner Lee. He also mentioned his "trusty friends" Humphrey Bales, John Lee, and Joseph Lee. The will was witnessed by Thomas Lee, Joseph Lee, and Rebecca Spier.
The children of Daniel Howell and Jeane Lee were:
- Joseph Howell - see the next section.
- Sarah Howell - married a Mr. Lee.
- Rosanna Howell - married a Mr. Lee.
2. Joseph Howell, (bef. 1750 - 1819)
Joseph Howell, the only known son of Daniel Howell of Union County, SC, was born before 1750 in either North or South Carolina. Joseph Howell was a cooper, a barrel maker, by trade.
In late 1768 our Joseph Howell was granted 640 acres of land in Anson County, NC. I have no indication of why he was in this area, and haven't found other records pointing to him there. Later, it does become clear that this land record is our Joseph Howell. About the same time, Joseph Howell married Elizabeth Frazer, the daughter of Isaac Frazer. Little is known about the Frazer family. Isaac Frazer died about 1807 in Union County, SC leaving probate papers. He had at least four children: Elizabeth (m. Joseph Howell), Susannah (m. Israel Hunt), Israel, and Isaac, Jr.
Joseph Howell served in Roebuck's Regiment of the militia from South Carolina during the Revolutionary War. His military service has been accepted by the NSDAR.
By 1791, Joseph Howell and his family lived in Burke County, GA. The land he bought then was later a part of Hancock County. In 1792 Joseph Howell was elected a Deacon in Fulsom Creek Baptist Church. The church was shortly renamed Horeb Baptist Church and is still active in Hancock County, GA today. Some of Joseph's descendants are buried in the church cemetery.
In 1793, Joseph Howell of "Washington County, GA" (in the Hancock County area) made a deed of gift transferring 200 acres of his 640 acre NC land to his son Samuel Howell of Anson County, NC. He also sold off the remainder of that tract that same day. With the North Carolina land sold, Joseph then begins accumulating lands in Georgia. Many deeds are recorded for him there.
Joseph Howell wrote his will on 13 FEB 1819 in Hancock County, GA. He names his son Meshack Howell, daughter Nancy Hicks, daughter Hedney Critondon, daughter Friby Clark, son Hezekiah Howell, son Joseph Howell, and daughter Winifred Jourdan.
Joseph Howell died on 11 OCT 1819. A brief announcement of his death appeared in The Georgia Journal newspaper on 26 OCT 1819:
Died... Mr. Joseph Howell, one of the remaining Revolutionary Characters. He was a man loved by all who knew him, thought and known to be an honest man, fought and bled for his country... 'The end of a righteous man, for an honest man is the noblest work of God.'
Joseph and Elizabeth (Frazer) Howell had 8 children:
- Hezekiah Howell - see the next section.
- Samuel Howell - bc 1794 in SC. Moved to Hancock County, GA c. 1806.
- Joseph Howell, Jr. - born between 1774-1790 in SC d. 28 JUL 1850 Hancock Co., GA. He married Nancy Allen (1786-1854) and apparently had 3 children: Abram, Alford, and Mary Ann.
- Nancy Howell - bc 1780, she married John Hicks who appears to have died before 1819.
- Hedney Howell - bc 1782 died between 1831-1840 in Fayette County, GA. She married John Crittendon, a Revolutionary War soldier.
- Meshack Howell - bc 1784 in SC d. 1835 in Hancock Co., GA. He married Mary W. Jordan (1796-1871) and had 9 children: Cassandra, Emily A., Mary Francis, Martha E., James C., William J., Thomas, Meshack Jr., and Caroline E.
- Fresby Howell - born before 1790, she married David Clark.
- Winnefred Howell - born before 1790, she married to William Jourdan of Warren County.
3. Hezekiah Howell, (c1773-1835)
Hezekiah Howell was born about 1773-1774 time frame in South Carolina. He was a young man, about 18 to 20 years old when his family moved to Georgia. He began purchasing his own land in 1794 in Hancock County, GA.
