Daniel Wait Howe

HOWE, Daniel Wait, lawyer and author, was born at Patriot, Switzerland Co., Ind., Oct. 24, 1839, son of Daniel Haven and Lucy (Hicks) Howe. His father (1811–41) was a lumber merchant in Indiana, and his mother was a daughter of Solomon Hicks of Leray, N. Y. He is a descendant of John Howe, probably a native of Warwickshire, Eng., and a relative of the Earl of Lancaster, who was admitted a freeman at Sudbury in 1640, and was the first white settler at Marlborough about 1648. From him and his wife, Mary, the line of descent runs through Thomas and Sarah (Hosmer) Howe; Jonathan and Lydia (Bingham) Howe; Eliakim and Rebecca (Howe) Howe; Otis and Lucy (Goodale) Howe; Nathan and Mary (Wait) Howe, parents of Daniel Haven Howe. The Howes of Sudbury are notable as the proprietors for many generations of the old Red House tavern, made famous in Longfellow’s poem, “Tales of a Wayside Inn.” Daniel Wait Howe was educated in the schools of his native county, and was graduated A. B. at Franklin College, Franklin, Ind., in 1857. He then taught school for several years; also studied law. On the outbreak of the civil war he enlisted in the 7th Indiana volunteers, and serviced for three months in the West Virginia campaign, being present at the battle of Carrick’s ford. In August, 1862, he enlisted again for three years in the 79th Indiana, with which he served as first lieutenant and later as captain until Nov. 10, 1864, participating in the battles of Stone River, Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge, Kenasaw Mountain, and through the Atlanta campaign. He received official recommendation for bravery at Missionary Ridge, and was honorably discharged on account of a severe wound received at Kenasaw Mountain. After the war he resumed legal studies at the Albany Law School, and was duly admitted to the bar in 1867. He began practice in partnership with Col. Samuel P. Oyler, Franklin, Ind., and continued to reside in that city until 1873, when he removed to Indianapolis. For several years, he was city attorney of Franklin, and during 1868–69 state prosecuting attorney. On his removal to Indianapolis he formed a partnership with Chas. Byfield, and was judge of the Marion superior court, 1876–90. Since his retirement from the bench he has continued in the practice of law. Judge Howe is the author of several important volumes: “The Puritan Republic” (1895); “Laws and Courts of the Northwest and Indiana Territory” (1895); “Descriptive Catalogue of the Official Publications of the Territory and State of Indiana” (1895); “Civil War Times” (1902); “The Howe Genealogy.” He was also joint editor of the reprint of the “Laws of Indiana Territory,” and the “Executive Journal of Indiana Territory.” His “Puritan Republic” is one of the most important contributions to the history of the American colonial era that have appeared in recent years. In the words of an appreciative critic, “it is a plain prose account of a plain people, but in many respects more fascinating than anything in fiction.” Judge Howe is a profound student of history, both colonial and national, and owns one of the largest general libraries in the state. In 1903 he donated to the Indianapolis public library a large collection of state and local documents, containing histories, biographies, and pamphlets, relating to Indiana History, and which is now known as the Howe Indiana Collection. He is a member of the New England Historical Genealogical Society; the Indiana Historical Society, and it’s president in 1904; the Indianapolis Literary Club; a Knight-Templar and a 32nd degree Mason, and Scottish rite. He married, May 17, 1871, to Inez, daughter of Robert A. Hamilton of Decatur. Of their three daughters, two, Mrs. Lucy Hall and Susan Howe, still survive.
Addendum: Samuel P. Oyler was also Daniel’s stepfather. Samuel married his mother Dec 6, 1849. He died Sep 6, 1898 in Franklin, Johnson Co., Indiana. See his biography, also posted on the web site. Lucy (Hicks) (Howe) Oyler was born Jul 20, 1816 in LeRoy, Genesee Co., NY, and died Apr 28, 1904 in Indianapolis, Marion Co., Indiana. Her mother was Lucy Butts. Ruth Howe was born May 29, 1872, Indianapolis, Marion Co., IN, and died Sep 5, 1890, Indianapolis, Marion Co., Indiana. Lucy Howe was born Sep 29, 1874 in Indianapolis, Marion Co., IN, and died Mar 31, 1913. She married Archibald McClelland Hall Nov 28, 1902 in Indianapolis, Marion Co., Indiana. One child: Hamilton Howe Hall, born Sep 1, 1903. Susan Howe was born Feb 15, 1877, Indianapolis, Marion Co., Indiana. Daniel served as President of the Indiana Historical Society for a period of 20 years, 1900–1920. In 1920, he was 80 years of age and in ill health. He resigned as President of the IHS and was voted an honorary president for life. He died Oct 28, 1920 in Indianapolis, Indiana. His will specified that his family research be donated to the New England Historical Genealogical Society. They compiled his work and published “Howe Genealogies...” 1929–1977.

Submitted by Mark Shaffer, mshaffer@erols.com

The National Cyclopedia of American Biography. University Microfilms, Ann Arbor, MI: 1967, Vol. 13, pg. 289.
(Reprint. Originally published: New York: James T. White & Co., 1898. This volume was published about 1906.)