Finding Aid to the Howard Family Papers

Angelica Pena
The Bancroft Library
The Bancroft Library
University of California
Berkeley, CA 94720-6000

Language of Material: English
Contributing Institution: The Bancroft Library
Title: Howard family papers
Creator: Howard (Family : 1849- : Howard, William Davis Merry, 1819-1856)
Identifier/Call Number: BANC MSS 2017/229
Physical Description: 6 linear feet (3 cartons, 3 oversize boxes, 1 box, 1 oversize folder)
Date (inclusive): 1756-2016
Abstract: The correspondence and papers of William Davis Merry Howard, his wife Agnes, and several generations of their family. The majority of the papers are from: William Henry Howard (I), Edward Whiting Howard, and William Henry Howard (II). Collection also includes papers and photographs from Frances Sargent Howard, Olivia Lansdale Howard, Ana D. Whiting, John Kenneth Howard, Olivia Howard, Marion Howard, Anne Howard, Virginia Howard, George Henry Howard (I), George Henry Howard (II), Agnes Howard, George Henry Howard (III) and Henry S. P. Howard.

Access to Collection

Collection is open for research.

Biographical / Historical

William Davis Merry (WDM) Howard (1819-1856), originally from Boston, arrived in San Francisco in 1847. Shortly after, he and Henry Mellus purchased the Hudson Bay Company’s San Francisco post. The company saw much success with the influx of the Gold Rush. With his wealth, WDM bought and developed various areas of downtown San Francisco. He became involved with the formation of the city’s government and early efforts to bring law and order and civic infrastructure. WDM served on the city’s first city council, co-founded the Society of California Pioneers, helped form the Committee of Vigilance and donated buildings that served as a hospital and schools for the San Francisco Public School system.
In 1849, WDM Howard married Agnes Poett (1833-1893). In 1850, the couple welcomed their first son, William Henry Howard (I) and purchased Rancho San Mateo and built their El Cerrito estate. The couple had a second son in 1851, Alfred Howard, who tragically died a year later. Shortly after, WDM began to suffer from health issues and passed away in 1856.
In 1857, Agnes remarried WDM’s younger brother, George Henry Howard. The couple had four children together: George Henry Howard II (1864-1935), Julia Howard, Agnes “Babette” Howard and Joseph Henry Poett Howard. The family spent much of their time in their San Mateo home, El Cerrito, where George managed property and businesses he inherited from his brother, including a cattle and livestock business. During their time in San Mateo, they couple donated land to St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church (1865) and hired Jonh McClaren as their chief gardener (1873), both important milestones in the development of Hillsborough. George Henry Howard passed away in 1878 at the age of 51. Agnes married for a third time to Henry P. Bowie in 1879. Agnes passed away in 1893 at the age of 60.
William Henry Howard (I) (1850-1901) married Anna D. Whiting in 1872. The couple had five children: Gertrude Howard, William Davis Merriam Howard (II), Edward “Ted” Whiting Howard, Francis Sargeant Howard and John Kenneth Howard. The couple spent much of their early marriage in Paris, France before settling in San Mateo where they had Uplands, their estate, built not far from El Cerrito. William Henry Howard continued his family’s work of developing the San Mateo area by managing his family’s land, including Coyote Point, co-founding the Burlingame Country Club and donating the land for the area’s train station. William passed away in 1901.
Edward “Ted” Henry Howard (1878-1915) continued managing the family properties and businesses after his father passed away. He served on the California State Board of Agriculture and formed the successful Howard Cattle Company. In 1905, he married Olivia Lansdale with whom he had five children: Olivia Howard, William Henry Howard, Ann Howard, Gertrude Howard, and Marion Howard. The family spent much of their time in their San Joaquin Valley ranch, Quinto Ranch. Edward died in 1915 in San Francisco due to injuries from an elevator accident. Olivia went on to remarry Robert Frazer in 1923.
William Henry Howard (II) (1907-1991) continued to manage his family properties. In 1941, he married Virginia Wilson. The couple had two daughters: Virginia “Jeannie” Howard and Marion Howard.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Howard family papers, BANC MSS 2017/229, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

Scope and Contents

The correspondence and papers of William Davis Merry, his wife Agnes, and several generations of their family. The collection documents the Howard Family history in California, W.D.M.’s early days in San Francisco circa 1949, marriages, business dealings, various properties and the family’s role in the development of Hillsborough and San Mateo, CA.
The majority of the papers are from: William Henry Howard (I), Edward Whiting Howard, and William Henry Howard (II). Collection also includes papers and photographs from Frances Sargent Howard, Olivia Lansdale Howard, Ana D. Whiting, John Kenneth Howard, Olivia Howard, Marion Howard, Anne Howard, Virginia Howard, George Henry Howard (I), George Henry Howard (II), Agnes Howard, George Henry Howard (III) and Henry S. P. Howard.
The collection contains photos, correspondence and ephemera from five generations of the Howard family. For each generation, the collection includes letters that detail family events and concerns and details of day to day life. The ephemera in the collection includes certificates from involvement in various organization such as WDM Howard’s participation in the SF Vigilance Committee and Edward Howard’s membership on the California State Board of Agriculture. The collection also contains family related research such as genealogy notes. The photos in the collection range from formal portraits, photos of the family estates and documentation of their many travels and vacations.

