William and Abigail Britton Howsmon

Abigail Britton

William Howsmon

Parents: Ann Gibson and Jesse Britton

Parents: Martha Frost and John Howsmon

Born: April 18, 1783 Frederick County, VA

Born: December 15, 1782, Winchester, VA (birth record - 1805 fractur book)

Married: May 27, 1803 William Howsmon in VA (certificate, bond)

Married: 1- 5/27/1803 Abigail Britton in Winchester, VA, and 2- 12/29/1833 Frances Wrenn (Roberts) in London, OH

Died: November 26, 1831, Madison County, OH—near Sedalia

Died: August 19, 1863, in London, OH (Madison county)

Interred: Bethel Cemetery, near Sedalia, OH (picture)

Interred: Bethel Cemetery, near Sedalia, OH (picture)

Occupation: farmer, hotel proprietor (late in life)

"Abigail Britton and William Howsmon were married in Winchester, VA; their marriage bond may still be seen today. The Britton family is said to have come to Virginia from near Reading, PA—at least her father was born there. In Boss’ History of Franklin and Pickaway Counties, Ohio, Abigail’s father Jesse is said to have come to Pickaway in 1807, and William and Abigail also moved to Ohio in 1807 (Ross County, with one toddler and an infant!), and subsequently moved to Madison County by 1813." -- William Perry Hay (1871-1947). Abigail died at age 48, leaving behind five children at home—her youngest living child was 9. Only three of the children had married by the time of her death, and daughter Letticia Howsmon Britton’s children were her only grandchildren at that time.

"William Howsmon has been described as a tall, spare man with a small beard. He was extremely irascible and when angered would lose control of his voice. The boys of the town discovered this and would annoy the old gentleman by pounding on the doors of the hotel (the “National House” in London, Ohio) and when he came out would make faces at him. All he could utter was ooah, ooah; and he came to be known as 'old ooah Billy.' This must have applied only to the latter years of his life for he was a good father to a large family and stood well in his community." -- William Perry Hay (1871-1947). His first ten children were by Abigail; after she died in 1831, he married Frances and had two more. Only four of his 12 children survived him. Frances stayed on in London, keeping the hotel.

Census data: 1790, 1800, 1810, 1820, 1830

Census data: 1787, 1790, 1800, 1810, 1820, 1830, 1840, 1850, 1860



Date of Birth, Place

Date of Death, Place

Married - date and to whom

# children

1. Letticia

4/3/1804 Winchester, VA

9/23/1841 Madison, OH

5/8/1820 John Britton*


2. John Britton

6/12/1807 Winchester, VA

12/22/1880 London, OH

7/28/1833 Mary Foster


3. Isaac Frost

8/13/1809 Ross, OH

4/9/1856 Madison, OH?

9/22/1831 Elizabeth Fisher


4. Mary Martha

11/27/1811 Ross, OH

11/7/1859 Towanda, IL

10/7/1830 David Rayburn


5. William

10/7/1813 Madison, OH

11/3/1813 (1 month)



6. Joseph

6/23/1815 Madison, Ohio

9/29/1890, Illinois

6/1/1837 Elizabeth Gregory*


7. Frances

2/19/1818 Madison, Ohio

2/22/1873 Madison, OH

7/7/1836 John Byers


8. James W.

3/28/1820 Madison, OH

9/8/1849 Madison, OH

(never married?)


9. Martha

1/28/1822 Madison, OH

1876 Madison, OH

11/18/1868 John Nicholson


10. Charles

1/17/1824 Madison, OH

9/17/1825 (20 months)



11. Jacob Wrenn**


7/6/1835 (7 months)



12. Loraine Byers***


2/1/1864 Madison OH?

A. B. Walker



Genealogist William Perry Hay's (1871-1947) Howsmon book and pages for William (p.1 and p.2) and Abigail (p.1 and p.2), (William's second wife Frances), and their children: Letticia, John (John's wife Mary Foster), Isaac, Mary, William, Joseph (Joseph's wife Elizabeth Gregory p.1 and p.2), Frances, James, Martha, Charles, Jacob, and Loraine.

* Letticia Howsmon and John Britton were married in a double-ceremony with Isaac Cook and Elizabeth Lewis—the same Isaac Cook who raised Elizabeth Gregory after she was orphaned at age 6! Isaac and Betsy Cook also raised Letticia Howsmon and John Britton's youngest son after Letticia's untimely death in 1841 at age 37.
** Jacob Wrenn was by William’s son by his second wife Frances Wrenn.
*** Loraine was not the biological daughter of William and Frances; she was the daughter of A & W Byers, and was "adopted" by William and Frances -- she probably was just taken in by them when her parents died, and not legally adopted.

The original marriage bond for William Howsmon and Abigail Britton was found by William Perry Hay; it was dated May 25, 1802, he paid $150, Jesse Britton (Abigail's father; WPH first thought he might be a brother due to finding the record for his second marriage) served as surety, and it was signed in William's own hand as "William Howsmon" which appears to be the first instance of the spelling of Howsmon. Note that the 1805 fractur book also uses the spelling "Howsmon;" this spelling was carried foward for at least four more generations.

The Howsmon Fractur Book was commissioned by Martha Frost and John Howsmon in Winchester, Virginia in 1805 right before the move to Ohio. The book includes all the children but Martha, who was born in 1806. This book is still in existence, owned by the Compton family of Indianapolis in 2012, since sold. This book appears to be drawn by an English artist, not German, who was from Pennsylvania. As the Frosts were one of the original settlers of the Quaker community in Frederick,VA in 1734, and the Howsmon family was in Winchester,VA in the 1750s, it begs the question, how did they cross paths with a Pennsylvania artist? I (DLH) think it was through their daughter-in-law Abigail Britton -- the Brittons lived in Pennsylvania until 1790, and probably saw these fractur books while they lived in Bucks,PA in 1787-1790. Note that while the majority of the fractur book appears to have been designed and illustrated by a Pennsylvania artist, there were a couple drawings that appear to have been illustrated by a different Virginia artist.

Information on Bethel Cemetery.

1873 will of Frances Wrenn Howsmon, with thanks to Phyllis Pollock.

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