Monday, June 26, 2006


Elizabeth James, eldest daughter of James and Elizabeth Joseph Wilson, was born January 26, 1818, in Madison county, Ala. She grew up with the family, and received a good English education, and at the early age of fifteen was married to Isham R. Howze. I wish my record threw some light upon this early marriage, but it does not, and I suppose when she grew older and became a "woman grown," she entered upon her life work as teacher, which she followed till the infirmities of age forced her to give it up. She possessed the rare faculty of managing girls and young ladies, and her school-room was always full.

This was the first school I attended, and I remember it well. It was strictly a female school, but I was only nine years old, and had to accompany my oldest sister from home every morning on horseback.

My sister had six or eight boarders, young ladies who lived at a distance. All but two went home every Friday evening, and returned Monday morning. A German Music teacher also was a boarder. I think thirty was the capacity of the school, and it was always full. How she managed those girls, taught that school, and kept up her boarding department, and attended to her own children, for she had five, and the oldest was eleven, I never knew. Of course, she had servants, a cook, dining-room maid, and nurse for the baby, but that will not solve the problem, and when I think there were no sewing machines, how did she keep her family clad? And the problem none of her numerous progeny can solve to-day. Her husband, a delicate man, often assisted in the school-room, and was always busy.

This is one of the largest branches of the Wilson family tree. Seven children were born and lived to adult age, and six large families are growing up from them.

George Adrian, the first born, was married to Miss Mollie White, of Murfreesboro, Tenn., in December, 1859, and the happy couple commenced housekeeping in Memphis, Tenn., in 1860, and but one year of unalloyed happiness was allowed them. The Civil War came on that made so many widows and the orphans, and the young husband, now a father, felt it his duty to go to the defense of his country. He enlisted in the 42nd Mississippi Regiment, which reached Richmond in June, 1862, followed his Regiment for one year as First Lieutenant Co. D. On the fatal field of Gettysburg, first day of July, 1863, he laid down his life for his country, "Dulce est pro patria mori"!

His faithful servant, Stephen, sought for and carried his body off the battlefield, and back to the hospital, and prepared it for burial. There we put him in a rude coffin that Stephen had managed to make. Many spoke of the singular sweet smile then lingered still on the dead soldier's countenance. After the War, "The Southern Memorial Association," removed his body, with all the other dead that could be found, to Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, Va., and a neat headstone marks his resting place; and it is some consolation to know that he sleeps in the soil he died to defend.

Arthur, Adrian's son, grew to be a bright youth, accepted an appointment to the United States Naval Academy, at Annapolis, Md., where he graduated with distinction, but soon succumbed to typhoid fever. His widow and daughter reside in Winona, Miss.

Several years after the close of the Civil War, Adrian Howze's widow married Judge Williamson, of Carroll county, Miss., and they reside in Greenwood, Miss.

William Duke, second son of Isham R. and Elizabeth James Howze, was raised and educated in the village of Chulahoma, Marshall county, Miss., and just arrived at manhood in time to enlist in the Confederate Army in 1861. He enlisted in the First Mississippi Regiment, and was elected Second Lieutenant in Company F. The regiment was drilled and prepared for service at Iuka, Miss., can with the Third Mississippi Regiment, forming the Brigade of General James L. Alcorn, ordered to Bowling Green, Ky., to join the Army of Albert Sydney Johnson. His command wintered at Hopkinsville, Ky., and in February, 1862, was ordered to Fort Donelson on the Cumberland River. Here on the battlefield he won his laurels as a Confederate soldier, but was surrendered to the enemy, and lanquished in prison for months on Johnson Island. In May or June, 1863, his regiment was discharged and sent home, but just in time to take part in the gallant defense of Port Hudson on the Mississippi River, where, on the 9th of July, 1863, he was again turned over to the tender mercies of the foe as a prisoner of war. His military experience was sad and trying in the extreme.

