William Arthur Howe was born in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, on 18 January 1864 or 1865 to parents Frederick Augustus Howe, Jr. and Malvina L. Spencer.
During the 1870 US Federal Census1, William is 5 years old (est birth year 1865) living in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois with the following:
- Frederick Howe: 40 years old, white, male, RR Employee, Real Estate Value $20,000, Personal Estate Value $16,000 (William’s father)
- Lavina Howe: 27 years old, female, white Keeping House (William’s mother)
- Margaret Winn: 18 years old, female, white, Domestic Servant from Ireland
- Charles Winn: 21 years old, male, white, Domestic Servant from Ireland
William’s mother, Malvina L. Spencer died May 9th2, 10th3, or 11th4 of 1873 in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois.
In 1880, they were living at 1433 Wabash Ave, Chicago, Cook County, Illinois. William is 15 (est birth year 1865), single, and attending school. Also in the household are:
- F.A. Howe: white, male, 40 years old, Widowed/Divorced, RR Employee (William’s father)
- Sylvia Spencer: white, female, 87 years old, mother-in-law to F.A. Howe, Widowed/Divorced, Keeping House
- Helen L. Owen: white, female, 27 years old, Grandchild (Sylvia’s grandchild?), Single, no occupation listed
- Annie Mower: white, female, 23 years old, Single, Servant, from Ireland
- Augustus Anderson: white, male, 21 years old, Single, Coachman, from Sweden
My great uncle Bill (William Arthur Howe II — grandson of William & Lile — recorded some video narratives of his life and his family’s background sometime in the late 2000s or early 2010s (he died 2015). In these recordings he mentioned a few things about his namesake:
William took the train from Chicago to Peoria for high school and graduated from Bradley Polytechnic after 4 years. He was admitted to University of Illinois School of Engineering — specifically Electric Railroad Engineering — as a sophomore, skipping freshman year. It’s unclear if he actually followed through with any academic work at the University of Illinois. We’ll see later on that the highest level of education completed was high school, 4th year, as stated in the 1940 US Federal Census.
Uncle Bill also told that William was a portrait photographer in Chicago. When he got to Glendale he sold Persian rugs before managing the Glendale Theater. The Glendale Theater was the first of the theaters in southern California to show movies with sound… and actually started when the only films shown were silent pictures.
On June 2nd, 1886, William married Lile A. Jack, daughter of Edward Hampton Jack and Annie William Moss, at the National Hotel in Peoria, Illinois. Witnesses included Louis V. Spencer and Louise B. Spencer6. Together William and Lile had 4 children, 1 of whom died at a young age:
- Vine Hampton Howe, born 8 May 1888
- Jack Ludlam Howe Sr., born 25 July 1889
- Beatrice Lile Howe, born 1894, died 10 March 1896
- Virginia R. Howe, born 6 June 1899
In 1900, William, Lile, and their 3 living children were living at their rented house at 5152 South Bank Ave, Chicago, Cook County, Illinois:
- W.A. Howe, head, white, male, 35 years old, born Jan 1865, married 14 years, working as a Coffee Dealer, and able to read/write/speak English
- Lile Howe, wife, white, female, 33 years old, born July 1866, married 14 years, 4 children (3 living), no listed occupation, and able to read/write/speak English
- Vine Howe, daughter, white, female, 12 years old, born May 1888, single, at school, and able to read/write/speak English
- Jack Howe, son, white, male, 10 years old, born July 1889, single, at school, and able to read/write/speak English
- Virginia Howe, daughter, white, female, 2 years old, born June 1898
- Pane A Carlson, boarder, white, male, 32 years old, born January 1868, married 5 years, from Sweden, Immigrated 1888, working as Night Watchman
- Alma Carlson, boarder, white, female, 27 years old, born November 1872, married 5 years, from Sweden
William’s father-in-law, Edward Hampton Jack, died 17 April 1908. An article on page 2 of the Los Angeles Times on 21 April 1908 announced that Lile, while escorting her father’s remains to California, was served legal paperwork on arrival. I haven’t found any additional information about this suit other than the original newspaper announcement below:
SERVED BY DEAD’s SIDE. [BY DIRECT WIRE TO THE TIMES.]
PEORIA (Ill.) April 20.–[Exclusive Dispatch.] Mrs. Lile A Howe of Chicago, a daughter of the late E. H. Jack, the Peoria millionaire real estate man who died last week, came to Peoria today to accompany the remains of her father to Stockton, Cal., for burial, and was confronted on her arrival by a deputy sheriff with papers making her and her husband defendants in a $5000 damage suit brought by a Chicago corporation. Neither Mrs. Howe nor court attaches would give out any information regarding the basis of the suit, other than it was brought at this time to get service on Mrs. Howe while in Peoria.The Los Aneles Times, 21 Apr 1908, Page 2, obtained from Newspapers.com
A few short weeks later, another blurb was published in the newspaper — this time on Page 8 of The Inter Ocean of Chicago, Illinois, on 14 June 1908.
