John Howerton of Rossville, Kan., a pioneer settler of Shawnee county, has been connected with that county's farming, civic and commercial interests for nearly half a century and today ranks as one of its most prosperous and influential citizens. He is a native of Kentucky, a son of John and Barbara (Jones) Howerton, to whom he was born Jan. 3, 1838, in Morgan county. These parents were of English descent and both native Virginians who came to Kentucky in their youth and were married there. John Howerton was reared on the Kentucky farm, and partly by inheritance and partly in the wholesome life of the country he acquired a powerful physical physique, which enabled him to perform great labors during his subsequent career. His education was obtained in the common schools of his locality. In 1858 he married Miss Mary Watson, a daughter of John Watson, a prominent farmer of Carter county, Kentucky, and they began their wedded life on a farm. During the Civil war and the agitation just preceding that period Mr. Howerton espoused the Union cause, while all of his people were Southern sympathizers. At the opening of the war he was appointed a United States marshal, and while leading a posse against a band of organized guerrillas and bushwackers in Elliott county, Kentucky, they were ambushed and during the fighting that ensued he and two of his men were shot. Mr. Howerton received a severe wound in the left cheek, which left a scar that remains today a conspicuous reminder of the strenuous days of 1861-65. The ambushers numbered sixty men, but Mr. Howerton, with his thirteen strong and valiant followers, completely routed the enemy. Such encounters were almost a daily occurrence during the whole of the war period.
In 1868 he left his native state and came to Kansas. He arrived at Topeka on October 29 of that year and has been a resident of Shawnee county ever since. He purchased a ranch in Rossville township and became extensively engaged in agricultural pursuits and stock raising, having at times as many as from 600 to 800 head of cattle on his farm. He has now practically retired from active business life and resides in one of the best and most comfortable residences in Rossville, though he still owns his ranch and has several city properties. Besides these he has extensive banking interests, being a stockholder in the Rossville State Bank, the Silver Lake State Bank of Shawnee county, and in the Delia State Bank in Jackson county. In politics Mr. Howerton is a stanch Republican and in his views is aligned with that branch of the party known as the "stand-patters." In 1905 he was elected as a Republican to represent the Thirty-seventh district in the state legislature, and served one term as the efficient servant of his constituency. Fraternally he is a member of the Ancient Order of United Workmen. Of five children born to Mr. and Mrs. Howerton four grew to maturity and three survive the mother, who passed to eternal rest June 5, 1910. Those who grew to maturity were: William Howerton, now residing in Rossville; James, who died in promising young manhood; Charles Howerton, now located at Rossville; and Etta, now the wife of Dr. J. M. Amis of Topeka. As a loyal defender of the Union Mr. Howerton served his nation; and as a husbandman of the soil, by long identification with the industrial and commercial life of Shawnee county, and as its capable representative, he has contributed his share toward the growth and development not only of Shawnee county but of the whole great State of Kansas. It is the lives of such men as these that has made possible the rank which Kansas enjoys today, and now at the age of seventy-four, still of sturdy physique and with exceptionally good health, Mr. Howerton can look back upon a useful and well spent life, which has won him the universal respect and esteem of his fellow citizens.Pages 1516-1517 from volume III, part 2 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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