From: "Biographical Review of Cass, Schuyler and
Brown Counties, Illinois 1892", by Biographical Review Publishing
Company, Chicago, Illinois; pages 383-384, a reprinted by Stevens
Publishing Co., Astoria, Ill., 1971, is sold by the Schuyler County
Historical Society, Rushville, Illinois.
Thomas S. Howell, one of the oldest settlers now residing in
Schuyler county, Illinois, was born in Guilford county, North Carolina,
February 16, 1825. His grandfather, John Howell, was a native of Wales,
and but little of his history is known; he was a farmer by occupation,
and emigrated to America, spending his last days in Guilford county,
North Carolina. His son, John Howell, Jr., the father of Thomas S., was
born and reared in North Carolina, and there learned the cabin maker's
trade, which he followed until 1829; then, accompanied by his wife and
five children, he undertook the overland trip to Illinois, and after
eight weeks of travel he arrived in Schuyler county. It had not been
long since the first settlers penetrated these wilds, and there were
consequently few improvements. Indians still lingered about, and wild
game was plentiful. Mr. Howell bought a tract of timber land in
Woodstock township, and erected a cabin that was the pride of the
community, from the fact that it had a shingle roof; the floor was made
of puncheons, and the door of heavy oak boards hung on wooden hinges.
There were no railroads, and no steamers plying the Illinois river. Mr.
Howell followed his trade in connection with his agricultural pursuits,
and lived here until his death, August 10, 1833. His wife's maiden name
was Sally Manlove, a native of Guilford county, North Carolina, and a
daughter of William Manlove; after her husband's death she was married
a second time, to Stephen Frasier; her death occurred May 1, 1843. She
was the mother of seven children: Amanda, Oscar C., William M., Thomas
S., Jonathan M., John H. and Jacob.
Thomas S. Howell was a child of four years when his parents came
to Illinois, but well remembers many of the incidents and experiences
peculiar to pioneer life. His father kept sheep and raised flax, and
from the wool and flax the mother spun, carded and wove the cloth from
which the family wardrobe was supplied. He remained with his mother
during her lifetime. The first venture he made in business was
threshing 100 bushels of wheat, the agreement being that he was to
receive therefor one-tenth of the wheat; he worked three days to pay
for three barrels in which to ship the wheat to St. Louis, the whole
transaction netting him $3. With this capital he was married, and
settled on the home farm; he had inherited twenty-five acres, and he
rented the balance of the other heirs, and there began his career as a
farmer. In due time he was enabled to purchase this tract.
In March, 1865, he enlisted in Company D, One Hundred and
fifteenth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, and in June, of that year, was
transferred to the Twenty-first Illinois, serving until December 16, of
the same year; he was honorably discharged at San Antonio, Texas. He
resided on the homestead in Woodstock township until 1875, when he sold
this place and purchased the Newbury farm, which consists of 220 acres
on section 28, Bainbridge township.
Mr. Howell was married May 14, 1843, to Sarah C. Newbury, who
was born in Washington county, Ohio, a daughter of Joseph and Margaret
Newbury, natives of New York and Virginia respectively, and pioneers of
Washington county, Ohio, and Schuyler county, Illinois. Mr. and Mrs.
Howell have eight children living: John E., Austin D., Oscar C., Hattie
A., William, Lorain C., Dora and T. Edgar. Our subject is a stanch
supporter of the principles of the Republican party, and is a man who
has the respect and confidence of all who know him.