By – Don Taylor
Sometimes uncovering the life of an individual is a grind. Just keep searching and you will find more and more about an ancestor’s life. James Dallas Howell is such an individual. He was a minister in rural North Carolina and changed churches frequently. Consequently, there are church records and newspaper articles that mention him. Finding those records and deterring the movements in his life is a daunting task. I wish I could find a book or other documents in which all the Baptist ministers are listed and which church they are ministering to. There probably is such a book or set of documents, but I just haven’t found it yet.
Bio – James Dallas Howell (1879-1964)
|James Dallas Howell
Courtesy: Debby Ziegler via Flikr
James Dallas Howell was born on 2 September 1879, the fifth of seven children Peter F. (and Susan R Vincent) Howell. He was probably born in Faucett Township in Halifax County, North Carolina.
We find James in the 1880 Census as a one year old, although he should have been only 8 months old during that census. This is consistent with the 1900 Census where he is reported to be 21 years old with a birthdate of September 1979. Considering an enumeration date of 12 June 1900, he should have only been 20 at this previous birthday.
We don’t know anything of James’ childhood. The 1880 Census indicates he has four older siblings, Anna Lee, John D., Augusta E., and Martha F. Howell. The 1900 Census also indicates he has two younger brothers, D. B. Howell and G. C. Howell. The family is well enough off, in 1900, to have a black servant and a black laborer living with them.
|First Baptist Church of Davis
By 1909, James Dallas Howell had begun his ministry and served at the First Baptist Church of Davis. 
1910 was a really busy time for James. In March his mother died; also, in March, he became the pastor at the Roanoke Island Baptist Church in Nags Head, NC. When the 1910 Census was taken on 20 April, he was a boarder, living at the widow Forbes’ [Forles] home with her son, & her daughter. This must have been a short-lived arrangement because he married Mary Lillian Hobbs on 27 April.
I am still researching James’s ministry. The following list includes other known ministry periods:
· 1911, July – Rev. J. D. Howell let a workshop at the Camden & Currituck union with the church in Manteo.
· 1917, March – He was pastor at church in Warsaw, NC.
· 1918 – Minister at Sharon Baptist Church, Beaulaville, NC.
· 1920 – Minister in Plymouth, NC.
· 1928-1931 – Pastor at Ansonville (NC) Baptist Church.
· 1932-1933 – Pastor at Gethsemane Baptist Church, Whitakers, NC.
A respectable 20 months after James and Mary were married their first son, James Dallas Howell, Jr. was born. Two years later by another son Ashley was born and three years after that a third son, Frank was born. In 1918, a fourth son, Clarence was born. Finally, in 1925, a daughter, Mary Elizabeth was born.
The family moved often as James Dallas Howell, Sr., followed his ministry as pastor and minister at Baptist churches throughout eastern North Carolina.
In his latter years, he and his wife Mary moved north and lived with their son Ashley and his family in the Washington, D.C. area. Mary died sometime between March and December of 1964. James Dallas Howell died on 18 Dec 1964 at the Kensington Gardens Sanatorium, Kensington, MD, of Bronchio-pneumonia due to cerebral encephalopathy, due to senility and acteriosclorsis.
He is buried at Cedar Hill Cemetery, Suitland, Maryland.
· Do further research on his ministry
o Visit churches he pastored
· Get a photo of his marker.
 1880 Census, Ancestry.com, http://www.Ancestry.com, 1880; Census Place: Faucetts, Halifax, North Carolina; Roll: 966; Family History Film: 1254966; Page: 627C; Enumeration District: 137; Image: 0720. http://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?db=1880usfedcen&indiv=try&h=19555434.
 1900 United States Federal Census, Ancestry.com, http://www.Ancestry.com, 1900; Census Place: Conocondy, Halifax, North Carolina; Roll: 1199; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 0027; FHL microfilm: 1241199. http://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?db=1900usfedcen&indiv=try&h=57153615.
 Web Sites (Various), First Baptist Church of Davis – Pastors. Rev. J. D. Howell – 1909. http://davisfirstbaptist.com/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderfiles/pastors.doc.