From "The Bronx and its People"
Written in 1928
Retyped by Arlene Goodwin
Distinguished and venerated among his associates in business and social circles, Francis Nathaniel Howland, president of the Candee, Smith and Howland Company of New York City, is today one of those examples of Continuous activity in business life that are the envy of many who are not gifted with such sturdy qualities of character and steadiness of purpose as has been exemplified in Mr. Howland throughout his entire career as a man of affairs. He is a direct descendant of John Howland, who came from England in the good ship “Mayflower” and settled in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Generation after generation of his forebears in this country have evidenced the qualities of disposition needed to cope with pioneer circumstances and overcome difficulties, to make environment and to maintain standards. His father was a native of Athens, New York, where he was known as a merchant. To be a merchant in the Catskills before the days when railroad facilities were developed and all roads were snowbound for months was not the same occupation that such business is today. It was into the customs of such a period that Mr. Howland was first introduced to business. His father was Nathaniel Warren Howland and his mother Malinda (Salisbury) Howland.
Francis Nathaniel Howland was born in Athens, New York, on October 7, 1844. He was educated in private and public schools and was a graduate from Eastman’s Business College at Poughkeepsie, New York, in 1863. Being equipped with a theoretical knowledge of business, he was not long in putting into practice his acquired information and in 1864 came to New York City and entered the office of William R. Finch, dealer in building materials, as a clerk. After six years of training in this establishment, he made a change and went with the firm of Arnold, Martin and Company in the same line of business. He remained with this organization until 1881 when he took a position as traveling salesman with the Candee and Smith Company, which rented a yard at One Hundred and Thirty-fifth Street and Mott Haven Canal in 1892. In 1893 he acquired an interest in this firm and after seven years the name was changed to Candee, Smith and Howland and purchased the property at One Hundred and Thirty-ninth Street and Girard Avenue in 1906, and Mr. Howland became vice-president. After the death of the General George Moore Smith, in 1915, Mr. Howland succeeded to the presidency and still retains that position with a Bronx branch of the corner of Exterior and One Hundred and Thirty-eighth streets. His lifelong experience in dealing in building materials give him an authoritative voice in all matters pertaining to this line of merchandise. He is a member of the Building Trades Employer’s Association; president of the Mechanics and Traders’ Exchange; ex-president of the Mechanics and Tradesman’s Society; member of the Chamber of Commerce of the State of New York; member of the Merchants’ Association of New York; and for ten years he was a member of the Company 9, the Seventh Regiment, of the New York National Guard. During the World War he served as a member of the West Side Club of New York City, and the Queens Valley Golf Club. He is also a member of the Bronx Board of Trade. He enjoys his recreation most when playing golf or bowling. He is a member of the Episcopal Church, and a warden of Holy Trinity Church, New York City.
On October 7, 1868, Francis Nathaniel Howland married Mary A. Nichols of Athens, New York, daughter of General George S. Nichols who was an officer in the Civil War. They had two children: Charles Francis, a physician of New York City, and Annie, wife of Albert Chase Bloodgood of Catskill, New York. Mrs. Howland died in 1913.