Colonel George E. Howard, prominent in Pittsburg and Crawford county as a real estate dealer and financier and in connection with the military affairs of the state, was one of the first settlers and merchants of this county. When he came to this country thirty-five years ago the corporate limits of the county had not yet been defined, a waving sea of prairie grass billowed on each side of the trails along which moved the prairie schooners of the hardy emigrants, and only the industry and persevering efforts of an indefatigable class of pioneers could unlock the golden resources of the rich soil. Colonel Howard has therefore progressed with his adopted home county, and in its development and prosperity his enthusiastic and far-sighted endeavors have been of great value and have borne fruit both for himself and for his fellow citizens. He has been interested in many enterprises which have placed the financial affairs of the county on a solid basis, and has been especially helpful in promoting the upbuilding of Pittsburg during the past fifteen years, to which city, as to the county as a whole, he has attracted many substantial and thrifty citizens of industrial and business worth.
Colonel Howard was born in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1846, a son of Samuel and Anna (Bramhall) Howard. His ancestry on both sides is old and distinguished in the annals of the country. His maternal grandfather, Elisha Bramhall, fought in the war of 1812, and his paternal great-grandfather was soldier in the Revolution. Another notable ancestor was Charles Howard, Duke of Norfolk, and a paternal ancestor was among the passengers of the Mayflower. Samuel Howard, the father of Colonel Howard, was a well known Boston business man, and died in that city in 1876.
George E. Howard received his education mostly in Chelsea, Massachusetts. At the conclusion of his school days he went into a wholesale dry goods house, where he learned the business in all its details, and finally embarked in business on his own account, making a success of it. He early became interested in military affairs, which was quite natural since his boyhood days were passed during the Civil war conflict, and during the latter half of the war he became prominently connected with the Massachusetts militia, serving in the home guards, and was one of the first members of the Forty-second Massachusetts Regiment.
In 1869 he decided to come west, and in that year located at the old town of Crawfordville, Crawford county. That was then about the only village in the county, but has since dwindled to little more than a name. At that time in the history of the county the nearest railroad was forty miles north of Fort Scott. In Crawfordville Mr. Howard opened a general store, which he conducted about a year, and then, Girard having been started and made the county seat, he followed the general exodus and moved his business to that place, which was two miles and a half away. Later he engaged in the grain business, and for three years was bookkeeper for the Bank of Girard, which was the first bank in that town. In 1889 he located at Pittsburg, and this has been his residence ever since. At first he was in the grain and feed business, and afterwards engaged in his present occupation, dealing in real estate and in general financial affairs. He has been secretary of the Pittsburg Water Supply Company since its organization in 1890.
While living in Girard Mr. Howard became prominently connected with the state militia of Kansas, and was one of its first officers. In 1883 he was elected captain of Company D, First Kansas Regiment, and later was commissioned major, then lieutenant colonel and finally colonel. He is now on the retired list, with all the privileges, however, of the military rank of colonel.
Colonel Howard was married at Girard in 1876 to Miss Phoebe W. Playter, the youngest sister of Frank Playter, now deceased, who was one of the wealthy men of the county, and, more than any other one man, built up Girard, and later took an equally active part in the development of Pittsburg. Mrs. Howard died in 1893, leaving one, daughter, Miss Blanche Howard.Pages 595-596 from A Twentieth century history and biographical record of Crawford County, Kansas, by Home Authors; Illustrated. Published by Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, IL : 1905. 656 p. ill. Transcribed by Carolyn Ward, in November, 2003.
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