Lee County Biography


Thomas Howell has, since the spring of 1869, lived on section 19, Dixon Township, where he owns a valuable farm of one hundred and sixty acres. The fields are well tilled, the pjacc is well stocked and the improvements which are many, are in keeping with a model farm of the nineteenth century. As our subject is well and favorably known throughout this community we feel assured that a record of his life will prove of interest to many of our readers.

Mr. Howell was born in Herefordshire, England, on the 9th of January, 1809, and was the eldest of six children. His parents were Thomas and Sarah (Davis) Howell, natives of Ludlow, Shropshire, England. In 1836, accompanied by their family, the parents crossed the briny deep to America, sailing from Liverpool on the "City of Washington," which dropped anchor in the harbor of New York after a voyage of three weeks and three days, the quietest and the last trip ever made by that boat and one of the fastest sails across the ocean which had been made at that time. In the city of Buffalo the family located, and there the parents spent the remainder of their lives. In their native land they bad been members of the Church of England but in this country united with the Methodist Church, in the growth and upbuilding of which they took an active interest. Our subject is the only one of the family now living. The others were generally successful in their business affairs and became quite well-to-do. In the usual manner of farmer lads, Thomas spent the days of his boyhood and youth in his native county and after he had arrived at man's estate was joined in wedlock, in Shropshire, with Miss Mary A. Adams, a native of that county, born on the 28th of November, 1818. Her parents were AVilliam and Elizabeth (Page) Adams, also natives of Shropshire, where they spent their entire lives. Her father's death occurred in his eightieth year, and his wife passed away at the age of eighty-two. They were members of the Episcopal Church and both came of old and respected English families.

After coming to this country, Mr. Howell and his wife took up their residence in Buffalo, N. Y. where they made their home for eighteen years,during a greater part of which time he had a street sprinkler and engaged in watering the streets; also while in New York State he followed farming and cheese making. On the expiration of that period they came West and the attention of Mr. Howell was turned to farming, which he has since followed. For more than half a century he and his estimable wife have lived and labored together, and their united efforts have been crowned with success. They are now in comfortable circumstances, having acquired a competence which supplies them with all the necessities and many of the luxuries of life. With the Methodist Church of Dixon they hold membership, and their lives are spent in harmony with their professions.

The union of Mr. and Mrs. Howell was blessed with a family of eight children, all of whom are yet living. Sarah, the eldest, is now the wife of Andrew Hatch, a farmer of Dixon Township; William II. R., who wedded Libby Hatch, is engaged in farming in Erie County, N. Y.; Albert, who wedded Mary Bernhart, follows the same pursuit near Wales Center, N. Y.; Elizabeth D. is the wife of Frank J. Parsons, a real-estate agent of Omaha, Neb.; John H., who married Amanda Woodruff, makes his home in Dixon; James D., who married Minnie Wernick, is a resident farmer of Dixon Township; Carrie is the wife of George W. Spencer, of Chicago, who is employed as an ornamental painter by Frank Parmelee, who runs an extensive bus and transfer line in that city; Susie A., the youngest of the family, is yet at home.

Portraits and Biographical Lee County IL 1892


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