Edwin Howell

Article Index
Edwin Howell
Marriage Records
Wife: Nancy Britt
Deeds of Trust
Court Order Book
Court Minute Book
All Pages


Edwin Howell, born circa 1818, is the 3rd son of David Howell and Susanna March.[1] Edwin’s father was enumerated as head of household in 1820 in Nansemond County, VA;[2] thus Edwin’s birthplace is assumed to be there, although the federal censuses for 1850 and 1860 report it to be “NC”.[3],[4]

Edwin had 5 siblings: Anthony March, Robert S., Lemuel J., Ann Mariah and Mary Ann.[5] Their parents moved to Southampton County, VA, in 1840, when his father bought 120 acres on the Blackwater River, near the P & R Railroad warehouse.[6] It is assumed that Edwin and his brother Lemuel came with them; there were 2 males in their father’s household that were in the right age group to be them.[7]

Almost five years later, in the same county, Edwin married Nancy E. Britt, the daughter of John Britt and Mary Liles, on December 23, 1844.[8] Nancy was married previously to Lewis Gatling, and they had 4 children together, living on land in Hertford County in the area that is now Maney’s Neck Township. All were under 10 years of age in 1840 when their widowed mother was listed as head of household next to the census entry for her father.[9] Nancy and Edwin had 6 children, all boys, raising them in the homeplace that Nancy had established with Lewis. Four of the sons were given somewhat unique names: Euclid, Roscius, Urius, Cyrus. The youngest were Charles and Joseph.[10],[11] All are known to have become adults except perhaps Urius. Because the family was probably missed by the census taker in 1870,[12] it is not known for certain what happened to Urius.

Edwin came to own a couple of tracts of land. One (187 acres) was in Reynoldson Township in Gates County, and may have been purchased at the sale of his late father’s lands on Somerton Creek.[13],[14] In 1846 a deed of sale from Brittain Moore to Edwin Howell was registered in Hertford County.[15] If this is the 93 acre ‘Howell tract’ that is mentioned in later deeds, then it was close to where he and Nancy lived.[16],[17] In the 1850 census, he also listed 7 slaves in Gates County (as well as 1 female slave in Hertford County).[18],[19] [No record has been found yet for the assumed sale of the Gates County land; however, his name was listed on the Gates tax list only once.]

The Lewis and Nancy Gatling homeplace, near the now-vanquished village of Bartonsville[20] became known as the ‘Edwin Howell’ place; however its 45 or so acres were inherited by Gatling’s children. ‘Nancy Gatling’ was on the 1845 Hertford County tax list, with 45 acres (value of $130); no Howells were listed in the township.[21] In 1873, daughter Nancy, wife of Robert S. Howell, sold her interest in the farm to her sister Molly, wife of Baker P. Joyner.[22] Eight years later in 1881, Molly and Baker sold both interests, to her half brother, Cyrus W. Howell.[23] At some point, their mother relinquished her dower rights and Cyrus became full owner. Whether Edwin and Nancy had called the farm "Egypt" or not, the name stuck, as ownership went from Cyrus to his surviving child Jake, who sold it in 1904.[24]

During the 1860’s, life must have become hard for Edwin; by 1863 he had sold the only land that he owned to John Taylor (a neighbor and the husband of Nancy’s first cousin).[25] Edwin died only six years after the conclusion of the Civil War at the age of 51.[26] His wife Nancy (born November 9, 1815), lived some 23 years more, dying on June 1, 1894.[27] She outlived not only her husband, but sons Cyrus and Charles, a grandson (Cyrus’s son Richard) and most likely her son Urius. She, their son Cyrus W., and their son Charles’s oldest son Edwin Thomas Howell, are buried in marked graves on the back row of a small cemetery on the John Taylor and Elizabeth Britt farm in Como, N.C. [28] There is a good chance that one of the unmarked graves on that row belongs to Edwin.

[1] Robert G Edwards vs Antony M Howel etc, Southampton County, VA, Chancery Records, Library of Virginia, Richmond, VA (index # 1848-037, microfilm 441-766-726).

[2] David Howell household (population schedule, 1820 census, Nansemond County, VA, page 254, line 24)

[3] Edwin Howel household (population schedule, 1850 U.S. census, Hertford County, NC, Northern District, dwelling/family 324)

[4] Edwin Howell household (population schedule, 1860 U.S. census, Hertford County, NC, Northern District, dwelling 311, family 362)

[5] Robert G Edwards vs Antony M Howel etc.

[6] Anthony Howell and wife Emma to David Howell, Southampton County Deed Book 24, page 525, Clerk of Court, Southampton County Courthouse, Courtland, VA.

[7] David Howell household (population schedule, 1840 census, Southampton County, VA, page 75, line 8)

[8] Marriage Register 1750-1853, Ministers Returns, page 542, Clerk of Court, Southampton County Courthouse, Courtland, VA.

[9] Nancy Gatling household (population schedule, 1840 U.S. census, Hertford County, NC, page 25, line 3)

[10] Edwin Howel household, 1850.

[11] Edwin Howel household, 1860.

[12] A thorough page by page search by the author of the microfilmed copy of the 1870 census for Hertford and Southampton counties did not revealed the family.

[13] Robert S Howell to William P Moore, Trustee. Gates County Deed Book 19, page 24, Register of Deeds, Gates County Courthouse, Gates, NC.

[14] Gates County List of Taxables, 1842-1851, page 287, County Records Collection, North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh, NC (C.R.041.701.2),

[15] David Powell, Court Minutes of Hertford County (1845-1849), (Liberty Shield Press, Winton, NC, 2000), page 27.

[16] John Taylor to Bracky T Spiers. Hertford County Deed Book A, page 18, Register of Deeds, Hertford County Courthouse, Winton, NC

[17] Tyrone Spiers to B B Winborne. Hertford County Deed Book G, page 386.

[18] Edwin Howell, slave owner (1850 slave schedule, U.S. census, Gates County, NC, page 31).

[19] E Howell, slave owner (1850 slave schedule, U.S. census, Hertford County, NC, page 391).

[20] Bartonsville was a sawmill village established by Stephen Barton around 1856 on the Chowan River, close to where the Meherrin river flows into it. It’s existence ceased near the end of the Civil War when Union forces came up the Chowan and burned its warehouses and wharfs. [T. C. Parramore, “The Bartons of Bartonsville”, N.C. Historical Review, Vol 51 (Jan. 1974)].

[21] Powell, Court Minutes, page 222 in the appendix.

[22] Robert S Howell and wife Nancy to Baker Joyner. Hertford County Deed Book B, page 384.

[23] Baker Joyner and wife Mary to Cyrus Howell. Hertford County Deed Book I, page 319.

[24] Jake L Howell to John D Babb. Hertford County Deed Book 27, page 338.

[25]Taylor to Spiers.

[26] Notes taken from the original Buckhorn Church Minute and Roll Books, by L.H. Glover, 1972.

[27] tombstone of Nancy E Howell, Britt-Taylor-Howell Cemetery.

[28] Britt-Taylor-Howell Cemetery, Parkers Ferry Road, Como, NC.