The extreme western part of Taylor County was taken from Talbot County and the community of Howard was named for Major John Harrison Howard, an official of the Southwestern Railroad. When Taylor County was formed in 1852, the Muscogee Railroad from Columbus came as far as Howard with a turnaround.
Dennis L. Downs & James Layfield (Feb 5, 1857) sold 4 acres right of way from 15th Dis LL220 for Muscogee Railroad for "Station No 7 known as Howard" for whatever deemed necessary as cotton yard, depost, store house, shanties.
It was not until the spring of 1853, it ran as far as Butler. Thus, Howard in those early days was a busy center as mule wagons loaded and unloaded supplies.
Most of the mail came by train, and the depot served as post office. James Layfield served as the first postmaster in March, 1852. Later postmasters included:Jackson L. Downs(1855-1857), David T. Bates (1857); Francis M. Alsobrook(1857).....Marshall Patrick "Pat" Brown (1865-1878); James W. Hall(1878-1883); William G. Mathews (1883); James W. Hall (2nd appointment-1883-1885); Thomas E. Arrington(1885); Mrs. Rebecca J. Smith(1886); Joseph S. Brown (1887-)..Dennie R. Sealey (1906-1913); James R. Williams (1913-1926); Mrs. Jewel J. Hamilton (1926-1930); Jeff G. Hamilton (1930-1932); Mrs. Maude H. Sealey(1932-?)
DOWNS. One of the first settlers. He owned a pottery shop by the railroad between Howard and Junction City, and made jugs and jars.
DOWNS No relation...owned a number of wagons and used them to haul wood from the train to use for their engines.
Freeman Mathews Owned two businesses--grocery store and a liquor store
James "Jim" Layfield built and lived in the second house on the right on the Whitewater Creek Road. He was a blacksmith and owned a wood shop where he built furniture, wagons and buggies.
John Rite Martin family lived first on the Perry Parks homeplace and later the Layfield homeplace. He was the son of A.W. (Ananias William) Martin and Lydia Peacock Martin. John married Arabella Susan Parks, d/o Gilersleeve Parks.
Hiram Knowlton of Talbot Co, a mill owner, built all the mills in Howard.
Judge W.D. Grace owned and operated the only sawmill located on White Water Creek. He married first, Louraney Averett, daughter of Drury Averett, who was a large land owner in that section along White Water Creek before Taylor County was formed. It is thought that Averett first established the mill. W.D. Grace married after Louraney's death, the former Nancy Adams Lloyd and stepfather to her children by the late Charles Lloyd. W.D. Grace was instrumental in the organization of the Methodist Church in Howard, even donating the lumber for the building.
Dempsey A.J. Willis owned and operated a farm north of Howard. On the 1860 census, they had nine children. A daughter, Mariemarried (1873) David Robert Brown oldest son of Marshall P. Brown
The Howard Academy was located across the road from the church (1871) where the community house now stands. It was at first a one room building. Later, another room was added creating an L-shaped building. Teachers known to have taughter there included William T. England, Miss Vera Bartlett, who was teaching in 1918, and a Mrs. Hildreth, who was teaching about the time the school closed in 1926.
Howard Methodist Church
More detailed history can be found in the article by:
Mrs. Steve Brown, researcher. Taylor County History by Butler Herald-100 years of history- 1977. Available through the Butler Herald, 31006
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