|B. C. Howell, who was later described as a pioneer Coleman citizen
and prominent businessman, and his wife the former Ella A. Pearce, came
to Coleman shortly after their marriage in Gatesville, Texas, in 1886.
They subsequently moved to Greenville, but returned to Coleman in 1890.
It was reported that Mr. Howell followed his sweetheart, Ella Pearce, who
had moved to Texas with her family, and that his sole means of transportation
and possibly his largest financial asset at the time was a mule.
Both Mr. and Mrs. Howell came from Alabama, B. C. having been born April
15, 1866 in Marion County, Alabama, and it is believed that Ella Pearce,
born October 29, 1868, must have been a neighbor. Three sons were
born to the marriage: Ernest, who died in 1894, Roy W., born December 5,
1889 - died July 18, 1946 and John B., born March 8, 1902 - born August
2, 1966. B. C. Howell died July 12, 1948 and Ella (Pearce) Howell,
July 16, 1944, both buried in Coleman.
B. C. Howell’s first business operation was a livery stable which included
a transportation service by means of a “buck board” for passengers to and
from the Santa Fe Railroad Station in Coleman. The livery stable
business seemed to evolve into the opera house business, and in 1904 the
Howell Opera House was in operation at a location not far removed from
where the Taylor Motor Company is now located. The opera house business
evolved into the motion picture business, and at different times and at
different locations, theaters were built and operated so that during a
period of many years two or more of them (including the older Dixie and
Gem Theaters) were always in operation. The building and operating
of motion picture theaters by the Howell family culminated in the building
of the Howell Theater which was opened in 1928 with a rather auspicious
dedication ceremony. By the time of the opening of this theater on
October 8, 1928, sons of Roy W. Howell and John B. Howell were brought
into the business and remained active as owners and managers until the
theaters were sold in 1945.
Roy W. Howell married Nadene Woodward in 1914 (see Woodward Family).
Nadene Woodward was the daughter of Judge J. O. Woodward of Coleman County,
and two sons were born to this marriage, Ben Calvin, who died November
25, 1930 and Roy Wright Jr., who presently lives in Dallas. Roy W.
graduated from Coleman City Schools and later attended the University of
Texas. He served overseas in the United States Army Air Force in
World War I, returning to Coleman after the war and entering business with
his father. Roy Wright, Jr. married Louise Lomax of Dallas, and three
daughters were born to this marriage: Catherine, Ruth and Barbara.
John B. Howell married Sybil Simpson of Santa Anna in 1924 (see James
Davis Simpson). John B. graduated from Coleman City Schools and attended
Texas A&M University. During WWII he served in the American Red
Cross outside the continental United States. After WWII and after
the sale of the theaters, John B. was active in various business enterprises
in Coleman. Sybil taught piano in Coleman. The piano arrangement
for the Coleman High School “Alma Mater,” words and music by James E. King,
was arranged by Sybil. She played the piano at High School assemblies
and other functions at the school for many years. Two sons were born
to this marriage: John B. Jr. (Jerry), who died June 18, 1973 and Daniel
D. (Danny) married Vilma Puig of Guayaquil, Ecuador, in 1957. They
have four children: Elizabeth Ann, Mary Sybil, John C., and Janis Lee.
They now live in San Antonio.
The name Howell is usually associated with the Howell Theater, and newspaper
reports of the opening of the theater describe it as unsurpassed anywhere
in the State as a modern and beautiful theater. The Howell Theater
was partially destroyed by fire in 1967, after which the building was demolished
and the property sold to the Coleman County State Bank. It was reported
that 2,000 people were in attendance at the dedication ceremonies of the
Howell Theater in 1928.
(Image to be added)
Howell Livery Stable - 1890