Around this time, Hezekiah Howell married Rachel Parker, the daughter of John Parker and Patience Humphrey of Greene County, GA. See the PARKER Family pages for more information about Rachel's ancestors.
On February 17, 1803 Emanuel Merit of Hancock County, GA wrote his will and named the children of Hezekiah Howell as heirs. I cannot discover the link between Emanuel Merit and the Howell family.
Rachel Howell died in 1828. Hezekiah Howell died in 1835 at about 61 years of age. Their burial site is not known.
Hezekiah Howell and Rachel Parker had 9 children:
- Meshack Howell - b. before 1794 in GA, d. 20 AUG 1844 in California.
- John Howell - b. before 1800 in GA, moved to Alabama after 1826.
- Margaret Howell - b. 1800-1810, d. before 30 OCT 1849 in Twiggs County, GA. Margaret Howell married Allen Wickers, Lazarus Pearce, and Thomas Dozier. See the PEARCE Family pages for more information about her family.
- Hiram Howell - b. 17 AUG 1800 Hancock County, GA, d. 24 DEC 1873 Stewart County, GA. Hiram married to Mary Crittenden (1810-1863) in 1825 and they had 14 children. One of their children, William Marion Howell was a traveling Baptist preacher. He was also the family historian and it is his journals which provided much of this information.
- James Howell - see the next section.
- Sarah Howell - married Leeroy Crittenden, half-uncle to Mary above. Leeroy and Sarah had no children.
- Henry Howell - moved to Cass County, TX.
- Martha Howell - m. James Blunt/Blount.
- Nancy Howell - b. 1810-1815 in GA, she married Messick Easom.
4. James Howell, (1802 - 1875)
James Howell was born on 24 OCT 1802 in Hancock County, GA. His name has been listed as James Ira Howell in some family records written after his death, but I have never found even a middle initial in any records.
On 14 JAN 1830, James Howell married Elizabeth Pearce in Twiggs County, GA. Elizabeth was the daughter of Lazarus Pearce and Mary Smith. See the PEARCE Family page for more information about her ancestors.
James and Elizabeth Howell moved from Twiggs County to Sumter County in 1835. James bought 2000 acres of land there for $300. He appears to have become quite successful there. In 1839 he was able to secure the estate of deceased father-in-law Lazarus Pearce for $7,000. He served as the guardian for wife Elizabeth's younger siblings John Luther Pearce, Lovick A. Pearce, and Reddick Pearce.
The Howell family were slave owners. By 1860, they owned 12 slaves valued at $12,605. I do not know the names of any of these slaves.
The Howell family is listed among the early members of the Shiloh Baptist Church in Sumter County. The church is about 8 miles northwest of Americus on the Shiloh Road. You pass the Howell homestead on your way to the church from Americus.
I cannot find any record of James Howell serving the Confederacy in any way. Son Granberry died before the War, and sons Pugh, John, and William fought. William Howell died in the Battle of Wilderness in Virginia at age 19.
James Howell was able to maintain his land after the War ended. His personal property was greatly devalued, only worth $2,200 in 1870.
James Howell died on 30 JUN 1876 at age 72. He is buried in the Howell Family Cemetery in Sumter County next to his home. His will, written on 27 APR 1876 mentions his loving wife Elizabeth, daughter Emaline A. E., son James, son Jon T., son Purifoy, daughter Nancy Buchanan, daughter Marian (later called Mary McMath), and daughter Laura E. V. Howell.
The records I have found have a conflict about the year of James Howell's death. His tombstone is clearly labeled 1875, but his will was signed in 1876. The family Bible also shows 1876, but appears to have been written well after his death. I cannot find an obituary or death notice in the Sumter County newspapers to verify either date.
