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Maria Louise Howerton


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At a Glance

Maria is descended from the Howertons of Halifax County, VA. Her father operated a hotel in Hillsborough, and later in Salisbury, NC. Maria and her sister Emily who also attended the Burwell School, were second cousins to William Matthew Howerton who built the home “Seaton” in Halifax County, VA. Maria is listed in the 1848-1851 Catalog of the Burwell School [1] [2] [3].


At least two Howerton girls attended the Burwell School and appear in the 1848-1851 Burwell School catalogue. They were the daughters of Hotelier Maj. Thomas Howerton, Jr and his wife, Maria Martin Moore Howerton. Maj. Howerton (we have no data on why that title was applied to him) descended from the prominent Howerton family of Halifax County, VA. Mrs. Howerton descended from the Moore family of Franklin County, NC. Two of their sons attended theCaldwell Institute.

There are two incidents reported by Mary Claire Engstrom of interest in a narrative of the Howertons of Hillsborough. Unfortunately, neither is cited and thus require further research to confirm or clarify.

Mrs. Engstrom reports that Maj Howerton “…kept the old Union Hotel in downtown Hillsborough where Mrs. Burwell's music-masters and even an occasional Burwell girl resided. When the hotel burned, Maj. Howerton removed to W King Street and opened a hostelry, Howerton House, just east of the Masonic Hall.” The family appears in the 1850 federal census of Hillsborough, residing at the Union Hotel. However, by the 1860 census, Thomas, his wife, and offspring Emily and Albertus appear in Salisbury, NC. The census taker made the notation “Hotel” at the place where the Howertons and others were enumerated. It is known that Maj. Howerton operated a hotel that was at one time called “Howerton House” and later the Empire Hotel.

The second incident involves Mrs. Howerton, Emily and Maria Louise’s mother. Mrs. Engstrom reports that she “...was set upon, in a passageway of the hotel and struck a heavy blow on the back of her head and neck. The Hillsborough Recorder noted the death on June 13, 1864, of Mrs. Maria M.M. Howerton, wife of Maj. Howerton, in its issue of June 22, 1864.” The death was also reported in the Daily Watchman of Salisbury, NC. At the time of her death, Mrs. Howerton was living in Salisbury, a fact not noted by Mrs. Engstrom. The Hillsborough Recorder’s obituary is more extensive than the obituary in the Watchman and refers to the suffering of Mrs. Howerton for many years. It is possible this statement refers to injuries received in an attack but that is not clear in the obituary.

Marie Louise Howerton married Hasell Norwood, son of prominent Hillsborough lawyer John Wall Norwood and Annabella Giles Norwood . Three of Hasell’s sisters also attended the Burwell School, Annabella Giles Norwood , Margaret Yonge Norwood , and Robina Norwood . After their marriage, Maria Louise and Hasell lived near his parents in Hillsborough. They eventually moved to Durham County and raised four children. They are buried in Maplewood Cemetery, Durham, Durham County, NC near the graves of their daughter, Emily Martin Norwood Michie and her husband, John C. Michie.

Much information on the Howerton family can be found in The Howerton Heritage website newsletters 1996-2007, edited by John F. Howerton and Bryan R. Howerton. [4] [5] [6]

Biographical Data

Important Dates

Maria Louise Howerton was born on July 21, 1836, in Franklin County, NC. She died on February 25, 1910, cerebral hemorrhage, and was buried in Maplewood Cemetery in Durham NC.

Places of Residence

Schools Attended



  1. W. H. Manning, Jr. and Edna Anderson Manning, Our Kin (Augusta:Walton Printing Company), pp. 469-482..
  2. Mary Claire Engstrom. The Book of Burwell Students: Lives of Educated Women in the Antebellum South. (Hillsborough: Hillsborough Historic Commission, 2007).
  3. Burwell School Catalogue of 1848-51.
  4. The Hillsborough Recorder was published from 1820 to 1879 by Dennis Heartt. It was a weekly newspaper.
  6. The Carolina Watchman.