Abner Howell was born circa 1739, probably in Hunterdon County, New Jersey.On September 22, 1764, as a young adult, he was baptized and received into membership of the Hopewell Baptist Church in Hopewell village of Hopewell Township, Hunterdon County.
In about 1765, Abner left Hunterdon and migrated to Loudoun County, Virginia, where he likely resided with Howell relatives who had moved there from Hunterdon a few years before.In Loudoun, Abner met, courted and married Hannah Harris, a daughter of Quakers Samuel and Mary (John) Harris.In Hinshaw's "Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy", the Records of Fairfax (Virginia) Monthly Meeting state that Hannah Howell (formerly Harris, daughter of Samuel) com 25-10-1766; mou (married out of unity) 8th month last; dis'd (disowned or dismissed) on advice from Hopewell MM.Researcher Robert Laprad put these puzzle pieces together and shared this connection in an e-mail to me.
Abner's and Hannah's first child was born about May 3, 1767 in Loudoun County and they named him James.More children followed:Jemima (b. ca. December 25, 1769); Samuel (b. ca. March 2, 1771); Thomas (b. ca. May 13, 1773); Jesse (b. ca. September 7, 1775); Mary (b. ca. February 9, 1778); Sarah (b. ca. April 11, 1781); David (b. ca. October 14, 1783); and Ruth (b. ca. April 19, 1787).
Abner and Hannah were still in Loudoun County in March 1768, when Hannah was one of the witnesses at the Quaker marriage of Aaron Hackney and Hannah Gregg, at Farifax Monthly Meeting.Incidentally, the bride, Hannah Gregg, was the sister of Mary (Gregg) Howell, the wife of the OTHER Abner Howell (the one born ca. 1744 to Hugh and Margaret (Hickson) Howell).
Sometime between about 1768 and 1776, Abner and Hannah moved from Loudoun County, VA to a location on the Bedford-Botetourt County, Virginia border (near modern-day Vinton, in Roanoke County, VA).There, Abner became a soldier of the Revolution.
In 1780, Abner contacted Hopewell Baptist Church (back in Hunterdon), and requested that his membership be transferred, to his church in Virginia.Abner became a trustee for Blue Ridge Baptist Church.
In 1782, Hannah (Harris) Howell's father, Samuel Harris, wrote his Will in Loudoun, and then died about 10 months later (probated April 14, 1783).Sometime between 1784 and 1792, widow Mary (John) Harris moved from Loudoun to Botetourt, possibly to live closer to her daughter Hannah.In a 1792 Power of Attorney from Mary (John) Harris to her son Asa Harris, who had remained in Loudoun, the witnesses were Ruth Harris, Andrew Howell, and Jemima Harris.My current "working theory" is that Ruth and Jemima were Mary's youngest daughters, still single, and that Andrew Howell was her son-in-law.Incidentally, this Andrew Howell was more likely than not the son of Hugh and Margaret (Hickson) Howell (and so the younger brother of that OTHER Abner Howell).
Consider Abner's and Hannah's choices for the names of their children, starting with daughters.Daughter Jemima could have been named for Hannah's younger sister.Daughter Mary was likely named for Hannah's mother, Mary (John) Harris.Daughter Ruth could have been named for Hannah's younger sister.Sarah still needs an attribution.
Turning to sons, second son Samuel was likely named for Hannah's father, Samuel Harris.Son David might have been named for David Howell, a possible brother of Abner. Thomas and Jesse Howell still need attributions.First-born son James Howell might be a clue to the name of Abner's father.
Back in Hunterdon County, there was a James Howell who, in 1744, owned some land jointly with Henry Oxley, and they had sold a 2-acre piece of it to a group consisting of Thomas Howell, John Howell, Hugh Howell, John Evans and Daniel Gano, Jr.The Hugh Howell of the buyer group was almost certainly the Hugh Howell who moved from Hunterdon to Loudoun ca. 1762.
Abner appeared in the 1810 census for both Bedford and Botetourt counties (I believe he was double counted because his land was on the border of the two).In 1812, Abner wrote his Will, naming all of his then-living children, and he died soon thereafter.
Some people have speculated that Abner's wife was a Hannah James, but no one seems to have solid evidence of that surname.The facts concening the 1766 marriage of Hannah Harris to a Howell fits perfectly with the other known facts about Abner and Hannah.
Does anyone have any additional information that would shed light on the Abner Howell family?Specifically, could he have been the son of James Howell of Hunterdon?If you have info, please share by posting here, or contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.