Magnolia Cemetery – Thompson

Thompson -> Heard -> Howell

William Thompson (1781–1839) and his wife Hannah Brooks (1789–1872) are the 4x great grandparents of the Howell’s in my generation.  I learned last week during a visit with Jim Brittain and Betty Howell Traver that they are buried in the Magnolia Cemetery, Augusta, Georgia, along with many of their family.  

Jim Brittain provided photos and a plot map – The photos are now linked back to the database entry for each person.

The marker describing the plot reads:

“William and Hannah Thompson and the following members of their family, Edmund Heard, Ellen Heard, Henry Heard, Hannah Heard, Daniel B. Thompson, Elizabeth Thompson, Sarah Thompson, Mary Thompson, Jane Thompson, James Thompson, Jane Thompson, Sarah J. Lathrop”



Albert Sidney Howell Jr.’s – McKinney Howell chart

During a visit last week, Betty Howell Traver and Jim Brittain provided a copy of a handwritten Howell chart from the records of Albert Sidney Howell, Jr. The starting point is McKinney Howell.  The chart re-confirms much of what we already know, and provides the names of some “new” cousins including: Reed, Holden, Madison and Grimes.

The chart should be of interest to Julia Howell Traylor Dyar, as well as Mark McBride Howell as it shows their lines.


A full size copy of the chart can be viewed here.

Mary Johnson’s photo

Howell <–> Howell

As mentioned previously, Betty Howell Traver provided us with an amazing photo of Mary Johnson (1786 – 1856). Mary was Betty’s 2x Great Grandmother, and Henry Howell’s Great Grandmother.

Mary Johnson “Polly”

When looking at this photo you realize that Mary’s parents lived through the American Revolution, and that inevitably makes you ask “Is it really possible to have a photo of someone born in 1786?”, and “When was photography actually invented?”

The surprising answer is yes – According to Wikipedia,  photographers in America were advertising prices from fifty cents to ten dollars for a portrait in 1851.  Mary lived until 1856.

Albert Sidney Howell’s files

Howell <-> Howell

Imagine my delight last week when the postman delivered a box full of family history documents sent by Jim Brittain, Jr.. The box contained a lifetime of documents and notes from Albert Sidney Howell, Jr.’s (1898-1981) research on our family!

I am just beginning to sort through the documents but wanted to share some of my findings thus far.

The collection contains some original legal documents from the early to mid 1800’s that are quite interesting – they are on old paper of varying textures and odd sizes and are hand-written, often containing the original signatures of our relatives. These documents also serve as primary evidence to support our research. Here are the discoveries so far:

ORIGINAL DEEDS, INDENTURES, & COURT DOCUMENTS1. Deed to McKinney Howell 19 October 1818 – Original handwritten Deed from John Cain to McKinney Howell for 150 acres in Hanckock County, Georgia. Witnessed by Joseph Howell. The deed is on one 12″ x 14″ piece of paper and contains a rather home made red seal in the bottom right. Although I don’t yet know who John Cain is, it is worth noting that Issac Cain married Elizabeth Johnson, who was McKinney Howell’s sister-in-law.

2. Deed to McKinney Howell for 100 acres in Hanckock County Georgia from J? Veazey. Dated 19 March 1821. Original handwritten document fell apart at the folds into 6 pieces.

3. Deed to Joseph Howell, 19 December 1830 – Original handwritten Deed from A. R. Ransone(?) to Joseph Howell for 132 acres in Taliaferro County, Georgia. Witnessed by Silas M. Johnson and S. Johnson J.P.

4. Deed to Samuel A. Howell, 3 November 1857 – Original handwritten Deed from William Veazey & Ezekiel Veazey to Samuel A. Howell conveying 429 acres in Taliaferro County, Georgia. “adjoining lands of I. Moore, Wm. Johnson, Jas. Reynolds and others lying waters of the Ogeechee river.”

