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Howard-Odom-LiFrageCollection (SMC 6) - Columbus State University

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Howard-Odom-LiFrageCollection (SMC 6)

Biographical Note

James William Howard was born October 21, 1839 in Brownsville, Tennessee to Alexander Shaw Howard (b. June 14, 1814 in North Carolina) and Frances Ann Lea (b. September 2, 1815 in South Carolina). He enlisted in Company A, 9th Arkansas Infantry of the Confederate Army on July 25th of 1861. He served in Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi and Georgia until he was wounded near Resaca, Georgia in May of 1864. He was hospitalized in Columbus, Georgia where he met and fell in love with Jane Hendrix (b. May 15, 1840). After the war ended, he returned to Columbus in February of 1865. They were married on May 25th of the same year, and had four children:

1 Frances Keith, who was born on July 8, 1867. On October 2, 1883 Frances (also known as Fannie) married J. B. Knight.

2 Simeon Alexander, born in August, 1869. On January 30, 1886 Simeon married Emma Boggs.

3 William Henry, born on November 9, 1876. He married Lula Watson in June 1899.

4 Fidella Jane, born on December 27, 1880. She married S. H. Odom on July 31, 1898. After his death on December 26, 1921, she married C. E. LiFrage on November 15, 1925. She became the first female physician in Columbus,Georgia after graduating from the Atlanta and Tulane Medical Schools.

After their marriage, the Howards went to Arkansas for a time to work on his parents' farm, but shortly returned to Columbus. He went into the junk business and prospered. In April of 1879 he became the founding minister of what would become Rose Hill Baptist Church in Columbus, Georgia. The building was completed in 1884, and was replaced in 1968 by the current sanctuary. He served as pastor until 1892, when he resigned from Rose Hill, although he continued to preach and be involved in church work.

Jane Hendrix Howard had a stroke on July 31, 1899 and “was helpless until she died November 17, 1912” according to the diary. James W. Howard married Miss P. E. Pitts in Opelika on June 17th, 1913. He died on August 20, 1930 and is buried in Linwood Cemetery in Columbus, Georgia.

Scope and Content


This collection consists of the typescript of the diary of James William Howard. The original diary consisted of three parts which were carried around with him and thus were badly worn. About 1904, Mrs. Agnes Eason, the Poet Laureate of Florida, convinced him to let her type a copy of the diary as he read it to her. This copy is the same one that the family allowed the Lizzie Rutherford Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy to copy. It also contains a family history added in later years by Mr. Howard. The diary ends in 1913 with the entry on his remarriage.

Also included are six photographs, currently located in Folder 120 of the Historic Photographic collection.

1860-1913 1 folder (.1 l.f.)

Permission to Publish

Permission to publish material from the Howard-Odom-Lifrage Collection must be obtained from the Columbus State University Archives . Use of the following credit line for publication or exhibit is required:

Howard-Odom-Lifrage Collection (SMC 6) Columbus State University Archives Columbus, Georgia

Note to Researchers

See also Auburn Archives Special Collections and Archives Department Guide to the James William Howard Journal, RG 903

Muscogiana, Fall 2011 has an article by Mike Bunn about James W. Howard, taken from this diary.


These materials were donated to the Archives in 1989.

Folder List

Folder 1 -Confederate Diary of James William Howard, with appended genealogical information. 65 pages. Typescript. 1860-1913.

Photographs listed below were separated from SMC 6 and placed in Folder 120 of the Historic Photographs Collection.

Photo 643 - Goat Cart-Howard and Sidney Odom in cart with dog. C. 1910.

Photo 636 - James William Howard as a young man dressed in a Confederate uniform. 1860s.

Photo 637 - James William Howard as an adult. 1880s.

Photo 640 - Dissecting room at Tulane Medical College in New Orleans. December, 1906.

Photo 641 - Chemistry lab in Old Court House in Columbus,Georgia. n.d.

Photo 642 - Welcome/Homecoming of WWI troops, Columbus, Georgia. April 14-17, 1919.

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