Civil War Veterans Buried In Washington State - William Howell

William Howell

Representing: Union

G.A.R Post

  • John Buford Post #89 Everett, Snohomish Co. WA

Unit History

  • 45th Kentucky Infantry D & H

See full unit history

William Howell
Full Unit History

Organized: 10/1/63 Ashland, KY
Mustered In: 10/1/63 Ashland, KY 1/64 (2 cos., Loc. Unk.)
Mustered Out: 12/24/64 Catlettsburg, KY 2/14/65 Catlettsburg, KY

Regimental History


  The 45th, a one year mounted infantry unit, was conceived to be a battalion (at least three companies of 100 men and a field staff) to perform local service along the Kentucky/Virginia border and within the eastern counties of The Bluegrass State. However, requisite enlistments were quickly collected for the organization to enter Federal service in October, 1863 with regimental status. Even so, formal muster of two companies was delayed until the New Year when a colonel was officially assigned to the command.

  In June, 1864 the 45th lead in the pursuit of Confed. Brigadier General John Hunt Morgan's mounted force as it raided into the North. It was the leading regiment of the assaulting column at the battle of Mt. Sterling, KY on June 8 & 9, 1864 and participated in the battle of Cynthiana, KY June 11 & 12, 1864 in which Morgan's force was finally destroyed. Up to that point the 45th had been on continuous duty for 26 days and nights during which they enjoyed no halt "as much as 4 hours."

  October, 1864 found the 45th forming part of Union Major General Stephen G. Burbridge’s command that attacked Saltville, VA. When the attack failed, the unit covered the retreat. In November and December it was with Major General George Stoneman at the capture of Bristol, TN and Marion, Abingdon and Saltville in VA. The unit participated in all engagements of that campaign.

  Besides the engagements mentioned, the 45th took part in a great number of skirmishes of greater or less note. It was mustered out by battalions: Cos. A, B, C, D, E and F on 12/24/64 and Cos G, H, I and K on 2/14/65.

  Regimental losses: Officers died of disease, accidents, etc. =1. Enlisted men killed or mortally wounded = 10; Enlisted men died of disease, accidents, etc. = 102. 

Soldier History

Residence: Catlettsburg, KY Age: 17 or 18.8 yrs.
Enlisted/Enrolled: 7/14/63 Ashland, KY Rank: Pvt.
Mustered In: 10/17/63
Mustered Out: 12/24/64 Catlettsburg, KY
Highest Rank: Pvt.

Family History


  William Howell was born October 30/31, 1845 in Greenup County, KY to Evan (b. Wales) and Anna (nee William b. Wales) Howell. Beyond his parentage all that his known about his birth family is that he had at least one sibling, likely an older brother named Thomas.

  Following his birth, the first documentation on William stems from 1863 when the seventeen or eighteen year old teenaged (coal) miner enrolled in the U.S. Army during America's War of the Rebellion. He likely entered the service, under the watchful eye of brother Thomas who enlisted in the same company and regiment on the same day.

  Military service records for Private William Howell note that he was initially mustered into company "D" of the 45th Kentucky Infantry. While his entire period of service was within the 45th, it appears therein he was involved in two inter-regimental transfers, the first being from company "D" to company "H" on January or February 1, 1864 and again, from company "H" back to company "D" on 5/20/64. Available documents are silent pertaining to the "why" of these transfers.

  While in the 45th William's only documented brushes with injury or illness were a brief bout of diarrhea suffering in early May, 1864 and a longer bout of bronchitis suffered the same month. On both occasions he was subsequently returned to duty. In later years, however, when applying for a U.S. Government disability pension based on his year of Civil War soldiering he would claim that during the battle of Cynthiana, KY while in the line of duty he suffered a dislocated shoulder when his horse fell on him. Additionally, later that same year while holding other combatants' horses during a battle an artillery shell burst near him, killing the four horses, and totally deafened him in the left ear and partially deafened him in the right. For this he was treated for approximately fourteen days in a hospital in Lexington, KY after which he returned to duty.  .

