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He was called Judge, and while he never was one, yet his dignity, integrity; his clean living, and bright mind made him the model character we want all judges to be. The name fitted him and was given him by all, save those who were entitled to wear the same button he wore; and they, his comrades, affectionately called him Sam.
I first became acquainted with Judge Howe when the tax commission was organized. I was the county clerk of a western Kansas county at that time, and as such, was brought in close connection with him, and I had known of him and his work as tax commissioner for a number of years. Three years ago I became associated with him on the commission, and each day of that association revealed some new and lovable trait. A cheery goodmorning greeted you at the beginning of the day's work and a good-night, that savored of a benediction, was his parting.
His loyalty to his nation, his state, his friends, his family and his church was of that steadfast kind that knows no turning. He was as faithful to his duty as an officer of his state as he was as a soldier in the service of his nation. Eight o'clock each workday would find him at his desk. His only vacation was to attend a meeting such as this. The following summary of his activities will throw some sidelights upon his life and character.
Judge Howe was born in New York State, his parents moving to Ohio when he was quite young. He was but a boy when the war between the North and South began, but in spite of his youth he overcame objections and regulations and entered the Union army, serving until the close of the war, thus giving to his country the years he would otherwise have used in finishing his education. After leaving the army he learned the carpenter's trade and about 1870, when still a very young man, came to Kansas with a colony of Ohio people, under contract to erect some buildings for them in Leavenworth and Jefferson counties, which are located in eastern Kansas. After completing this contract, perhaps his active service in the army having the effect of making him restless, he decided to move on and, again under contract, he went to Marion county, somewhere near the central part of the state, and there today in the thriving little city of Florence stands a school building erected by him, not pretentious it is true, but so well built that it still stands and is used, while on each flank there has been erected a large and pretentious building to take care of the school needs of the growing town, but the work of Judge Howe's hands still remains.
It was in this county that he met the one woman and established his first home. His political life in Marion county shows what his people thought of him, for shortly after his settlement in that county he was elected sheriff, a job it took a real man to fill, for those were the days when every man wore his trousers in his boots
and carried a six-shooter and was more or less a law unto himself. Horse-stealing was a heinous crime and seldom was the thief permitted to get away. On several occasions, when making trips with him through the central and western parts of the state, Judge Howe would mention having in the early days hunted a desperado in this or that section of the state, and being pressed for the story would relate an interesting experience; but with his usual modesty he seldom mentioned his own part in the play. Though still a boy in years, he made an efficient peace officer.
In his home town of Marion there was a young man running a county newspaper and he and the Judge became fast friends. It was impossible for the Judge to be idle. His hands and mind must be occupied, so when the work in the office of the sheriff was slack he would set type in the office of his friend, and with his usual thoroughness he mastered the printer's trade. After serving two terms as sheriff, he was elected clerk of the district court, and again he made use of his spare time in reading law, and was admitted to the Bar and to practice before the supreme court, although he never was actively engaged in the practice of the profession. Then his neighbors looked around for a man to run the office of county treasurer and they selected Samuel T. Howe. While serving his second term in that office he was nominated by his party to the office of state treasurer, and was elected and re-elected, holding the office four years.
Then for several years his ability to do almost anything took him into other walks of life. He was a banker, a department manager for a large telephone company and at one time was a hard-rock mining operator in the lead and zinc mines in southeast Kansas.
In 1907 the young printer in Marion, Kansas, had become one of Kansas' noted governors and he named his friend of young manhood, Judge Howe, a member of the State Tax Commission, which office he held, regardless of change of administration, continuously until the time of his death. There was no mistake made when Governor Hoch selected him as a member of the State Tax Commission of Kansas, for he went to work with his usual zeal and ability, and in spite of the fact that Kansas was operating under the general property tax, with each county a law unto itself; with property being taken at a percentage of its value, when the statutes said actual value; when there was really no head to the department of assessment and taxation; when the board of equalization was a misnomer, and when, in short, everything was wrong; he and his colleagues brought order out of chaos, and it was largely due to Judge Howe's brilliant ability that order was attained. There are many laws on our statute books that redound to his honor and credit and to the benefit of his state.
His pride in his family was great and entirely justified, as they
are all worthy sons and daughters of such a father and mother, and I well remember how his face would light with pride when he spoke of his son, who wore the uniform of his country, serving with a combat division in France, the pride of a soldier father in his soldier son.
The law says on whose shoulders his mantle must be placed, but the man fitted to wear it with his dignity and to perform the duties entailed upon the wearer as he performed them is not yet found, and in my judgment it will be many years before such a man will make himself manifest. But we are thankful for his teaching and example, and each day we see something of his handiwork, and those of us who were permitted to know him and be with him have that God-given chain memory that links us with him in the great beyond. A more loyal citizen, a better friend or a more Christian gentleman never lived than Samuel T. Howe. We miss himKansas misses him.
CHAIRMAN LORD: I will call on Professor Bullock, one of the ex-presidents of the association, to add his tribute to the Judge's memory.
