from reprint of Â“Clarke County HistoryÂ”, Lewis Pub., Chicago, 1886. p. 1
GEORGE W. HOWE, was one of the first settlers of Clarke County, and was the pioneer merchant of Osceola, where he was engaged in business at the time of his death, which occurred October 1, 1864. He was born in Enfield, Massachusetts, August 2, 1810, and was the second son of Sylvanus and Sukey (Joslin) Howe, descendants of one of the original founders of the town. He grew to manhood on the farm of his father, and attended the common school.
At the age of twenty-one he entered the store of Saxton & Field, and afterward became a member of the firm under the name of Saxton, Field & Co. In 1836 he formed a partnership with Seth Richards, and emigrated to the Territory of Wisconsin, which then included the Territory of Iowa, and settled at Fort Madison, where he established a store under the firm name of Howe & Richards; and soon after the arrival, in 1837, of his partner, Seth Richards, they removed their stock of goods to Bentonsport, in Van Buren County, Iowa.
Owing to the financial troubles in 1837 they went out of business and engaged in farming, making two farms in Van Buren County, he driving the ox teams to break the prairie. In 1840 he engaged as a clerk for A.J. Davis, in his store at Bentonsport, and afterward had charge of a store at Iowaville, Iowa. In 1848 he established a store at Red Rock, Marion County, Iowa, in partnership with Seth Richards, under the firm name of Howe & Richards.
In 1850 the same firm entered 960 acres of land near the center of Clarke County, 160 acres of which they sold to the county in 1851, and upon that land the town of Osceola is located. The price paid was 62 1/2 cents per acre. Having been compelled in 1851 to remove his stock of goods from Red Rock, by the high waters of the Des Moines River in June of that year, he took them to what was then called Lost Camp, in Green Bay Township, Clarke County, where he remained until Osceola was founded in November, 1851, when he removed to that place and continued there the mercantile business under the firm name of Howe & Richards. This firm had branch stores at Corydon, Wayne County; Afton, Union County; and Bedford, Taylor County, Iowa.
Mr. Howe was an honest and upright man in all his dealings, and was a friend of the poor, and assisted many a good man to secure a home in Clarke county before the days of homestead laws. He married in September, 1863, Miss Martha S. Underwood, daughter of Roswell Underwood, of Enfield, Massachusetts. She still survives him. His estate was worth $200,000 all of which he accumulated himself without any assistance from others.