Leander Benson Howard Family

Leander Benson HOWARD Born - 23 March 1847 Fayette Co. Alabama
Married - Bethelda Jane Ellis Chickasaw Co MS 28 November 1867
Died - 13 June 1920 Chalk Mountain, Tx Erath Co.
Buried - Chalk Mountain Cemetery Chalk Mountain, Tx

His Father - Warnal Jackson HOWARD His Mother - Malinda Sanders BREWER

Wife - Bethelda Jane ELLIS Born - 1844 Mississippi ?
Died - 14 April 1872 Fannin Co. Tx
Buried - Smyrna Cemetery near Dodd City, Tx Fannin Co.

Her Parents ?


William Frank (Franklin?) Born - 8 August 1868 Chickasaw Co. Mississippi
Married - Sarah SYRUS 31 August 1891 Jacksboro, Tx Jack Co.
Died - 23 February 1959 Arlington, Tx Tarrant Co
Buried - Nancy Smith Cemetery near Glen Rose TX Somervell Co

Lelah Belle Born - 3 December 1871 Ladonia, Tx Fannin Co
Married - Norman P. UNDERWOOD 1 January 1890 Somervell Co Tx.
Died - 3 September 1955 Buried - Chalk Mountain Cemetery Erath Co TX

Norman Prewitt Underwood Born 1861 Died 1952 Buried Chalk Mountain Cemetery

Second Marriage of Leander Benson HOWARD 23 December 1876 Ladonia, Tx
Fannin Co.

Wife - Mary Elizabeth RENNER Born - 17 June 1857 Greene Co. Tennessee
Died - 3 November 1954 Fort Worth, TX Buried - Chalk Mountain Cemetery

Her Father - John George RENNER Her Mother - Margaret WILHOIT


Thomas Alfred Born - 1 October 1877 Ladonia, Tx Fannin Co
Married - Sarah Flossie CARVER 6 November 1898 Somervell Co TX
Died - 26 August 1966 Fort Worth,Tx Tarrant Co
Buried Mount Olivet Cemetery Fort Worth, TX

Florence Almira Born - 6 January 1881 Ladonia, Tx Fannin Co
Died - 13 August 1885 near Cottonwood Somervell Co. Tx
Buried Chalk Mountain Cemetery

Melvina (May?) Born - 11 February 1883 Ladonia, Tx Fannin Co.
Married - Walter COX 14 January 1900 Erath Co. ? Tx
Died - 7 November 1971 Buried Mount Olivet Cemetery Fort Worth, Tx

Notes: I had been told by Vera Underwood Flowers that Leander Howard married in Cairo, MS Clay Co. However I found the marriage listed on the Chickasaw Co MS web site as L. B. Howard and B. J. Ellis. with the date listed on the first page. I have to assume the town of Cairo may well be in Clay Co MS now though it was probably in Chickasaw Co when this couple married. Clay Co didnít exist until after 1870. I have a copy of the marriage license and feel sure this is the right couple. They were married by a Matthew Harrell, Justice of the Peace. This Matthew Harrell is the third husband of Malinda Sanders, Leanderís mother.

I had also been told B. J. Ellis was named Methelda or Martha Jane. So far I canít confirm that. Descendents of William Frank Howard placed a marker in Chalk Mountain Cemetery near Leander and Mary Renner Howardís grave. It has the name Bethelda Jane Ellis Howard and the place of burial in Smyrna Cemetery near Dodd, TX Fannin Co. with birth year and date of death.

I feel sure the person or persons wanted those of us that work on genealogy to know just where Leanderís first wife was buried. Another relative said the marker in Smyrna Cemetery had fallen into the grave along with others there. He thought the marker had Martha Jane as the name. So until the marker is dug up and out, we wonít know what is on it. After finding the marriage bond and license in Chickasaw Co. MS
Iím inclined to go with the name Bethelda Jane for now. It is possible she didnít like her name and used Martha perhaps. The 1870 Fannin Co. TX Census lists Lee Howard, Mitty and their son, William. Usually a nickname for Martha is Mattie, but maybe the census taker thought he heard Mitty instead, so used that name.

A recent contact with a Billy R. Suitor (billys@fanninelectric.com) about the Smyrna Cemetery records posted on Fannin Co. TX web site mentions a J. Howard. She says she has not located the tombstone as yet. According to her e-mail, her records were taken from tombstones there at the time the cemetery was recorded. She says many markers were broken and destroyed before she took over as president of Smyrna Cemetery Association.

Leander fought in the Civil War and was wounded at least once and had the bullet to prove it. He was said to have walked with a limp the rest of his life. He was captured several times and also escaped at least once. Leander enlisted before his 16th birthday on March 3, 1862 at PaloAlto, MS for a period of 3 years. He served through 1865. After the war he married in 1867 and lived for a year or more in Chickasaw Co. Ms before leaving for Texas around 1869.

According to John Fraiser, a descendent of Francis Marion Howard, older brother of Lee, the Yankee reconstruction government after the Civil War was too much for Lee. Francis and Lee both hated the Yankees, but Lee decided to move on as he couldnít abide the government in Mississippi. Francis Marion stayed and managed to live with it.

Leander and his wife and son are on the 1870 Fannin County census. The census records show his occupation as farmer. After his first wifeís death he married Mary Elizabeth Renner in Fannin Co, Tx. This family moved to Erath or SomervilleCounty, Tx sometime before the 1880 census was taken. They lived near Cottonwood, a town that no longer exists in a log cabin. Leander taught school at Cottonwood. It appears that Lee Howard was also a Justice of the Peace for Somerville Co around 1887-1889 at least. There are a number of marriages performed by L. B. Howard in the Somerville Co marriage books that have been transcribed. They eventually moved to the little town of Chalk Mountain, Tx in Erath Co.

He went into business with a Baxter Underwood that had settled in Chalk Mountain. He helped run the general store that bore the name of Howard and Underwood. Leander and Mary Renner Howard and one of their children are buried in the Chalk Mountain Cemetery. The old Howard home not far from the cemetery still stands as of February 2002. L. B. Howard was postmaster for Chalk Mountain in 1894. The old Masonic Lodge that was in front of their property was taken apart and moved down the road not far from Chalk Mountain Cemetery and the top part of the building was put on cinder blocks .The old wooden supports barely held up the actual top floor which was the lodge itself before being moved. We know Leander was a Mason from the emblem on his cemetery marker.

At this point, I canít find information to say just when Leander became a Mason or if he was a founding member of the Chalk Mountain Lodge or any office he might have held in the lodge.

Iím still trying to find the parents and any siblings of Bethelda Jane Ellis. I suspect she was born in Chickasaw Co MS in 1860.

Submitted by Nancy Howard

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