Contra Costa County












AUSTIN S. HOWARD.  An honored and worthy pioneer of the state, Austin S. Howard is passing the evening of his days upon his ranch of fifty acres, located about eight miles from Brentwood, Contra Costa county.  Born in Fayette county, W. Va., January 13, 1821, he is the son of Michael and Susan (Harvey) Howard, the former of whom died in 1850, his wife having passed away five years earlier.  They were pioneers of both Indiana and Iowa, locating in the former in 1835 and the latter state in 1839.  In 1849, Austin S. Howard felt impelled to cast in his lot with the pioneer element of the western state which was then attracting such a number of people, and he accordingly crossed the plains by ox teams, starting April 9 of that year and arriving in Sacramento September 29.   There he left the company and went to Yuba river and Long Bar, and later engaged in mining on the South Yuba.  Subsequently he spent a year in Nevada City, after which he went to Stockton and located on a ranch three miles north, and during the harvest season cut and put up hay for market; also engaged in mining during that season.  He removed to Lodi for two years, and engaged in farming once more, being located in San Ramon valley, Contra Costa county, where he purchased a quarter section of land.  He raised wheat from 1857 to 1864, when he purchased a farm and removed to Sonoma county, near Santa Rosa, upon which he remained for two years.  Disposing of that property he next rented a dairy ranch near Haywards[sic], Alameda county, and there conducted a dairy for three years, then located near Livermore for the ensuing two years and engaged in general farming.  In 1872 he came to Contra Costa county and in the neighborhood of Brentwood purchased his present ranch of three hundred and twenty acres.  Almost entirely unimproved at the time of purchase, Mr. Howard has since transformed his farm into one of the substantial and desirable properties in this section of the county, erecting comfortable buildings, substantial fences, and bringing the land to a high state of cultivation.  He raises wheat, barley and vegetables, and at one time he set out quite an orchard, but finding that fruit did not prove a profitable investment he reserved only enough for family use.  He has also set out a number of shade and ornamental trees and made of his ranch a home of which anyone might be proud.


The marriage of Mr. Howard united him with Ranchel Belknap, a native of Warren county, Ky., and daughter of Jonas and Mary Ann (Garlinghouse) Belknap.  Of this union were born ten children, of whom two died in infancy.  Of the family of children Homer L., a resident of San Francisco, married Missouri Boyce and they have two children, Clifford and Grace.  Nancy married George Nicholson, of Contra Costa county, and they have three children, Clara, Ella and Albert.  Mary is still at home with her parents.  Sarah F. married Lorenzo Welch, of Palo Alto, and they have five children, Austin, Ida, Lovina, Amy and Cora.  Alice, who is now deceased, married S. F. Benn, also deceased, and of their union were born the following children:  Lottie, Jessie, Marshall, Roy and Ralph.  William P., who resides on the home farm, married Rosa Diffin, and they have six children, namely: Ethel, Pern, Arthur, Ellis, Alvin and Bertha.  John, a resident of Palo Alto, married Lillie McNamara, and they have one child, Vivian.  Emma married J. W. Chadwick, and they have five children, namely: Leslie, Effie, Levi, Edith and Robert.  In his fraternal relations Mr. Howard affiliates with the Masonic order, of which organization he has been a member for thirty-five years.





Transcribed by Donna Toole.

ญญญญSource: History of the State of California & Biographical Record of Coast Counties, California by Prof. J. M. Guinn, A. M., Pages 407-408. The Chapman Publishing Co., Chicago, 1904.

2015  Donna Toole.







Contra Costa County Biographies

Golden Nugget Library