James Moorman Howry was born in Fincastle, Virginia, on August 4, 1804, and grew up in Hawkins County, Tennessee. He served as a colonel in the Tennessee Militia and practiced law in Nashville after 1831, though he did not have a formal legal education. In 1836 or 1837, Howry moved to Oxford, Mississippi, where he continued his successful legal career, served as judge for the 8th judicial district, and became a founding member of the University of Mississippi's board of trustees (1844-1870). He continued to assist in the university's governance throughout much of the rest of his life, and also became a state senator (1858-1861) and trustee of Union Female College. He and his wife, Narcissa Bowen (1818-1870), were married in 1834, and had at least nine children: Susan, Henry, Charles Bowen (1844-1928), Alice, Samuel, Herschel, Sallie, Frederick, and Peyton. James Moorman Howry died on April 14, 1884.
Charles Bowen Howry was born on May 14, 1844. He briefly attended the University of Mississippi before enlisting as a corporal in Company A of the 29th Mississippi Infantry Regiment at the outbreak of the Civil War; he later became a first lieutenant. After the war, he returned to the University of Mississippi, and he graduated in 1867 with a degree in law. Howry owned a successful legal practice in Oxford, Mississippi, and held many public positions, including service as a state senator (1880-1884), United States district attorney (1885-1889), and assistant attorney general of the United States (1893-1896). Charles Bowen Howry died in 1928.