Richland Co., Ohio


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James E. Howard Celebrates 82nd. Birthday

source:  Mansfield News: 18 July 1926

* Thanks to Allison for typing this article for our site  (11/10)

Oldest Justice of Peace in Ohio Will Celebrate His Eighty-Second Birthday in His Home Town of Bellville Today

James E. Howard, highly respected citizen of Bellville, who is celebrating his eighty-second birthday anniversary today at this home in a quiet way, has the distinction of being the oldest justice of the peace in Ohio, having been elected to the office in 1892 for the first time.

Mr. Howard was born on a farm on Honey Creek, south of Bellville, July 18, 1844 and was the great grandson of William Barrow, a soldier of the Revolutionary war who was buried at Chelsea, near Boston, Mass. He was reared on the farm, gaining an education in the rural school until reaching the age of seventeen years when he took a course of one year in the Bellville schools.

During his long and eventful life, he has gained great knowledge in the school of experience and has practically made himself secure in the line of education which has been applicable to his own use in the affairs of the community, state and nation.

When a young man, he spent two years in the Rocky Mountains region running stage lines which were places in operation in 1864. Communication with his family at home was carried on under great difficulty owing to the fact that the western Indians made it impossible to send mail overland to its destination. However, this was overcome by sending letters home by way of San Francisco and the Isthmus of Panama.

Member of Legislature

Mr. Howard was a member of the lower house of the legislature during the years 1886, ’87 and 1888, and secured a number of public building for Richland county among them being the Ohio State Reformatory, then called the intermediate penitentiary and the Memorial building erected to the memory of the Soldiers and Sailors of Richland county.

Bills for both the buildings were introduced and sponsored by Mr. Howard and through his vigorous efforts the enactment of the laws followed. The reformatory was supposed to have been erected from the funds secured by the Scott prohibition law, but when that legislation was repealed later, the appropriations were secured through another source. Both buildings will stand as a monument to the memory of Mr. Howard to whom credit is due for securing them for Richland county.

Mr. Howard has always been a liberal Democrat and his opponents have been highly respectful toward him. When he was a candidate for representative for his first term in 1886, George U. Harn, editor of the Mansfield Herald, a Republican newspaper published for many years in this city, said in an editorial in addition to other things, “Mr. Howard’s Democracy is like Caeser’s wife, beyond suspicion.” The men were friends for many years despite their different political affiliations.

Justice for 38 Years

During the time when spring elections were held Mr. Howard was first elected justice of the peace for Jefferson township in April, 1892, under a constitutional regulation. Later the office was placed under legislative functions and he now receives a commission from the governor following the election. Mr. Howard was elected the last time for a term of four years, and will round out a period of 38 years as justice.

Joseph B. Foraker was governor of the state while Mr. Howard was in the legislature and a warm friendship sprang up between the two men. Although of difference political faith, the meetings of the two men were always on a friendly plane, owing to the fact that Mr. Howard frequently visited the governor while engaged in getting bills through the legislature.

Mr. Howard has been a member of Casca lodge, Knights of Pythias, for 34 years, and attends the meetings of the order quite frequently. He has four sons of whom he is very proud and speaks in highest commendation of their accomplishments. Mrs. Howard died 12 years ago and he now resides with his son in Bellville.

The sons mentioned are Col. Lloyd W. Howard of Toledo, an officer of the Sixth Regiment for many years; Thomas and Harvey of Bellville, and John A. Howard, present county auditor and a candidate for reelection at the fall election. Mr. Howard, in addition to the duties of justice, is extensively engages in the insurance business, representing seven different companies.

He has an office on Main street in the village but his court cases are heard in his office at his home on Huron street. He represents two Mansfield insurance companies and has a long list of patrons.

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010