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Born 18 June 1835 in the officers' barracks at Fredericton, NB.
William's parents died suddenly while his father was stationed in Trois-Rivières (Three Rivers), Quebec. He and his three sisters were sent to an orphanage in Montreal. He was not happy at the orphanage and attempted to escape twice, being successful on his second try in 1847. He somehow got to Quebec City where he boarded a ship that was bound for Newcastle, New Brunswick. From there he made his way to his grandfather's home in Penniac, where he lived until he married and moved to Ward Settlement.
Married Mary Ann Donald (1830-1917) on 24 June 1862 at Ward Settlement, NB.
He joined the First Stanley Volunteer Company in 1868 as a Lieutenant, was promoted quickly, and later became a Major in 71st York County Battalion. He became second in command at the time the regiment was preparing to go to the Northwest Rebellion. However peace was declared before the regiment was to leave.
William and his brother-in-law Thomas Gilmore were instrumental in the founding of the first Methodist Church in Stanley in 1872.
At the 1881 census of New Brunswick, William and Mary were in Stanley with their children Sarah, Minnie, and James.
After his service in the army William was appointed High Sheriff of York County, and later became a member of the New Brunswick Legislature, serving two terms.
In 1901 the Howes and their youngest son James were still in Stanley.
William died April 1918 at Stanley. He was buried in Hillcrest Cemetery, Stanley. His portrait and uniform are on display at the York-Sunbury Museum in Fredericton.