5. McKinney Howell estate Dismissory Letter, attesting that Samuel A. Howell completed his duties as Administrator de bonis of McKinney Howell’s estate on 2 April 1860. Original document, Greene County, Georgia, signed 5 November, 1860 by Eugenius L. King. Red wax seal in lower left.

6. Deed to McKinney Howell from Zachariah Lamar(?)/Lawson(?) for the purchase of approximately 380 acres, consisting of several parcels in District 12, Houston County, Georgia that include 180 acres parcel #254, 198 acres parcel #255, 3.5 acres parcel #269. Dated March, 1830. Original handwritten 3 page document on a single sheet of folded paper.

7. Deed to Samuel A. Howell for 225 acres of land from the estate of John J. Howell. “ both the Counties of Greene and Taliaferro.” Original three page, handwritten document, dated 7 November, 1858.

8. Deed to Samuel Armstrong Howell for 8.7 acres in Greene County, Georgia on 11 March 1861. Original one page handwritten document from E. F. Jarrell.

In addition the collection contains many letters, typed notes, and handwritten notes and charts. Here are some that I have found thus far:

LETTERS, TRANSCRIPTS & NOTES1. Lundie W. Barlow’s Howell file – Credit must go to Lundie Barlow (Howell <-> Barlow relationship) for working out the Howell ancestry from McKinney Howell back to Matthew Howell. This was no small feat, as it required many visits to the different institutions housing land, marriage, census and other records. We are all in Lundie’s debt for this effort. The file’s 19 pages contain abstracts from the source materials with the location of each source noted. There are sections for Cavanah / Cavenah, Johnson, and Howell. The file is now scanned into a single pdf that can be viewed here.

2. The Veazey Line connection to A.S. Howell. Begins with Ezekiel Veazey born 1759 and goes to Albert Sidney Howell’s grandparents Margery Elizabeth Veazey who married William W. Moore. The Veazey name is also connected to our Howell branch as Elizabeth, the mother of Elmira McBride was at one time married to a Veazey. More research to do here to figure out the connection and hopefully sort out the marriages of Elizabeth McBride/Veazey/Rhodes..”

3. The Veazey Line starting with James Veazey.

4. Albert Sidney Howell letter to Florence Howell Pollard dated 25 March 1974. Mentions Abner Veazey, Clark Howell, Elizabeth Veazey, Leila Veazey, Elmina McBride.

5. Howell line Notes by Albert Sidney Howell, Jr. “Four Howell brothers came from North Carolina”; “From the family bible of Dr. and Mrs. Reddings”; “Note from L.L. Knight’s Georgia Landmarks..” and more.

6. McKinney Howell will transcript by A.S. Howell.

7. Florence Howell Pollard’s letter to Albert Sidney Howell, 23 March 1974. “..This writer is most grateful to those who kept track of the family records, otherwise there might not have been my own wealth of research. I began collecting records in 1930….”

In addition to the excitement of discovering new facts, it is always a relief to get original documents and photos scanned and available to all on the Internet. I can think of no better way to preserve our heritage.

Many thanks again to Jim W. Brittain, Jr. for providing this great collection.

Elmira McBride Ancestors

Some interesting new information from cousin Jim Brittain arrived today regarding the ancestors of Elimira McBride wife of John Johnson Howell.

Jim writes:

I have the Howell Family data collected by Albert Sidney Howell, Jr. White, Plains, Ga. who died 1981.In a letter from Villa [Havila] Howell Mapp White Plains, Ga. to W. S Howell Greenville, Ga. Feb 20,1911.
“…John Johnson Howell married Elmira Mc Bride when she was sixteen. She was reared in Milledgeville [Ga.] and Eatonton, Georgia.”

In a letter (about 20 pages) from Lundie W Barlow, Richmond Va. Nov, 8 1944 to Albert Sidney Howell
“…My parents John Johnson Howell and Elmira McBride Howell, were married in the town of Perry Houston Co. Ga. in 1832.”