After the close of the War, this gallant Confederate soldier returned to his old vocation, the school-run. In a few years he was happily married to Miss Lizzie Newsom, of Desoto county, Miss., and settled in the county site, Hernando, where his useful life was spent; the last two or three years in the ministry of the Baptist Church. Father and mother have both gone to their reward, but a large family of children were reared. Some have married. One family is in Colorado, another in California, the others in Mississippi.

James Wilson Howze, the third son, grew up a strong, athletic boy, and at the age of sixteen, enlisted in the Nineteenth Mississippi Regiment, for the War, and served in the army of Lee. Capt. Thomas J. Hardin, doubly connected with the family by marriage, was captain of James' company, and reported that the boy made a most excellent soldier. Captain Hardin rose to be colonel of the Nineteenth Mississippi Regiment, and fell in the bloody angle at Spotsylvania. Jimmie followed his captain through all the fierce battles in which the "Nineteenth Mississippi" was engaged until June, 1862. In one of the bloody encounters with McClellan's host in the Chickahominy Swamp, he was mortally wounded, and died on the battlefield before he could be removed to the hospital. A comrade who was with him in his last hours, bore messages of love, and assurances of salvation to his mother at home.

Oh, how precious were these messages from the battlefield to the loved ones, the waiting ones at home! "Tell mother, I am not afraid to die. Tell her, I have lived as she taught me, and I die happy."

This is the first blood of the family, shed in the fierce struggle for constitutional freedom. How much more shall be required? We shall see as we progress in the history of this family. Those were the days that tried the faith of our fathers and mothers at home, while we were all away!

Susan Bennett, eldest daughter of Isham R. and Elizabeth J. Howze, was the pet of the family, which was very natural, as she was the first girl born in the house.

As she developed into womanhood she was a general favorite with every one. In childhood she showed a remarkable talent for music, and was given every advantage in this line, and soon became the musician of the family, which was rather noted in this respect. She was certainly the finest performer on the piano I ever met. During the winter of 1864 and '65, the Second Missouri Cavalry Regiment was stationed in North Mississippi, and was a great protection to the people against the pillaging raids of the Federals, who would dash out of Memphis, and strip the people of everything they could find of value. In this regiment was a dashing young trooper, by the name of Kuhl, a German, and of course, a natural musician, and very fond of music. In the discharge of his duty on this out post, riding through the country in quest of the enemy, the young people met. Mr. Kuhl was educated, refined and polished; he was a soldier, a defender of the South. It was very natural that kindly feelings should soon spring up between these young people of congenial natures.

After the close of the great unpleasantness, Mr. Kuhl commenced merchandizing in the village of Wall Hill, near Mrs. Howze's residence, and in a few years built up a fine, lucrative business. The young people were married, and commenced housekeeping under the most auspicious circumstances, and fortune smiled upon the business of the father. Soon a family sprang up around the young people, and three lovely and lovable children were added to the household—Burchard, Edward and Susie.

We are hard to satisfy in this world, and content and ("which is great gain") is a treasure and virtue few of us possess.

In a few years Mr. Kuhl sells out his prosperous business, lovely home, etc., in the village of Wall Hill, and moved with his family to Florida. He reached the State about the time the orange craze swept over it, and located in the city of Orlando, Orange county, and commenced merchandizing again, and engaged also in orange culture, and buying up suitable lands for oranges, and other semi-tropical fruits.

Fortune again smiled on him, and he accumulated wealth rapidly for several years, but a change comes; the enervating, debilitating effect of the semi-tropical climate begins to have its effect upon his constitution, not naturally strong and robust, and health begins to fail, and fail rapidly, and soon the end comes. "Misfortunes," we are told, "comes not singly," and soon that blasting frost that played such havoc with the orange groves of the State, swept over the "Land of Flowers," leaving desolation in its wake. Many were ruined. All were damaged greatly.

