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David Robert Howie Biography

This biography appears on pages 957-958 in "History of Dakota Territory" by George W. Kingsbury, Vol. IV (1915)

David Robert Howie, successfully engaged in the real-estate business in Sioux Falls, was born upon a farm in Waukesha county, Wisconsin, August 24, 1856. His father, Thomas Howie, was born in Ayrshire, Scotland, in 1811, and on reaching manhood was married in that country in 1836 to Miss Mary Morton, who was born in the parish of Glaston, Ayrshire, in 1813. He engaged in business as a merchant at Kilmarnock, Scotland, until 1839, at which time he crossed the Atlantic and settled in Inverness, New York. In 1841 he made his way westward to Wisconsin and took up his abode in Waukesha county, where he purchased eighty acres of land, later adding to that property until he became the owner of two hundred and fifty-two acres. At his home was organized the United Presbyterian church, of which he was one of the founders and leading members. He donated the site for the church, buying land on the main road to Milwaukee. After a useful and well spent life he passed away on the 24th of August, 1858-the day on which our subject attained his second year and also the anniversary of the death of his oldest sister. His wife survived him for thirty-five years and died on the 11th of July, 1893. Their eldest son, John Howie, was born in Scotland and at the time of the Civil war enlisted as a private in the Twenty-eighth Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry. He laid down his life on the altar of his adopted country, dying in the service in 1864. He left a widow, a son and a daughter, but the son is now deceased. The daughter married Henry Vick, a farmer, and they make their home in Vernon, Wisconsin. Besides John our subject had two other brothers and two sisters, namely: Mary, who became the wife of James Mair; Janet, the wife of John Purvis; Thomas, who died in 1880; and Matthew, who formerly resided in Sioux Falls, but is now a resident of Roberts county, South Dakota. 

In the public schools of his native county David Robert Howie pursued his education. He remained under the parental roof through the period of his minority and early became familiar with the best methods of tilling the soil and caring for the crops. He was about twenty-three years of age when in 1879 he left home and came to the territory of South Dakota. In 1883 he removed to Sioux Falls, where he has since resided, and throughout the intervening period of thirty years he has ever been accounted one of the progressive, wide-awake, alert and enterprising residents of that city. For one year he purchased grain for the old Queen Bee mill and also bought stock for A. G. Senny. Later he entered the real estate business, in which he is still engaged. He also engaged in farming for a number of years in Minnehaha county. but later sold one hundred and twenty acres of his land, which brought him one hundred and thirty-seven dollars per acre. As a real-estate dealer he is thoroughly conversant with property values and he knows what is upon the market for purchase or sale. He has gained a good clientage and his business is now of an extensive and substantial character. 

On the 30th of November, 1876, at Waukesha, Wisconsin, Mr. Howie was united in marriage to Miss Ellen S. McKenzie and their children are: Chauncey Leroy; Adelbert J.; and Flora Morton, the wife of Ernest Tothill and the mother of one daughter, Louise Ellen. The elder son is married and has two daughters, Ellen and Catharine; while the younger son is married and has four children, Lucile, David Morton, Adelbert J. and Robert Leroy. 

Mrs. Howie is a daughter of John A. McKenzie, who was born in Caledonia, Livingston county, New York, February 18, 1823, and in early life removed to Wisconsin, stopping first at Milwaukee. He settled in Vernon, that state, when Waukesha was a cattle pasture. He began work as a thresher at ten dollars per month and continued to follow that occupation for ten years. During the gold excitement in California he started for the Pacific coast by way of Nicaragua, but finally changed his mind and returned to Wisconsin, where he bought a farm and gave his attention to its cultivation and improvement. He became the owner of one hundred and fifty-six acres, which he converted from a wild tract into a fine farm and on it erected a good brick residence in 1871. In early manhood he married Miss Margaret E. Weir, the daughter of a former employer and also a native of Caledonia, New York. They became the parents of the following children: Elizabeth, Mary J., Ellen S., John E., Janet, Flora A., Margaret A. and Mabel. The father died on the home farm, but the mother is still living at about the age of eighty years and continues to reside upon that place. She is a faithful member of the United Presbyterian church, to which her husband also belonged, and he gave his support to the republican party. 

The religious faith of the Howie family is that of the Presbyterian church and in political belief Mr. Howie is a republican. He belongs to the Odd Fellows society and to the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. He has never sought nor desired political preferment, and though he has served several times as a member of the school board he has never held an elective office. He stands for all that is progressive in citizenship and gives his earnest support to measures and movements which he deems of public benefit. In concentrating his time and energies upon his business affairs the results have been certain because his efforts have been intelligently directed. He early realized that there is no royal road to wealth and by persistent effort and honorable dealing has reached his present creditable place among the substantial business men of the city.



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