Front Street 1890





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P.O. Box 118826
Carrollton, TX  75011-8826



Family of Calvin Joshua "Josh"  "Mr. Bonita"

Son of Pleasant and Abigail Wright Howard born in pre-Civil War Tennessee. 


Joshua Calvin “Josh” Howard

 Josh Howard born 15 March 1850, was the 6th child of 14 born to Pleasant and Abigail Wright Howard in pre-Civil War Tennessee.  Josh always said that he was born in Overton County, Tennessee but the 1850 census of Morgan County, Tennessee shows Pleasant and his family with Josh being 7 months old on 25th of November, so I think he was born in Morgan County but grew up in Overton County.  His father joined the Confederate cause on 10 August 1861 in Murry’s 4th Tennessee Cavalry Regiment.  After the Civil War Pleasant was killed as a result of the discontent of the post war era.  According to family lore George W. Howard witnessed his father’s killing and later killed the men responsible, then left for Montague County.

Children of Pleasant & Abigail:

1.      Perry Nathan bn abt 1841, served in Murry’s 4th Tennessee Cavalry, no more known.

2.      Sarah J. bn abt 1842, nothing more is  known

3.      George W. bn 1844, served in Murry’s 4th Tennessee Cavalry, was first of brothers to come to Montague County.  Served and constable until he died in 1899.  His son Lon was assistant postmaster in Wichita Falls for many years’, he work in Postal service for 50 years.

4.      Ellender bn 1846 died before 1860 census.

5.      Alexander Portman bn 1848, came to Montague County abt 1900 then went on to West Texas around Abernathy.

6.      Joshua Calvin

7.      Jonah Frost, bn about 1852 stayed in Overton County and was a farmer, Justice of Peace and Deputy Sheriff.

8.      John Henry bn 1855, came to Montague County for short time then on to Greer County Oklahoma and finally to Santa Rosa, California.

9.      Rachel Catherine bn 1855, married W.B. “Brinkly” Howard in Overton Co. and came to Montague Co. near Bonita.

10.  John Anse bn 1858 came to Texas and Bonita with Josh and had a dry goods store in Bonita.

11.  Mary Elizabeth was born in 1857 and married John Landon Andrews, had two sons, George & Will Andrews.  John either died or they divorced because Mary and the boys came to Montague County then went on to Stephens County, Oklahoma.

12.  Buchanan H., bn 1859, in 1897 with about 30 other people left Overton Co. and came to Montague Co., stayed a couple of years and went to Munday and later Crosby Co. He was County Judge for a time.

13.  Amanda “Mandy” married Joe Richardson and stayed in Overton Co.

14.  Martha Tennessee bn 1864 married Jehu Houston Price and came to Bonita in 1896 by wagon train according to her daughter’s diary.  This diary is very interesting.

Eight of Pleasant and Abigail’s children settled in or came through Montague County with a host of other Overton County Tennessee folks.

In 1870 Josh and others left Tennessee and settled in Denton County at Pilot Point.  His wife to be Nancy Langford, daughter of Thomas Jefferson Langford, was also from Overton County and they had come to Pilot Point with nine wagons and 15 people..  About 1871 they married and lived in Pilot Point until about 1878 when they decided to move on to Bonita in Montague County.  Here they joined people from Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama and other states to form a town.  Josh settled ¼ mile West of Bonita and lived there for over 58 years.  His house had a porch all the way around it and had a separate building that was called the summer kitchen so that it would not heat up the house.

 Josh and Nancy had 8 children:

1.      Mary Ellen married James Lisaac Snodgrass, she died at age 26

2.      Buchanan H. “Buck” married Myra T. Ice settled in Abernathy, Texas

3.      Tom P. married Pearl Phillips, he died when he was 23

4.      Minda married Spence Phillips, lived in Bonita until she died in 1958

5.      Joshua Calvin “Cal” married Myra Jane Wheeler, died in Nocona in 1953

6.      Alexander Portman Port married Mary Jane McMillan, died in 1940

7.      Mamie married James “Boss” Armstrong, lived in Erick, OK, died in 1950

8.      Mittie married Dave B. Jones, lived in Chillicothe, TX, died bef 1964

Josh’s nephew George Andrews wrote an article published in the 3 July 1953 Nocona News that he as a lad had watched the cattle herds go by Uncle Josh’s place in Bonita and that sometimes small calves stranded on the trail would be left by the trail drivers in Uncle Josh Howard’s front yard as a gift.

