John C. Howell Residence
On August 4, 1873, Jacob and Joanna Swayze sold .35 acre of the old Parsonage Lot to John C. Howell for $1,000. Mr. Howell employed Simeon S. Cook to do the carpentry and Absolom W. Price to do masonry. By September 11, 1873, the foundation was finished. By October 2, 1873, the dwelling was enclosed. The Howell House was constructed, 24' by 30', with two stories and a basement. The kitchen measured 16' by 18'. John C. Howell occupied his new residence in April 1874.

From the front page of the Sussex Register, June 7, 1906.

John C. Howell Dies Honored and Respected

Seldom has this community been so shocked as it was on Friday morning by the annoucement of the death of John C. Howell, president of the Merchants National Bank of Newton and a representative citizen. Mr. Howell had been confined to his home for about three weeks from the effects of a carbuncle on his neck, but he had been in ill health for two or three years. The carbuncle, although it was believed to be yielding to treatment was the immediate cause of death and the end came so suddenly at 4 o'clock am as to startle the members of his own family, who, however, were at his bedside.

Mr. Howell was so identified with the interests of Newton, and worked so effectively and unostentaiously in whatever he did that the question at once arose: "Who can fill his place?" Having know him from the time he came to Newton, in February, 1866 and being somewhat familiar with his life methods is is a sad task to record the passing of one who measured up ot a standard of manhood that is rare as it is desirable. He was cautious, yet open hearted: critical, yet generous, dignified yet a lover of fun. His purse was always open for charity, benevolence or improvement. He had such a pride in his surroundings and the town in general, that the shortcomings of others made him critical, but never going farther than to direct attention in the hope of a change for the better. While his death creates a void in the rapidly lessening circle of really influential citizens, the loss to the institution be served so well from its beginning until his death is fully as great as that to adopted town.

His historian says: "Among the earnest men whose depth of character and strict adherence to principle excite the admiration of his contemporaries. Mr. Howell is prominent". He is a man of conspicuous ability and his character is above a shadow of reproach. He has been faithful to the high office in which he has been called to serve, and is widely known and respected by all who have been familar in any degreee with his honorable and useful career.

Mr. Howell was born upon a farm near Deckertown, Sussex County, May 16, 1842, and is a son of Alpheus and Asenath (Pellett) Howell. His father was born in Hope township, then Morris (now Warren) county and was a farmer and merchant. His death occured in Deckertown, in 1895.

John C. Howell spent his boyhood days in Deckertown, and pursued his studies in a select school, after which he continued his education as a student in Eastman's Business College at Poughkeepsie, New York, he then offered his services to his country for the defense of of the Union in the Civil war, enlisting in Company H, 27th NJ Vols, Sept 3, 1862 under Capt. Samuel Dennis in which he saw active and hard service. After he was mustered out July 2, 1863 he returned to his home in Deckertown where he resumed business carrying on operations at that point until Feb 1866. In that year he came to Newton and entered the employ of the Merchants' National Bank as clerk and bookkeeper serving in that capacity until 1868 when he was made teller. He continued in that latter position until 1878, when he ws promoted as cashier and for twenty years he discharged the duties of that office, his long term indication incontroveritbly his fidelity and ability in performing his labors. Hi pleaseant and affable manner rendered him a popular cashier and not a little of the success of the institution was due to his labors in that capacity. In January 1872 he was made one of the directors of the bank and in January 1898 he was elected president in which capacity he remained. The position of cashier was left vacant and was filled be George A. Smith, the former teller, and Ralph Dildine Howell, a son of our subject, became teller.

In 1871 Mr. Howell was united in marriage to Miss Sallie E. Dildine of Huntsburg NJ a daughter of Ralph Dildine, who survives him with two children, Ralph of Newark, and Miss Sarah, a student of Wellesley College at Wellesley Mass. He is also survived by one brother, the Hon Obadiah P. Howell, of Port Jervis, and by three sisters, Charlotte E. Howell of Port Jervis, Mrs. Martha E. Cox of Hackensack, NJ and Maretta, wife of Dr. E. B. Potter of Newton.

Mr. Howell's father was a successful and leading merchant in Deckertown and was also postmaster for many years. The son imbibed his business qualification from his father, who was a most conscientious tradesman. Deceased was a graduate of the school of William Rankin of Deckertown which furnished many noted men in after life.

