Genealogical and Biographical Memorials of the Reading, Howell, Yerkes, Watts, Latham, and Elkins Familie by Josiah Granville Leach, published by Lippincott, 1898
John Howell, Esquire (Captain Daniel3, Daniel2, Thomas1), was born in Amwell township, Hunterdon county, New Jersey, 8 August, 1721; died at Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 27 July, 1808.
He received, under the will of his father, one-half interest in a grist-mill, and in a plantation of sixty acres, located in Hunterdon county, on the banks of the Delaware. How long he resided at Amwell is not known.
His uncle, Benjamin Howell, resided in Philadelphia, at what is now Chestnut Hill. He was childless, and it is conjectured that upon the decease of his brother Daniel he became interested in the latter's son John, and induced him to settle at Chestnut Hill. The uncle died in 1774, and evidenced his esteem for his nephew by naming him executor of his will and residuary legatee and devisee there-under.
John Howell engaged in the business of a saddler and harness-maker. He came to be highly regarded by his fellow-citizens, as is abundantly shown in his election as justice of the peace, to which he was duly commissioned, 7 June, 1780, by the supreme executive council of Pennsylvania.The minutes of the council contain this entry:
A return of an election for Justices for Germantown Township, by which it appears that John Howell and Joseph Ferree were elected; Whereupon," Resolved, That John Howell, Esquire, be appointed a Justice of the peace for the County of Philadelphia, and that he be commissioned accordingly.
He maintained the dignities and performed the duties of "the country squire" until 11 January, 1785, when he tendered his resignation to the council, as shown by this note in the records of that body:
A letter of John Howell, Esquire, of Germantown township, declining to serve longer as a Justice of the Peace, was read, and his resignation accepted.
He married Elizabeth Yerkes, daughter of Herman Yerkes by his wife Elizabeth Watts daughter of Rev. John Watts. She was born in Moreland township, Philadelphia county, Pennsylvania, 29 January, 1725; died 11 March, 1793.
Both Mr. and Mrs. Howell were members of the First Baptist church, Philadelphia, and later of the Ridge avenue Baptist church at Roxborough, Philadelphia, in the burying-ground of which they were doubtless buried. The following is his last will and testament :
"Be it remembered that I John Howell of Germantown Township in the County of Philadelphia and state of Pennsylvania, late saddler, being aged and infirm in Body but through the Blessing of God of sound disposing mind and memory Do therefore think fit to dispose of all my Outward effects which it hath pleased God to bestow upon me in the following manner.
"Item I give unto my Eldest Son Daniel all my Wearing Apparel of whatsoever kind with the Desk when entered to him, to him his Heirs and Assigns.
Item I give unto my son Reading all the money he may owe me at my death to him his heirs and assigns.
Item After my just debts and funeral expences be fully paid and discharged in a Christian like manner then my Executor shall sell all my Land for what it will fetch subject to the ground rent specified in the Deed.
Item I give unto Mary Howell and Sarah Howell equally my Bed and Bedding share and share alike.
Item After my Lands and the remaining movables be turned into Cash I will that it be put in one common stock and to be divided into six equal shares. The first sixth part in following manner that is to say Mary Norton shall take out of Common Stock Eighteen Dollars and give her daughter Elizabeth six dollars and Mary Six Dollars and Ann Six Dollars. I give unto Thomas Norton and Mary his wife the remainder part of this first sixth part to them their Heirs and Assigns forever.
Item I give my second sixth part in the following manner: Daniel Howell shall take out of second sixth part of Common Stock two Dollars for each of his maryed children and the remaining unto him the said Daniel and Elizabeth his wife to them their Heirs and Assigns forever.
Item I give my third sixth part in the following manner that is to say that Hannah Levering shall take out of third sixth part fourteen Dollars and shall give unto Jonathan Levering four dollars and four to Mary Stern and two Dollars to Sarah Lobb and four Dollars she shall deliver unto the Ridge Baptist Church for the use of the first poor that shall come on the Church after my death.
Item I give my fourth sixth part in the following manner that is to say: Sarah Levering shall take out of fourth sixth part Eight Dollars and she shall give two dollars unto Sarah Lobb and six unto Ridge Baptist Church for the use of the first poor that come in the Church after my death and the remainder of the fourth sixth part I give unto Anthony Levering and Sarah his wife to them their Heirs and assigns forever.
Item I give my fifth sixth part in the following manner that is to say Elizabeth Shuler shall take out of the fifth sixth part two dollars for each of her marryed Children and the remainder part I give unto her the said Elizabeth Shuler her Heirs and Assigns forever.
Item I give my sixth and Last part unto my son Reading Howell to him his Heirs and Assigns forever. It is my Will that Reading Howell shall have full power and Authority to settle Benjamin Howell and Catharine his Wife's Estate as if I was then and there present. I was often threatened to be sued at Law but at Last gave a Bond of twenty one pounds on Thomas Roberts to Isaac Allen of Trenton and he went of[f] with said Bond and I have never heard of him since. I have lost a receipt of Seventy pounds and upwards but believe it may be found by applying to Colonel Proctor office when Sheriff of the County of Philadelphia.
Item and Lastly I do hereby nominate constitute and appoint my son Reading Howell Executor of this my last Will and Testament revoking and making void all former Wills by me made, ratifying and confirming and by these presents doth ratify and confirm this my last Will and Testament.
In Witness whereof I have set my Hand and Seal
this Eighth day of July in the Year of our Lord One thousand Eight hundred and eight.
John Howell. [seal]
Children of John and Elizabeth (Yerkes) Howell, all born probably at or near Chestnut Hill:
46. Mary Howell, married Thomas Norton.
47. Daniel Howell, married Elizabeth Yerkes.
48. Hannah Howell, born 30 December, 1752; died 28 October, 1820; married Major John Levering.
49. Sarah Howell, married Anthony Levering.
50. Elizabeth Howell, married Shuler.
51. Reading Howell, married, 3 June, 1792, Mary Busby.