Volney Howard

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Volney Erskine Howard (October 22, 1809 – May 14, 1889) was an American lawyer, statesman, and jurist.

A politician is a person active in party politics, or a person holding or seeking office in government. Politicians propose, support and create laws or policies that govern the land and, by extension, its people. Broadly speaking, a "politician" can be anyone who seeks to achieve political power in any bureaucratic institution.

Jurist legal scholar or academic, a professional who studies, teaches, and develops law

A jurist is someone who researches and studies jurisprudence. Such a person can work as an academic, legal writer or law lecturer. In the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and in many other Commonwealth countries, the word jurist sometimes refers to a barrister, whereas in the United States of America and Canada it often refers to a judge.



Volney Erskine Howard was born in Oxford County, Maine on October 22, 1809 to Richard Howard, a prosperous farmer. At the age of 22, Howard traveled to Mississippi to study law. He commenced law practice in Brandon, Mississippi. He was a member of the Mississippi House of Representatives in 1836; reporter of the supreme court of the State of Mississippi; unsuccessful Democratic candidate for election in 1840 to the Twenty-seventh Congress and editor of the Mississippian.

Brandon, Mississippi City in Mississippi

Brandon is a city in Rankin County, Mississippi, United States. Brandon was incorporated December 19, 1831. The population was 21,705 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Rankin County. Brandon is part of the Jackson Metropolitan Statistical Area, and is located east of the state capital.

He moved to Texas during the Republic of Texas and Howard was appointed the first Attorney General of the State of Texas in 1846. He served in that role for only 6 months. He represented Texas's District 2 in the U.S. Congress from 1849 to 1853.

Republic of Texas independent sovereign nation in North America that existed from March 2, 1836, to February 19, 1846

The Republic of Texas was a sovereign state in North America that existed from March 2, 1836, to February 19, 1846. It was bordered by Mexico to the west and southwest, the Gulf of Mexico to the southeast, the two U.S. states of Louisiana and Arkansas to the east and northeast, and United States territories encompassing parts of the current U.S. states of Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, and New Mexico to the north and west. The citizens of the republic were known as Texians.

United States House of Representatives lower house of the United States Congress

The United States House of Representatives is the lower chamber of the United States Congress, the Senate being the upper chamber. Together they compose the legislature of the United States.

Appointed attorney to the Land Commission of California by President Franklin Pierce, Howard left Texas to move to California. He resigned after a few months to practice law in San Francisco. In 1856, he was appointed Adjutant General of California, following the resignation of William T. Sherman during the time of the San Francisco Committee of Vigilance. His attempt to oppose the Committee by force failed. Afterward he moved to Sacramento in 1858 to practice law, but decided to leave northern California because he had made too many enemies while battling the vigilantes in San Francisco. In 1861 he moved to Los Angeles, where he served two terms as District Attorney, from 1864 to 1867, and served as one of the first judges of the Los Angeles Superior Court beginning in 1879. His law firm included two of his lawyer sons, Charles Howard (killed in a gunfight with Daniel B. Nichols, son of a former mayor of Los Angeles, in 1869 in a saloon) and Frank H. Howard, who served as city attorney of Los Angeles. He served only one term on the bench, due to the ill health. He was nominated to a seat on the United States Supreme Court, but declined because of failing health.

Franklin Pierce 14th president of the United States

Franklin Pierce was the 14th president of the United States (1853–1857), a northern Democrat who saw the abolitionist movement as a fundamental threat to the unity of the nation. He alienated anti-slavery groups by championing and signing the Kansas–Nebraska Act and enforcing the Fugitive Slave Act, yet he failed to stem conflict between North and South, setting the stage for Southern secession and the American Civil War.

San Francisco Committee of Vigilance

The San Francisco Committee of Vigilance was a vigilante group formed in 1851. The catalyst for its formation was the criminality of the Sydney Ducks. It was revived in 1856 in response to rampant crime and corruption in the municipal government of San Francisco, California. The need for extralegal intervention was apparent with the explosive population growth following the discovery of gold in 1848. The small town of about 900 individuals grew to a booming city of over 200,000 very rapidly. This overwhelming growth in population made it nearly impossible for the previously established law enforcement to regulate any longer which resulted in the organization of vigilantes.

Howard died in Santa Monica, California and was buried at Fort Hill in Los Angeles, California, but was disinterred to an undisclosed location when the cemetery was eliminated. Howard County, Texas was named in his honor. [1]

Santa Monica, California City in California

Santa Monica is a beachfront city in western Los Angeles County, California, United States. Situated on Santa Monica Bay, it is bordered on three sides by the city of Los Angeles – Pacific Palisades to the north, Brentwood on the northeast, West Los Angeles on the east, Mar Vista on the southeast, and Venice on the south. The Census Bureau population for Santa Monica in 2010 was 89,736.

Howard County, Texas County in the United States

Howard County is a county located in the U.S. state of Texas. At the 2010 census, its population was 35,012. Its county seat is Big Spring. The county was created in 1876 and organized in 1882. It is named for Volney E. Howard, a U.S. Congressman from Texas.

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  1. Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. p. 162.

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Legal offices
Preceded by
New Position
Texas Attorney General
Succeeded by
John W. Harris
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Timothy Pilsbury
Member of the  U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 2nd congressional district

Succeeded by
Peter H. Bell