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Howard family collection

Call Number: RH MS 1410


This collection contains correspondence, newspaper clippings, and genealogical data pertaining to the Howard and Bennett family lineages. It includes many genealogical charts, tracing ancestors back to the 1700s, as well as a book on Bennett family history written by Edith Bennett Howard. There are also photographs as recent as the late 1970s and cased photographs and cabinet card photographs dating back to the mid- and late-19th century. Several maps, diplomas, and personal journals provide more information about the Howard family. The primary focus of this collection is on the Howard and Bennett family lineages, but there is also information regarding the Cade, Hirsch/Harsh, Peters, Penfold, and Nisely families.


  • Creation: between 1850 and 1990


Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

History of the Howard and Bennett families

This collection focuses primarily on the Howard and Bennett families. The Howard family name can be traced back many generations in English history. In some cases, the names Harward and Hayward may have been changed to Howard. John Howard was amongst the first of the immigrants to make the journey to the New World in 1643. He settled in Bridgewater, Massachusetts. Within a few generations, this family branch was found in many colonies and settlements.

The Bennett and Howard familes came together when Lewis Edward Howard married Edith Venita Bennett. The Cade, Peters, and Penfold families are related on the Howard side.

The Bennett family is mostly Scottish and English. Ebenezer Bennett was one of the first Bennetts to be found on record in New York State during the early 19th century. His son John, born in 1792 and married to Harriet DeWitt, settled in Pulaski Township, Michigan in 1834 on what became known as "Howard's Island."

Their son John Benjamin Howard married Malinda Lashier, and in 1857 the couple moved their children John Benjamin, Jr., Francis (Frank), Harriet, Hannah, and Lewis DeWitt (L.D.) to Douglas County in the territory of Kansas.

Lewis DeWitt Howard married Catharine Cynthia (Kate) Cade, whose parents had settled in Kansas in 1861. Their children included Charles Ellsworth, Laura, John Edward (J. E.), Frank Benjamin, Walter DeWitt, Chester Curtis, and Fred Lewis.

John Edward Howard married Leona Mae Peters, the daughter of Julius and Sarah Anna (Penfold) Peters, who had come to Kansas in the 1870s. Their children included Frances, Lucille, Lewis Edward, Julius Theodore, Guy Wesley, and Lloyd Carl.

Lewis and wife Edith Bennett, whose ancestor George Douglas Bennett had settled in Atchsion County, Kansas in 1880, married in 1927 and had three children: Shirley Ann, who married Charles Howard Linn (an ancestor, Christian Adolph Menger, came to Leavenworth County, Kansas in 1854); John Douglas, and Linda Lu. Edith Bennett Howard is the author of Bennett and Related Families, a book tracing the genealogy of the family. She was also the primary contributor to the entire collection, which was donated by her daughter Shirley.


3 Linear Feet (3 boxes + 1 oversize box, 1 oversize folder)

Language of Materials


Scope and Contents

The bulk of the textual material in the collection consists of correspondence, photocopied documents, and genealogical reference and research material dating from the 1960s through the 1980s. Photocopied documents include copies of vital records, military records, and other documentation that may have been created in the 19th or 20th century. There are some original family volumes and documents from Howard family members and other branches who lived in Kansas in the late 19th century.

The photographs range in date from two mid-19th century daguerrotypes through the 20th century prints and include portraits, candid shots, and photographs of buildings and locations of significance to the extended Howard family in Kansas and elsewhere in the United States (notably in Saline, Michigan).

Oversize materials have been physically separated from the rest of the collection and are located at RH MS R412 and RH MS Q424.

Physical Location

RH MS 1410

Physical Location

RH MS-P 1410

Physical Location

RH MS R412

Physical Location

RH MS Q424

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, Shirley Howard Linn, 2015.



Guide to the Howard Family Collection
Howard family collection
Finding aid prepared by lc. Finding aid encoded by lc.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Howard family collection, RH MS 1410, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States