Hillsborough County, Florida


1804 - 1887

Seth Howard was born in Georgia on February 18, 1804. His full name was James Seth Howard but all records after 1840 give his name as Seth only. He served two enlistments in the militia during the Seminole Indian Wars as James S. Howard and James Howard which would cause him much confusion in later years when he applied for bounty land based on this service.

Seth Howard became a resident of Florida in February of 1816, according to an 1842 application he filed under the Armed Occupation Act. On August 8, 1834, Seth joined the Old Providence Baptist Church in Columbia (present day Union) County. He was baptised by William A. Knight. On October 11, 1834, he asked for and received a letter of dismission.

Seth was a private in the company commanded by Captain Butt in the regiment of Louisianna Volunteers commanded by Col. Smith. He volunteered at Tampa, Florida on February 20, 1836 and served until May 20, 1836 when he was discharged at Tampa.

Seth served during the Seminole Indian wars of 1839 & 1840 in three enlistments. He was a corporal in the company commanded by Hiram Hall in the regiment commanded by Col. William J. Bailey. He volunteered at St. Marks, Florida on December 10, 1839 and was honorably discharged on March 10, 1840 at Fort Pleasant. He reenlisted in Hall's company and served from March 11, 1840 to August 3rd 1840. Seth was a 4th sergeant in Captain Thomas C. Ellis' company of Florida Mounted Militia in the First Regiment commanded by Col. W. J. Bailey. He volunteered at Fort White on August 17, 1840 and was discharged at Newnansville on December 5, 1840.

On November 6, 1842 at Tampa Bay, East Florida, Seth Howard applied to the Register of the Land Office at Newnansville for a permit to settle on 160 acres of unappropriated public land under the provision of the Act of Congress to provide for the armed occupation and settlement of the unsettled part of the Peninsula of East Florida. He state that he was a single man over eighteen years of age and able to bear arms. The description of his intended settlement was given as: "In the Hammock commonly known as Simmon's Hammock commencing at a stake planted in the Pine barren on the West side of the Hammock running from thence due east 160 rods to a stake on an Indian Mound, thence due south 160 rods to a blased bay tree from thence due west 160 rods to blased Pine tree in the Pine barren and from thence due north 160 rods to the place of beginning embracing one half mile square or one quarter section of land." A drawing of Seth Howard's settlement was sent along with the application. On March 25, 1843, Seth received his 160 acres which was described as the NW 1/4 of Section 36 in Township 28 South, Range 20 East. This land is located just north of present day Seffner. Seth sold this land on November 27, 1849 to John W. Starke for $460.00.

After 1843, Seth Howard married Harriet C. Weeks. She was born on July 18, 1820 in South Carolina. Their children:

1. Susan Howard, born c1844; married 1st, Furman D. Arnold on August 4, 1859 in Hillsborough County; married, 2nd, William McLeod.

2. Martha Howard, born 1845; died July 31, 1897; married on April 14, 1870, William Whidden son of Willoughby Whidden.

3. Mary M. Howard, born May 1, 1848; died April 12, 1879; married on March 25, 1869 in Manatee County, Wilson E. Stephens.

4. Francis Marion Howard, born c1851; married Martha "Mattie" Elizabeth Barton on October 5, 1876.

5. Thomas Howard, born August 23, 1855; married on April 2, 1876, Hortense Blount, daughter of Owen R. Blount.

6. Newton J. Howard, born c1856; married Annie Dupree on January 31, 1875.

7. Adeline Howard, born c1859.

8. Laura V. Howard, born April 18, 1861; died December 14, 1926; married William Wiggins on July 3, 1879.

9. George W. Howard, born 1864; died 1946; married 1st, Minie L. Canon in Lee County on March 4, 1900; married 2nd, Margaret "Maggie" E. Jones on May 3, 1906.

10. Frances E. Howard, born c1866; married J. P. Roberson on May 11, 1886

On November 17, 1846, Thomas Weeks appointed Seth Howard to be his true and lawful attorney & take care of his business while absent from the State of Florida. A Thomas Weeks died intestate in 1855 and Seth was appointed appraiser of the estate. This Thomas Weeks may have been the father or relative of Mrs. Harriet C. (Weeks) Howard.

Seth Howard registered the following mark & brand in Hillsborough County on April 15, 1851: poplar leaf in each ear, brand "SX". Seth applied for bounty land based on his Indian War service and in 1852, received a land warrant #65931 for 40 acres. He was dissatisfied with this warrant, having done sufficient service to entitle him to 160 acres. He made an additional application, but had difficulty proving that two of his militia enlistments were under the names of "James S. Howard" and "James Howard" instead of Seth Howard. After many communications between his agent and the Commissioner of Pensions, Seth was able to return the 40 acre warrant & received one for 80 acres.

During the Third Seminold Indian War, Seth Howard was a member of Captain William B. Hooker's company. This company was mustered into service January 3, 1856 and was mustered out of service on August 20, 1856.

In the 1860 census, the Howard family was residing in the Alafia area in Hillsborough County. Nearby neighbors were Mrs. Mary Burnett, J. W. Hendry, Michael Alderman and Isaac Carlton. During the 1860's, the Howard family attended many of the sermons presented at Alafia by Rev. Jeremiah M. Hayman. Mary and Martha Howard were baptized on September 25, 1864 and Mrs. Susan (Howard) Arnold was baptized on September 26. Seth and Harriet (Weeks) Howard were baptized by Rev. Hayman at Alafia on December 25, 1865.

Seth Howard was involved in the cattle business as were many of the pioneer families. On December 27, 1869, Seth sold to James M. Hendry for $1,000 a stock of cattle consisting of 200 head marked under slope and split in each ear, branded 52. This record was recorded in the Manatee County deed books on June 4, 1870.

By 1870, Seth Howard was living in the Ona area in present day Hardee County, near the families of William & Susan (Howard) McLeod, John & Margaret Ann McLeod and William & Martha (Davenport) McLeod. The Howards were members of Maple Branch Baptist Church (this later became New Zion Baptist Church). In November of 1872, Seth was a delegate from his Church to the 6th Annual Session of the South Florida Baptist Association held at Mount Pleasant Church. During the mid-1870's Seth Howard moved to the Joshua Creek area. In November of 1877, he was a delegate from Mount Moriah Baptist Church at Joshua Creek to the 2nd Annual Session of the Manatee Missionary Baptist Association.

Seth Howard died on October 6, 1887 and was buried in Joshua Creek Cemetery in DeSoto County. Mrs. Harriet C. (Weeks) Howard later lived with various of her children's families. She died on January 25, 1892 and was buried in New Zion Baptist Church Cemetery at Ona.

SOURCES: Census 1850 & 1860 Hillsborough County, Florida, 1870 & 1880 Manatee County, Florida; Seth Howard's bounty land application; Armed Occupation Act land appllication; Minutes of Old Providence Baptist Church, 1976; Hillsborough County, Marks & Brands, marriages, deeds & probate records; Lee County marriages; Manatee County marriages & deeds; Joshua Creek, New Zion Baptist, Fort Myers & Fort Denaud cemeteries; A Memorial Sketch of the Life & Ministerial Labors of Rev. J. M. Hayman, O. J. Frier, 1901; Minutes of the South Florida & Manatee Missionary Baptist Associations.

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