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Hon. Anthony Howells
THE HON. ANTHONY HOWELLS by virtue of his long
and prominent career, which links together two generations of Ohio history, is one of the State's most notable men of the present day. As a pioneer coal operator in
the Massillon district, as a high public official, and as a man and citizen, Mr. Howells has stamped his individuality upon the pages of the annals of Ohio, and lives to witness the fruits of his endeavors. And no accident made his career, for he achieved every step of that career, often in the face of obstacles that would have overwhelmed souls of less sterling mettle.
Mr. Howells was born at Dowlais, Glamorganshire, South Wales, on April 6, 1832, the son of Howell and Rachel (Evans) Howells, both of old Welsh families. His father, a practical coal man, was identified with the coal mines of Wales both as a miner and as superintendent in different mines, and thus Anthony Howells came naturally by his predilection for the coal industry. Young Anthony received his education in the Dowlais free schools and at a private school at Cross Inn, Landebia, Cormanthenshire—the early home of his father. He began to work in the mines at the age of fourteen years, and at the age of eighteen years he had made up his mind to come to America, and did so, arriving in the United States in the month of May, 1850. His first work in this country was in the coal mines at Youngstown, Ohio, where he put in three years. In the spring of 1853, he decided to try his fortunes in the gold fields of California, and he spent a year on the coast, returning to Youngstown in 1854. In 1855, he entered mercantile business in Youngstown, and for the next ten years successfully operated a grocery and provision store in that city. During that period, however, he spent a year in Illinois, where he had opened a coal mine, which he operated and then sold. In 1869, he retired from mercantile business, and in the latter part of that year accepted an interest in and the superintendency of the Crawford coal mines in the Massillon district, and in 1870 he removed to Massillon. From the beginning he was uniformly successful as an operator, and acquired a wide reputation as an authority, both as an operator and as a judge of coal lands. He organized the Howells Coal Company, at Massillon, and the Albright Coal Company, at Cleveland, and during his operations opened such well-known mines as the Crawford (2), "Pigeon Run" (2), "Justus," "Elm Run," "Rose Hill," "Dalton," "Camp Anderson," "Miller Hill," and "Greenville." In 1901, he sold out the Howells Coal Company to the Massillon Mining Company and retired from active business. Mr. Howells was one of the pioneer iron manufacturers of Ohio, but his experience in that direction was brief and disastrous. About six months before the great financial panic of 1873 set in, Mr. Howells bought into the Volcano furnace, at Massillon. When he bought in, iron was selling at forty-five to forty-eight dollars per ton at the furnace; before the end of the panic the same iron sold as low as fifteen dollars per ton. That tells the story of Mr. Howell's brief experience in iron. In 1902,
he began the erection of the Courtland Hotel, at Canton, which was completed in 1905, and which is one of the best hotel properties in Ohio. Mr. Howells made the Courtland Hotel his home for three years, and then took up his residence in Cleveland. He is still the owner of the Courtland, which is leased for a long term of years.
The public life of Mr. Howells has been no less conspicuous than has his business life; for amid all his business activities he has found time to take an active and prominent part in the public affairs and politics of the State. Always a strong supporter of the principles of Democracy, he became one of the leading Democrats of Ohio, and was on more than one occasion signally honored by his party In 1866, he was his party's candidate for treasurer of Mahoning County, and two years later he was the senatorial candidate in the Trumbull-Mahoning district, but at each election was defeated in that overwhelmingly Republican section, though he led his ticket. In 1875, he was defeated for the nomination for State treasurer, but in 1877 he received the nomination for that office and was elected, he leading the ticket, with the single exception of R. M. Bishop, the candidate for Governor. He was renominated for treasurer of State by unanimous vote of the Convention of 1879, with Gen. Thomas Ewing heading the ticket for Governor, but the entire ticket went down in defeat that year. In May, 1886, President Cleveland appointed Mr. Howells postmaster at Massillon, but private affairs caused him to resign from that office two years later. The Democratic State Convention of 1888 nominated Mr. Howells for Presidential elector, but Ohio went Republican at that election. The Democratic Senatorial Convention of the Stark-Carrol District, held at Carrollton in September, 1889, nominated Mr. Howells by acclamation for State senator, and, while the district was and is largely Republican, he was elected by a large majority. Sickness prevented his presence at the organization of the senate, in January, 1890, yet he was honored by that body with the appointment as chairman of the Committee on Benevolent Institutions, and with membership of the committees on Finance, Public Expenditures, and Mines and Mining. He was renominated for State senator by acclamation by the Convention held at Canton in 1891, but, with the entire ticket, he was defeated at the ensuing election. In 1893, President Cleveland for the second time honored Mr. Howells, this time by appointment as United States consul to Cardiff, Wales, in which office Mr. Howells served with entire satisfaction and credit alike to the Government and himself fora term of four years. Mr. Howells closed his active political career in 1902, in which year the Democratic State Convention at Columbus nominated him for Lieutenant Governor. He took a prominent part in that campaign, but the entire Democratic ticket was defeated at the election that year.
In civic affairs, Mr. Howells was long active and prominent. When the Massillon Board of Trade was organized, he was chosen its first president, and he was reelected president, but resigned before the completion of his second term. He was a most influential factor in having the State Hospital for the Insane located at Massillon, and no other one man did more than he in the building up and development of that city and her institutions. Mr. Howell's reputation as an authority as a coal operator and judge of coal lands led to his being twice chosen as president of the Ohio Institute of Engineers.
Mr. Howells, now in his eighty-fourth year, is still in the enjoyment of good health and unimpaired faculties, and in his retirement is one of Ohio's conspicuous figures. His long life has been so well lived, and so useful to the State and community, that he enjoys to a full measure the respect, admiration, and honor of the general public, which has not by any means forgotten him. His entrance into politics was prompted by good citizenship, and not by the desires- of the politician; and his methods in politics, the same as in business affairs, have always been above reproach or criticism. The characteristics of Mr. Howells partake of his early environments — ruggedness, steadfastness, strength — and he stands as the personification of uprightness, integrity, and loyalty.
In 1854, Mr. Howells married Elizabeth James, who died in 1890. To them were born the following children: Melvina H., married John C. Albright, of Massillon; she died in September, 1909; William resides in California; Byron resides in Montana; Stanton resides in Alabama.
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