David Millington Howard, president of the Rossville State Bank and one of the largest farmers and stockmen of Shawnee county, Kansas, was born on a farm near Shaftsbury, Vt., Oct. 15, 1842. He was reared a farmer boy and educated in the district schools of his community until seventeen years of age, when he entered an academy to complete his education. As was customary in those days, frequent entertainments were given in which the students participated. The new student, to show no partiality, was invited to contribute to the program shortly after he had entered the academy. To the surprise and considerable amusement of both the pupils and the teacher the rough country boy accepted the invitation and chose as his subject "The Power of Eloquence." Speculation was rife among the students as to how much "eloquence" the country boy would produce and still greater was the anticipation of the fun they were going to have at his expense. The appointed day came and the "Power of Eloquence" was produced, but with a far different result than had been anticipated. When he concluded his oration both the teacher and fellow students realized that the farmer boy's ability and power of oratory far surpassed that of any member of the school, and instead of derision, he received the deferential congratulations of all who heard him. Again the farmer boy scored when at the close of his course at the academy he surpassed in scholarship as he had in oratory. While attending school he also had heavy duties on the farm, it being necessary for him to arise at 2 o'clock in the morning in order to get his chores done in time to go to school, having 200 head of sheep to feed as well as other stock. He had one great advantage over his city schoolmates, however, as he had his father, who had taught school for twenty years, as an able director and assistant in his studies. After completing his education, Mr. Howard engaged in teaching school two years and on different occasions proved himself the master of difficult situations. He then began his career on the farm and has been a farmer and stockman ever since.
His parents, Jared and Mary Ann (Matson) Howard, were both natives of Shaftsbury, Vt., where the former was born in 1801 and the latter in 1810. Jared Howard was the son of Otis and Polly (Millington) Howard, the former a native of Jamaica, Vt., and the latter of Shaftsbury. Otis Howard fought in the Revolutionary war and suffered all the privations and horrors which the patriots ofttimes had to endure in that struggle, he and his comrades at one time being reduced to the flesh of dead horses for their food. His father and two brothers emigrated to America from England prior to the Revolutionary war. Otis Howard, the grandfather of our subject, had a brother Jared and another named Enos. Jared Howard, the brother of Otis Howard, had a daughter Sylvia, who is President William Howard Taft's mother. Otis Howard had six children: Jared, the father of our subject; Jacob M. Howard, who was a United States senator from Michigan during the Civil war period; Otis Howard, who lived and died on a farm near Racine, Wis.; Rebecca, who never married and died in Michigan very wealthy; Polly, who resided in Madison, Wis., and died there; and Rachel, who died in Wyandotte, Kan.
Jared Howard, the father of our subject, was elected a member of the Vermont legislature three times as a Democrat and during the war was a Union Democrat. He married Mary Matson at Shaftsbury, Vt. They became the parents of eight children, namely: Jacob M., a lifelong resident of Yates, N. Y.; Otis, who spent the most of his life in Vermont but died in Rossville, Kan.; Solomon, who was three times elected to the Vermont legislature as a Democrat and spent his entire life in that state; Jared, a citizen of high standing in Bennington, Vt.; David M., the subject of this review; Mary, who married Cyrus W. Higginbotham, of Rossville, Kan.; Lurana, who married James K. Conley, of New York, and who now resides in Rossville, Kan.; and Rachel M., who married Leander Mosley, of New York, and who also resides in Rossville. Jared Howard, after a long and useful life in Vermont, removed with his family to Rossville, Kan., in 1872, bought a farm near that village for a home, and died there in 1874. He was a man of high ideals, of uncommon ability and education, and was thoroughly conversant upon all the live topics of his day. His wife survived him until 1884, when she too passed away in Rossville. She was a woman of refinement and education and was, like her husband, a wide reader. Jacob M. Howard, an uncle of our subject, drew up the first Republican platform and was a member of the national convention at Chicago prior to the Civil war, to which he went a Seward man but came away a stanch supporter of Lincoln. He was a close friend of Lincoln's and was often called into counsel with him. He died in Detroit, Mich.
David Millington Howard married Miss Chettie A. Stanley, of Shaftsbury, Vt., where she was born Aug. 14, 1851. Her parents, Joseph and Jane (Fuller) Stanley, were both natives of Shaftsbury. The father followed farming very successfully all of his life and died in Shaftsbury; the mother spent her closing years in Rossville with her daughter, Mrs. Howard. As stated, Mr. Howard has made farming his principal pursuit. He was one of the first to raise alfalfa successfully in Kansas, and for a number of years made that his principal crop. He has made many experiments as to the best time for successful seeding and has found from Aug. 20 to Sept. 20 to be the best time for the first seeding; and for dead spots in the spring, from March 25 to May 25. His home is upon a fine 400-acre tract of Kaw bottom land adjoining Rossville, besides which he also owns 1,280 acres in Rossville township. He breeds a fine strain of Durham registered stock. He had a three-year-old heifer weighing 2,020 pounds and her mother weighing 1,616 pounds at the Kansas State Fair in 1910, both of which won first prize at the fair and at a number of county fairs where they were exhibited. He also raises fine Poland China hogs and Hambletonian horses. As an apiarist he has been equally successful. He has found the Italian bee to be the easiest to handle, but has found the Cyprian bee to be the best worker, but very irritable. Mr. Howard has had as many as one hundred stands of bees but now has only a few. Besides his farming interests, he has also extensive commercial interests. He was one of the organizers of the Rossville State Bank and is its president, having filled that position continuously since he succeeded its first president. He is also president and a director of the Silver Lake State Bank and of the Delia State Bank. He owns stock in the Collins Wireless Telegraph Company and also in the cement company that is operating near Linwood, Kan. He is a progressive Democrat and takes an active part in politics in Shawnee county and has represented the county three times in the state legislature, the first time in 1891, again during Governor Llewellyn's administration when he was elected on the Peoples' ticket, and the last time in 1908, his last election being as an Independent Democrat. While not a member of any church, he has always, nevertheless been a liberal contributor toward church work and the building of churches, all of the churches of Rossville having received material support from him. He is prominently affiliated with a number of fraternal orders, being a Knight Templar Mason; a member of Rossville Lodge, No. 111, Free and Accepted Masons; a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, in which he has filled all the chairs; and a member of the Knights and Ladies of Security, in which order he has been president of Rossville Council, No. 223, for the last seventeen years, or for a longer continuous period than any other member.Pages 360-363 from volume III, part 1 of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed December 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM195. It is a two-part volume 3.
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