Reverend Caswell Sugg Harward and his wife Mary Adline (Thomas) Harward were the parents of Allen Sugg Howard. Caswell was born in Chatham County, NC on 29 Aug 1828. We do know that his family was in Moore County (now Lee County), NC by 1841 as his father George is listed in the early records of Juniper Springs Baptist Church. I estimate Caswell moved to this area when he was between 11-13 years of age. He married Mary Adline Thomas (b. 1838) on 7 Dec 1853. They had 8 children: Joel Brantley (died as a child), Allen Suggs, Martha Reaves, George Artemus (died as a child), Mary Henrietta, Ann Elizabeth, James Robert, and Healon Caswell. Of interest, Healon was born after her father’s death at a young age.
Juniper Springs Baptist Church on Buckhorn Road outside of Sanford, played a large role in the life of Caswell. His father was one of the church’s early recorders. Caswell himself was an early deacon and later became the minister of the church from 1863-1868. By the 1870 federal census, Caswell and his young family were living in Harnett County. His occupation was listed as minister. He died 4 Aug 1871 possibly of typhoid fever. Caswell is buried in the cemetery of Baptist Chapel Church on Buckhorn Road in Sanford. In 1871, this was most likely Thomas family land as the church was not located at this location until 1913. This accounts for the only other “old” graves being that of Thomas family members.
There is a wonderful story about Caswell that is still known in the family. The version I re-tell here is from Whitey’s Howard Kelly’s side of the family, written by Joan Vivian Kelly Childress:
During the Civil War, Yankees were camped out along the Cape Fear River. A very uneducated negro who worked on Caswell’s farm made a statement that he would kill any Yankee that stepped into his yard. Yankees heard this, went to his home and took all his food and mule and captured the man, leaving his wife and children behind.
The next day Caswell went to the camp and called for the Captain. He told the captain that the man did not know anything about the Civil War. He did not know the Yankees were fighting to set the negro free. After Caswell had prayer and preaching, the captain gave the negro back his food and mule, and sent him home.
Caswell always invited the Yankees to dine with him. However, he buried most of his food and valuables!