A native of Warsaw, Georgia (located in what is now northern Fulton County), born to Atlanta pioneer Clark Howell, Sr., he became a runner and pupil of Atlanta's first telegraph operator, D.U. Sloan, at the age of twelve. In 1855 he attended Georgia Military Institute in Marietta. He read law in Sandersville, and briefly practiced law in Atlanta before the outbreak of war.
In 1861, he joined the infantry, enlisting in Georgia's First Regiment. Within 2 years, Howell was promoted to first lieutenant. He fought under Stonewall Jackson in Virginia, and then was sent west, where he fought in the Battle of Chickamauga and the Atlanta Campaign, in which he defended the city as a captain of artillery. He ended the war in Hardee's Corps as captain of Howell's Battery, Georgia Light Artillery.
Upon his return, he farmed for two years, clearing and selling lumber on his father's land near Atlanta. Then for a year he was a reporter, then city editor, of Atlanta's Daily Intelligencer. In 1869 he returned to practicing law and served in a number of political positions including member of city council, member of the state Senate, and solicitor-general of the Atlanta circuit. One of his law clients was the Constitution where he learned E.Y. Clarke was willing to sell part of his interest in the paper. In 1876 he purchased a controlling interest in the Atlanta Constitution and became its editor-in-chief.
With Richard Peters, Samuel M. Inman, Lemuel Grant, and James W. English, he purchased the buildings on the site of the International Cotton Exposition of 1881 and made it the Exposition Cotton Mills, which were successful for many years.
- Franklin Garrett Necrology Database - Atlanta History Center
- History of Atlanta, Georgia, Part II, page 71., Book published 1889.
- Nixon, Raymond B., Henry W. Grady: Spokesman of the New South, Knopf, 1943, p.128
|Mayor of Atlanta
January 1903 – January 1905
James G. Woodward