In politics Mr. Howell was a Republican espousing its principles when he attained his majority. He was a member of Capt Griggs Post GAR and its Commander at the time of his death and none except the comrades know of the zeal and patience he exercised to revive and maintain it as the ranks are depleted by death. He was also a member of the Washington Society of Morristown headquarters, and of the Newton Fire Patrol. The beautiful monument in the public park commemorating of the services of the county's soldiers and sailors was made possible through his untiring exertions, as he was one of the wheel horses in the effort to raise the $6,000 which was the cost of the memorial. His services as treasurer of the Sesqui-Centennial fund, which paid a dividend to the subscribers, will never be forgotten. He had a generous and appreciative spirit, and his death ais a financial moral and social loss to the town. He is gone and the place and faces that knew him will know him no more but he has bequeathed a sweet and fragrant memory that will ever be cherished by his business associaties his personal friends and the comrades in arms who bowed in sorrow when informed of his death.

The funeral services were held at his late home on Monday afternoon, and were somewhat unique as well as impressive. On the green lawn and under the shade of the trees which he had planted and watched as they grew gathered a large company of friends and comrades who heard through the open windows of his home the scripture lesson the prayer and the song which preceded interment in Newton cemetery. The services were conducted by Rev CW Rouse of the Presbyterian chuch of which deceased was a member dating from Mr Rouse's first year here and of whom deceased was a warm friend. Few men had a more passionate love for flowers and it was fitting that the blossoms and wreaths which were so numerous as tokens of personal friendship should be laid upon his casket while his grave was flower strewn by two ladies previous to the burial.

About the photos in the order they appear: 1. Modern photo of 121 Main Street, Newton; 2. Civil War era photo taken of John C. Howell at Owens Studio; 3. Sarah Dildine Howell, 4. Sarah Howell, Mrs. John C. Howell (Sarah Dildine Howell), Jenny Ochtree, wife of brother of John C. Howell (?), and Mrs. Ralph Dildine (Ralph's picture is on wall), Eunice E. Wills b.1821 m.1840 d.1899 (Eunice E. Wills is Sarah Dildine Howell's mother); 5. John C. Howell with grandchildren Ralph Jr., Floyd and Asenath. NOTE: Other grandchild not pictured is my grandmother Eunice Howell Powell, from Deborah Powell, webmaster. Photos from the collections of Pat Howell Woodward. Contact:

Among the earnest men whose depth of character and strict adherence to principle excite the admiration of his contemporaries Mr. Howell is prominent. Banking institutions are the heart of the commercial body indicating the healthfulness of trade, and the bank that follows a safe, conservative policy does more to establish public confidence in times of widespread financial depression than anything else. Such a course has the Merchants' National Bank, of Newton, followed under the able management of its officers, one of whom is John C. Howell, who for twenty years has served as the efficient cashier of the institution. He is a man of conspicuous ability and his character is above a shadow of reproach. He has been faithful to the high office in which he has been called to serve and is widely known and respected by all who have been familiar in any degree with his honorable and useful career.

Mr. Howell was born upon a farm near Deckertown, Sussex county, May 16, 1842, and is a son of Alpheus and Asenath (Pellett) Howell. His father was born in Hope township, then Morris (now Warren) county, and was a farmer and merchant. His death occurred in Deckertown, in 1895. He was a son of John Howell, also a native of New Jersey and a representative of a family that removed from Long Island, New York, to this state in its pioneer days. The maternal grandfather of our subject was Obadiah Pellett, who belonged to an old New Jersey family of that name, and his daughter, Asenath Pellett, was born in Sussex county, near Pellettstown, which was named in honor of the family. He was twice married, and his second wife, who bore the maiden name of Charlotte Westbrook, was a native of Sussex county. The Pellett family originated in England and was first planted on American soil in Massachusetts. One branch was afterward established in the Wyoming valley in Pennsylvania, and another in New Jersey.
John C. Howell spent his boyhood.days in Deckertown, and pursued his studies in a select school, after which he continued his education as a student in Eastman's Business College at Poughkeepsie, New York; he then offered his services to his country for the defense of the Union in the Civil war, and the following is a verbatim account of his war record as copied from a chart:
John C. Howell, enrolled as sergeant of Company H, Twenty-seventh New Jersey Volunteer Infantry, September 3,1862; mustered in-September 19, 1862, Samuel Dennis, captain, with the following field officers: George W. Mindel, colonel; Edward S. Babcock, lieutenant-colonel; Augustus D. Blanchett, major of the regiment. Camped on East Capitol Hill, Washington, D. C., until October 28. Duty near Alexandria, Virginia, until December 1. Marched by way of Uniontown, Port Tobacco and Bluebank to Acquia creek, December 1-7. Joined the Ninth Corps near Falmouth, December 10. Battle of Fredericksburg, December 11-15. Crossed the Rappahannock river into Fredericksburg, December 12. Line of battle between Deep and Hazel Runs and. support of Franklin's division, December 13. Recrossed Deep Run and formed on Hazel Run December 14. Returned to camp' near Falmouth, December 15.