Mrs. Lile Howe was granted a divorce from William A. Howe by Judge Chetlain. The charge was infidelity.The Inter Ocean, Chicago, Illinois, 14 Jun 1908, Page 8, obtained from Newspapers.com
Less than a year after their divorce, William was married for a second time to Mrs. Ada L. Goodno Hill.
SERVICE IS NOT NOVEL TO THEM
BOTH BRIDE AND GROOM WERE WEDDED BEFORE
Marriage in the East of Rich Couple Who Little Over Year Ago Were Freed from Matrimonial Chains Interests Crown City Society
Office of The Times, No. 26 S. Raymond Ave
PASADENA, June 3. — A marriage of much interest here was celebrated at Lapore, Ind., yesterday, when William A. Howe, who was divorced a year ago from the daughter of Edward H. Jack, a millionaire Peoria lawyer, and who figured in a sensational fight for the Jack estate, wedded Mrs. Ada L. Hill, who has been divorced a little more than a year. Mr. and Mrs. Howe left last night for Pasadena to visit the bride’s father, William C. Goodno.
Howe’s former wife and her two daughters are now traveling in Europe.
The fight over the estate in which he and his former wife were interested began in January, 1907, when a petition was filed in the Circuit Court of Cook county, Illinois, to restrain the disposition of the estate. It was alleged that one of the sons of the millionaire, William S. Jack, had taken the father to California and was hiding him as part of a plot to get possession of the estate, which included a ranch in California. It was alleged that the father, Edward H. Jack, who was then 84 years of age, was of unsound mind. A restraining order kept the estate intact.
Soon after this litigation Howe was divorced from his wealthy wife.The Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles, California, 4 June 1909, Page 24, obtained from Newspapers.com
In 1910, William and his new wife Ada were living in a house they owned at 3422 South Park Ave, Chicago, Cook County, Illinois. In the household were the following:
- William A. Howe: Head, male, white, 45 years old, married (2nd) for 1 year, 3 children (3 living), working as an Executive in Lithographing
- Ada L. Howe: Wife, female, white 37 years old, married (2nd) for 1 year, 1 child (1 living), no occupation listed
- William Hill: “Nephew” is crossed out and “Son” written above it, male, white, 12 years old, single, attending school
- Nellie Flavin: Servant, female, white 22 years old, single, from Ireland, immigrated in 1906, servant for private family
In 1911, William’s father, Frederick A. Howe, Jr. died.
The only information I have between 1910 and the 1920 census are listings from City Directories:
- 1911 Pasadena, California: Howe Wm A, Indian goods 372 E Colorado, r 495 S Hudson av
- 1912 Pasadena, California: Howe Wm A, Indian goods 372 E Colorado, r 495 S Hudson av
- 1913 Pasadena, California: Howe Wm A, Indian goods, 34 S Raymond av, h 495 S Hudson av
- 1914 Pasadena, California: Howe Wm A, art goods 408 E Colorado, h 495 S Hudson av
- 1915 Pasadena, California: Howe Wm A (Ada L.), confectionery ice cream fancy bakery and restaurant 38 E Colorado, h 495 S Hudson av
- 1916 Pasadena, California: Howe Wm A (Ada L.), confy 38 E Colorado, h 495 S Hudson av
- 1917 Pasadena, California: Howe Wm A (Ada L.), confy 38 E Colorado, h 495 S Hudson av
- 1918 Pasadena, California: Howe Wm A (Ada L), confy 38 E Colorado, h 495 S Hudson av
- 1919 Pasadena, California: Howe Wm A (Ada L), conf 38 E Colorado, h 495 S Hudson av
In 1920, William and Ada were living in the home they owned at 495 S Hudson Ave, Pasadena, Los Angeles County, California:
- William A Howe: Head, male, white, 52 years old, married, working as a Proprietor in the Confectionery industry
- Ada L Howe: Wife, female, white, 47 years old, married, no occupation listed
By 1923, William and Ada seem to have relocated from Pasadena to Glendale. They appear in the 1923 Glendale, California city directory: Howe Wm A (Ada L) mgr Glendale Theater h 317 Patterson av
William’s second wife, Ada, died on April 29th, 1925.
OPERATION FAILS TO SAVE LIFE OF WOMAN
GLENDALE, April 30. — Mrs. Ada Leach Goodno Howe, wife of William A. Howe, manager and lessee of the Glendale Theater, died yesterday afternoon at the Pasadena Hospital, following a long and painful illness. An operation that was performed Monday in the hope of prolonging her life failed to achieve the results expected.
