"It was said, when Marlborough voted in July 1890 to accept a city charter, that
S. H. Howe was practically chosen mayor, so strong was his hold on the respect and
confidence of his fellow-citizens. It is safe to say that not one of Marlborough's
prominent men has, to a greater degree, the esteem of all classes and conditions
of men than has Simon Herbert Howe, the subject of this brief biographical sketch.
He is the son of Samuel and Charlotte Howe, his mother's maiden name being likewise
Howe. Born Dec. 21 1835, he grew up to youth and manhood on the breezy hills of
Marlborough. He began shoemaking at the age of eleven, and is familiar with all the
details of the craft. He graduated from school at the age of twenty.
In 1855 he
commenced the manufacture of shoes in a shop on Pleasant Street, in company with his
brother, Lewis A. Howe. He subsequently purchased his brother's interest and removed
the business to the corner of Pleasant and Elm streets, the site of what is now the
main shop in the trio of large factories operated in his name. This shop has been
enlarged many times, until it stands as one of the larges in Eastern Massachusetts.
On March 12, 1878, he purchased the "Diamond F" shop on Pleasant Street from James
Tucker. This shop, too, has been successively enlarged. On June 4, 1889, he purchased
the "Diamond O" shop from C. L. & L. T. Frye and added it to his already large plant.
The S. H. Howe Shoe Company, of which hi is the president, now operates these three
factories, the daily output being ten thousand pairs.
Mr. Howe has been frequently
called to public position by his fellow-citizens. He held the office of town selectman
in 1866, 1873, 1875 and 1877 and as intimated in the opening lines of this sketch, was
the choice by an overwhelming majority for the position of the first mayor of the new city.
He served in that capacity for one year, retiring with the respect of all citizens.
Mr Howe was for a long time chairman of the School Committee of the town. He represented
the district in the lower branch of the Massachusetts legislature in 1877.
In the commercial life of Marlborough, Mr. Howe has ever been prominent. He was elected trustee
of the Marlborough Savings Bank in 1875, and in 1882 was chosen president of that
institution. He was in 1879, one of the original incorporators of People's National Bank,
and has always been on the Board of Directors thereof. Jan 1, 1857, he was married to
Harriet A. Brigham. Four children are the result of this union, the eldest, Louis P.,
being vice-president of the corporation which bears his father's name. Mr. Howe has
always been a prominent member of the Unitarian church, standing high in its councils
and doing much to further its interests. He stands to-day the foremost citizen of
Marlborough, the one to whose business energy, as much as to any other cause, is due
her material prosperity. The man who supplies the world with sixty thousand pairs of
shoes a week, and finds time to devote to public interests, commands the respect of
Source: Massachusetts of Today by Daniel P. Toomey and Thomas
Charles Quinn. Massachusetts Board of Managers, World's Fair 1893. Harvard College Library.