1863 – position at Franklin's Crossing, supporting Battery B, First New York Light Artillery, January 24 to February 11. Moved to Newport News February 11-13 and was on duty at Camp Burnside to March 19). Moved to Baltimore, Maryland, March 25. Transferred to the Department of the Ohio, March 26 to 28. Operation in central Kentucky against Pegram's forces March 28 to May 12. Relieved calvalry at Heckman's Bridge and marched in support to Camp Dick Robinson, March 28. Picket duty on Lancaster road and advance guard on Danville road to April 11. On duty at Stanford until April 26. Expedition to Monticello, April 26 to May 12. Marched to Mill Spring and countermarched to Somerset April 26-29. Crossed the Cumberland river Stigold's Ferry April 30. Moved to the support of cavalry at Monticello, Kentucky, May 1-2. Returned to Somerset May 3-8, losing one officer and thirty-two men drowned at Stigold's Ferry May 6. Marched with the troops moving on the Vicksburg campaign June 4. Halted at Heckman's Bridgc by order of General Burnside and on duty there until June 15. Complimented by Generai Burnside in General Order No. 102 on its withdrawel from the front June 15. Volunteered for service in Pennsylvania June 17, during the invasion of the north by the Army of Northern Virginia under General R. E. Lee. The offer was accepted and the regiment ordered to Pittsburg by Secretary Stanton June 17. On duty in the Department of tbe Monongahela until June 26. On duty at Bridgeport opposite Wheeling, West Virginia, June 18-20. Moved to Pittsburg, Pennsyh-ania, and did picket duty at Uniontown, Monroe and Chestnut Ridge Gap, June21-24. Guard at Turtle Creek, June 24-25. Moved to Harrisburg June 26-27, and to Newark, New Jersey, June 27-28. Mustered out July 2.

It will thus be seen that Mr. Howell's army experience was an active and ofttimes arduous one, and with an honorable military record he returned to his home in Deckertown, where he resumed business, carrying on operation at that point until February, 1866. In that year, he came to Newton nnd entered the employ of the Merchants' National Bank as clerk and bookkeeper, serving in that capacity until 1868, when he was made teller. He continued in the latter position until 1878, when he was promoted as cashier and for twenty years he discharged the duties of that office, his long term indicating incontrovertibly his fidelity and ability in performing his labors. His pleasant and affable manner rendered him a popular cashier, and not a little of the success of the institution was due to his labors in that capacity. In January, 1872, he was made one of the directors of the bank, and in January 1898, he was elected president, in which capacity he is now serving. The position of cashier thus left vacant was fiIled by George E. Smith, the former teller, and Ralph Dildine Howell, a son of our subject, became teller. He had been connected with the bank. as clerk and bookkeeper since 1890. The bank was organized in 1865 as a national bank, with a capital stock of one hundred thousand dollars, and its first officers were Robert Hamilton, president; Franklin Smith, vice-president; and Jacob L. Swayze, cashier. From the beginning the institution has prospered, owing to the sound financial policy it has followed. Its present capital is one hundred thousand dollars, its surplus fifty thousand, and its undivided profits thirteen thousand, and for several years a semi-annual dividend of five percent has been paid. A general banking business is carried on and a liberal patronage is enjoyed.
In 1871 Mr. Howell was united in marriage to Miss Sallie E. Dildine, of Huntsburg, New Jersey, a daughter of Ralph Dildine. They now have two children, Ralph Dildine and Sarah Asenath. The family is one of prominence in the community. In politics Mr. Howell is a Republican, having given his support to that party since attaining his majority. Socially he is a member of Captain Griggs Post, No.III, G.A.R., and also of the Washington Society. Public-spirited, he gives his support to all measures for the public good and was one of the prime movers in securing the funds for the erection of the Soldiers' Monument, the cost of which was six thousand dollars. The monument, an artistic device in Quincy and Westerly granite, standing thirty-three feet in height, was dedicated September 19, 1895, and is Sussex county's tribute to the defenders of the Union, erected "in grateful commemoration of the services and sacrifices of the soldiers and sailors of Sussex county in the war of the Rebellion." This labor of love on the part of Mr. Howell plainly indicates his generous and appreciative spirit, and to many other causes he has been a liberal contributor.