 Josh and his brother John Anse donated much land for schools, churches, railroad station and businesses to help the town to grow.  John Anse operated a dry-goods store and Josh operated a large cotton gin and gristmill combination for 27 years.  The cotton gin received cotton from all the surrounding counties and from counties in Oklahoma.  Josh took a very active role in running his gin and there is a picture of downtown Bonita with Josh climbing up on a wagon inspecting a load of cotton.  The grist mill stones are located at the Nocona Carpenter Shop after being donated by R. D. Tompkins and his wife, a plaque was placed on the stones by Cecil Fenoglio in 2007.

 It appears that two banks were started in Bonita in 1906, The First National Bank of Bonita with Josh Howard as President and the Bonita State Bank with C. M. McCall elected President,  according to an article in the April 19, 1906 Nocona News.  The First National Bank may have been started before 1906 as there is a picture dated 1906 with Josh Howard, directors  and employees standing beside the new building which still stands today.  On March 22, 1912 the Bonita State Bank was absorbed by the First National Bank of Bonita and the officers elected were: J. C. Josh Howard, President; C.M. McCall, Vice-President; S. H. Camp, Cashier; the directors, J. C. Howard,  C. McCall, S. H. Camp, J. M. Fleming and J. R. Modrall.

 The First National Bank of Bonita. was founded in 1906 and the list of shareholders that appeared in the February 8, 1924 issue of the Saint Jo Tribune were J. N. Agee, J. A. Borrows, W. A. Childress, G. H.  Fooshee, M. M. Gilbert, N. J. Haggard, E. E. Holland, William Holland, J. C. Josh Howard, J. A. Howard, J. L. Janeway, McCall, W. A. McCall, Mrs. J. R. Modrall, Helen Modrall, Richie Modrall, L. T. Mosley, A. Parsons, W. E. Warren and Albert Willet..  Past Cashiers were Perry Ward, W. L. Billingsley, S. H. Camp, and M. M. Gilbert.  Joe L. Janeway would later join the bank after teaching school at Shady Grove and would serve as assistant cashier and director before becoming President of the Peoples National bank of Nocona

 The Bonita National Bank issued money, and a picture of a $20 bill dated March 1912 has been found with the signature of M. M. Gilbert, cashier, Joe L. Janeway and C. McCall appears on the bill.  It is not known when this bill was put in service because M. M. Gilbert was not cashier until 13 February 1914 and Joe Janeway was teaching school at Shady Grove (Packer school) in 1914.

 Cad McCall became President of the F & M National Bank in Nocona after his father’s death in 1915, he had served as President & Vice-President of both banks for several years.

 The Bonita Bank in 1913 had assets of $129,000, in 1917 assets were $134,000, in 1923 assets were $147,000 and in 1925 assets were $152,000.  The bank was absorbed by the F & M Bank of Nocona after the crash of 1929 and the Depression.

 In 1928 the Security National Bank of Nocona was organized with Josh Howard, President and M. M. Gilbert as cashier.  There is a stock certificate that was sold to Isaac

Howard for two shares at $100 each issued on the 16th day of March 1928, this certificate was found in a building downtown by Dan Fenoglio, the old mattress building.    This was not a good time to be starting a bank and it too was absorbed by the F & M National Bank which is now the Wells Fargo Bank in Nocona.

 Port Howard, son of Josh, purchased the cotton gin at Rowland in 1918 after borrowing $2,000 from the Bonita Bank and paid the loan off in 1920 according to a letter signed by M. M. Gilbert.  Port then bought a gin in Nocona and kept for a short time before buying the store at Rowland.  While at Rowland the Port Howard’s would travel to Bonita each Sunday for dinner and the children would rush in to claim a chance to listen to Josh’s radio that had two headphones.  

 Josh had a buggy while in Bonita and one of his grandsons pushed it into a creek and destroyed it.

 Josh also had the distinction of buying the last buggy in Montague County.  He bought it at the J.B. Marsh Hardware and Furniture closeout sale from Clark A. Hood.  Josh’s son Port Howard traded a Shetland pony that belonged to his sons, Jody and Hag for a horse to pull the buggy.   Josh had a model T at one time as his grandson Jody Howard remembers riding in it.

 Josh lived with his son Port’s family the last two years of his life and not long after his death on 30 September 1938, oil was discovered on Howard land in Bonita.  The Sinclair-Prairie  Howard #1 gushed in and brought  lots of lease hounds to town looking for space to drill for oil.  Port Howard gave a free barbecue at the M-K-T depot to the largest crowd ever gathered at the village of Bonita in February of 1940.

 Pee Wee Harlason remembers Josh being called “Mr. Bonita” during his life there.



Bonita National Bank $20 note 1912


Stock certificate for Security National Bank of Nocona only existed for short time before F & M Bank absorbed it after crash

 Other side of Security certificate


Letter showing where Port Howard paid of note from buying a gin and a check from old checkbook 


Bonita National Bank employees in 1906, Josh Howard is second from left


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