William Marcellus Howard (December 6, 1857 – July 5, 1932) was an American lawyer, jurist and politician, serving as a United States Congressman from Georgia.

Early Life[]

Howard was was born in Berwick, St. Mary Parish, Louisiana, the son of William Abel Howard (1825-1886) and Almeda Ann Maxwell (1826-c1877) and moved with his family to Georgia when he was young. He attended the Martin Institute in Jefferson, Georgia, and graduated from the University of Georgia in 1877.

He married Augusta C. King (1859-1940). They were the parents of Henry Grady Howard, William King Howard and Augusta Howard (1893-1899).


After admission to the state bar in 1880, Howard practised law in Lexington, Oglethorpe County, Georgia. He was elected as the solicitor general of Georgia's northern judicial circuit in 1884 and served until 1896 when he successfully ran for the United States House of Representatives, where he severed from March 4, 1897 to March 3, 1911. From 1905 to 1912, Howard served on the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution and was a trustee of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

In 1911, President William Howard Taft (1857-1930) appointed Howard to the United States Tariff Board where he served until 1913, after which he moved to Augusta, Richmond County, Georgia and formed a law practice with his half first cousin Judge Enoch Howard Callaway (1862-1932).

Howard was appointed to appeal the death sentence of Leo Max Frank (1884-1915) after Frank was convicted in the murder of child factory worker Mary Phagan (1900-1913) in Atlanta, Georgia. Howard cited flaws in the prosecution's case, including discrepancies in testimony and mishandling of the investigation by the Atlanta police department, to successfully convince Georgia Governor John Marshall Slaton (1866-1955) to commute Frank's death sentence to life in prison.


Howard died in Augusta, Georgia and was buried in Clark Cemetery, Oglethorpe County, Georgia.


Five Generation Pedigree
Great grandparents
2nd Great grandparents
William Marcellus Howard William Abel Howard (1825-1886) Robert Groves Howard (1798-1855) Abel Howard (1769-1808) Henry Howard (1729-1781)
Priscilla Farrar (1740-1808)
Mary Glenn (c1772-?) Joseph Glenn (c1745-?)
Mary Glenn (1805-1827) William Canebrake Glenn (1766-1857) John Glenn (c1740-?)
Elizabeth Gilmer (1767-1850) Gilmer
Almeda Ann Maxwell (1826-c1877) Maxwell Maxwell Maxwell
Unknown Unknown