Entered & posted by Deborah Powell. John C. Howell & Sallie E. Dildine Howell are my great-great grandparents. They are buried in Newton Cemetery. As it happens, we were married in the same chuch as them, Yellow Frame Church, Fredon Township. I had no knowledge of them until much later.

John C. Howell's Civil War letters home

Camp Burnside
March 4th/63

Father I am enjoying good health and spirits. I rec'd a letter from my brother Obs. (Obadiah) he wrote that cousin Obadiah Santz was dead adn buried. I was sorry to hear of his death. I saw him 4 or 2 days after he recouped the Rappahannock, He couldn't speak out then but otherwise, was in good spirits and was glad to see me. Little did I think that would be the last I would ever see of him. I don't know how many more will follow before this cursed rebellion will be put down. What is thought of the Conscript Law by the people of Sussex County? I presume it cuts close to the Traitors and Copperheads. One clause of it I do not like and is by allowing them to pay $8.00 or get a substitute. Leave out the $8.00 and let them hire a man in their place and if they can get him $8.00 all right. I don't think we'll be enrolled but if we are I don't intend to remain at home to cone with the conscripts. I am the only one of our family which this will touch and am glad of it. I don't want Oba to come here and you are too old and feeble and as for me I have stood it for six months and unless I get rooms I'd think I can stand it first rate for another year if need be. I think we will be paid four months pay by the 15th of this month if so I shall send $60 home the same way as the other. If you have a hard time I can collect $10 or $12 in change of Sutter and others very easy. I have not got my box yet but am looking for it in a day or two. I hope it will come around in a day or two. I must close now it is time for lights out.
Your Son
John C. Howell

P.S. Write - soon
I came near forgetting some stamps I have only 3 left after sending this.

May 9th 1863
Dear Father
I am now resting after having a pretty good tramp after butternuts. On 28th April we left camp in light marching order except rations at 4 PM we made 9 miles before stopping for the night. When the sun was an hour high we were winding up the mountain and ast Fiddlers-Elbow as it is called and as our Bridgade (Viz. 103. o.2) temr. and 27th NJ and Wilders Battery) were winding around the elbow, 27th ahead then the Battery then 103 Ohio & 2 times the trees all coming out in leaf and blossoming, the troops cheering below. I never saw such a sight before I would not have missed it for $25. 26th marched 25 miles over a rough county road. 27th moved down within 2 or 3 miles of Ill Springs where Zolicoffer was killed. On our way we forded Fishing Creek. Our regt was 2nd in line and as we came on top of a steep hill at the foot of which was the creek and the Ohio Boys fording it on the opposite side the Rocks were about 150 feet high with just trees and bushes growing out of the side just made it a splendid sight.

Lay all day ready to march any moment.

Moved back to Somerset. 30th crossed the Cumberland and marched down the river till we came opposite to Mill Spring on one of it. May 1st we marched 7 miles without a rest. We did not go further than Monticello. Stayed there a day or twon and then marched back at our leisure. It had rained for a day or two and raised the river so it was very difficult to cross. 1 boat load had sixty or 70 on it and got in the middle of the stream was swamped. It was the last load of the 27th and the remainder were in lines on the shore facing them. What a sight, 60 men drowning and 500 of us on the shore unable to do a thing. The river is about 20 feet deep and very rapid current, we could do nothing. There were 31 privates and 1 Cap. drowned. Never do I want to witness another sight like that. On the 18th we came here at Somerset 6 miles from the river. I must close to be on time for the mail. I can't tell yet whether we stay here until the 19th of June or not.

Giver my respects to all my friends,
Your Son
J.C. Howell

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Below follows a history of John C. Howell's great-grandfather, a veteran of the American Revolutionary War.

This history has been supplied by a descendant.

The Story of William Howell of Sussex County
As told by His Records

    William was born in about 1746 in Southampton, Suffolk, Long Island, the third of nine children of Jedidiah Howell and Elizabeth Gould. His siblings were: Elias 1744, Edward 1745, Ebenezer 1748, Hezekiah 1750, Elizabeth 1752, Phebe 1760, Mary 1765, and Clarissa 1768.
    William removed, as a young man, to Old Log Gaol, Hardwick Township in then Hunterdon County (now Johnsonburg, Warren County). He married Maritje Davids and they started a family,  said to have numbered seventeen. The Baptismal records of the first three children were found in the Dutch Reform Church records of Deerpark, New York.
    1. Petras 28 May1767, married Hester Cortwright and had children;  Jenny Quick 1809 and Caty 1812.
    2. Feminitje or Phoebe 9 Feb1769
    3. Abigail 1774 and married Isaac Manning in 1798. She died in 1846 and is buried in Vail Cemetery in Morristown, N.J.
    4. Elizabeth 1776

The above info is from the Friends of Valley Forge website.