The sons, business men of ability, went to work with a will to save a portion of the shattered estate, and succeeded, and the family, now, are residing in the city of Texarkana, Ark. The brothers are in the banking business, and prospering. I am afraid, as a family, they paid little attention to that great injunction of the Savior, "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness."

Burchard and Edward have married, and young families are springing up, and the flock is continually increasing. The fourth son of Isham R. and Elizabeth James Howze, Henry Le Grand, has a history both interesting and distressing. He was to young to enter the Army when his brothers enlisted so he remained at home, to work and help to support mother and the younger children, but the boy's heart was filled with patriotism, and a burning desire to be a soldier, which was characteristic of Southern youth.

When the ill-fated First Mississippi Regiment was exchanged in the spring of 1863 and returned to the State, Henry bids mother good-bye and join his brothers' company and regiment. The Regiment was ordered to the defense of Port Hudson on the Mississippi, as already stated, and Henry soon found himself a prisoner of war. He was parolled by order of General Grant, commanding the department, and the men made their way home through the country on foot, a distance of 200 miles for Henry and the boys from Marshall county. This was a pretty rough initiation for the young soldier, but the worst is to come. On reaching home he found that the squirrels had increased wonderfully and were devastating the corn fields, which were in roasting ear, and just like a Southern boy, he rigged up and old shot gun, and declared war on the enemy, and went forth to kill and eat. His frolic was of short duration. A raiding party of Federals from Memphis, prowling through the country, hearing the sound of his gun in the woods, sought and captured the young Nimrod in the "height of his glory."

"Halt, and surrender," astonished the hunter, and a Federal officer and half a dozen men closed round the boy and demanded his gun.
"What are you doing? Don't you see that I am shooting squirrels and having a good
"Where do you live?"
"With my mother on the hill yonder."
"Are you a Confederate soldier?"
The boy hesitated, but thinking of his parole, he answered:
"Well, come along my young man, we will take you in."
"Oh," he said, "I have my parole signed by General Grant, and I am not to be molested until I am regularly exchanged."
They went up to the homestead. The parole was examined, but in spite of the parole, in spite of an agonizing mother's prayers, they carried that young soldier off to Memphis and put him in the Irving Block Prison.

Earnest efforts were made to have him turned loose, but to no avail. The infamous Provost Marshall said he was found with arms in his hands, and that rendered his parole null and void. He was sent to Camp Chase where he lanquished in prison to the close of the war. When he reached home in the spring of 1865, he went to work on his mother's farm, and in a few years brought it into a high state of cultivation, and developed into a first-class Southern farmer. He married Miss Emma Nichols, a most estimable young lady, who has made in a loving, industrious, and faithful wife. This is one of the ideal homes you sometimes read of, but seldom find. Everything seems to be just right. A "family alter" is there, and love and affection seem to be written on the walls of the rooms. The children come round smiling and happy, and you never hear one told to do this or that, they know what is to be done, and do it cheerfully, and there is no friction. This is a large, promising family, and is destined to become one of the most fruitful boughs of the family tree. All are Christians, Bible Christians, and the father an elder in the Presbyterian Church.

Elizabeth Bourdon, second daughter of Isham R. and Elizabeth J. Howze, "Donnie," as she was always called, was a great favorite in the family from childhood, and developed into a lovely character, celebrated for her gentleness, modesty, beautiful hair, and musical talent. After the Civil War she was united in marriage to Captain Thomas J. Eason, a gallant Confederate soldier, an old schoolmate and neighbor more, who enlisted in the Seventeenth Mississippi Regiment in 1861, and faithfully followed the Confederate flag until it went down in blood at Appomattox. The young couple settled in Wall Hill, Miss., among their old friends and relatives, where Captain Eason commenced merchandizing, and in a few years established a lucrative business, and soon accumulated a handsome estate. They then removed to Cold Water, Miss., a thriving talent on the Illinois Central Railroad for convenience, and to enlarge his growing business, and there merchandized successfully for several years. The family were greatly blessed, and seven children were graciously given them, three lovely girls, and four promising boys. In 1894, the family, for educational purposes, and for health, moved to Fayetteville, Ark., where they have grown up enjoying and utilizing the advantages of the high schools, and State University. The girls are married, and two of them have gone back to the old home in Mississippi. The older sons have passed through the University, and are just starting out in life for themselves. This family also, is destined to become a fruitful bough on the parent stock.

