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SUBMITTED BY:  Francis Howcutt

From the website “Howcutt and Howcott Family History,” copyright 2018.

Miles Howcott was a soldier and farmer. He is an ancestor of a large proportion of the present-day Howcotts in America. Miles and his son William Henry were politically active during the decades after the end of the American Civil War.

The available records do not entirely agree about the date of Miles Howcott’s birth but indicate that it took place around 1830 [1]. The 1880 census states that both of Miles’ parents were born in North Carolina. When on 15 June 1895 he applied for a licence to marry his second wife, Miles stated that his parents were Henry Bartee and Mariah Howcott, both coloured and by that time dead [2].

Sources differ about Miles’ place of birth. The army descriptive book compiled in 1863 records Miles’ birthplace as Duplin, which is a county about 120 southwest of Chowan county. The death certificate for William Henry Howcott says that both he and his father were born in Roper, NC. It has been established that Henry Bartee (c.1807-1874) lived in Chowan and Perquimans county and that in 1845, Miles was living in Chowan county, where he appears in a list of 18 slaves held in the estate of Charles R Howcott, who had died on 13 April of that year [3]. It is therefore probable that the reference to Duplin was a mistake and that Miles was born in Chowan.

The will of Charles R Howcott [4] did not refer to Miles by name but, by implication, bequeathed him to Charles R’s two sons Charles H and Clinton.

In 1849, Miles married Adeline Walker. The 1880 census records that Adeline and both her parents were born in North Carolina. Many marriages of slaves that took place before the end of the Civil War were not formally registered until afterwards. The register of acknowledgements of Freedmen’s marriages in Washington county includes that of Miles Howcott and Adeline Walker, which was recorded on 11 August 1866. Miles and Adeline were the parents of these known children:

  • John C Howcott (born about 1850)
  • William Henry Howcott (1855-1932)

At the time of the 1850 census, Charles H and Clinton Howcott were living at Plymouth with their guardian, Joseph C Norcom (1797-1866). The slave schedules for Washington and Chowan counties do not record any slaveholders with Howcott or a similar surname in that year and they do not usually contain the names of the slaves themselves. It is likely that Miles was included in one of two lists of slaves who were held by Joseph C Norcom in Washington county; one list refers to 13 people and the other to 6. It is feasible that the reason for there being two lists for the same person is that one was of slaves whom he was managing in his role as guardian of the Howcott children.

Charles H was the only brother to survive to adulthood, as Clinton Howcott died in 1852. The 1860 census records “Charles A Hocott” (i.e. Charles H Howcott) as living with his wife and daughter at Plymouth. He held 22 slaves with two slave houses. Charles was described as “living on income”, which suggests that at least some of the slaves were being hired out.

For more information, click on this link: http://howcutt.org/miles.htm


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