The third document I am not sure of the author, possibly Florence Stewart Howell Pollard. No date but about late 1960’s
“…Checking back to Elmira McBride who was married to John Johnson Howell, she was the Daughter of John McBride who died in 1830. He was married to Elizabeth Veazey or Veasy, who was the daughter of Delilah Rhodes[?], Delilah was the daughter of a Mr. Southerland and wife who was a Miss Cleyborn before her marriage.:

If you would Like I can get copies to you through Betty Howell Traver.

Jim Brittain

My comments:

1. A small mystery – Elmina McBride Howell is buried in the White Plains Baptist church cemetery – Dad and I photographed her gravestone, and the spelling of her name is “Elmina”. But all other sources, including this recent information from Jim Brittain spell her name “Elmira” – so I’m going to change the record to Elmira, and assume that either the gravestone is misspelled, or perhaps it means that she was called Elmina by those who buried her.

2. Elizabeth Veazey/ Vesey who was the mother of Elmira McBride Howell, is really Elizabeth Rhodes. She must have married Mr. Veazey before she married John McBride the Surveyor General. This reconciles with the comments by Betty Howell Traver that she was married more than once.

3. Two new generations found – We now learn that Elizabeth Rhodes is the daughter of Delilah Southerland. That makes Delilah the great grandmother of Dr. John McKinney Howell. Delilah is the daughter of Mr. Southerland who married Miss Cleyborn so Mr. Southerland and his wife are the 2x great grandparents of Dr. John McKinney Howell.

4. We don’t have dates but based on Elmira’s birth date in 1815, if her mother Elizabeth Rhodes was 25 when Elmira was born, Elizabeth would have been born in 1790. (25 is a bit older, but remember this was her second marriage) If Delilah Southerland was 20 when she had Elizabeth, Delilah would have been born in 1770, and her mother Miss Cleyborn perhaps born 1750 if she was 20 when she had Delilah. Of course all of this is just a guess, but it puts us in the general timeframe to start looking for more details.

It will be interetsing to see if we can uncover some more gems from the information Jim has.

An Interview with Julia Howell Traylor Dyar

Howell <-> Howell

About a month ago, thanks to a transcript of an interview posted on the Digital Library of Georgia web site from the Troup County Archives, I learned that Julia Dyar is a third cousin living in LaGrange, Georgia – We have started corresponding (as you can see from the Genealogue entry of 20 June 2006) and already new facts are emerging on our mutual Howell ancestors.

Julia Howell Traylor Dyar
LaGrange, Georgia – 2003

Although the interview is mostly about Julia’s fond memories of life in LaGrange, the comment that prompted me to contact her was:

My mother was Gladys Marchman from the eastern part of Georgia; her parents were pioneer settlers in Hancock and Greene Counties.

A thread that emerges from many generations of Georgia Howell’s is a love for writing and teaching. Julia certainly fits the mold.

The video/audio of the interview can be seen here

The transcript here:

First “big” DNA Match!

Howell <-> Howell

Mark McBride Howell and I matched DNA in 25 locations according to the Y-DNA test performed by FamilyTreeDNA. We are indeed fourth cousins – our common ancestors being 3x great grandparents John Johnson Howell and Elmina McBride.

I’m fascinated by this finding as it further validates much of the genealogical information that we have independently compiled.

This match also establishes that our Howell line is unique from the other Howell lines in the DNA study – probably to the immigrant Matthew Howell who died in Isle of Wight County, VA in 1720.

Our search now should focus on finding other Howell males that trace their ancestry to VA, NC and/or GA who are not yet participating in the DNA study.

A visit with Betty Howell Traver

Howell <-> Howell

Last week, Dad and I spent a day with our first cousin Betty Howell Traver, age 82, at her home in Greensboro, Georgia where she lives with her husband Daniel. This was a much anticipated occasion – our first ever in-person meeting!

To be precise, Betty is dad’s first cousin ‘once removed’, and my first cousin ‘twice removed’ – click “Howell <-> Howell” above for a chart.

