Howard is a city in Elk County, Kansas. The population was 808 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Elk County. Howard has built and maintains a truly excellent small town Community Website.


The Early History of Howard
by William G. Cutler (1883)
The county seat of Elk County is located near the geographical center of the county, and stands upon a beautiful eminence overlooking the fertile valleys of Elk River and Paw Paw and Rock creeks. The town site was established in the spring of 1870, by a town company, of which Samuel McFarland was President and T. A. Dodd, Secretary. This organization did not long survive to accomplish much in the interest of the town, but died shortly after its birth, leaving the management of town affairs in the hands of private individuals. Chief among the real founders of the town were John McBee, S. B. Oberlander, C. T. Adams, P. C. Tapping, Alexander Bruce, Perry and Milton Vinson and T. A. Dodd.

The land upon which the town is located was originally entered by John McBee, A. Garner, T. A. Dodd and S. McFarland. The first business house in the piece was erected by Oscar McFarland, in which he opened a general store, and the next was a livery stable belonging to Mr. McClure, followed by a store room belonging to Spicer, and again by another business house established by C. T. Adams. In the early part of 1871, John Parrett and John Barnes built a hotel called the Howard House, which, after changing hands several times, is now the Welbourn House. The next building was a saloon owned by Frank Osborne and the next a printing office by Kelly & Turner. This was a two-story building, the first floor of which was used as business rooms, and the upper was afterward occupied as a printing office, in which the Messenger was published in the spring of 1872.

Howard City, being the county Seat, attracted many settlers, all of whom naturally anticipated rapid progress and success in the new town and "prospective" city, the result being that the place grew with great rapidity and for a short time business houses and residences sprang up on every hand, until at the present it contains several substantial business houses and a population numbering 1,000.

The point for the distribution of mail matter for this vicinity at the time of the founding of Howard City, was located at a point on Paw Paw Creek, about two and a half miles to the north and east of the town and was known as Howard Post Office. In the fall of 1871, its location was changed, being brought to what is now Howard City. Previous to and after its removal, the office was in the hands of T. J. Barnes as Postmaster, who, after its removal, had the office in a small building which he erected and used as a drug store. Not long after the relocation of the office, Barnes was succeeded in the position by C. T. Adams, who was commissioned Postmaster for this point, and who continued to hold it until 1880, during which year he was succeeded by A. B. Steinbarger. Mr. Steinbarger held the place a short time, when A. Reynolds received the appointment and is the present incumbent.

Public Schools
The first school was taught in the town of Howard in the early part of the year 1873, by W. S. Kent. The school was kept in a frame house erected for school purposes, and had an attendance of nineteen pupils. This building, although cramped in its capacity and insufficient for the accommodation of the schools, was used until 1882, when the actual necessities of the case prompted the citizens of the town to prepare more enlarged quarters for school wants. Accordingly, immediate steps were put forth resulting in the erection of a fine large two-story stone building at a cost of $8,000, for the payment of which bonds were issued by the district to the amount of $6,000. The building contains four school rooms, three of which are in the lower story and one above, the remaining part of the second floor being reserved for a town hall. The schools are in a flourishing condition with an enrollment of 347 pupils.

Howard City is the seat of Government for the county, also the chief town, being surrounded by a good farming country as it seems destined to maintain its superiority over the other towns. The business men of the town are active, energetic and progressive, and are ready at all times to assist in any measure to advance the good of the town. Already fine large business blocks of brick and stone are seen, and handsome dwellings adorn the streets. With all her advantageous surroundings it is safe to predict a bright future for this progressive little city.

On the 27th of October, 1877, a petition signed by J. R. Hall, and a number of the citizens of the town was presented to the District Court, asking that the town of Howard be incorporated as a city of the third class. The court gave attention and passed upon the matter granting the prayer of the petitioners. In accordance with the legal forms, an election was held for the choosing of officers for the city government, resulting in the election of the following corps of officers:

A. B. Steinbarger, Mayor; A. M. Bowen, Police Judge; H. A. Lanman, City Clerk; William Crooks, City Treasurer; J. A. Oliphant, City Attorney; William M. Vinson, Street Commissioner and City Marshal; N. Momma, William Driscoll, J. Q. Burchfield, S. Lucas, James Howell, Councilmen.

At the last election held for the choosing of officers for the city, the following were elected:

Asa Thompson, Mayor; R. N. Ashmore, Police Judge; J. A. Oliphant, City Attorney; J. M. McKnight, Clerk; T. C. Hatton, Treasurer; J. B. Dobyns, T. S. Fuller, Z. W. Kirby, J. F. Lewis, Thomas Bruce, Councilmen; D. McFarland, Marshal.

Churches and Societies
The citizens of Howard City were early and prompt in their attention to "spiritual necessities," and did not long remain outside of the sound of Gospel preaching. Services under the auspices of different denominations, had been held at various times and places in the neighborhood, but no regular organization was made in the town until 1872, at which time the northern branch of the Methodist Church was established.

