The Samuel L. Howie Family
I am Loreda Ray Gibson Prestifilipppo, the great, great granddaughter of Samuel L. Howie through his son John Henry Howie, his granddaughter Vida Earl Howie Gibson and his great grandson James C. Gibson, my father. When I was growing up, I was always told that my ancestors were pioneers and went west in a covered wagon and that our family was in America for seven generations. I decided to take a look and found an incredible amount of information on line about my ancestors. The best way to start their story is at the beginning which will takes us into Scotland and France.
The Howie family originally came from France and immigrated to Fenwick, Scotland to escape religious persecution. They were Covenanters and practiced their religion for centuries there and about 1638 they merged with Reformed Presbyterian Church of Scotland. They lived and died for their religion and were part of the movement to establish the Church of Scotland. In genealogical papers I have read it is said that the Howies of Union County, North Carolina trace their roots to James Howie father of John Howie author of the “Scots Worthies.”
Around 1780, William Howie immigrated to the frontier in Mecklenburg County which later became Union County, North Carolina. He met and married Elizabeth Howey, daughter of John Howey one of the first settlers in the area who arrived in Union County about 1770. John Howey was born about 1735 and died about 1803 in Mecklenburg, Union County North Carolina. He is my great, great, great, great, great grandfather and he immigrated to Pennsylvania sometime before 1762. Papers filed by his son George Howey for a military pension for service in the Revolution states his date of birth is 1762 in Pennsylvania. We believe Elizabeth Howey and William Howie to be cousins despite the different spelling of their last names. The Howey/Howie family seemed to use the spelling interchangeably. My research has shown that to be true because I find Samuel L. Howie using both spellings on census sheets at various times. My great, great, great, great grandparents, William and Elizabeth Howie, lived and died in Union County, North Carolina. William Howie was born February 6, 1756 in Scotland and died about 1819 in Mecklenburg, Union County North Carolina. Elizabeth Howey was born November 1766 in Pennsylvania and died about 1819 in Mecklenburg, Union County North Carolina.
Robert Howie, the second son born to Elizabeth and William Howie, was my great, great, great grandfather and the father of Samuel L. Howie. He married Athalinda McNeely had five children and lived and died in Union County, North Carolina. Samuel was the fourth of five children born to this couple but the names of the other siblings seem to be lost in time. In my research, Athalinda Mcneely has been referred to as Altha, Altha Melinda and Athalinda M. Howie. Athalinda M. Howie is what is inscribed on her grave marker. Robert Howie was born October 2, 1798 and died April 12, 1845 in Mecklenburg, Union County North Carolina and is buried at Old Church Cemetery. Athalinda McNeely was born February 14, 1806 and died October 30, 1849 in Mecklenburg, Union County North Carolina and is buried at Old Church Cemetery.
Samuel L. Howie went to live in Panola, Mississippi at the age of thirteen and was raised to adulthood there. My research shows that both parents had passed on by this time and I believe that he was sent to live with a family member. He eventually became a farmer and married Sarah Blackman in 1857 who bore him nine children. Samuel L. Howie enlisted in the Confederate Army in 1862 and served in Company C of Word’s artillery battalion which participated in Lee’s Peninsula campaign. After the Civil War Samuel L. Howie moved his family to Texas, probably by covered wagon and settled in Sumner, Lamar County Texas in the year 1869. He was a farmer, blacksmith and a merchant. His four youngest children were born in Sumner, Lamar County and Samuel and Sarah lived there until they died. Samuel L. Howie was born May 5, 1839 in Mecklenburg, Union County and died March 10, 1902 in Sumner, Lamar County Texas and is buried at Prairie Ridge Cemetery. Sarah Blackman was born September 1837 in South Carolina and died about 1920 in Sumner, Lamar County Texas. She is believed to be buried with or next to Samuel at Prairie Ridge Cemetery. There is no stone marker for her. Their children married and had children and the children’s children married and had children and to this day there are Howies living in and around Lamar County, Texas.
In 1891, my great grandfather John Henry Howie married Lillie Dale Holcomb, daughter of Enoch Holcomb and Elvira Guttery who probably came to Lamar County even earlier in time than the Howies. They had five children, four of them born in Sumner, Lamar County Texas. He worked as a blacksmith in Sumner, Lamar County until they went up into the Indian Territory and homesteaded in Caddo, Bryan County Oklahoma. They may have been there as early as 1905 but definitely by 1910 which were still early days in the history of the state. They lost the “Old Homestead” during the “Dust Bowl” era and moved to Ardmore, Oklahoma where they lived until they died. John Henry was a farmer, blacksmith and a merchant. John Henry Howie was born February 28, 1871 in Sumner, Lamar County and died January 3, 1956 in Ardmore, Oklahoma. Lillie Dale Holcomb was born November 27, 1873 in Roxton, Lamar County and died October 10, 1949 in Ardmore, Okalahoma. They are both buried at Rose Hill Cemetery Ardmore, Oklahoma.
My ancestors were pioneers. They weren’t rich or famous just hard working people. They immigrated to the frontier in North Carolina, moved west into Lamar County, Texas after the Civil War and up into Oklahoma (Indian Territory). They were here at the inception of the United States of America and served in every war ever fought by this great nation. I dedicate these pages to my ancestors and all the countless others that left their homeland, braved the unknown, went west and settled this great country and made it what it is today.
Samuel L. Howie and Sarah Blackman