Isham R., the youngest son of Isham R. and Elizabeth James Howze, resides in Denver, Colorado, where he has lived for many years. He has been married twice; has two children by his first wife, who are probably married. He is a lawyer by profession, and when last heard from was Judge of the Criminal Court.

Isham R. Howze, the head of this large and fruitful branch of the parent tree, was in one respect a strange man. He was a close, constant Bible reader and student, and left to his children a commentary upon several of the books of the New Testament. But he never allied himself with the Church of God. In theory he was a Baptist, raised by Baptist parents, and thoroughly acquainted with their doctrines and form of government. He was a strong Calvinist, and an admirer of the Presbyterian Church, but he could not accept infant baptism, nor affusion as a Scriptural mode of baptism. He could not be a Baptist, because their Democratic form of church government kept them forever quarreling among themselves, and with all other Christians, and these radical views kept him out of the Church of God, through a long and useful life. Yet he died a glorious, triumphant, Christian death. I think his death-bed scene was the brightest and the happiest I ever witnessed, and was only equaled by that of his faithful and consecrated wife several years later. This was a strange mistake for a man of uncommon sense and fine judgment to make. We ought to study carefully such a life and character, and see if it will stand the Bible test. Our lives are but sign-boards along life's pathway, and somebody is going to follow us. Will his example do to follow? Suppose all should follow it, where would you find the Church of God? If there is one duty taught plainly in the Bible, it is the duty of service. This duty he failed to perform. If there is another duty taught plainly by our Saviour, it is that he calls us to work. "Go ye into the vineyard, why stand ye here all the day idle?"

This man might have been a power for good, both and church and Sunday-school. He was well prepared to instruct the young, and had a happy way of communicating his thoughts and ideas to others, but like the people of Meroz, he "Came not up to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty." Our sins of omission, which we consider trivial, and of little moment, may cause us to lose our souls. We often fail to appear in our places in the sanctuary, in the Sabbath-school, and in the mid-week service of prayer and praise, for very slight and trivial causes. We thank we won't be missed; we are not feeling very well, and it is so easy to have a headache. Are we not guilty of robbing God? Is this not our "reasonable service?" God forgive us for our sins of omission, and help us to be faithful!

Mr. Howze was a very infirm man, and suffered a great deal through life from nervous prostration. He was rarely ever free from headache, and would often suffered intensely for days at a time.

Mrs. Elizabeth James Howze, I must add a few words in regard to her consecrated, Christian life and character, I have spoken sufficiently of her hard laborious life as an educator, in training young ladies for usefulness, and of her faithfulness as a wife and mother. The great trial of her life was the Civil War. She had to send her three oldest sons into the Army early in the great contest, and the fourth, later on. Two fell on the field of battle, two survived. These fiery trials seemed only to brighten her Christian character and increase her faith in God, and she emerged from its horrors, a stronger Christian, a more faithful worker, both in the Church and Sunday-school. She lived to see her children all grown, members of the church, and settled in life. The last year or so of her life was filled with suffering, from cancer of the stomach, but she bore her suffering with Christian fortitude, never complaining, always happy, and when the Bridegroom came, "He found her lamp trimmed and burning," and she was ready and prepared to enter into the "marriage supper." I have no words to describe that last tender talk with her children, and the loved ones who were gathered around her bed. A word of admonition for every one. A tender prayer for all. We felt we were very near the "gate of heaven."


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