ANDREW JACKSON HOWK. Over in the mountains and hill country of East Tennessee, where some of our bravest citizens, our sturdiest farmers and our ablest statesmen of the early time grew, there was founded a family headed by an ancestor of Michael Houk.
He was of German blood and his advent among the plain people of warm hearts and strong brain introduced a family strain into that locality whose posterity honored our leading professions, sat in the halls of Congress, excelled in the mechanic arts and furnished a small army of rugged husbandmen to become settlers of other states and defenders of the family name and faith. From this pioneer ancestry traces the history of Andrew J. Houk of this review, and to this source do all the “Houks” and the “Howks” of America trace their origin today.
Michael Houk grew to maturity in his native East Tennessee, served in the Florida Indian war and settled in Jackson county, Alabama, near Woodville. He married, in East Tennessee, Lydia Woods, and they came to Alabama down the Tennessee river by boat. They brought up their children in that community and passed away leaving issue as follows: Salathiel, Michael and Simeon, sons, and Eliza, whose first husband was a Woodall and whose second was a Sublett; Margaret, who married an Austen; Minerva, who married an Adams; and Annie, who married William Maples, constituted the daughters of the family. The son Simeon was a well known and able minister.
Salathiel Howk, the father of our subject, was born on French Broad river, East Tennessee, November 20, 1822, and died in that same neighborhood October 23, 1872. While he owned a farm and used it in the training of his children, he learned blacksmithing and followed it, near Woodville, during his active life. His brother Simeon was a woodworker by trade and the two conducted their affairs somewhat jointly, but as there were cases in which one was interested in notes and accounts to the exclusion of the other, and as the letter “was the initial of each brother’s name, Salathiel said to Simeon,” All notes made to me, individually, I will make to S. ‘Howk’ and all notes made to you can be issued to S. ‘Houk,’ and we shall then be able to tell at a glance who owns the note and thus avoid confusion in our business affairs.” Thus did the Houk name suffer a permanent change, for when Salathiel began to write his name with a “w,” he continued to do so and his posterity after him. In his personal makeup Salathiel Howk was a rather eccentric man. His prejudices were strong and he nurtured them almost to the point of feeding on them, and when the war cloud began to lower he became a violent secessionist and was unreconstructed for a long time after the war. When his disabilities were finally removed he took up the cause of Democracy, of course, and was a local enthusiast in political campaigns. He served his precinct as justice of the peace and was a sheriff’s deputy at different times. For his wife he married Elizabeth, a daughter of Moses Maples, whose wife was Catherine Manning. Mrs. Howk was born July 14, 1827, and died near Wolf City, Texas, November 12, 1898. The issue of their marriage were: Andrew J., of this notice; Lydia, who married John Hodges and died in Alabama; Wiliam M., of Grapevine, Texas; Moses, of Denton, Texas; Mary, deceased, married F. M. Nelson, of Bowie; Martha, who married Henry Wells, both died near Lewisville, Texas; Frank G. of Commerce, Texas; Thomas, who died near Guerdon, Texas; Sidney J., of Wolf City, Texas; Etoy L., who married F. M. Nelson and died near Wolf City; and the remainder of the family of sixteen died in childhood.
The farm and his father’s shop knew Andrew J. Howk while he approached mature years and the country schools gave him some knowledge of books. At seventeen years of age he joined the Home Guard, making potash for powder for the Confederacy. Within six months be was captured, took the oath of allegiance and returned home. After three months of a prosy life he joined Mead Nelson and Johnson’s Guerillas and bushwhacked the enemy, as in the days of Marion, Sumter and Lee in the American Revolution. He was taken prisoner again a time or two but escaped detection and at the end of the war took another parole, at Huntsville, Alabama, and accepted the results of the unequal contests as final.
On resuming civil pursuits Mr. Howk made two crops and then married and when he started his independent career his possessions were a watch, a rifle and twenty-eight dollars in cash, and plenty of good clothes that his mother made and gave him. At farming he and his wife accumulated property slowly and eventually bought a farm in Jackson county, Alabama, which they sold for a thousand dollars on departing for Texas. They came to the Lone Star state in March, 1885, and bought a half section of land almost adjoining Bowie for five hundred and twenty-eight dollars. Bowie was hardly on the map then, but it is very much in evidence now and this half section is one of the valuable pieces of real property in Montague county. In his Texas home he has continued his farming and has cleared up, improved and built up a modest, commodious and comfortable home. July 24, 1897, he lost his wife, whom he married August 2, 1868. Mrs. Howk was Miss Nancy M. Nelson, a daughter of David C. Nelson, and was born in Jackson county, Alabama, in 1846.
Mr. and Mrs. Howk’s children are: Mollie, wife of R. S. Jones, of near Bowie, whose children are Mable, Homer, Ray, May, Nellie, Jack, and Joseph; Willie D. and Lillie Lee are twins, the former of Bowie and the latter the wife of L. P. Boatright, of Arlington, Texas, and has two children, Jackson and Elsey; Salathiel D., of Bowie, married Clara Burleson, and has one child, Athena; Lou, the wife of Monte Jones, of Terral, Indian Territory, has two boys, Curtis and Noland; Joe Wheeler, of Terral, Indian Territory, is the youngest child. May 31, 1900, Mr. Howk married, in Garth, Alabama, Mrs. Clara Clementine Clark, a daughter of M. St. Clair, whose first wife was Miss Sallie B. Berry. Mrs. Howk’s first husband was Dr. John Clark and she is one of a family of twelve children of her parents. She is an admirable mistress of her husband’s household and shares his and his children’s joys and sorrows as her own.
His residence here, his freedom of manner and his geniality have made Mr. Howk a widely-known man. His life has been a busy one and one crowned with modest successes, and it is meet that he should be blessed with so many of the good things of life in his declining years.
Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. II, pp. 385-386.