Conditions Governing Use

Some materials in these collections may be protected by the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.). In addition, the reproduction of some materials may be restricted by terms of University of California gift or purchase agreements, donor restrictions, privacy and publicity rights, licensing and trademarks. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owner. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user. All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from, or otherwise use collection materials must be submitted to The Bancroft Library. See:

Processing Information

Processed by Angelica Pena in 2017-2018.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Virginia Howard Siegman in 2016.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Howard (Family : 1849- : Howard, William Davis Merry, 1819-1856)
Howard, William Davis Merry
Howard, Agnes Poett
Howard, George Henry
Howard, Anna D. Whiting
Howard, Edward Henry
Frazer, Olivia Lansdale
Howard Cattle Company
Families -- California
Families -- California -- San Mateo
Ranching -- California
San Mateo (Calif.) -- History


Series 1:  WDM and Agnes Poett Howard Family Papers 1841-1913

carton 1, folder 1

WDM Howard: Photos undated

carton 1, folder 2

WDM Howard: Correspondence 1841-1853

carton 1, folder 3

WDM Howard: Boston Bank Balance Book 1853-1855

carton 1, folder 4

WDM Howard: Invoice undated

oversize-box 2

WDM Howard: Assorted Oversized Items 1841-1913

Scope and Contents

Photos, San Francisco: It's Builders, Past & Present, Committee of Vigilance Certificate, U.S. Government Identification Certificate
carton 1, folder 5

Agnes and WDM Howard: Correspondence approximately 1854

carton 1, folder 6

Agnes Poett Howard: Correspondence 1847-1854

carton 1, folder 7

Agnes Poett Howard: Photos undated


Series 2:  William Henry Howard (I) Family Papers 1884-1913

carton 1, folder 8

William Henry Howard (I): California Map 1866

carton 1, folder 9

William Henry Howard (I): Legal Dispute Correspondence 1884-1888

carton 1, folder 10

William Henry Howard (I): Legal Dispute Documents 1885-1887

carton 1, folder 11

William Henry Howard (I): Business Documents 1886-1898

carton 1, folder 12

William Henry Howard (I): Writing undated

carton 1, folder 13

William Henry Howard (I): Photos undated

oversize-box 3, folder 2

William Henry Howard (I): Assorted Oversized Items 1901-1913

Scope and Contents

St. Matthew's Church Announcement regarding death, San Francisco: It's Builders, Past & Present
carton 1, folder 14

Ana D. Whiting Howard: Photos undated


Series 3:  Frances Sargent Howard Papers 1884-1913

carton 1, folder 15

Frances Sargent Howard: Correspondence 1900

oversize-box 3, folder 4

Frances Sargent Howard: Daughters of the American Revolution Membership Certificate 1901


Series 4:  John Kenneth Howard Papers 1943

carton 1, folder 16

John Kenneth Howard: Miscellaneous approximately 1943


Series 5:  Edward and Olivia Lansdale Howard Family Papers 1756-1980

carton 1, folder 17

Edward "Teddy" W. Howard: Correspondence 1890-1914

carton 1, folder 18

Edward "Teddy" W. Howard: School photos and certificates approximately 1899

oversize-box 1, folder 1

Edward "Teddy" W. Howard: St. Paul's School Scrapbook 1892-1895

carton 1, folder 19

Edward "Teddy" W. Howard: Photos undated

carton 1, folder 20

Edward "Teddy" W. Howard: Miscellaneous 1905-1915

oversize-box 3, folder 3

Edward "Teddy" W. Howard: Assorted Oversized Items approximately 1900-1913

Scope and Contents

Photos, San Francisco: It's Builders, Past & Present, School and business certificates, Harvard Diploma
carton 1, folder 21

Edward and Olivia Howard: Correspondence 1904-1914

carton 1, folder 22

Olivia Lansdale Howard and Children: Family Photos 1909-1960

oversize-box 3, folder 5

Olivia Lansdale Howard and children: Oversized family photos approximately 1907-1943

oversize-box 3, folder 4

Olivia Lansdale Howard and Children: Assorted Oversized Family Photos Approximately 1933

Scope and Contents

Anne Howard, Marion Howard, and Olivia Lansdale Howard 1933 Court of St. James Portraits,
carton 1, folder 23

