Joseph Howcott of New Orleans (married 1865)
“Jo. Howcott” aged 11 appears in the 1850 census of Memphis as one of four Howcott children (aged from 17 to 1) in the household of Nathaniel and Adeline Howcott at Memphis, Tennessee. The census says that “Jo” was born in Mississippi. At that time, census records did not record the relationship of household members. However, records of Nathaniel as a member of masonic Lodge No. 25 at Gallatin, Mississippi in the latter part of the 1830s strongly support the interpretation that the boy Joseph who was living with him at Memphis in 1850 and who had been born in Mississippi about 11 years previously was his son.
Nathaniel died in 1856 and Adeline in 1857. On 13 April 1858, Joseph Howcott was confirmed at Grace Episcopal Church at Canton, Mississippi, on the same day as his cousin Cornelia, who was the oldest child of Judge John B and Elizabeth Howcott. “Josh. Howcott” joined the communicants’ roll there on 23 May of the same year. A note added in the “dismissal” column, next to his name in the roll, reads “Removed to N.O.”.
Joseph has not been found in the 1860 census schedules. He had evidently joined the Confederate Army fairly soon after the Civil War started, as he was discharged from the Port Allen Guards as early as 30 November 1861.
The earliest records found of Joseph Howcott at New Orleans were both written early in 1865. He married Hattie Kirby at St Patrick's Roman Catholic Church on 2 March of that year. However, the section of the marriage certificate for the parents of Joseph and Hattie was not completed. Exactly four weeks later, Joseph was recorded in draft registration records of the United States Army. The latter source describes him as being aged 27 (as at 1 July 1863), 5 ft 7 in tall with blue eyes, brown hair and a light complexion. He was a bookkeeper living at 179 Gravier Street. Joseph was not actually conscripted, as he was "exempt by desertion from the Rebel Army" and so would have risked execution had he joined the Union Army and then been captured by the other side. No other details have been found of Joseph's role in the Confederate Army after 1861.
conflicting evidence about the birthplace of Hattie Kerby’s husband and also
about the year when he was born. The 14 sources below offer a choice of no
fewer than five different states. The earliest record, which states he was
born in Mississippi, would have been provided by his parents and is the most
Joseph's birthplace as given by his sons in later censuses
Joseph Howcott junior was recorded twice in the 1910 census – once with his wife at New Orleans and also as a lodger at Birmingham, Alabama.
Joseph & Hattie in the census
Further references to Joseph, Hattie and their children are set out below.
Household of Amelie Kerby in 1870 census of 6th District, New Orleans
Evidence from subsequent censuses indicates that, apart from Amelie, the correct surname for the members of the household listed above was “Howcott”.
Household of Joseph Kirby in 1880 census of Laurel Street, New Orleans
The New Orleans marriage records index includes the wedding on 1 July 1889 of Albert E Weatherby and Hattie A Kerby (widow of J K Howcott), confirming that Joseph Howcott senior had died before that date.
In 1900, Hattie Howcott (a widow born in January 1847) was living with her son “Ratio” (i.e. Horatio) at 1200 Carrollton Avenue, New Orleans. The census record states that all of Hattie’s five children were alive at that time. Horatio was described as a 31 year old widower and other members of the household were Theodore Howcott (born November 1879) and George Howcott (born March 1890). Theodore and George were both described as Horatio’s sons, evidently in error. Theodore was only about ten years younger than Horatio, so it is most likely that he was Hattie’s son. The births index for New Orleans includes that of George Weatherby, son of Albert E Weatherby & Hattie Howcott on 30 March 1890, which accounts for the parentage of the younger boy.
No other record has been found of Theodore or George.
“Hattie A Kirby Weatherby” died at New Orleans on 7 July 1931, aged 84.
Joseph & Hattie’s sons
Later records of the three children who were recorded with the surname “Kerby” or “Kirby” in 1870 and 1880 census are:
Joseph Kerby Howcott
The mysterious James Howcott
The 1900 census includes two Howcott households at 1221 Chartres, New Orleans – Frank & Louise and also James Howcott with his family. It states that James was born in Ireland in June 1831 to parents who were also born in Ireland; that he arrived in the United States in 1860 and had been naturalised as an American citizen.
No other reference has been found to this James Howcott and it is not known how he was related to Frank. It is, of course, possible that as James and Frank were living at the same address the enumerator mistakenly recorded them as having the same surname.