Kansas gentleman in town on business

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At the May meeting of the N Manchester Historical Society we heard the story of a writer born in Wabash County who became well-known in his time, but is largely unknown today. This story was told by Edward K Jones, Jr. Ed Howe was born in or in Wabash County and moved with his family to Missouri when he was three.

His father was an itinerant Methodist preacher who also farmed. Ed did not get along with his father and left home when he was He became a tramp printer, traveling much of the West as he moved from job to job. By age 20 he bought a newspaper in a Colorado town but it was so unsuccessful that when two of his children died of diphtheria, the competing newspaper owner paid for their burial. This time he learned the business, became part of the community and made a success of the newspaper—despite his cantankerous personality.

At his death, Howe's son described him as the unhappiest man alive. At the time, Howe was an excellent reporter who worked the street, which competing newspaper reporters frequently did at the time. Howe's Atchison Globe circulated in all the states in the Union and in thirty other countries. Howe wanted to write a novel, but still didn't have much money.

So after work each day, he went home and wrote at his kitchen table in pencil on a yellow tablet possibly a Golden Rule tablet made in Marion, Indiana until late in the evening. Pete Jones does not recommend that the members read the book, although it was critically acclaimed as being early naturalistic and realistic writing in American Literature. It is a sad story similar to Sinclair Lewis' Main Streetwhich it pre-dates by 37 years. Howe tried having the book published, but half a dozen publishers declined to print it.

This prompted Howe to print it himself, regardless of the tedious hand-set type process. He had copies bound in Kansas City, gave several copies to friends, and placed some in bookstores. Both Twain and Howells liked the book and this caused Howe to extend distribution of the book. The Story of a Country Town remained in print until just a few years ago. A historical reproduction of a pre edition was published in Howe enjoyed running the newspaper, and soon became financially solvent. However, his personal life was less successful.

His wife divorced him in and he was periodically estranged from his children. He started a monthly magazine which enjoyed large circulation, and initiated a "Don't Worry Club. He became a well-known humorist and frequently had by-lines in the Saturday Evening Post in the s and 20s.

At the 50th anniversary of the Globe ina Testimonial Dinner was held for Ed Howe, including many famous guests of that time period such as Bernard Baruch, Irvin S. Pete Jones read a few of Ed Howe's humorist sayings. He also shared a couple of sayings indicating that Howe wasn't always right in his instincts -- such as his opinion that Marconi's invention of the wireless would never become helpful; he also predicted failure for the Wright brothers. As Howe neared retirement, his townspeople honored him.

He stated that the decent way to die was to come home after a hard day at work, go to sleep and never wake up. This basically describes the death of Ed Howe. He went home after Kansas gentleman in town on business one day inand died in his sleep. His last book was not quite finished at the time.

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The newspaper, managed by his son, praised his journalistic talents, saying that Howe had the ability to be precise with brevity. The party was a surprise for the retired newspaperman. He lived and worked here both before and after living south of town at Potato Hill. Photo by Carol Yoho. Birth of a daughter, Mateel Howe. Death of his father. Trip to Paris. Trip around the world Howe retired from newspaper work; sold the Globe to his son Eugene. Howe's Monthly Trip around the world. Howe sold Potato Hill; moved back to town.

Guest of honor at testimonial dinner at Hotel Biltmore. Awarded honorary doctorate by Rollins College and Washburn University.

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Died in Atchison, October 3, of "partial paralysis and infirmities" — E. Howe by S. Hays State College web site. He remained still and motionless, as before, though I could hear his tears falling in little splashes on the floor. Falling on her knees before him, and holding her hands out to him imploringly, she repeated the request, but he did not move or speak, and after waiting a moment, Mateel rose to her feet in a dazed sort of way, and staggering toward the Kansas gentleman in town on business, went out into the hall and down the steps, without once looking back.

When he heard the door close upon her, Jo ran to the window, and as he looked out his breathing was short and quick. Standing beside him, I saw that a snowstorm was commencing, and that the day was far advanced. Bragg helped Mateel into the buggy with an insolent sort of politeness, and seating himself beside her, drove away.

After they had passed down the hill which led to the ford, Jo sprang nimbly up to the sill of the window, and eagerly watched them. As soon as they passed out of sight from that position, he jumped down, and ran up the stairs, and when I followed, I found him standing in the window in Mateel's room, peering after his rapidly departing wife. As they drove out of the ford, and into the edge of the woods, they were for a moment in full view, but turning directly away, were soon lost in the gathering twilight.

Hoping that a turn in the road, or an opening in the timber, would reveal them again, he remained watching for several minutes, jumping down and running hurriedly from window to window. When he was at last certain that they had finally gone, he got down slowly from his perch, and throwing himself on the bed, wept and sobbed aloud.

Had Mateel opened the right door to his heart, she would have found such a wealth of love and consideration there that she would have never ceased trying to reclaim it, for his love for her was so great that he could not have resisted the smallest effort.

I do not remember that I thought this until I went to his house a half year after the separation, but I firmly believed it then, and I believe it yet. Howe's Monthly, which he edited between andcontained many of his bitter observations.

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He may have been part of a literary movement, but he was never aware of being part of it. His point in Country Town was that man is a mess and the human race is a mess and both blunder and foul up things no matter where they—even, or maybe especially, in the cities. Edger W. Works about E. Also inHowe was awarded an honorary degree, D. Return to Top of. Howe's Monthlyfounded inran until Final Conclusions, his last work, remained unfinished The Indignations of E.

Howe : E. Howe by Bucco, M. Writing Samples. Author Quotes.

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Half the unhappiness in the world is due to the failure of plans which were never reasonable, and often impossible. If it is reasonably high, I am charitable with faults that look pretty black. Think up something appropriate and do it. Quotes from others about Howe.

Kansas gentleman in town on business

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