    In 1776 William answered the call of the Patriots to join the Revolution and, according to his application for an increase to his Invalid Pension, he enlisted  aboard the frigate “The Alfred” which was the merchant ship “The Black Prince” fitted with armor and guns and was the first US Naval ship to fly “The Grand Union Flag” hoisted by John Paul Jones. He was a private with the 2nd New Jersey Regiment  aboard  it’s first mission to the Bahama Islands under Commodore Hopkins to capture a large supply of gunpowder. But delays enabled the British to move it to Florida before they captured Forts Montague and Nassau. On the homeward voyage, they encountered the ship “Glasgow”. “The Alfreds’ tiller rope was burned and it was unable to pursue the “Glasgow”. It put in at New London, Connecticut for Repairs on April 8 and William returned home. “The Alfred” was later captured by the British in March 9 1778 and the crew was taken to the prison ship “HMS Jersey” in New York harbor.

 In 1777 William re-enlisted in the Fourth Jersey Regiment under Captain Martin in Elizabeth, N.J. It joined General Washingtons’ forces to fight the British at Brandywine but were defeated and retreated with the help of a wounded Marguis de Lafayette. The British had captured Philadelphia, the capital of the colonies, and Washington and was determined to attack them. He regrouped his units and attacked the British camp at Germantown before dawn in a thick fog but were repulsed and forced to withdraw. The Troops spent the winter of 1777-78 encamped at Valley Forge. William was on the Muster Rolls until April when the 4th New Jersey departed to New Jersey to keep an eye on British moves from Philadelphia. The  rest of the troops joined them near Monmouth and Washington then mounted an initiative to attack General Cornwallis’ troops readying to depart Monmouth Court House. Both armies held the field but darkness forced an end of the engagement and the British troops withdrew during the night undetected to resume its’ march to New York City. During the battle, William was “shot through the arm”. He was later inspected and found unable to work as a laborer and received an Invalid Pension #1306 on May1, 1788 of five dollars a month. The original pension application was destroyed in a fire in Washington, D.C. but an Index of the Invalid Pensions was rescued.

    After returning home, William added to his family:
    5. Jacob 1778
    6. Sarah 1781 married Jacob Doty who apparently died in the War of 1812. She then married Mathew Pitney and had nine children.
    7. & 8. Twins 1783. William married Elsey Corwin and had daughter Catherine. John married Martha Tharp and had ten children. He took his family to Ohio where he bought a farm and died in 1825 in a tragic wagon accident. Both twins enlisted in the War of 1812.
    9. Polly 1785. Sometime between 1785 and 1799 Maritje apparently died but no record has been found.
William then married Rebecca Arnold. Their four childrens’ Baptismal records were found in the Clove Dutch Reform Church records.
   10. Mercy 1799 married John Hart.
   11. Thomas 1800
   12. & 13. Twins 1802. Cornelius married Sarah Bales and removed to Veteran, Chemung County, New York where they bought a farm and had twelve children. He died in 1850.
   Permelia married Aaron Scholley and had ten children. The twins had been bound out to the Peters’ farm as apprentices at age 13 or 14.

    The next record found was an application for an “Invalid Pension” increase passed by Congress in 1818. William stated his residence was Pilesgrove, Salem County, N.J. Family had thought he had gone away to help one of his children but I did not find any of them in Salem. However I found his sister, Clarissa, living there. She, their sister Mary and brother Ebenezer had removed to Salem years before. Mary died in 1785 at age twenty. Ebenezer practiced medicine and served in the Revolution. He was targeted as a Patriot for extra punishment and his office was raided and the floor was set on fire. It survived and still stands in the garden of the Salem County Historical Society across the street from the homes of himself and his sister. He married Lydia Tuckness in 1790, had a daughter Mary Clarissa and both he and his wife died within a year of unknown causes. His sister and her husband, William Parret ( a lawyer and an express rider during the Revolution) became legal guardians of Mary Clarissa.  Clarissas’ husband died in 1804 and she remarried Edward Burroughs in 1805. They had a daughter Clarissa in 1808. They were all buried in the family plot in St. Johns’ Church cemetery. William received his pension increase and lived out his life in Salem County where he died on January 21, 1824. An unnamed person paid $1000 for an Administrator of his estate in Salem County as he had no will. He was not buried in the family plot and unfortunately his gravesite has not been found either in Salem or Warren County.

Written by his fourth great-grand-daughter, L.A.