The Reason Green Berry Howard Family

Written by Kitty L. Hughes (1906-1989)
Contributed by the Polk County Genealogical Society

Reason Green Berry Howard was born May 8, 1842, near Void, Tennessee, in Putnam County. He left home at an early age and finally made the acquaintance of a Stephens family in Whitley County, Tennessee, near Williamsburg. In 1869, he left Kentucky with the Stephens family and moved [to] Cash, Texas. In 1873 he married Amanda Stephens. She was born November 5, 1852. He and Amanda continued to live at Cash near her parents untill three children were born: Levi (1875-1956), James Powell (1877-1961), and Nancy Lucretia (1879-1966). In 1880, the Howard family moved to Polk County. They homesteaded land about 8 miles east of Janssen (now Vandervoort), Arkansas. Seven more children were born: Cena (1881-1967), Joshua (1884-1906), Solomon, John, Elijah (1890-1950), Mary (1893-1974), and Thomas.

Mr. and Mrs. Howard continued to live on the old home the rest of their lives. He was a Freewill Baptist preacher. During his years of ministry he preached in brush arbors in nearby communities, at Flat Creek school house near his home, and at Hopewell Baptist Church, an early day church north of Vandervoort.

Levi, James Powell and Joshua never married. Nancy Lucretia married Luther Barnes of Pike County, Arkansas. Cena married Rivers Byron Hughes of Caney, Oklahoma. Elijah married Vesta Wadkins of Hartley, Arkansas. Mary married John Garrett, a long time merchant of Vandervoort. Thomas married Mittie Howard (no relation).

Levi and James Powell, known as Jimmie, were great hunters and fishermen in the Cossatot River area. They knew every foot of the mountains and rivers and creeks, and for many years were volunteer guides for people from other states who came annually to hunt and fish. They were also expert wood workers. Before the turn of the century, and for several years afterwards, these two brothers and their father made coffins in their farm workshop for whoever died in the community. They never charged for the coffins. They always kept a supply of hand planed lumber, black cloth and black lace, and hardware for handles, so they could be ready to make any coffin needed.

The Howard old log home east of Vandervoort on 246 state highway, that was built in 1880, was moved east of DeQueen, near Pepper Creek a few years ago and was used for Harold Mabry's museum. Later Harold sold the old house to a man who now has it for a museum near Horatio, Arkansas.

The parents and six of the Howard children are buried in the Witherspoon Cemetery near Vandervoort, Arkansas.

See Rivers Byron Hughes Family in History of Polk County for information about Cena Howard and her family.

[The following additional information is from handwritten notes attached to the above typed history.]

August 9, 1902 W.M. Henry wrote a letter wanting to buy R.G.B. Howard's land in Putnam County, Tennessee that was left by his father to him. Letter written and mailed from Void, Tennessee. R.G.B.'s brother W.S. Howard is mentioned in letter.

W.M. Henry was living on the land he wanted to buy. (Deed to the land was left to the living heirs and R.G.B. was one of the heirs). W.M. Henry writes R.G.B. that he has the deed to the land and the deed states that the land was left to R.G.B. and his brother W.S. Howard. Henry also mentions R.G.B.'s brother Peat Howard. Henry wrote that the land joined the Myatt place.

The State of Texas, Runelds County, July 28, 1880, George Clayton sold R.G.B. Howard a bay mare branded M.B. on the shoulder.

May 14, 1902 R.G.B. Howard received a letter from his nephew, B.A. Howard. He tells R.G.B. that R.G.B. has a half interest in R.G.B.'s father's farm. B.A. Howard tells in his letter that he is Abe Howard, son of Tobe Howard and grandson of Sims Howard. B.A. (Abe) gives Void, Tennessee, as his address.

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