CHARLES J. BULLOCK of Massachusetts: Mr. President and ladies and gentlemen:
When this association was organized at Columbus, Ohio, in 1907, I suppose that there were very few of those who participated in the exercises of that conference who believed that the association would be permanent. I know that I at least, and most of my co!leagues whom I knew best, went home feeling that that first meeting was probably the last, as had been the case of similar efforts made in times past to organize a national conference upon taxation. But somehow we had a second meeting, and then a third, and presently it appeared that the association was gradually bccoming, in the first place, an educational center, and in the second place a common meeting-ground for the state tax officials who, up to that time, had had no opportunity to get together and meet each other, as the railroad commissioners, and insurance commissioners, and bank commissioners of the several states had for many years done.
As I look back over the history of this association, a few figures and faces and forms of some strong men, connected with state tax departments, come to my mind, as men who came to the front in those early, critical years, when this association had its troubles and difficulties; when it had not found itself; when every meeting that we held was marked by situations that can fairly be termed critical; and as I think of Judge Howe, and of the tax association, I think principally of the strong, gentle, wise, and friendly figure who appeared at our second meeting, and then at our third, and
then at all our meetings until our troubles were over, and we were safely embarked upon our present prosperous career.
To Judge Howe this association owes more than it owes to any other man, except Mr. Foote, our founder, and Mr. Holcomb, our secretary for so many years.
The second thing that comes to my mind this afternoon is my recollection of Judge Howe as a man. Somehow, when I was yet a young man, it was given to me to know that one of the most precious and valuable experiences of life was intimate contact w th men my superiors in age, who were full of years well spent; full of experience; full of wisdom and sweetness and right, and it has been my good fortune to enjoy the intimate friendship of a number of such men, who have taken me-a much younger man-into their confidence, and, I think, too, into their hearts. Now, that is what Judge Howe did, very shortly after I met him, at our second meeting at Toronto; and I think this afternoon of him as a wise, gentle, lovable, and venerable friend. He gave me his friendship and his counsel, and words of wisdom, through all these years, and his passing leaves a great void in my life.
In the third place, I think of Judge Howe as one of those useful men that you find occasionally in states, whom the states fall back upon when they have difficult and responsible jobs to do, that they won't trust to any ordinary man in public life. We have some such in the association; it does not do to name them, so long as they are with us in the flesh, because they would not take such reference kindly; I am not going to name them, but Judge Howe was a man that everybody in Kansas trusted and fell back upon when in trouble.
I remember when our model tax committee met at Buck Hill Falls, two years ago. One afternoon we happened to mention the name of a certain venerable New York banker, and Judge Howe said, "I remember him; he helped me save or recover, for the state of Kansas, one or two hundred thousand dollars that we thought we had lost; some thirty years ago," and then he told me the story. It appears that a public official had gone wrong; that some money was likely to be lost, and that Judge Howe was selected as the man to go to New York and get it back, and he fell into the hands of this gentleman, who happens to be another of my venerable friends, and the gentleman showed him how to recover.
All his life long Judge Howe was a man on whom his state depended for peculiarly difficult and responsible work, that no ordinary man could be entrusted to perform. Judge Howe has gone, but he has not really left us. He lives in the Kansas Tax Commission, which he created; he lives in this association, to the survival of which in its early years of storm and trial, he contributed so much; and he lives in the hearts of all of us who knew him, and who will not soon forget our venerable friend.
CHAIRMAN LORD: I shall be glad to hear from anyone else who feels that he can add anything to the beautiful tributes that have already been paid to the Judge. I cannot let the matter pass without adding my own brief tribute. I can add nothing to the story of the Judge's life, as related by Mr. Rowan, nor can I add anything to the recital of the splendid service that the Judge rendered this association, so aptly presented by Professor Bullock, but in a little brief statement that I have prepared I want to express my appreciation. My feeling for Judge Howe is such that I dare not trust myself to speak extemporaneously.
To those of us who have attended many meetings of the conference, the absence of Judge Howe brings a feeling of sadness hard to dissipate. His engaging manners, his abounding optimism and ready sympathy won friends for him on every hand; and his quick perception, ripe and varied experience, and rare good judgment made him one of the most useful members the National Tax Association ever had.
He was president of the association two terms and would have been the unanimous choice for a third had he been willing to accept, but he declined the unusual honor, wisely maintaining that in an association like this the honor should be passed on each year.
I have read that in the Koran it is said "When a man dies they who survive him ask what property he left behind; but the angel, the messenger from Heaven, who bends over the dying man, asks what good deeds he has sent before, what useful things performed," and friends, the life of Judge Howe was filled to overflowing with good and useful deeds. As a member of this association he played well his part, and the things he did for its upbuilding and for the cause of tax reform will be long remembered. He will be sadly missed as long as any who knew him attend these meetings.
O. D. FOSTER of Kansas: I want very briefly to express my appreciation of the privilege of having known and been associated for the last eight years with Judge Howe.
The legislature met in 1913 and I became a member of its committee on assessment and taxation. Later during the sessions of 1917, 1919, the special session of 1920, and the session of 1921, I was chairman of the committee on assessment and taxation, and we met daily in the hearing room of the State Tax Commission. It was my privilege and my pleasure, very often during my service in the legislature, to avail myself of the splendid counsel of Judge Howe. He was always keenly interested in matters pertaining to taxation, and I have never known a man who had a keener, more analytical insight into taxation matters, both state and national. He was a man of very broad, general information, aside from his special interest in the matter of taxation. He was a man that one had to know well, in order to have the proper conception of his real