Within the first few minutes, Betty asked at what age my hair turned grey. “It started about age 16”, I replied. “I knew it,” said Betty, “you’re a Heard!”

Elizabeth Howell Traver cir. 1954
Betty is the only child of Edward Lathrop Howell, youngest brother of Henry Alonzo Howell. She is our last living link to the Howells of White Plains, Georgia. She remembers spending summers in Cuthbert, Georgia in the house occupied by her Aunt Eva Howell, her father and by Henry Howell “my favorite uncle!” Betty remembers Henry’s music and that he played the piano daily.

Betty also remembers meeting John Edward Howell – “I liked him,” and also remembers that his sister Atze Howell came and stayed in her parents house in Atlanta after leaving Puerto Rico.

Betty’s birth mother, Lillian Schalk Howell, died when Betty was 4 months old. When Betty refers to her mother, she is talking about her first cousin, Helen Camp Richardson (1895 – 1962), who raised her, and who tragically died in an air accident in Paris, France while on tour with the Atlanta Art Association.

Betty graduated from Washington Seminary girls school (now part of The Westminster Schools) in Atlanta in 1942. She attended Emery University where she was editor of the school newspaper and one of the first women students on campus. She fulfilled the requirements to graduate from Emery but the school was not yet awarding diplomas to women — so she received her degree from Agnes Scott College in Decatur, GA in 1946. During the Korean War Betty served in the Red Cross (1952 – 54) and lived in Tokyo and Osaka Japan and Taegu Korea. She married Dan Traver in Japan. Dan served in the Army on the staff of General William Westmoreland where he was responsible for 2,000 plus aircraft and could “fly anything from helicopters to fixed wing”.

Without doubt, our meeting with Betty produced an avalanche of new information on our Howell ancestors! Betty provided so many interesting stories, photos and documents that I will not try and do all of them justice in this note. But to get started, I’ve placed copies online of most every photo and document she provided, for all to see and enjoy – stories, more explanations and details to follow.

Thank you Betty for these wonderful gifts!


1. Henry Alonzo Howell (1866 – 1958) Dad’s grandfather, husband of Nellie Davison. Betty describes him as her favorite uncle. Several photos including as a youth before his first haircut; another in his 20’s or early 30’s; and a great portrait. Up until now we really did not know what Henry looked like!

2. Hannah Brooks Thompson (1789 – 1872) – An original photo of Henry Howell’s Great Grandmother probably taken 1860’s ! Amazing to think George Washington took his oath of office as first President of the United States just one month before she was born.

3. Edmund Heard (1807 – 1853) – Grandfather of Henry Howell, son-in-law of Hannah Brooks Thompson.

4. Emma Berrien Heard Howell (1841 – 1918) – Daughter of Edmund, mother of Henry Howell. 4’11” tall, and a powerful force in her school and in her family.

5. Mary Johnson Howell (1786 – 1856) – Great Grandmother of Henry Howell, Great Great grandmother of Betty Howell Traver. An amazing copy of an old photo probably taken in the 1850’s. Given to Betty by Sidney Howell of White Plains.

6. Silhouettes of Daniel James Brooks,
Sarah Berrien Brooks, and their granddaughter Elizabeth Thompson Heard, cut by a famous silhouettist who had no hands.

7. Edna Perrin Heard Kilpatrick (1843 – 1925) – Henry Howell’s aunt, younger sister of Emma B. Heard Howell.

8. William “Willie” Johnson Howell (1849 – 1906) – Georgia State Legislator, Uncle to Henry Howell. A double bonus as he is also the Great Great Grandfather of Mark McBride Howell – and Mark informs me this is the first image he has seen of him.

9. “Mammy” – ex slave of Dr. John McKinney Howell holding a young Florence Howell.

10. Helen Camp Richardson’s portrait – photographed over Betty’s fireplace in the living room.

11. McKinney Howell house – White Plains, Georgia. Several generations have lived here including Dr. John McKinney Howell.

