HOWLAND, TEXAS. Howland is at the intersection of Farm roads 1184 and 137, on Justiss Creek four miles east of Roxton in southern Lamar County. The area was settled in 1880 as Pleasant Grove, but the name was soon shortened to Grove, which is what the post office was called. The community reported a population of 200 by 1884, when it had become a point for shipping grain and cotton. That year postmaster James A. Marr reported three general stores, three gristmill-cotton gins, a church, and a district school at the town. In 1890 the community moved slightly west to be on the new Texas Midland Railroad, and around that time the town's 300 citizens were served by two doctors, a teacher, a blacksmith, and a grocer. The largest businesses were two general stores and two gristmill-cotton gins. In 1897 the name of the post office was officially changed to Howland in honor of Edward Howland R. Green, the son of railroad company owner Hetty Green. By 1896 the community's school had fifty-three students and one teacher. Howland had 226 residents in 1904, and its population reached 400 by 1914, when the town comprised Baptist and Methodist churches, two general stores, two groceries, the Howland State Bank, a butcher shop, and a drugstore. Other businesses at that time included a flour mill, a cotton gin, and three cotton buyers; there were also two physicians and two blacksmiths. The community's population reached a peak of 500 in 1925, but the onset of the Great Depression doomed the local farming economy.
Between 1929 and 1931 Howland's population decreased to 240. The community reported twelve businesses in 1931, but four closed within two years. Many residents left the area in search of jobs in nearby metropolitan areas, particularly Dallas. The 1936 county highway map identified a school, a cotton gin, four businesses, four churches, and a cluster of homes at the site. In 1937 the school system enrolled ninety-eight white and fifty-four black elementary students, as well as thirty-five white high school pupils. It employed two black teachers and five white. By 1939 the town reported 200 residents and three businesses. While the demands of World War II aided farmers, the community continued to lose residents. Its population had decreased to 150 by 1947, when it had four businesses. By 1957 local children attended classes in the Delmar Independent School District, and the railroad tracks through Howland were no longer in use. Its population had decreased to 110 by 1970 and to ninety by 1974. The 1983 county highway map identified one store, a church, and a scattered collection of dwellings along the highway intersection. The population of Howland continued to be reported as ninety through 2000.
Thomas S. Justiss, An Administrative Survey of the Schools of Lamar County with a Plan for Their Reorganization (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1937).