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Dr. Minnie F. Howard - Biographical Sketches

Drs. Minnie F. and William F. Howard

Minnie Howard and her husband, William Forrest Howard, were both prominent contributors to the development of Pocatello. Coming from rural Kansas backgrounds, they both taught in public schools in Kansas for a number of years and then attended medical school in Kansas City. They both received their medical degrees in 1899 and then practiced medicine in western Kansas before coming to Pocatello in 1902. After their arrival here, Minnie Howard gradually gave up the practice of medicine and turned her attention entirely to her family, community affairs, and historical research and writing. The Howards had four sons: Nelson Jacob, Richard Philip, Forrest Hayden, and Francis Emmert. (All four sons became medical doctors.) While devoting most of his attention to his medical practice, William Forrest Howard also gave a good deal of his time to community activities and to promoting interest in Idaho and local history.

Dr. Minnie F. Howard(1872-1965)

Minnie Frances Hayden was born in Memphis, Missouri, on August 23, 1872, to Jacob J. and Carina Jane(Wood) Hayden. The family moved to a farm near Larned, Kansas in 1886. Minnie attended Central Normal College in Great Bend, Kansas, ca. 1889 for one year, then taught intermittently in rural Kansas schools from 1889-1898.

Minnie Hayden met William Howard about 1890. In January, 1893, she agreed to become Mrs. W. F. Howard, and they were married August 23, 1894. The Howards set up a shared medical practice in Cuba, Kansas after their graduation from medical school in 1899.

In 1902 the Howards moved to Pocatello, Idaho. Minnie Howard remained in Kansas for a short time to close their medical practice. Minnie continued to practice medicine until after the birth of their second son, Richard. Then she decided to devote more time to her family, to civic affairs, and to local history.

One of Minnie Howard's main interests was old Fort Hall. This interest was sparked by Ezra Meeker's visit to Pocatello in 1907. She was one of the group that relocated the site of old Fort Hall and placed the first marker at the site in 1916. Minnie Howard collected a great deal of material concerning Fort Hall and wrote a number of articles on the subject. Two series for the Pocatello Tribune were: Lights and Sidelights on the History of Old Fort Hall (1930-1931) and History of Old Fort Hall and Idaho From Original Records(1934). A third series entitled History of Bannock County(1945-1946) was her last major writing effort.

Minnie Howard had a wide range of interests. The following is only a representative list of some of the organizations to which she belonged: Pocatello Women's Republican Club; Women's Study League; Civic Club Library Committee; Art Study Club; Art & Travel Club; Pocatello Music Club; Idaho Unit-Oregon Trail Memorial Association; Southern Idaho Historical Society. In 1931 she was appointed Bannock County Historian(an office which she held until about 1956). She helped found a number of these groups and held executive offices in all of them.

Minnie Howard also held several offices in the Women's Christian Temperance Union; was a member of the Prohibition National Party(1920-ca.1933); was on the City & County Welfare Board; and was a member of the American Medical Association, the American Association of University Women, the D.A.R., and the Society of Mayflower Descendants.

Dr. William F. Howard(1868-1948)

William Forrest Howard was born July 26, 1868, in Portsmouth, Ohio, son of Nelson and Frances Ellin(Folin) Howard.

William Howard was raised and educated near Clyde, Kansas, where his family had moved in 1872. He married Minnie F. Hayden on August 23, 1894, in Larned, Kansas.

William Forrest Howard served as superintendent of the government Indian school in Santa Fe, New Mexico; and as teacher, principal, and superintendent in Kansas rural schools. He undertook the scientific course at Central Normal College in Great Bend, Kansas, and went on to receive his Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Kansas Medical School in 1899. He later completed post-graduate work at NYU, the Rochester Clinic, Johns Hopkins, and in Vienna.

Dr. Howard began his practice in Cuba, Kansas and also became the Republic County(Kansas) Coroner. In 1902 the Howard family moved to Pocatello, Idaho. He took a prominent place in civic activities and remained a community leader until his death. He served as president of the Pocatello, Idaho and Tri-State Medical Associations; was Bannock County (Idaho) Coroner (ca.1907-1911), and Pocatello City Physician for several terms; and was active in many other groups, such as the Kiwanis Club, the Masons, the Shriners, and the BPOE. As president of the Idaho Reclamation Association for eight years, Dr. Howard promoted the construction of the American Falls Dam.

Dr. Howard shared his wife's interest in local history. He was active in the Oregon Trail Memorial Association, and was one of the group with Ezra Meeker that placed the first marker at the original site of old Fort Hall in 1916.

Dr. Howard retired from active practice in 1946, after nearly fifty years in the medical profession.

Dr. W. F. Howard died at the age of 80 on October 19, 1948.

Some of the content of the scope notes, the chronologies, and the biographical sketches have been compiled from material provided by Dr. JoAnn Ruckman (ISU History Professor), and from information in the inventory prepared for the collection by Sylvia Cline (retired Curator of Archives) in 1969.

Last Modified: 02/07/2008 sc