Meet my great-grandfather, John Dare Howland, designer of the Civil War statue that stood near Colorado’s Capitol.
“Jack” Howland, was born in Zanesville, Ohio, in 1843, son of an Ohio riverboat captain, descendant of ancestors who arrived on the Mayflower. Tiring of the river, he left home at age 14, with 87 cents in his pocket. He worked his way west on riverboats to Fort Laramie, where he began living with the Sioux Indians, adopting their way of life.
His childhood love of drawing and painting allowed him to capture animals and hunting scenes, as well as the faces of American Indians, sketched from memory as they would never pose for a portrait.
At age 18, having failed at gold mining, Jack enlisted in Company B, 1st Regiment Calvary of Colorado Volunteers, serving in the Civil War. Discharged in 1864, he went to Washington, D.C., to continue his artistic career, and on to Paris, returning to be part of the Indian Peace Commission.
“Captain Jack” Howland became a respected artist in Denver, known for his many services to Colorado and for designing “On Guard,” the Civil War statue. He was described as “honorable, fearless yet considerate, one of the oldest pioneers, a scout over the plains before Colorado was known, a grand Army man, a good citizen, a celebrated artist, a family man, respected by all and loved by many.”
Now part of his story, part of Colorado’s story, is gone — and I am sad.
Linda R. Hindley
Editor’s note: The statue was pulled down June 25.
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