12. This photo of Edward Lathrop Howell, Betty’s father/ Henry’s brother, is framed and sits in her living room.

13. Group photo of Henry Howell and his sister Bertha Howell Camp, and her daughter Helen Camp in what Betty thinks may be Henry’s car.

14. James Hines Kilpatrick photo. An original of the photo found on the “Vanishing Georgia” site by the Georgia Archives.


Henry Howell’s father, Dr. John McKinney Howell served as a doctor for the Confederate Army during the Civil War. His letters to Emma describe the horrific conditions he encountered at Andersonville Prison and are must reading. Betty Howell Traver donated the original handwritten letters to the University of Georgia and her tanscribed versions can be seen at the links below:

1. July 29, 1864
2. July 31, 1864
3. August 4, 1864
4. August 10, 1864
5. August 29, 1864
6. August 29, 1864 – handwritten version showing that due to a severe shortage of paper the letter was written first horizontally, then overwritten vertically!


1. A Howell family tree showing Howell’s from Betty Howell Traver to Matthew Howell who resided in Isle of Wight, Co., VA and who died 1720. This is a breakthrough as up until now I have not been able to trace beyond McKinney Howell. (See: Tree from Matthew Howell b. 1600’s to Maggie Howell b. 2005)

2. Copy of a letter from the Georgia Archives re: John McBride (1793 – 1828) who was Surveyor General of Georgia. He was Henry Howell’s Great Grandfather.

3. Copy of John McBride’s “Field Notes” for Appling County July 1819.

4. Betty’s wrote a one page document describing the “Origins of Henry Alonzo Howell’s given names“.

5. Betty wrote a one page document on John McKinney Howell & describing some of the artifacts from the old homes that she still has.

6. A document titled “Christmas Visit to the Howell Kin near Atlanta in 1858” Excerpted from the unpublished autobiography “Family Reminiscences” by Edna Perrin Heard Kilpatrick, written in White Plains Georgia in 1922.

7. A short history of the Howell and Johnson Lineage written by Havillah Howell Mapp. (1835 – 1934)

8. Several documents regarding Hannah Brooks Birthday which reveal much about our Berrien lineage. Sarah Berrien was Henry Howell’s Great Great Grandmother. We now can see the details of this lineage back through New York, Holland and France.

9. An original old handwritten document with clues to John McBride’s lineage.

10. Corrected pages from the 1939 genealogy by Lucy Lane Erwin “The Ancestry of William Clopton of York County, Virginia.”

11. Handwritten document with reference to Benjamin Rhodes. Betty notes possible relationship to John McBride.

12 . Transcribed article from the New York Herald re: Origins of Howell name. (no link to our line shown)

13. Handwritten background on the silhouettes of Daniel James Brooks, his wife and granddaughter Elizabeth Thompson Heard.

Rev. Kilpatrick’s Howell Family notes

Howell -> Howell

A wonderful document by William Heard Kilpatrick (WHK), compiled from the notes of his father Rev. J. H. Kilpatrick, and titled simply “The Howell Family” was recently sent to me by Rev. Scott Kilpatrick, who lives in Australia.

McKinney Howell is currently the eldest ancestor in the Howell line that we have discovered. This document is the first I have seen to name any of McKinney’s brothers, which could be a tremendous help in further research. The document is transcribed below:

I [WHK] find in a book which belonged to my father the following statement:”McKinne Howell had three brothers, JosephMatthew and William

“Matthew was an old bachelor who lived where Randolph Clark now lives – he made a good property and willed mostly to his nephew Abraham – but one slave Dick to John Howell.”

Joseph had three children, Abram [?], Isaac, and Nancy. Isaac married a sister of C.A. Davis and moved to Alabama – became a printer [?]. Nancy married Nelms and after his death, Mercer. Nancy had two more children of whom James married Minerva Hilsman and Martha married Cuthbert Alexander and finally Davenport.”

