Thursday, November 17, 2016

The Son Who Moved Away: Beverly Winslow Howe

In the post dated Oct. 23, 2016, we learned a bit about Sarah Eva Howe's uncle William F. Howe and his family – including "Aunt Lou" and six children, Sarah's first cousins. Today we get better acquainted with one of those cousins – the only one of the six to move more than 100 miles away from the Howe homes and businesses in Carrollton, Kentucky.

First, some background: The practice of law was a family tradition for the Howes and Winslows of Carrollton, Kentucky. While the first Howes arrived in that town in 1859 and became successful entrepreneurs in textiles, tailoring, retail, and banking, the Winslows – who had been there since 1800 – tended to gravitate to careers in the law. After Louisiana "Lou" Winslow married William Ficklin Howe in 1873, the "merger" shows up in the career choices of their own children and the children of their siblings. Some Howes went into law instead of retail and banking; some Winslows became bankers or businessmen instead of attorneys. As a consequence, the Winslow law firm became the firm of Winslow & Howe in the early 1900s.

Beverly Winslow Howe, circa 1906 (1)
One attorney who got his start at the family firm was Beverly Winslow Howe, son of William F. Howe and grandson of the immigrant John Howe. His first and middle names are from his mother's side – his grandfather and an uncle, both named William Beverly Winslow.

(I've discovered that Beverly was a name for boys in the late 19th century and shifted to girls in 1904 after publication of a novel Beverly of Graustark, in which the title character was a woman. It's rare to find a man named Beverly today.)

Beverly Winslow Howe was born 18 November 1885 in Carrollton, Kentucky, the fifth child of William F. and Lou Winslow Howe. Sarah mentions him in the early scrapbooks, and his name is included in some of her newspaper clippings and school event programs. Because Sarah was not only a cousin but best friend to Beverly's sister Jenn,  I think Sarah saw Beverly often. Still, I found little in the scrapbooks to fill in a life story for Beverly Winslow Howe. For that I turned to the Internet.

In Volume 22 of The Michigan Alumnus (accessed in Google Books) I learned that Beverly earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Tennessee in 1906 and lived in Nashville for a brief time to teach in a prep school for boys and work in the Vanderbilt University law school. Two years later he was admitted to the bar in Tennessee and in Kentucky and was practicing law with his uncle George B. Winslow and his brother John J. Howe in the firm of Winslow & Howe in Carrollton. In 1910 he moved to Chicago to work as a law clerk for Chicago and Western Indiana Railroad Company and the Belt Railway Company. He is listed in the Class of 1910 in the University of Michigan's law school. (I'm still trying to work out how he could be in the Class of 1910 of a Michigan school while living in Chicago.) 

Carroll County, a book by Phyllis Codling McLaughlin, refers on Page 56 to Beverly's service in World War I. According to Volume 47 of The Michigan Alumnus, Page 58, Beverly did "secret service work," but I don't know if that refers to his work during his military service.

Beverly married Ruth Joyce Goessele of Chicago in 1916. They had two daughters: Louise Winslow Howe (1919-1988) and Isabelle Hall Howe  (c1918-?).

An aside: I'm intrigued by the bride's surname. Beverly's father's brother Joseph Brown Howe married Sallie Goslee in 1889 in Carrollton. Based on frequent mentions in Sarah's scrapbooks, I think the Howe and Goslee families were close friends. Could the surname Goslee be an Americanization or variant spelling of the surname Goessele? Another genealogical "bright shiny object" to research another day.

Brochure promoting speaker Beverly W. Howe (3)
Now back to the life of Beverly W. Howe. He was a prominent corporate and trial attorney in Chicago. When he filled out his WWI draft registration card in 1917, he listed his employer as the Miller & Howe law firm. He was also an expert on Abraham Lincoln. He was known throughout the midwest for his writings and speeches about the 16th president. A promotional brochure refers to him as a "Distinguished Chicago Attorney, Humorist, A Bearer of Good Cheer."  Some of his most in-demand speeches are published and available online or in libraries:
  • "Two Hours and Two Minutes – or Lincoln and Everett at Gettysburg" (1937) – available for download at
  • "Lincoln – Our Magnanimous Fellowman" (1934) – Lincoln Financial Foundation Collection, Allen County Public Library, Fort Wayne, Indiana (2)
  • "Abraham Lincoln in Great Britain" (1936) – Shelby County (Kentucky) Public Library and others listed on (4)
Beverly may have traveled to England to do research for that Great Britain speech. We know for sure that he took his wife and daughters to England later. A passenger list shows that they boarded the Queen Mary in Southampton on Aug. 30, 1939, and arrived in New York on Sept. 4 of that year.
A portion of a page from the database New York, New York Passengers and Crew Lists, 1909, 1925-1957; Vol. 13759-13761, Sep 4, 1939; accessed on 14 Nov 2016

Unfortunately, Beverly died just two years later at just 55 years of age. From his obituary, published in the Chicago Daily Tribune on May 2, 1941, we know that he continued the Howe family traditions of membership in a Methodist church and leadership roles in fraternal, professional, and civic organizations.
Services for Beverly W. Howe, Chicago attorney for 30 years and author of several books on the life of Lincoln, will be held at 2:30 p.m. today in the Epworth Methodist church, 5253 Kenmore avenue. Mr. Howe died Wednesday in his home at 5953 Kenmore avenue. He was 55 years old. He was a past president of the Executives' club and of Kappa Sigma, national collegiate fraternity. Mr. Howe was a member of the Chicago, Illinois and American Bar associations and the University club and was trustee of Lincoln Memorial University, Harrogate, Tenn. He leaves his widow, Ruth, and two daughters, Isabelle, and Mrs. Lloyd Norton Cutler.
Mrs. Cutler was Beverly's daughter Louise Winslow Howe. His daughter Isabelle Hall Howe married John Lawrence Cummings just a few months after her father died.

Ruth Joyce Goessele Howe lived 38 years after the death of her husband. The Chicago Tribune printed her obituary on January 19, 1979:
Services for Mrs. Ruth G. Howe, 86, of 1620 (1820?) Grove St., Evanston, will be at 11:30 a.m. Saturday in the chapel at 1567 Maple Av., Evanston. Mrs. Howe, widow of Beverly W. Howe, a Chicago attorney, died Wednesday in Evanston Hospital. She was a past national officer of Kappa Delta sorority. Survivors include two daughters, Mrs. Isabelle H Cummings and Mrs. Louise W. Cutler; a brother; seven grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

(1) Photo from the Ben Collett collection; published here with permission of Phyllis Codling McLaughlin, author of Images of America: Carroll County, published 2012 by Arcadia Publishing 
(2) Papers M-3573 and M-3574, Box 26, James Wills Bollinger Papers, Special Collections Department, University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, Iowa
(3) Image  and quote courtesy Redpath Chautauqua Collection, University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, Iowa;
(4) Lincoln in Great Britain is included in Catalog of Copyright Entries, New Series 1940-1943, Part 1, Page 358 (accessed on Google Books)

1 comment:

ScotSue said...

A very interesting profile of Beverley.