Olivia Lansdale Howard: Lansdale Family 1971-1972

carton 1, folder 24

Olivia Lansdale Howard: Lansdale Family History 1899

oversize-box 3, folder 4

Olivia Lansdale Howard: Oversized Lansdale Family History 1756-1783

Scope and Contents

Masonic membership certificate for Lancaster Lansdale, Military certificate for Colonel Stephen Moylan
box 1

Great Grandfather Gowen, framed portrait undated

Scope and Contents

Portrait has family tree written on back. This family tree does not appear to be accurate
carton 1, folder 25

Olivia Lansdale Howard: Photos approximately 1900-1969

carton 1, folder 26

Olivia and Robert Frazer: Newspaper Clippings 1939-1941

carton 1, folder 27

Olivia and Robert Frazer: Photos undated

carton 1, folder 28

Olivia and Robert Frazer: Correspondence regarding William Henry Howard's (II) Health 1924

carton 1, folder 29

Olivia Howard: Photos 1924-1937

carton 1, folder 30

Marion Howard: Photos 1936-approximately 1980

carton 1, folder 31

Gertrude Howard: Miscellaneous 1940

carton 1, folder 32

Anne Howard: Miscellaneous approximately 1920-1968


Series 6:  William Henry Howard (II) Family Papers 1907-2010

carton 1, folder 33

William Henry Howard (II): Correspondence 1914-1973

carton 1, folder 34

William Henry Howard (II): Rudyard Kipling Book 1944

oversize-box 2

William Henry Howard (II): Middlesex School Scrapbook 1921-1926

carton 1, folder 35

William Henry Howard (II): Military Records, Certificates 1942-1953

carton 1, folder 36

William Henry Howard (II): Military Records, Active Duty 1941-1945

carton 1, folder 37

William Henry Howard (II): Military Records, Personnel File 1942-1954

carton 1, folder 38

William Henry Howard (II): Military Records, Discharge 1945-1948

carton 1, folder 39

William Henry Howard (II): Childhood Photos 1907-1918

carton 1, folder 40

William Henry Howard (II): Adolescence Photos approximately 1920

carton 1, folder 41

William Henry Howard (II): Adult Photos 1930-1989

carton 1, folder 42

William Henry Howard (II): Adult Photos 1930-1960

carton 1, folder 43

William Henry Howard (II): Gun Club Photo Album 1954-1965

carton 1, folder 44

William Henry Howard (II): Miniature Photo Album undated

carton 1, folder 45

William Henry Howard (II): Miniature Photo Album Negatives undated

carton 1, folder 46

William Henry Howard (II): Second Marriage 1969

carton 1, folder 47

William Henry Howard (II): Olivia L. Frazer Trust Documents 1972-1972

carton 1, folder 48

William Henry Howard (II): Miscellaneous 1907-1973

carton 2, folder 1

William and Virginia Howard: Marriage 1941

carton 2, folder 2

William and Virginia Howard: Photos 1940-1960

carton 2, folder 3

William, Virginia and children: Family Photos 1945-1960

carton 2, folder 4

William, Virginia and children: Family Photos 1945-1961

carton 2, folder 5

Virginia Wilson Howard: Photos 1940-1960

carton 2, folder 6

Virginia Wilson Howard: Miscellaneous 1942-1968

carton 2, folder 7

Virginia "Jeannie" Howard Siegman: Miscellaneous 1948-2010


Series 7:  Agnes and George Howard Family Papers 1865-1968

carton 2, folder 8

Dr. Joseph Henry Poett undated

carton 2, folder 9

George Henry Howard (I): Correspondence 1874

oversize-box 2

George Henry Howard (I): Bible from his mother, Lucy Howard Merry approximately 1843

carton 2, folder 10

George Henry Howard (I): Financial Documents 1865-1875

carton 2, folder 11

George Henry Howard (I): Insurance Company Shareholders List (Copy) undated

carton 2, folder 12

George Henry Howard (II): Writing undated

carton 2, folder 13

George Henry Howard (II): Architecture Work undated

carton 2, folder 14

George Henry Howard (II): Death 1935

carton 2, folder 15

Agnes "Babette" Howard: Photos undated

carton 2, folder 16

George Henry Howard (III): Autograph Book 1902

carton 2, folder 17

Henry S. P. Howard: Miscellaneous 1919-1962

carton 2, folder 18

Henry S. P. Howard: Photos undated

carton 2, folder 19

Henry S. P. Howard: Newspaper Clippings 1962-1968


Series 8:  Howard Cattle Company Papers 1889-1960

carton 2, folder 20

Maps undated

carton 2, folder 21

Inventory 1914

carton 2, folder 22

Certificates 1906-1910

carton 2, folder 23

Photos undated

carton 2, folder 24

Photos undated

carton 2, folder 25

Catalogs 1889-1906

carton 2, folder 26

Catalogs 1907-1911

carton 2, folder 27

Liquidation 1953-1960


Series 9:  Properties 1880-1985

carton 2, folder 28

Photos undated

oversize-box 3, folder 6

Assorted Oversized Photos approximately 1880-1913

Scope and Contents

Photos include: Stonehedge Road, El Cerrito, Uplands, Burlingame Country Club, San Mateo Polo Club
carton 2, folder 29