The Methodist Episcopal Church North, was established in the spring of 1872, under the especial direction of Rev. L. F. Laverty, with a membership of ten. The early services were held in a log cabin, the residence of O. M. Tabor, until the schoolhouse was built, to which place they were afterward removed. A church edifice was begun in the summer of 1880, completed in the following year, and dedicated to sacred and religious uses on July 5, 1881, by Rev. Bernard Kelley, of Wichita. The increase in the membership has been moderately rapid, the church having now a total of seventy-five members in full and regular standing.

The Southern branch of the Methodist Church was established during the summer of 1874, by N. G. Faubin and had at that time fifteen members. The denomination have not as yet provided themselves with any regular church building of their own, but continue to hold meetings in the church belonging to the Methodist Episcopal Church North. The congregation at this time is under the spiritual instruction and guidance of the Rev. W. H. Comer.

The United Presbyterian Church was organized in the summer of 1877 with fourteen members, under the direction of the Rev. E. Meyn. Meetings were held in the schoolhouse until the erection of a church edifice by the congregation. The church building was erected during the summer of 1879, and is a one- story wooden structure. Rev. Mr. Tarr is present pastor in charge of the congregation.

The Press
The history of the Howard City press is considerably varied, being a record of a successive establishment of papers, followed closely by a removal or suspension of the same. And of the many that have started, only two remain. The first paper established in the town was the Howard County Messenger, which had its birth in the winter of 1872, under the direction and ownership of Turner & Kelley, and after a year of life at this place, was sold to A. B. Hicks, and taken to Boston.

The publication of the Beacon was begun at Howard City, in the spring of 1875, by A. B. Steinbarger. This sheet flourished for a while, and expired in December of the same year. The material belonging to the Boston Messenger was bought in the spring of 1875, by W (sic) E. Doud, who immediately removed the same to Howard, and began the issue of the Censorial, which continued only about six months, and was then taken to Eureka, Greenwood County, Kan.

J. A. Somerby commenced the publication of the Kansas Rural in the summer of 1877, but meeting with insufficient success, the paper languished, and after the brief existence o} four months, "passed in its type." The Weekly Examiner began at Elk Falls, January 22, 1878, under the proprietorship of C. A. Gitchell, and was removed to Howard city. March 11, 1878, and on the 12th day of July, of that year, suspended publication. The Industrial Journal was established July 24, 1878, by Van Hyatt & Somerby. It was Independent in polities, and enjoyed but a brief period of existence, when it was forced to yield to the pressure of hard times.

The Courant, at present in successful operation, is the outgrowth or continuation of a paper of the same name, which A. B. Steinbarger brought from Elk City to Longton, in November, 1874. After remaining about one year at Longton, it again changed location, and pulled up at Howard. In 1877. the paper was consolidated with the Elk County Ledger, a paper which had been started by A. Reynolds, at Longton, in 1870, as the Howard County Ledger, and was the first in the county. Reynolds removed his paper to Elk Falls in the Spring of l874, and again in the fall of l876 "pulled up stakes" and "struck tent" at Howard, where, after the division of Howard County the name of the sheet was changed to that of the Elk County Ledger, which he continued to publish up to the time of the consolidation with the Courant assuming the title of the Courant-Ledger. In 1879, the name was again changed being called the Courant. The paper changed hands in October, 1881, being sold to the Courant Company. composed of Asa Thompson & Sons, who have since continued in its publication. It is an eight column folio, Republican in politics, and has a circulation of 1,200 copies.

The Howard Journal began first as the Elk County Examiner, at Elk Falls, in 1876, under the ownership of Charles Gitchell. After two months at that place, it was brought to Howard, and in 1878, was sold to J. G. Albright. and leased to P. Van Hyatt and J. H. Somerby, who changed the name, giving it the title of the Industrial Journal Albright kept possession of the paper until the fall of 1880, when it was purchased by J. R. Hall, and combined with the Howard Clipper. a small campaign sheet which Hall had established a short time previously. The paper is Democratic in politics, live and energetic in advocating all matters of local interest, and exerts a wide influence in the community.

Howard is located at 37°28'7N, 96°15'47W (37.468517, -96.263014). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.8 km² (0.7 mi²), all land.

As of the census of 2000, there were 808 people, 350 households, and 215 families residing in the city. The population density was 445.7/km² (1,154.6/mi²). There were 452 housing units at an average density of 249.3/km² (645.9/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 94.93% White, 0.25% African American, 1.24% Native American, 0.62% Asian, 0.62% from other races, and 2.35% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.98% of the population.

There were 350 households out of which 24.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.7% were married couples living together, 6.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.3% were non-families. 37.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 23.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.16 and the average family size was 2.83.

In the city the population was spread out with 22.4% under the age of 18, 5.4% from 18 to 24, 19.2% from 25 to 44, 22.8% from 45 to 64, and 30.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 47 years. For every 100 females there were 81.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 78.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $25,822, and the median income for a family was $28,365. Males had a median income of $24,886 versus $16,354 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,441. About 11.9% of families and 14.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.2% of those under age 18 and 14.6% of those age 65 or over.

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