Howes your father? - July 2015

Post Reply
Site Admin
Posts: 310
Joined: October 4th, 2009, 6:28 pm

Howes your father? - July 2015

Post by mardler »

Hello folks. It's an early end of the month note from me as my other hobby of yacht racing takes over for the next two weeks at Wroxham and Horning on the Norfolk Broads. Quiet month for the database, though, as we added only a few over 500 people. But we had a lot of action on the correspondence front.

Seth Benedict Howes, circus entrepreneur - what happened to his money?
Well, now we know at least where (literally) a big chunk of it went! In last month's news letter (, we asked whether anyone was going near York Minster. Reader Gillian Lumb saw our request. She and her husband visited and took some photographs. Here's one of them:
Thanks due to Chris Lumb and York Minster
Thanks due to Chris Lumb and York Minster
HowesChalice3.jpg (131.58 KiB) Viewed 2006 times
Bear in mind that the chalice is 8 or 9 inches high - that 32ct diamond must be 3/4" across! Thank you very much, Gillian and Chris. Some other photos will soon appear on the record of Amy Mozley, Seth's British-born wife, who donated the chalice to York.

1915 British Merchant Mariners records uncover an interesting side note on history
Last month too, we asked if anyone would like to work through the records of many seamen named Howes/House/etc and try to figure out where they were from. Correspondent Brian Howes stepped up and has sent me explanations for several of them so far. One of the most interesting ones was a man named Harry Sears Howes from Providence, Rhode Island. His occupation on one of the three crew lists in which he appears was stated to be "horseman". That's a strange role for a mariner until you realize what year it was. The British Army imported something like one million horses from North America during the war effort and clearly wanted skilled handlers to look after the beasts on the voyage to Europe. Harry was clearly such a handler.

This month's interesting database also has some gems in it
Bermuda National Library Newspapers is a fascinating archive with digital copies of newspapers going back to just after the US war of independence. Two of the first three articles I looked at referred to:
- a man named Howes who in 1786 had returned to London from India with £100,000 "in his pocket". Who was that man?
- a man named John Howes who in 1788 was the public executioner in my home town of Norwich who had read his own obituary in the local newspaper! The newspaper article reads "John Howes the publick executioner at Norwich whose death was lately announced in the Norfolk Chronicle has addressed a note to the printer in which he says that he lately read the paragraph with much pleasure and flatters himself ere that event takes place he shall have the satisfaction of performing the ceremony of his office upon the author of the report which he assures him shall be executed in the most commodious manner and for which he will make no other demand than the profits arising from the sale of his last dying speech and confession"! Teehee, but which John Howes was he?

Are you interested in going through a few articles in the Bermuda archive and trying to place them to individuals in our database? Work at your own pace. Do one a week, or one a month. Here's the URL for the archive in case you'd like to take a look for your own research:

Suckling Howes - 1744-1838
I've been in correspondence recently with correspondent Susan Sweetman about a man named Suckling Howes who was a clockmaker in Downham Market, in West Norfolk. Susan had seen a clock made by him on sale at an auction house in England. Turns out that a few years ago I had bought a document signed by a Suckling Howes giving notice to his creditors that he was seeking release from Norwich Castle gaol. So that was a loose end neatly tied up, BUT we cannot figure out where Suckling came from. There were several other men of the same name who came from the Catfield area of North East Norfolk but they all seem to have been farming families. Can you help us figure out where he was from?

Thank you for your continued support, folks. All the best
Post Reply