Howard Estate Land Assessment 1872

carton 2, folder 30

Deeds 1942-1970

carton 2, folder 31

Maps undated

oversize-box 3, folder 7

Oversized Maps 1895-1962

carton 2, folder 32

Newspaper Clippings 1919-1975

carton 2, folder 33

Miscellaneous Financial 1954-1990

carton 2, folder 34

Reports 1953-1955

carton 2, folder 35

660 Market St. 1953-1955

carton 2, folder 36

Conoco Lease 1981-1985

carton 2, folder 37

TXO Production Corporation Lease 1989

carton 2, folder 38

Phillips Petroleum Lease 1986-1988

carton 2, folder 39

Rushing Minerals, Inc. Lease 1987

carton 2, folder 40

Texalta Oil Lease 1981-1985

carton 2, folder 41

Trico Oil and Gas Lease 1965-1967

carton 2, folder 42

Aschutz Exploration Corporation Lease 1999

carton 2, folder 43

Correspondence 1933-1943

carton 2, folder 44

Correspondence 1943-1981

carton 2, folder 45

Oil Drilling Photos approximately 1950


Series 10:  Publicity 1915-2016

carton 3, folder 1

Newspaper Clippings 1915-1947

carton 3, folder 2

Newspaper Clippings 1928-1962

oversize-folder 1

Oversize Newspapers 1941-1975

carton 3, folder 3

The Bullard Bulletin 2000-2001

carton 3, folder 4

California Historical Society Quarterly undated

carton 3, folder 5

La Peninsula Journal 1942-1973

carton 3, folder 6

Miscellaneous 1966-2016


Series 11:  Research undated

carton 3, folder 7

Peninsula History Script undated

carton 3, folder 8

Antique Family Furniture Appraisal undated

carton 3, folder 9

St. Matthews Church undated

carton 3, folder 10

Genealogy undated

carton 3, folder 11

Genealogy undated

carton 3, folder 12

Genealogy undated

carton 3, folder 13

Genealogy undated

carton 3, folder 14

Genealogy undated

carton 3, folder 15

Genealogy undated

carton 3, folder 16

Family Letters undated

carton 3, folder 17

Family Letters undated

carton 3, folder 18

Family Letters undated

carton 3, folder 19

Family Letters undated

oversize-box 3, folder 9

Oversized Family letters undated

Scope and Contents

Copies of letters written to WDM Howard, including a couple letters from Thomas O. Larkin. Original letters dated 1845-1849

Series 12:  Assorted General Family Papers and Unidentified Family Photographs 1854-1987

carton 3, folder 20

Correspondence 1854-1927

carton 3, folder 21

Elizabeth Farrel San Francisco City Taxes 1855

carton 3, folder 22

Union Club By-Laws 1867

carton 3, folder 23

Mining Company Stock Certificates 1874-1876

carton 3, folder 24

Society of California Pioneers List of Members 1895

carton 3, folder 25

St. Matthews Church Programs 1905-1968

carton 3, folder 26

Illustration of 1849 San Francisco undated

carton 3, folder 27

First Landing of the Pilgrims - Copy undated

carton 3, folder 28

Silver Belt Buckle undated

carton 3, folder 29

Ronald Reagan Inauguration Letter and Photo 1982

carton 3, folder 30

J.B. Clapp Receipt for Eleazer Howard 1867

carton 3, folder 31

Unidentified Family Photos 1909-1987

oversize-box 3, folder 8

Oversized Unidentified Family Photos undated

Scope and Contents

Contains photo of St. Matthews Church and portrait of King George IV
carton 3, folder 32

Unidentified Family Photos: Mexico approximately 1930

carton 3, folder 33

Unidentified Family Photos: Bay Bridge Construction Photos 1935

carton 3, folder 34

Unidentified Family Photos: Unidentified 1934-1949

carton 3, folder 35

Unidentified Family Photos: Unidentified 1939-1943

carton 3, folder 36

Unidentified Family Photos: Unidentified approximately 1930

carton 3, folder 37

Unidentified Family Photos: Unidentified approximately 1920-1930

carton 3, folder 38

Unidentified Family Photos: Unidentified approximately 1920-1970

carton 3, folder 39

Unidentified Family Photos: Photo Negatives approximately 1930-1980

carton 3, folder 40

Unidentified Family Photos: Photo Negatives 1930-1960