John Howard aka Иван Эбенезерович Говард – англичанин из Петеребурга
Once in Australia lived John Howard, and I am not talking about the former Prime Minister of Australia, but professor John Leopold Howard. He was born in England in 1871. At the age of 14 John moved with his parents to live in Russia. He was educated in St Petersburg and later became a “lecturer in languages at St Petersburg University at Stannen Schule and Corps De Page”. When the revolution came he fled with his wife and family to London in 1920 and later migrated to Western Australia in 1927, where he was a part-time professor in languages at Perth University. Depression of 1930s hit John hard. At the age of 62 he was one of 800 unemployed relief workers at the Melbourne Shrine of Remembrance.
This is a short story that was posted in the Australian newspaper “The Northern Miner” in 1933. However, there is so much more life experience behind it. My search begins.
“Once he supped with Russian nobility”,
states The Northern Miner on 16 December 1933. What a big statement for someone, who was born in England “of working parents”. How was that possible and where to find the proof?
Apparently, there were an extended Howard/Goward (Говард) family living in St Petersburg – brothers Arthur, William, Kurtz, Ebenezer and Aleksandr Howard. John’s father was Ebenezer, since John was recorded in 1912 address book as John Ebenezerovich Howard. John was also living at Fontanka, 6, and working as a teacher at Annenschule (incorrectly recorded in the article as University at Stannen Schule) and Imperial College of Jurisprudence.
The St Petersburg archive gave more insight into John’s direct family. Brother Dolon was a student at Imperial Petersburg University in 1914-1916, sister with initials A.E., who attended Mariinski female gymnasium in 1894 and brother, who was a student at Imperial Commercial College in St Petersburg in 1898. One brother is mentioned in Russian resources as “велико-британский подданный Джемс Эбенезерович Говард”
There is also a file on John Howard himself for the period 1905 -1916 at Imperial School of Jurisprudence.
As mentioned before, the address where John lived in St Petersburg – Fontanka, 6- is the building of Imperial School of Jurisprudence, which stands today.
The file also records John as Court Councilor, which in Table of ranks imposed by Peter the Great, equalled to grade 7 and automatically gave John a nobility status. No wonder he “supped with Russian nobility”. He was one ( assuming that he took Russian citizenship after 35 years of living in Russia).
The claims to his father being “the first British owner of a paper mill” are correct. The family of Howards was, indeed, the owner of the biggest paper mill in Russia. The factory was recorded in factories book in 1912 under the names of W. and K. Howard.
Trinity-Kondrovskaya stationery factory of Howard (Троицко-Кондровская писчебумажная фабрика Говарда ) was founded in 1790. It was located in Kaluga gubernia/province, Medynskiy uezd/county at villages Troitsk and Kondrovo. The factory had 4 self-printing machines and produced the various grades of paper: for mail writing, for book and newspaper printing, wallpaper, for piano notes, portraiture, envelopes, for smoking, for various products, packaging and wrapping. The factory in 1912 employed 1872 workers, most of whom had a flat from the factory. The factory had warehouses in Astrakhan, Perm, Odessa, Ekaterinburg, Rostov-on-Don, St. Petersburg, Kiev and Moscow.
And this is just the beginning. Wonder how much can be found about this family and where are the descendants of John Leopold Howard?
ONCE DINED WITH NOBILITY. (1933, December 16). The Northern Miner (Charters Towers, Qld. : 1874 – 1954), p. 2.