Biography of Edgar Watson Howe

Edgar Watson Howe. Kansas journalism had produced several men whose names are household words in America. By no means least among them in attainments and influence is Edgar Watson Howe, founder of the Atchison Globe, for many years its editor and publisher, and now in his semi-retirement publishing Howe’s Monthly.

His many colleagues and admirers in the newspaper profession have for years been accustomed to referring to him as “Old Ed Howe.” As a matter of fact he is not even now an old man. Mr. Howe was born near Treaty, Indiana, May 3, 1854, and is of English descent. His ancestors came to New York during the period of the Revolution. His father, Henry Howe, was born at New Philadelphia, Ohio, in 1835, was reared there, and was an early settler at Treaty, Indiana. He was a very positive character and a man of prominence in whatever locality he lived. In Indiana he was a farmer, a school teacher, and a cirenit rider of the Methodist Church. In 1856 the whole family journeyed by wagon from Indiana to Harrison County, Missouri, and there again Henry Howe took up the work of the pioneer farmer, and built a church on his land and preached every Sunday without pay. Subsequently he traveled about the country and at the opening of Oklahoma Territory he acquired a quarter section of land where Oklahoma City now stands. From there he removed to Hot Springs, Arkansas, and came to Atchison, a few weeks before his death, which occurred in 1908. In the years before the war he was an abolitionist, when open advocacy of that doctrine meant social ostracism and considerable personal danger, particularly so in Harrison County, Missouri, where this fearless preacher farmer openly talked against slavery and used every infinence to turn the hearts and minds of the community against it. At one time he was arrested for preaching the doctrine of abolition, and there ensued a trial in which he was charged with inciting slaves to rebellion. It was a trial that was one of the most famous in the early annals of Harrison County, Missouri, and because of its bearing upon great public questions then being debated all over the United States it attracted attention almost nation wide. At the beginuing of the war Henry Howe raised a company in Harrison County, and served as its captain about a year. He was incapacitated for further service and then removed to Bethany, Missouri, where he bought a paper and used it as a medium for the expression of his strong Union sentiments. Henry Howe married Elizabeth Irwin. She was born at Treaty, Indiana, and they were married there. She died at Bethany, Missouri, in 1867, when quite young.

Edgar Watson Howe was educated chiefly in the country schools of Harrison County, Missouri. He had had something to do with printing offices and newspaper work since he was twelve years of age. He learned the trade in his father’s shop at Bethany. As a journeyman he worked in offices at different points in Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming and Utah. At the age of twenty he founded the Golden Globe at Golden, Colorado, and in 1875 established the Globe at Fall City, Nebraska. Mr. Howe came to Atchison in 1877 and founded the Atchison Globe, which today is one of the greatest newspapers of Kansas, and as a newspaper plant it is one of the best equipped in the entire state. Mr. Howe had to contest the field for populsrity with the Patriot and the Champion, but the Globe is the only survivor of those early papers. It had always been conducted as an independent journal, and had been the medium of expression for Mr. Howe’s witty and forceful opinions upon every phase of public question. It became a highly prosperous paper and it is said that Mr. Howe for a number of years cleared over twenty thousand dollars annually from the enterprise. The editorial paragraphs of Ed Howe of the Atchison Globe have long been famous and it is doubtful if any other Kansas paper had been so widely quoted in the press of other states. The paper had in fact been quoted everywhere and it is even mentioned in the Eneyelopedia Britannica. In 1914 Mr. Howe retired from the active management of the Globe and it had since been conducted by his son Eugene Howe. Since leaving the Globe Mr. Howe had found his recreation as editor of Howe’s Montbly.

Mr. Howe is a director of the Exchange National Bank and of the Exchange State Bank of Atchison. Politically he is a republican. He married at Fall City, Nebraska, in 1875, Miss Clara L. Frank, who was born at Atchison in 1853, and died at their home in that city in 1903. Three children were born to them: James P., who is now connected with the Associated Press at San Francisco; Mateel, who finished her education in Miss Somers’ School at Washington, D. C., and is now the wife of Dwight A. Farnham, an efficiency engineer living at St. Louis, Missouri; and Eugene A., who was born at Atchison in 1888, was educated in the local public schools, and taking up the trade of printer gradually fitted himself for the duties which he now handles as editor and manager of the Atchison Globe.

Besides the fame that came to him as editor of the Atchison Globe, Mr. Howe long since invaded the field of authorship and is known as author of the following works: “The Story of a Country Town;” “A Moonlight Boy;” “The Mystery of the Locks;” “A Man’s Story;” “An Anti-Mortem Statement;” “The Confession of John Whitlock;” “Lay Sermons;” “Paris and the Exposition;” “Daily Notes of a Trip Around the World,” two volumes; “Country Town Sayings;” “A Trip to the West Indies;” “Travel Letters from New Zealand, Australia and Africa;” “The Hundred Stories of a Country Town;” and “Preaching of a Poor Pagan.”



Connelley, William E. A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans. Chicago : Lewis, 1918. 5v. Biographies can be accessed from this page: Kansas and Kansans Biographies.

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