James H. Howe was born June 1, 1832, in Bourbon County, Kentucky. April 5, 1838, he came with his mother to Vermilion County, Illinois; he was reared and educated in Vermilion and Champaign counties. In his youthful days he traveled considerably, and, in 1854, came to Douglas County; two years later he bought the Williams farm, which lie improved and afterward sold. He was largely engaged in the live stock business, handling as high as one hundred thousand dollars in a year. In the spring of 1882 he was elected justice of the peace and was also highway commissioner. He was married in 1857 to Eliza J. Lester, who was born in Garrett Township.