“McKinne had two sons, Matthew and John. Matthew had two children, Nancy Jane and Samuel. [Nancy Jane was born 1834, married Dr. I.D. Moore, and died 15 June 1869.] Samuel was the father of W.S. Howell who was the father of Cornelia, my grand daughter. Samuel Howell’s mother was a Symington and a sister of Benj. Alfriend’s first wife.”

J.M. Howell was born 13 Aug. 1838 and died 3 May 1889. S.S. Howell died 30 Sept. 1864. Elmirra [McBride] Howell was born 13 Aug. 1815 and died 23 May 1883. Polly Howell married Johnson and died 19 Oct 1856. W.J. Howell was born 4 Jan 1839Nuna [Jurnigan] Howell was born 4 June 1852.Burinah (Howell) Hilsman was born 31 July 1840. Alonzo Howell was born 16 July 1836. Austra [Howell] Mapp was born 1 Dec. 1842 and died 25 March 1891. Villa [Howell] Mapp born 7 July 1845. H.M. Moore born 30 March 1856. Adiah Mapp born 6 May 1879. Fuller Mapp born 18 March 1879. Howell Brady born 4 Nov. 1880. McBride Howell born 6 Aug. 1879.”,


1. The spelling McKinne is interesting – Up until this letter I had assumed it was McKinney as this is the spelling on his grandson’s (John McKinney Howell)gravestone.

2. Memoirs of Georgia says there were 5 brothers (or six depending on how you read it):

“W. S. Howell, an attorney of distinguished ability of Meriwether county, belongs to one of the pioneer families of the state, to which his great- grandfather with five brothers came to North Carolina in the last century. Four of the brothers drifted on with the tide of emigration, but one other remained in Georgia. He was McKinney Howell, one of the earliest settlers of Greene county.”

3. McKinney Howell’s brother, Joseph had a son Abram. Abram would be the nephew of Matthew Howell. Matthew Howell willed his property to “his nephew Abraham”. I’m wondering if Abram and Abraham are the same person? The name Abram was quite common at the time as can be seen in census records.

3a. Matthew Howell willed a slave named Dick to John Howell, but which John Howell? Hard to calculate without a death date for William, but perhaps his nephew John Johnson Howell (son of McKinney Howell).

4. The first line of the last paragraph refers to “S.S.Howell died 30 Sep, 1864.” I can’t locate an S.S. Howell. This perhaps a typographical error and should be “S.A. Howell” (Samuel Armstrong Howell), who died on 30 Sep, 1864 as shown on his gravestone in the White Plains Baptist Church graveyard.

A copy of the original document as typed by W.H. Kilpatrick can be viewed here.

Another John Howell is born!

Another John Howell is born!

Howell <-> Howell

 Mark M. Howell and son John M. A. Howell
A few weeks ago I was contacted by Mark McBride Howell who found me via this web site. As it turns out, Mark and I are 4th cousins! Mark and his wife Nieves Mary just had a baby boy named John Howell !

In his first email of 9 Feb Mark writes:

My great-grandfather is shown in your charts as the eldest child of William Johnson Howell and Anna Elizabeth Jernigan. I think he moved from White Plains to Athens, GA around 1905. I have attached a couple of photos of him and a shameless one of my son for your records. Finally, I have attached a family tree. A quick glance showed that you already had the Howell information I have gathered. As far as I can tell, John Johnson Howell and Elmina McBride are great-great-great grandparents for both of us. Thanks much for putting together such a great website.

This is quite an event as Mark and his family represent the most distant living Howell cousins found to date! Click here to see a tree illustrating the relationships.

Mark and I have now exchanged many emails on our mutual family history. He also has forwarded many photos and some documents, most of which are now on the web site.

And most recently, Mark wrote to tell me that he has decided to participate in the Howell DNA study with a 25 marker test. If all goes well, we should be an exact match.

I hope an in-person meeting can’t be far behind!