Biography of John M. Howland
Bristol County, MA Biographies

Howland, John M., was born in Fairhaven, July 29, 1810. He has lived there all his life, and with the exception of Capt. George Taber, is the oldest lifelong resident of the village. His father, John Howland, was a seafaring man and passed through many thrilling experiences in running blockades in the war of 1812. He retired from the sea in 1816, and for twenty years thereafter conducted a retail grocery and general store in Fairhaven. He also built the salt works on Spooner's Point. John M. Howland learned the cooper's trade in his early youth and when a young man of twenty opened a shop of his own, which he conducted successfully for over thirty years, being principally engaged in making oil casks for the whale ships. He became an extensive owner in whale shipping and at one time had 'shares in twenty vessels. He was always active in politics, being a Whig and later a Republican, when the Whig party merged into the present Republican party. He frequently represented his party in the county and State conventions and during his active life took an important part in the councils of the party. He served upon the Grand Jury, being a member of the jury which indicted Theodore Parker. He is now nearly ninety years of age, but still possesses an excellent memory and takes an active interest in all matters of public moment and also in horticultural and agricultural work. Mr. Howland was married in 1833 to Matilda Coleman, whose mother, Phoebe (Folger) Coleman, was a sister of that noted astronomer, Hon. Walter Folger. Nine children were born to them: John Henry, Joseph Taber (deceased), Walter Folger (deceased), Laura Nye, wife of Sanford H. Dudley, Samuel Coleman (deceased), Harriet Matilda, George H., and two of the name of Eliza Collins, both deceased. The Howland family is of Puritan stock, John M. being a direct descendant and eighth of the line of Henry Howland as follows: (8)Johm M., (7)John, (6)Wing, (5)James, (4)James, (3)Nathaniel, (2)Zoeth, and (1)Henry Howland, who came to Plymouth colony in 1625 and was reputed a useful and respected member of the same. Most of his early descendants were Quakers, he having joined that sect in 1657, at the time when it was just beginning to spread in America. John H. Howland, eldest son of John M. and Matilda (Coleman) Howland, was born in Fairhaven, November 2, 1834. He was educated in the schools of Fairhaven and in a seminary at Acushnet, and early in life learned the cooper's trade under his father, starting in business of his own when twenty one years of age, and conducting it for several years. Like his father, he has always been active in Republican politics. He has served as selectman and overseer of the poor in Fairhaven for six terms, during four of which he has been chairman of the board; he has also served on the board of assessors for five years.

Our county and its people
A descriptive and biographical history of
Bristol County, Massachusetts
Prepaired and published under the auspices of
The Fall River News and The Taunton Gasette
With assistance of Hon. Alanson Borden
The Boston History Company, Publishers, 1899.

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