North Carolina-Robert Howe-December 23

North Carolina People, Places, and Things-December 23

I am the dad to five adult children. As they were growing up I attempted to remind them they were special and to implore them to learn something new. My goal was to do that daily.

In 2016 my goal is to learn something new daily on the people, places, and things that make North Carolina special. Everyday this year I am doing a post on what I have learned new.

Robert Howe was the highest-ranking officer from North Carolina to serve in the American Revolution.


Robert Howe, planter, soldier, and politician, was born in New Hanover (later to become Brunswick County) in 1732. Robert Howe was the son of Job Howe (Howes), who moved to North Carolina from Charleston, S.C., and settled on the Cape Fear River where he prospered as a planter. Sarah, Job’s wife, was a descendant of  Sir John Yeamans; Job’s mother, Mary Moore, was the daughter of South Carolina governor James Moore.

Young Howe, according to tradition, was educated in England. In 1754 he married Sarah Grange, daughter of Thomas Grange, but they separated in 1772. The number of both his legitimate and illegitimate children is open to debate. In her will Sarah Howe mentioned a son, Robert, and daughters Mrs. Ann Goodet Daniel and Mary Moore; another source adds a second daughter, and still another includes Robert and six daughters. Howe’s reputation as a womanizer was widely commented upon.

At the outbreak of the Revolution, he served as a member of the Wilmington Committee of Safety and led the local militia that took control of Fort Johnston which at the time was located in present day Southport, NC.


In 1775, Howe was appointed colonel of the 2nd North Carolina Continental regiment, and the next year, he was promoted to brigadier general. While he was serving in South Carolina, his plantations were burned by British troops.

After the war he served in the state legislature. On December 14, 1786, Robert Howe, Continental army general, died on his way to Fayetteville to serve in the state legislature.


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