Besides her husband Mrs. Howe is survived by her father, Dr. W. C. Goodno, of Pasadena, and by a son, William Hill, of Glendora.
Funeral services will be conducted Friday at the Little Church of the Flowers by Rev. Ernest E. Ford, pastor of the Glendale Baptist Church, and interment will be made in Forest Lawn Memorial Park.The Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles, California, 1 May 1925, Page 24, obtained from Newspapers.com
In 1930, William is found in the Federal Census living by himself at the home he owned at 317 Patterson Ave, Glendale, Los Angeles County, California:
- William A Howe: Head, home value $12,000, male, white, 65 years old, widowed, Executive Secretary for the Elk Lodge
William is listed in the 1930 Glendale, California city directory:
- Howe Wm A slsmn Glen Realty Co h 317 Patterson
He’s also listed in the 1930 Pasadena, California city directory:
- Howe Wm A exec sec B P O E No 672 r Glendale
The 1931 Glendale, California city directory shows:
- Howe Wm A mgr Elks Lodge (Pasadena) h 317 Patterson av
On June 7th, 1932, The Los Angeles Times published William’s intention to marry Zoula C. Hagood, age 49. Six days later, on June 13th, 1932, William and Missouri “Zoula” Cockerill Hagood got married in Los Angeles. The next several years are documented only in city directories:
- 1932 Glendale, California: Howe Wm A mgr Elks Lodge (Pasadena) h 317 Patterson av
- 1933 Pasadena, California: Howe Wm A, Exec Sec Pasadena Lodge No 672 BPOE, rGlendale
- 1934 Pasadena, California: Howe Wm A, Exec Honorary Sec Pasadena Lodge No 672 BPOE, r Glendale
- 1935 Pasadena, California: Howe Wm A, Exec Sec Pasadena Lodge No 672 BPOE, r Glendale
- 1936 Glendale, California: Howe Wm A (Zoula C) oil h 216 N Orange
- 1939 Glendale, California: Howe Wm A (Zoula) exec sec BPOE No 1289 h216 N Orange
- 1940 Glendale, California: Howe Wm A (Zoula C) h216 N Orange
In 1940, William and Zoula were living in the house they owned (valued at $7,000) at 216 North Orange St, Glendale, California:
- William A Howe: Head, male, white, 75 years old, married, highest education High School 4th year, unable to work
- Zoula C. Howe: Wife, female, white, 59 years old, married, highest education College 2nd year, worked as a Music Teacher
- Hampton H. Hagood: Son (of Zoula), male, white, 24 years old, single, highest education College 1st year, worked as Lithographer at Lithograph company
- Le Roy Bowen: Lodger, male, white, 22 years old, single, highest education College 1st year, worked as Architect in the building industry
William died January 21st, 1943 in Los Angeles county and is buried in the Slumberland plot of the Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale alongside his second wife, Ada.
Some lingering questions
- Do any pictures exist of him?
- Is the “Helen L Owen” listed in the 1880 US Federal Census William’s future step-mother?
- Is there more information about the legal paperwork that was served to Lile/William when Lile was escorting her father’s remains?
- Is there more to the story of William and Lile’s divorce? I’m mailing a Request for Divorce Search to the Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court on January 8th, 2020… will post more info later this year if they send me anything.
- It appears that after William and Lile’s divorce, William wasn’t all too involved with the family they created together. Their 3 living children would have been in their late teens/early 20s at the time of the divorce. Jack named his son after William… so there couldn’t have really been that much bad blood… could there?
- Did William follow through with any schooling at the University of Illinois?
- What was his cause of death — can I obtain a copy of his death certificate?
- Do any of my extended Howe relatives have any information, anecdotes, or other stories about William?
- I emailed Elks Lodge # 672 and # 1289 on January 7th, 2020 to see if they have any information that they can share
1 – 1870 United States Federal Census
2 – Chicago Tribune, 10 May 1873, Page 8
3 – Cook County, Illinois, Marriage and Death Indexes, 1833-1889, page 17
4 – Cook County, Illinois, Marriage and Death Indexes, 1833-1889, page 33
5 – 1880 United States Federal Census
6 – Chicago Tribune, 6 June 1886, Page 13
7 – 1900 United States Federal Census
8 – 1910 United States Federal Census
9 – 1920 United States Federal Census
10 – 1930 United States Federal Census
11 – 1940 United States Federal Census
12 – California Death Index, 1940-1997
13 – California, County Birth, Marriage, and Death Records, 1849-1980
14 – Indiana, Marriage Index, 1800-1941
15 – Indiana, Select Marriages Index, 1748-1993
16 – U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995
17 – U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current
18 – U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007