Log Cabin Village, A Living History Museum in Fort Worth, TX
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THE HOWARD CABIN

Built: ca. 1860
Location:
Acton, Hood County, Texas
Owners:
Hartsford and Susan Caroline Howard Family
Builders:
Possibly slaves

Restoration in Progress   Restored Howard Cabin   Restored Howard Cabin

 

Children watching the woodworker in the Howard CabinThis two-story hand-hewn log house was recently restored by the City of Fort Worth, and we documented the entire process. Full two story log houses like this are rare, and people who remember the Howard Cabin when it was still at its original location state that the cabin was considered to be unusually nice because it had two stories. It consists of one large room downstairs and a steep stairway leading up to a second room upstairs. The same chimney provided a fire place for downstairs and upstairs. New rooms were added around the existing log cabin, and the second story was used as a guest bedroom. When the cabin was moved to Log Cabin Village, only the original log structure was salvaged.

There are differing accounts on how and who constructed the cabin. One story is that the Howard slaves built this cabin on the 320 acres

that Hartsford had purchased on May 18, 1858 from R. T. and J. T. Carmichael. Another source states that the former slaves only remodeled and added additional rooms to an already existing cabin.

Today, the Howard Cabin serves as our woodworker's shop. 

 

THE HOWARD FAMILY

Susan Caroline Niblack Howard
Louisa "Susan" Caroline Niblack Howard
Hartsford Howard and Louisa Susan Caroline Niblack met in Georgia, where they were both born (Hartsford on December 11, 1819 and Susan on May 15, 1819). They married August 3, 1845, the same year that Texas became part of the United States. In the early 1850s, they moved to Texas where Howard invested heavily in land . He bought several large parcels which he then sold in smaller lots for a profit. He was also a professional farmer. At one time, he had a company called the Cactus Hedge Company. Apparently the idea of cactus hedges never took off in Parker County, but Log Cabin Village retains the records of this very interesting business venture.

The Howards believed, as did some many other southern slave owners, that the Civil War would not result in the end of slavery, and thus continued to add to their slave holdings throughout the conflict. As late as January 28, 1862, they purchased two young boys, "Mid" and "Lum" from the estate of the late Thomas Niblack of Tyler, Texas. The cost of the youngsters, both about five years old, was $950. The receipt for this purchase still exists in Log Cabin Village’s Research Collection.

Howard enlisted in Company B of the 20th Battalion of the Texas State Troops on August 11, 1863. In the enlistment, he is described as being five feet, ten inches tall, with black hair and eyes. After the war, Howard served as Captain of the Parker County Minute Men, a group organized to protect the settlers and their livestock.

Hartsford and Susan Caroline had six children:

Thomas C.
1846-1923
Sarah Ada
1851-1943
William Taylor
1853-1949
Amanda V.
1855-1909
Virgil A.
1858-
Augustus Jefferson
1861-1941

 

Susan Caroline Howard died September 24, 1878, and Hartsford died fourteen years later on February 4, 1892. Both are buried in the old Acton Cemetery, only two miles from the original site of their home. Their son William, known to many people as Uncle Billy, lived in the house for many years after their deaths. He was known as a colorful character that was a “great shot.” One of the stories about him stated colorfully that if the Sheriff ever needed a posse against outlaws or Indians, he would call on Billy to be part of it.