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William Cyrus Howard papers

Call Number: RH MS 117


William C. Howard, the principal correspondent of the Howard family papers and records, was a Civil War veteran who divided his life after the war between his birthplace in Brown County, Ohio and land he owned and farmed in Kansas, particularly near Baldwin City, Douglas County. The papers in the collection pertain to Howard family affairs, the management of land holdings, and financial matters.


  • Creation: 1827 - 1970


Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

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

Biography of William Cyrus Howard

William Cyrus Howard was born July 24, 1840 near Ripley, Brown County, Ohio, the second son of William Cyrus Howard (1812-1877) and Mary (Stephenson or Stevenson) Howard (1816-1886) and younger brother of Alfred S. Howard (1836-1886). Howard the younger served during the U.S. Civil War with the 4th Independent Ohio Calvary and was wounded during its advance on Vicksburg, Mississippi, on May 12, 1863.

Following the war, Howard married Lizzie Mary Harding King (born 1844), also of Brown County, in May 1866. They had two children: James Harvey King Howard, born in 1867, and Alfred Stephenson or Stevenson Howard, born in 1874.

During this time, Howard began acquiring land in the new state of Kansas, in Miami, Jefferson, and Douglas Counties. This included a farm in Palmyra Township, Douglas County, which he purchased in 1868. From 1868 to 1883 Howard was an absentee owner, hiring managers to run his farms in Kansas, visiting occasionally to check on the management and operation of his holdings while he supervised the Brown County, OH farmstead. Lizzie's father, James H. King, and uncle, John Harvey, were living near Baldwin, Doulgas County, KS, and also helped Howard manage his affairs in Kansas.

Lizzie (King) Howard died in 1883, and it is likely that around this time Howard moved to Kansas permanently. From 1888 to 1892 he represented the 17th District (Baldwin City) in the Kansas State Senate.

On March 6, 1890, Howard remarried, to Catharine Groh (born in 1860) in Ripley, Ohio. They had three children, two of whom survived infancy: William Tecumseh Howard, born in 1892, and Lannes Dassaix Howard, born in 1896. William Cyrus Howard died in 1919 and was buried in Oakwood Cemetery, Baldwin City, Kansas. His wife Catharine died in 1947. W. T. and Lannes continued managing the family farm after their father's death until their own deaths in 1970 and 1954, respectively.


6.75 Linear Feet (10 boxes + 2 oversize boxes, 25 volumes) : Volumes vary in size.

Language of Materials


Scope and Contents

This collection consists of correspondence from the Civil War period, along with tax, legal, and business records from throughout the latter half of the 19th century into the first half of the 20th century. The materials located at RH MS 117 are arranged chronologically, with business records coming first, then correspondence, and then farm reports, correspondence and photographs, and artifacts.

Volumes, including financial and land-holdings documentation, estate information for Howard family members, and personal information, have been physically separated and are grouped by size. They can be found at RH MS A32, RH MS C44, and RH MS E92.

Oversize materials have also been physically separated and are located at RH MS Q31 and RH MS R283.

A 2003 addition to the collection, coming through Lester Hey, one of the co-executors of the W. T. Howard estate in the 1970s, and his daugther Marilyn Duncan, is located at RH MS 892 and RH MS-P 892. This material includes additional correspondence, mostly between Howard and his second wife Catharine, family photographs, and additional business records. There is also an account book used William Cyrus Howard's father William Cyrus, for the years 1835-1843.

Physical Location

RH MS 117

Physical Location


Physical Location


Physical Location


Physical Location


Physical Location

RH MS R283

Physical Location

RH MS 892

Physical Location

RH MS-P 892

Other Finding Aids

Nucmc : MS 80-369

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, Howard family estate, 1972; Marilyn H. Duncan, 2003.

Guide to the William Cyrus Howard Collection
William C. Howard papers
Finding aid compliled by lgg, April 1971, pg September 1975. Finding aid encoded by mg, 2004. Revised by tw, 2010; lmb, 2011; mwh, 2017.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in<language> English.</language>
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
William Cyrus Howard papers, RH MS 117, 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