Sunday, November 17, 2019

Eli Hugh and Louise Howell of Allentown

I remember Hugh and Louise very well. They were related to my relatives and were a close part of family gatherings among Carswell's in Bonifay in the 50s through the 80's.  Eventually they retired from Atlanta and returned to HER father's adopted home of Allentown, FL. 

Marvin Lee raised his family in NOMA Florida near my mom's Carswell family. Louise was a bit older than my mom and some of the younger Carswell children were actually taught in the old Noma School by Louise when she began her teaching career. 

She and Hugh married in 1939 but family was slow to come since there was a war about to take off.  Hugh served in the CBI theater in the ArmyAir Corps.  He was a very intelligent man and finished a career in the Army. He retired, I think, as a Major.

Hugh had two brothers, REX AND Seaborn Linton Howell who each married Carswell sisters - Amy and Onie B.  They were older sisters to my mom, Myrtle.  This explains why Hugh and Louise were regularly present at the Carswell gatherings in Bonifay.  It was years before I realized they were not actually related to me but were Uncle and Aunt to some of my own first cousins.   And their son, VIncent was about our age ... so we had an extra buddy to run around Bonifay with during the boring family conversations among the elders.

I regret those conversations were seldom given the time of day by we - the young of the family.

I learned some Chumuckla and Allentown history ... much later in life ... as it related to Hugh and Louise.   

Louis's dad, Marvin Lee decided to leave NOMA in the very early 30's and move to Allentown, NOrth of Milton.  He built a farmhouse on Jesse Allen Road and planted a magnificent Pecan orchard.  (Both the house and the orchard are no longer there - Marvin and much earlier - his wife, passed on, the house rotted down - It was a classic depression era house of good quality and average size) 

Marvin wrote back to NOMA and told his friends about Santa Rosa County and the great farmland.  The next to arrive here was Solomon (Sling Shot) Davis who built near Chumuckla Crossroads. About a mile East toward Allentown.  The old Davis house and Sling Shot are gone now too.  I remember picking cotton for him in the early 60's. It was a picturesque farm house with a hand pump for water in the house and a well outside.

More word of good farmland drifted back to NOMA and the next family to take the bait was the CARSWELL family.  My grandfather Carswell (whom I never knew) and my Granny Carswell, moved to a farmhouse near the UF Ag Experiment Station on Allentown Highway.  Their youngest FOUR children came and finished school at Allentown. I Think they arrived at Allentown about 1935.   E.W. Carswell was the older of these children and he left school a year or two to make money for the family with the CCC. When he came back, he was 20 or nearly that age and the senior class took him in so he could get his diploma. Then he went to Louisiana for a couple years of college before the war. He became a journalist and began writing stories for his unit newspaper in North Africa and Italy. He became a respected Panhandle journalist for the Pensacola News Journal and was a well known historian for the region.

Bobby Carswell graduated Allentown. He went to the Army but got pneumonia which wrecked his health and they sent him home. He became a city leader in Panama City, FL and  was a barber there for 70 years. He practically died at the chair. He married a  Milton girl named Louise Chavers who grew up on Park Ave in Milton - part of a prolific an well known Chavers family.  They never had any children - and Louise was remembered by her nieces and nephews at the Bonifay Cemetery in Nov, 2019. She was the last of the Carswell family of children and their spouses.  It was solemn but happy too. They blessed us and the whole Carswell family blessed us. 

Very few of the Carswell relatives spent more than a night or two in jail.

Ronald Victor Carswell (I was named for him - he died the year I was born-1949) died very young. He was barely 20 and died of a heart ailment and pneumonia.  He was remembered to me by one of his Allentown Classmates when I attended a reunion there in memory of my mom.  Mr. Bowers remembered him being very dapper and trying to impress the girls.  He studied to be a barber, like Bobby.  But sickness was a shadow and his love of cars and girls ... would not have a chance to bloom.

My mom - Myrtle Carswell - was a bit older than R.V but younger than Bobby. Jay High School had a fire about 1937 and My dad, who was a student there - was transferred to Allentown to complete his diploma.  I am thinking Chumuckla (the classic brick school) was at that point serving only as an elementary school.  It may have only reclaimed high school status about 1939 and dad finished Allentown HS about 1938 - worked a few years as a surveyor assistant. One of the projects he worked on was the boundaries of what was to become WHITING FIELD. Then the war. Mom and Dad had met at Allentown. She finished school a couple years later and a few years into the war, they found an opportunity to get married.

It was never clear to me how my mom knew so many Allentown people until long after adulthood. Wards, Allens, Crutchfields, Pentons .... the list goes on.  Gradually - this story of family migration in the depression years took shape.  A whole history of times and people was in development.

Hugh and Louis' son, Vincent Howell, joined us in Bonifay this week. Louise Chavers Carswell was a much his "aunt" as she was ours.  We remembered her .  And we remembered a whole lot of the Carswells that made our growing years colorful.

Louise Howell

Louise Ann Lee Howell, age 92, passed away Tuesday, November 20, 2007. Mrs. Howell was born in Noma, (Holmes County) Florida on July 30, 1915, to David Marvin Lee and Clara Estelle (Dyson) Lee.
Mrs. Howell graduated from Florida State College for Women (FSU). Teaching was her career as well as her passion.
Mrs. Howell married E. Hugh Howell on November 17, 1939 in Panama City, Florida. After living in Florida, Utah and for many years in Atlanta, Georgia they retired to Milton, Florida in 1971.
She was a member of First United Methodist Church of Milton and the Willing Workers Sunday School Class. She enjoyed gardening and flowers and was a member of the Milton Garden Club for many years.
Mrs. Howell is survived by her son, Vincent Howell, of Milton; her cousins, Debbie, Randy and Lindsay Bassett, of Milton; uncles, Alton (Laura) Dyson, of Bonifay, FL, Jimmy (Betty) Dyson, of Atlanta, GA, Joe (Rose Ann) Dyson, of Cocoa Beach, FL; aunts, Mary Dell Collins and Nell (Ed) Austin, of Pensacola, FL.
A very special thank you to Carol, Emily, Gloria and all of the wonderful staff at the Forsyth House in Milton, for their excellent and loving care while she was "at home" there. Maureen, Valerie, Betty, and Evelyn with Emerald Coast Hospice for their care and compassion and the ladies from Caregivers for Seniors for their around the clock care for the last three weeks.
Funeral services for Mrs. Howell will be 11:00AM, Saturday, November 24, 2007 at First United Methodist Church in Milton with the Rev. Gerald Shelton officiating. Burial will follow in Serenity Gardens with LEWIS FUNERAL HOME directing. Visitation will begin at 10:00AM, prior to service at the church.
Honorary pallbearers will be the Willing Workers Sunday School Class.
Memorials may be made to the First United Methodist Church Building Fund, 6819 Berryhill Street, Milton, FL 32570.

Published in Pensacola News Journal on Nov. 23, 2007

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