Elizabeth Pearce Howell died at age 68 on 17 AUG 1877. She is buried beside her husband in the Howell Family Cemetery. The cemetery is located on private property on the Shiloh Road. The cemetery is marked with a historical marker reading:
John Howell, Sr. Chapter National Society Colonial Dames XVII Century dedicates Howell Cemetery, circa 1853. In honor of the sacrifices of the Howells and other Georgia pioneers. Legendary site of unmarked graves of a slave and of a stranger, ill from exposure, graciously buried by the Howells.
This marker was placed in error. The line of John Howell Sr. is not our lineage. Please see the John Howell Sr. page to see that lineage and why it is not ours.
James Howell and Elizabeth Pearce had 9 children:
- Edmond Granberry Howell - b. 28 JUL 1831, d. 5 JUN 1853. Granberry was killed in a hunting accident.
- Mary Anne P. Howell - see the next section.
- Lazrous E. Purifoy "Pugh" Howell, (CSA) - b. 6 DEC 1835, d. 12 SEP 1890. Pugh served in the Sumter Light Guards, Company K, 4th REgiment of the GA Volunteer Infantry. He was wounded at the Battle of the Wilderness in VA where his brother William was killed. Pugh Howell married Mary E. "Mollie" (Rylander) Stewart on 22 AUG 1866. Their children were: Pugh Jr., Aubrey, Jim, and Minnie Howell.
- John W. Talley C. S. Howell, (CSA) - b. 30 JUN 1838, d. 15 JAN 1921. John married Jane Elizabeth Stallings in 1860. They had 3 children: James Purifoy Bartow, John E., and William S. "Willie". John Howell was married next to Sarah Parker and had 3 children: Milton, Elizabeth, and Iva. John married third to Donie Chambliss (niece of his sister Mary Howell McMath). They had 2 children: Carl L., and Idus. John Howell enlisted in the Zolicoffer Riflemen, Company C, 10th Battalion, of the GA Volunteer Infantry. He was 4th Sergeant.
- Nancy L. A. K. Howell - b. 27 NOV 1840, d. 9 DEC 1911. Nancy married Alonzo Josephus Buchanan and had several children.
- Emily A. Evie E. Howell - b. 3 OCT 1843, d. 4 JAN 1927. Evie married Benjamin Rooks and had 3 children. This family inherited the Howell homestead and family Bible.
- William G. Taylor Howell, (CSA) - b. 2 DEC 1845 d. 4 MAY 1864. William was in the Sumter Light Guards and was 19 when he died in the Battle of Wilderness.
- Sarah Anne M. Laura V. Howell - b. 14 NOV 1848, d. 16 MAR 1886. Laura Howell married William S. Parker and had 2 children.
- James Ira Howell, Jr. - b. 11 OCT 1853, d. 7 OCT 1910. James Howell married Laura A., unknown surname. She and their two children died in 1886 of a fever. James Howell married second to Annie Lenora Harper and had 5 children.
4. Mary Anne P. Howell, (1833 - 1898)
Mary Anne P. Howell was born on 19 SEP 1833 in Twiggs County, GA. She was the second of James and Elizabeth Howell's nine children. The Howell family moved to Sumter County when Mary Anne was a small girl of 2 or 3 years. Their neighbors, also new to the county, were the McMaths from Warren County, GA. They attended church together at the Shiloh Baptist Church up the road.
At age 15, Mary Anne Howell married Joseph McMath on 3 AUG 1848. The service was performed by the Reverend Isaac Hart. See the McMATH family page for more information about the descendants of Joseph and Mary Anne (Howell) McMath.
The Mistaken HOWELL Connection
I mentioned earlier that the HOWELL family had mistakenly claimed the wrong HOWELL lineage. in the first half of the 1900s, a Clark Howell was the editor of The Atlanta Constitution newspaper. He had his lineage traced and published. Our Sumter County Howells found links to their family and claimed it. See the John Howell Sr. page for more details about the problems with this lineage.