Howard's remoteness from any navigable rivers or railroads made it a poor location for any sort of manufacturing enterprise. Large dairy farms thrived, as did businesses devoted to meeting the needs of the local residents. Early establishments included post offices, blacksmiths, saw mills, carriage shops, general stores, taverns and inns. Most of these were located near the "village" of Howard, as the concentration of houses at what is now the intersection of Counnty Route 70A and County Route 70 came to be commonly (though never officially) known. One of the most important industries to arrive was the grist mill established by William Goff sometime between 1812 and 1816. Records credit Goff with saving the people of Howard from starvation in the winter of 1816 with his distribution of flour and grain.
The population of Howard grew throughout the early 1800's. The first religious service was given by Reverend Samuel Parker in 1810. Several churches were built, including Episcopalian, Wesleyan, Presbyterian, Baptist and Methodist. The earliest property taxes were levied in 1815. The first school was created in 1815 and soon 16 seperate districts were identified with a schoolhouse serving each one. The organization of a library, a volunteer fire department and a highway epartment followed, some years later. The townspeople have aided in every major war effort with several citizens serving in the military. One hundred sixty men from Howard served in the Civil War.
The census of 1840 reported 3,247 people living in Howard. The population began declining soon after the Erie Railroad was built and its primary maintenance facility located in Hornell. Several forward thinking citizens relocated from Howard to Hornell to take advantage of the increased trade and traffic. Despite this, businesses in Howard continued to prosper for some time. There were barber shops, general stores, gas stations and hotels. The large dairy farms supplied milk to several local cheese factories. Later, with the introduction of automobiles and the construction of several roads, it became easier to travel to larger towns. More poeple chose to shop in Bath and Hornell, so buisinesses in Howard suffered. Farmers had the abilitiy to ship their milk significantly farther away and the cheese factories shut down. Small schoolhouses were closed as students were sent to larger unified schools in neighboring communities.
Today, the Town of Howard is a lovely farming and residential community encompassing 60.7 square miles. The population sits steady with 1467 residents reported in the 2010 census. In 1976, the Howard Historical Society was formed adn the first Old Home Day was held. The Historical Society devotes itself to collecting, preserving and recording the history of the Town of Howard and Old Home Day is held every summer to celebrate its rich heritage.
The Town of Howard is located in the west-central part of Steuben County in the State of New York. It forms part of the dividing ridge between the Cohocton and Canisteo Rivers. Howard sits at an elevation of 1588 feet above sea level. The rolling upland is composed of a heavy clay loam soil making it ideal for agricultural pursuits. There are several small streams and two small lakes.
Prior to the arrival of the first Europeans, the region in and around Howard was inhabited by the Native American tribes known as the Five Nations. Their numbers quickly dwindled as white men moved in. The County of Steuben was created in 1796. It is generally agreed that the first settler to arrive in the area now known as Howard was Abraham Johnson in 1806. The Town of Howard was formed on June 18, 1812 from territory surrendered from the towns of Bath and Dansville. At the time, there were approximately 30 families (about 300 people) in the area. The first Town meeting was held and the first members of the Town Board were elected in April of 1813.