Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Howell Family Papers, 1770-1798

Finding aid created by
Cheney J. Schopieray, March 2007, and Meg Hixon, June 2012

Summary Information
Title: Howell family papers
Creator: Howell, Gideon, 1728-1803 and Howell, Sarah Gordon
Inclusive dates: 1770-1798
Extent: 25 items
Abstract:
This collection contains 22 incoming letters addressed to Gideon and Sarah Howell of Morris County, New Jersey, as well as 3 documents. The Howells received 8 letters from Deborah Pierson, a relative from Bridgehampton, New York, who wrote of family news, and 12 letters from friends and family living in North Bend, Ohio, including 8 from their son Daniel and his wife, Eunice Keen Howell (later Rittenhouse). The Ohio letters contain detailed information about life on the frontier and settlers' relationships with Native Americans. The remaining 2 letters are from Daniel Howell and a friend in Burke County, North Carolina.

Language: The material is in English
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site: www.clements.umich.edu


Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

1962. M-1205.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.

Copyright:

Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information:

Cataloging funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). This collection has been processed according to minimal processing procedures and may be revised, expanded, or updated in the future.

Preferred Citation:

Howell family papers, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


Arrangement

The collection is arranged chronologically, with undated items placed at the end.


Biography

Gideon Howell (1728-1803) and his wife, Sarah Gordon (1732-1803), of Morris County, New Jersey, had 9 children: Sarah (1754-1833), Martha (1756-1815), Ezekiel (1758-1831), Abigail (1761), Hannah (1763-1829), Daniel (1765-1790), Abigail (1767-1832), Gaius (b. 1770), and Elias (1772-1829). Daniel Howell married Eunice Keen (b. February 25, 1770), daughter of Captain James Keen, on September 1, 1789. In October 1789, they joined John Cleves Symmes and other settlers in founding North Bend, Ohio. Daniel died there of an illness on July 6, 1790, and six weeks later, Eunice gave birth to their son, Gideon Daniel Howell (d. 1866), on August 23, 1790. She later married William Rittenhouse.

Deborah Peirson, a relation of Gideon Howell and Sarah Gordon, was born in April 1723. She had at least two children, Elias and Jerusha, and also had sisters named Jemime and Hannah. Her son Elias had at least three children: Abigail, Elias, and Jeremiah. She lived in Bridgehampton, New York, in the late 18th century. The Howell and Peirson families were united by marriage when Hannah Howell (1757-1822), Ezekiel Howell's daughter, married Nathan Peirson (1748-1826) in 1778.


Collection Scope and Content Note

This collection contains 22 incoming letters addressed to Gideon and Sarah Howell of Morris County, New Jersey, as well as 3 documents. The Howells received 8 letters from Deborah Pierson, a relative from Bridgehampton, New York, who wrote of family news, and 12 letters from friends and family living in North Bend, Ohio, including 8 from their son Daniel and his wife, Eunice Keen Howell (later Rittenhouse). The Ohio letters contain detailed information about life on the frontier and settlers' relationships with Native Americans. The remaining 2 letters are from Daniel Howell and a friend in Burke County, North Carolina. Deborah Peirson of Bridgehampton, New York, wrote 8 letters to Gideon and Sarah Howell, whom she addressed as "Brother and Sister," between 1770 and 1795. She primarily reported on her family's health, such as her father's illness and death and other family illnesses. She also discussed her son Elias and his family. In her undated letter, she enclosed a copied page of notes on the biblical Book of Job.

Gideon and Sarah Howell received 12 letters from early settlers of North Bend, Ohio, who moved to the area in late 1789. These include 8 letters from Daniel and Eunice Howell, their son and daughter-and-law, as well as 3 from Robert Whelan, an acquaintance, and 1 from Captain James Keen, Eunice's father. In their letters, the settlers reported extensively on their journeys to Ohio and on many aspects of pioneer life. They also frequently commented on their conflicts with, and fear of, the local Miami Indians, as well as on illnesses, hunting, and other aspects of daily life. Eunice Howell also wrote of the effect of her husband's death. She composed one letter after she married William Rittenhouse.

The two remaining letters are a personal letter Daniel Howell wrote to a brother with condolences for a recent death and news of the family in Southampton, New York (April 6, 1770), and a letter from Clizby Cobb describing life in Burke County, North Carolina (4 pages, August 10, 1798).

The collection contains the following 3 documents:

  • William Livingston warrant to pay John Cleves Symmes one month's salary as a justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court (May 18, 1785)
  • Richard Howe document concerning the commission of "Captain Kinney" (1792)
  • Constitution of the Female Mite Society of the Vicinity of Morris-Town, a society founded to raise money for the Kentucky Baptist Mission Society's efforts to convert Native Americans. Hannah, Margaret, Sarah, and Eunice Howell all subscribed to the organization.
Subject Terms

    Subjects:
    • Bridgehampton (N.Y.)--Social life and customs.
    • Burke County (N.C.) .
    • Frontier and pioneer life--Ohio.
    • Indians of North America--Ohio.
    • Internal migrants--United States.
    • Miami Indians.
    • Missions--Societies, etc.
    • North Bend (Ohio)
    Contributors:
    • Howell, Daniel Gideon, d. 1790.
    • Howell, Eunice Keen, b. 1770.
    • Peirson, Deborah, b. 1723.
    Genre Terms:
    • Documents.
    • Letters (correspondence)
    Contents List
       Container / Location    Title
    Box   1  
    Howell family papers,  1770-1819, and  undated [series]:
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Related Materials

    Several letters are reprinted in the following volume: Shepard, Lee. "News from North Bend: Some Early Letters." Bulletin of the Historical and Philosophical Society of Ohio 15 (1997), pp. 316-329.

    Bibliography

    Bateman, Newton, Paul Selby, and Joseph O. Cunningham. "Arthur Orr Howell." Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Champaign County. Volume II. Chicago: Munsell Publishing Company, 1905.

    History of the First Presbyterian Church, Morristown, N. J. Part II. The Combined Registers, from 1742-1885. Morristown, New Jersey: 1885.

    Kingman, Margaret M. "Records of the Peirson, Winston and Howell Families." National Genealogical Society Quarterly 50.2 (June 1962): 117-118.