HOWLETT, WILLIAM M., a successful farmer of Cotton Hill Township, Sangamon County, is a native of the township and belongs to one of the pioneer families of that region. He was born August 22, 1856, a son of James P. and Amelia (Rape) Howlett, the former born in Bullitt County, Ky., and the latter in Tennessee. James P. Howlett was a farmer by occupation and brought his family in an early day to Sangamon County, locating near what is now New City, where he lived many years, then moved to a farm three miles farther north, where he died July 4, 1899, and his wife died January 29, 1890. The father had one sister, Bettie Howlett, and four brothers, John, Harrison, William and Nathaniel, all fo whom are deceased. William M. Howlett is largely a self-educated man, and being one of a large family of children, early began to help with the work of operating the home farm. He has two sisters surviving, Martha, wife of R. J. Iams, and Amelia, wife of John Pettibone, of Sangamon County. He also has four brothers: James F., and John T., of Sangamon County; George and Daniel, deceased.
Mr. Howlett remained with his father until he was old enough to work away from home, and has followed farming all his active life. He has been very successful in his operations, and after living on rented land many years, now owns a farm that is well improved. About thirty-four years ago he rented a farm of 140 acres, spent one year there, then lived for the next four years on the White Walnut farm, and spent two years on the old Jones Farm. He then removed to Comanche County, Kan., where he took up a homestead of 100 acres, which he improved, three years later moved to Montgomery County, that State, and one year afterward returned to Sangamon County and located on the Brunk farm. He spent one year there, then spent twelve years on the bob Sanders place and six years on the Thomas farm in Montgomery County, Ill., coming to his present farm in 1908. He had purchased 124 acres of land there January 4, 1882, and located on it March 11, 1908.
Mr. Howlett was married January 4, 1882, to Adelaide Purnell, a daughter of Jonathan and Sallie (Clayton) Purnell, the father being a native of Maryland and the mother of Delaware. He died July 29, 1893, and the mother January 16, 1892. They were parents of nine children: Emily, widow of Nathan Plummer; Margaret, wife of Alonzo Page, of Springfield; Samuel, of Edinburg; Susan, wife of Isaac Basford; Mary, deceased. Mr. Howlett and his wife had no children of their own, but took John S. Connor, a boy of five years, to rear, who lived with them until he was twenty-six years old. They also took to raise, David M. Connor, son of John L. Connor, of Thomasville, Ill., who has three other children: Helen L., Alva Ward and Edna E. Mr. Howlett is highly respected as a man of industry and integrity and has a good standing in the community where he lives. He has good buildings on his farm and it is well improved in every way and in a high state of cultivation. Mrs. Howlett is a member of the Royal Neighbors.