Alfred Howard married Missouri Lavina Cook and they had seven children, the first four dying before five years old. All were of course born at home. There is a gravestone in the family plot in Westport, where one of their young sons is buried and the gravestone quotes his last words “Look Ma, I can see the angels coming.” Definitely a tearful time. Despite all of the tragedies, their last three children survived and prospered.
Lucy Howard, the eldest surviving daughter, wrote her name in her upstairs bedroom windowpane in the wave of the glass. She had become engaged to Edson McFaul, a neighbor boy from “Union Landing” down the road. The glass pane has survived over a hundred years and can still be seen in “Lucy’s Room”. However, her 2-year-old great great grandson did almost destroy it during a recent visit with his exuberant banging.
Many young ladies tested their diamond by writing their name in the window glass (which at the time was quite expensive and precious). If it worked, their fiancé had given them a real diamond ring, if it did not write in the glass, they themselves had received glass.
Many of the earliest California history books labeled an extraordinary number of new settlers as coming from Missouri as that was the last place they had been prior to setting out for California. However, the high percentage of people coming from Missouri was misleading, but Missouri Lavina was definitely from there and left her mark on the construction of the Howard Creek farmhouse with the addition of wrap-around balconies. This added a wonderful feature to the New England style structure.
Life was hard on the land. Many, many men came to the west to make their mark, but for years, Mrs. Howard was the only white woman to live in this area (according to her diary). This, of course, leads one to ask if there were Native American women here and how they inter-reacted, but we have no answers. At one time, there were 60 men employed onsite in various aspects of logging and ranching.
In the early years, the Howard’s were completely self-sufficient. They grew their own food, sold potatoes and peas as crops, raised cattle for beef and milk, cut redwoods and milled and sold lumber.