Three More Losses in the Family

Death continued to cause sorrow in the Howard family

  • August 1819 – Jane Howard – Horton’s 3 year old daughter died of scarlet fever. She was the last child child born to Horton and Hannah Howard. Even in a time when raising a child was uncertain, there must have been sorrow at the loss of this child.
  • October 1821 – Pharaby Patterson Howard, died as a bride of 3 months, leaving Horton’s son, Joseph to mourn the loss of his wife. Pharaby died of intermittent bilious fever. Pharaby was an only daughter, and left her parents with one remaining son.
  • August 1825 – Hannah Howard, also called Hannah Junior as she was called after her mother, died from bilious fever at the age of 13. She was a delightful child, full of grace and good humor according to her father. His belief that the medical practice of bleeding was a contributing factor in her death led him to involvement in the practice of botanical medicine or steam doctoring.

Bilious fever and intermittent bilious fever are among the many diseases that have changed names over the years. These and other archaic medical terms will be discussed at a later date.

Sad ending for a 2nd Marriage

Horton was widowed in March of 1797, and left with a 5 year old son, Henry. In February 1798, he married again, choosing Mary Dew as his new bride and stepmother for his young son. Mary appeared to be a sound choice if he hoped for a long, happy and fruitful marriage. She was the daughter of Joseph Dew – a business partner of Horton’s father, Bartholomew Howard, and one of the executors of his father’s will.

Mary bore three children in this marriage – Joseph, Rachel, and Horton Jefferson Howard. Although all three grew to adulthood, Joseph was 6 years of age, Rachel 4, and Horton J only 6 months old when their mother died of inward decay (undoubtedly cancer) in September of 1804. Twelve year old Henry had lost a second mother and his father had lost a second wife.

With four children, it was no wonder the widower married a third time – the only surprise is that it took Horton more than two years to remarry.


Loss of an infant and a wife

Yesterday I shared the names of family members who died during Horton’s life and the years of their deaths. My next few posts will include the causes of their deaths.

Horton’s 2 year old daughter Ruth died of croup in the spring of 1796. She was about 16 months old.  Her mother, Anna Mace Howard died less than a year later of consumption.

There were many respiratory illnesses at that time – not all accurately diagnosed and none that were easily treated.

Death’s Constant Presence

When I began sharing the story of Mary Howard, my 4th-great grandmother, many readers were moved by her story of great loss. I look forward to writing her story after I’ve completed her father’s. He also had a life filled with loss – of personal wealth, childhood home, and repeated loss of those he loved. The first recorded loss in his life was the death of his grandfather, John Howard, when he was fifteen. He experienced at least twelve deaths among his family during his lifetime, and may have been aware of three whose deaths preceded his in the cholera epidemic of 1833.

Family Deaths During Horton’s Lifetime:

      • 1770 – Horton Howard was born
      • 1785 – death of John Howard – Horton’s grandfather
      • 1786 – death of Barrtholomew Howard – Horton’s father
      • 1788 – death of Frances Horton – Horton’s grandmother
      • 1790 – death of Ruth Stanton Howard – Horton’s mother
      • 1796 – death of Ruth Howard – Horton’s 2 year old daughter
      • 1797 – death of Anna Mace Howard – Horton’s first wife
      • 1806 – death of Mary Dew Howard – Horton’s second wife
      • 1811 – death of Cherry Dew Howard – Horton’s sister-in-law & sister of his 2nd wife
      • 1819 – death of Jane Howard – Horton’s 3 year old daughter
      • 1821 – death of Pharaby Patterson Howard – Horton’s young daughter-in-law
      • 1825 – death of Hannah Howard – Horton’s 13 year old daughter
      • 1829 – death of Rachel Howard – Horton’s 27 year old daughter
      • 1833 – deaths from cholera of Ann Howard, Caroline Little & Horton Little – his daughter, granddaughter and namesake grandson shortly before his own death.

A Complicated Character

Of the many letters and documents that I’ve transcribed to date there are 155 written by or to Horton Howard, or that mention him. In his own letters he appears to be a caring man, full of energy and willing to take risks in his attempts to rebuild enough wealth to help each of his children to be well established in life. He also cares about the social injustices injustices of his time, including working for the abolition of slavery and the kidnapping of freedmen, and seeking reparation for the injustice done to the “Indians.”  In other letters, some writers mention Horton in a tone that is disparaging, and perhaps even full of dislike. It will be an interesting challenge to develop him as a sympathetic character while acknowledging a part of his personality that some found distasteful.