Biography - William Howett

WILLIAM A. HOWETT. The philosophy of success in life is an interesting study. In whatever pursuit individual effort is directed, it should be entered into with a theoretical knowledge acquired at the proper schools, followed by a practical application, to prepare one to successfully assume the responsibilities that follow. In choosing a pursuit in life, taste, mental gifts, opportunities and disposition to labor should be considered, as every young man who has any ambition to become a respectable and useful citizen desires to succeed in his chosen vocation. The business opportunities in this country are great and are open to all, whether native or foreign born, and all a man requires is to determine what his natural gifts and capacity will enable him to successfully grasp and prepare himself therefor, and when thus determined, industriously persevere, observing courteous and honorable methods in all relations, and success the aim and object of all will be the reward. A narrative of success in life affords a lesson from which others may profit.
In Flora, Clay County, Ill., there was born on the 18th of June, 1860, a boy who grew to sturdy manhood, ambitious to excel in the pursuit of his choice. He inherited the mental activity and indomitable will of his father, Hon. Edmond L. Howett, who was born in New York and who had come to Illinois when a young man. The father located in the county seat of Clay County and became one of the most distinguished lawyers of the State. He practiced his profession for about twenty years and during Gen. Grant's administration was appointed United States District Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi, and removed to that State in 1868. At the expiration of his term he was appointed Judge of the Chancery Court in the same State.
Many important decisions were rendered by Judge Howett during his honorable incumbency of the judicial position, but it must suffice to say that they were invariably distinguished for their sound judgment, strength and legal research; and in practice, after finishing his term, he has fully sustained his high reputation for the ingenious, eloquent and effective advocacy of his client's case. Personally, Judge Howett is a dignified, cultivated gentleman, yet, withal, genial and approachable, and is esteemed by a wide circle of friends, among whom he is recognized as a man of absolute integrity and a representative and valuable citizen. He is now retired from the active duties of life and has a very attractive home in Flora. Clay County, Ill. He is of English descent, his parents having been natives of that country. Judge Howett married Miss Sarah E. Corrie, a native of Lawrence, Ill., where she was reared. Her father, Andrew Corrie, was born in Scotland, and. her mother, whose maiden name was Elizabeth Schrader, was born in Germany. Mrs. Howett died in Clay County in 1882. She was widely and favorably known for her many excellent and womanly qualities, and was a devoted wife and mother, a true and faithful friend. Of the seven children born to this worthy couple, two sons and five daughters, only two besides our subject are now living: Agnes, a teacher in the Girard public schools, and Alice, wife of Jesse T. Cress, of Hillsboro.
William A. Howett is a worthy son of a worthy sire. He is the eldest child born to his parents, and his first scholastic training was in the schools of his native place. There he was reared, with the exception of about six years spent in Mississippi, and was graduated from the High School of Flora, Ill., in 1878. Following this, he taught school for two years, and in 1880 entered the Normal School at Valparaiso, Ind., where he studied science and elocution, being graduated in 1882. He began the study of law with his father when seventeen years of age, and in 1882 he went to Hillsboro, where he entered actively into the practice of law. His advancement was very rapid, and in a comparatively short space of time he not only secured an extensive practice, but also an acknowledged high position at the Bar. Learned in the law, refined, sound and clear in his reasoning, a wise counselor and an eminently successful advocate, his services are sought by the highest class of clients in the most difficult and important cases.
On the 16th of February, 1882, he was united in marriage with Miss Ida M. Rutledge, a native of Hillsboro, Ill., born February, 16, 1862, a daughter of Thomas J. Rutledge (deceased), who was a native of Hillsboro and a very prominent attorney of that city. Three children have been born to this union, all sons, Earle, Roy and Wilbur. Mr. Howett is a warm adherent of the Democratic party and in recognition of his efforts and services in its behalf, he was elected to the office of Mayor of Hillsboro in 1889 and held the position until 1891, and was the first and only Democratic Mayor of the city since the present organization. He has been Master in Chancery of the Circuit Court for four years and still holds that responsible position. Socially, he is a member of Montgomery Lodge No. 40, I. O. O. F., and Lodge No. 226, K. of P., in which latter order he is Deputy Grand Chancellor of the State.

Extracted 12 Jan 2017 by Norma Hass from 1892 Portrait and Biographical Record of Montgomery and Bond Counties, Illinois, pages 478-479.

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