Howe, Lyman C.

Howe, Lyman C. (1832–1910)

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Lyman C. Howe was born in a log cabin in Butternuts, New York, on February 11, 1832. He was one of ten children. His father couldn’t afford a good education for his children but he taught them to fear God, religiously educating them “line upon line, and precept upon precept.” He was a strict Calvanist who tried to live by the Bible. He very much believed in “spare the rod and spoil the child.”

Lyman’s mother died in 1842, when Howe was ten, and the family broke up. At thirteen Howe went to live with Perry Aylsworth, a man described as having great love for his fellow beings, who did not fill the young boy’s mind with the terrible dogmas of his religion. Howe stayed there for nearly three years; in 1847, he moved in with his brother in Hornell, Steuben County, New York. From age ten until he was eighteen, Howe attended public school for at least a part of each year. In 1851, he started teaching school. He planned an academic career but his health did not allow it.

In the years 1853–4 Howe developed as a Spiritualist medium, though his forte lay in inspirational speaking. By 1858, he was speaking in public in Laona, New Albion, and Smith’s Mills. In 1862, he married Sarah E. North of New Albion. They had one child, Maude (who later became Mrs. Maude E. Cobb), born July 5, 1867, the same year they moved to Laona. In 1868, they relocated to Liberty Street, Fredonia.

Howe’s inspirational speaking was in great demand, resulting in him traveling the country. A. W. McCoy (CassadagaIts History and Teaching) said, “His services have been required in all of the largest cities as well as in the smaller towns and villages, at all of which he has drawn large and intelligent audiences. His inspiration is of the highest and purest order.” Howes was the first speaker invited to speak at Alden’s Grove for the very first meeting of Spiritualists in what was to become the Lily Dale Assembly. This took place on Sunday, June 15, 1873. He went on to serve twenty-five years at Lily Dale without missing a season. Lyman C. Howes died on December 23, 1910, at age seventy-seven.


McCoy, A. W.: Cassadaga—Its History and Teaching. New York: nd
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