  From what can be deduced from available documentation, following William and Thomas   being separated from the military in late 1864 both settled in Cove Valley, IL near the community/city of Rock Island. There William, and perhaps Thomas, too, returned to the occupation of being a miner. From here, however, William's movements become clouded.

  William cannot be located in any U.S. census between 1870 and 1900.  At some point, however, he lived in two Iowa locations. Also, In 1887, on either May  6th or 7th ,  William  signed a license to marry Elizabeth Kate  Dobbs (b. 4/22/66 or 67 England) . The document signing took place in Jasper County, Missouri where both resided in or near the community of Rich Hill. The union would produce two children: De Etta (b. January, 1888 Colorado) and James W. (b. 1891/'92 New Mexico).

  As indicated by the birth places of their children following their marriage William and Kate moved westward, first to Colorado where, at some point they lived in or near the community of Eerie, and then to New Mexico before returning to Missouri where, in 1894, they lived in or near Granby. While William's occupation during these and following years is not documented, likely he continued working as a miner, as this would be noted as his occupation at the time of the 1900 census as well as upon his death in 1917.

  In early March, 1894, while living in Granby, Newton County,  MO former Civil War soldier William Howell travelled to  Shell City, Vernon County, Mo to begin the application process necessary if he were to receive a monthly government disability stipend based on injuries and ailments stemming from his period of Civil War  soldiering. Then 48/49 years of age, the 5'6 or 7" dark complexioned, grey eyed, gray haired miner claimed that he had been in good health when he enlisted, but now was totally disabled. It was at this time he recounted the previously noted details of being injured by the fall of his horse and, later, by an exploding shell. Likely a pension was granted, but the amount of same is not known. Interestingly, the 1894 pension document, as well as another dated 1901, are signed with "his x mark." William Howell could not write even his own name.

  When the above noted pension document of 1901 was x'd, the Howells were still in Granby, MO. Nine years later they were in Spokane, Spokane County, Washington. Exactly when and why they moved to Washington is not known. Likely, however, it was to be near their adult children as, at the time of William's death in 1917, son James was residing in Everett, Washington and daughter De Etta was living  to the north across the U.S.-Canadian border in Nelson, British Columbia.

  At an undetermined date between 1910 and his death in Everett, Snohomish County, Washington's Providence Hospital, the Howells moved from Spokane in far eastern Washington State to Everett in the Puget Sound region of western Washington.  Again, the move was likely due to the proximity of their adult children as at William's passing it was noted son James was physical director and acting secretary at the Everett YMCA.

  Date of death for William Howell was 12/11/17. Cause as noted by hospital staff on his death certificate was shock following a colostomy operation undertaken because of an obstruction of his bowel due to carcinoma (cancer) of "sigmoid."  William had apparently been under treatment for the illness for thirty days and had likely entered the hospital four days before his passing.

  William's obituary printed in the Everett Herald newspaper said he had spent most of his life in Colorado and Wyoming when those areas were known as the 'farthest west.' It also claimed that as a noted scout and hunter he had taken part in many Indian battles. Among his close friends were Buffalo Bill (Cody), Wild Bill (Hickock) and other famous Indian scouts. None of this, however, is even alluded to in existing documents.   Interment was at Everett's Evergreen Cemetery.

  Kate Howell cannot be found in the1920 census. In September, 1924, however, she resurfaces in Dewey, Washington County, Oklahoma when she remarried to an Orma. M. Holcomb. Following the death of Mr. Holcomb during the first half of 1929 Kate sought to obtain a pension for herself based on her first husband's Civil War service. Again, whether or not she was granted the pension is not known.

  Circa 1931 Kate moved to California. Where she initially settled is not documented, but two years later she removed to Watsonville, apparently to the home of son J.W.  It was in the Watsonville hospital she died on 2/21/36. Cause of death was double pneumonia aided by chronic asthma. Her remains were transported to Porterville, CA for burial. 


Buried at Evergreen Cemetery Everett
Row: 30
Site: 516

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