Joseph Franklin Howard moved to Kingsport Tennessee when he was ten, and married Rebecca Howard in 1890.(2) He bought and sold real estate behind his home along what was eventually called Howard Street in the area now known as Howard Hill (2). Unfortunately most of this area was wiped out to make way for Interstate 26, but a section of the street remains. Joseph Howard started the Howard Manufacturing Company in 1899.(3) This company manufactured brooms and whisks in its mill located near where the Interstate 26 Bridge crosses the Holston River. He would also eventually open a flour mill which was called the Howard Milling Company in the same location.

In fact Joseph Howard essentially owned his own little community in the Howard Hill area. Across the road from the Howard Manufacturing/Milling Company he owned a butcher shop, a dry goods / grocery store, a barber shop, Ice cream parlor, and a bottling plant.(2) Of course the bottling plant is the main subject of this article. The American Bottler announced in 1906 that a new industry was being established at the cost of several thousands of dollars by the Howard Manufacturing Company to manufacture soft drinks.(5)

This is backed up by a blurb from the Bristol Herald Courier announcing "New Industries for Kingsport" which was reporting on the new industries that were starting to spring up in the area of old Kingsport due to the boom being seen by the coming of the South and Western Railway.(1) The article mentions that among the new industries was the Kingsport Lumber Mills, which was being operated by the Unaka Corporation, and that the Howard Milling Company also had a lumber mill in operation in the mountain south of Kingsport. The paper also announced that Kingsport had a new weekly newspaper which had just started (1), most likely the Kingsport Sentinel.(4) Last but no least was a large bottling plant which had recently been put into operation.(1)

The bottle from the company is embossed Howard Milling Company Kingsport, Tennessee and is a "slug plate" bottle with an applied crown cap top for bottle caps. Knowing that the company started in 1906 it is quite possible that there is a Hutchinson stopper type bottle as well, but one is not known. Hutchinson stopper bottles fell out of favor quickly after the Food and Drug act of 1906 started regulating soft drink manufacturing. Due to the Hutchinson stopper having to be forced into the drink, and taking whatever was on the stopper with it in order to open them, you can see why this type of bottle fell out of favor.

We do know that there is a bottling company still advertising in the Kingsport Sentinel in 1910.(4) There is also an advertisement for the Hotel Howard, which boasted a fine view of the Holston River along with the mountain beyond, and was conveniently located half a mile north of the Carolina, Clinchfield & Ohio Railway station, formerly South and Western Railway.(4) It would seem that Joseph Howard had continued his collection of business establishments; however, there doesn't seem to be much information about what became of his businesses once Kingsport, and the railway station, was moved up river from his location starting in 1916. Joseph Franklin Howard died on March 8, 1947 and is buried in Oak Hill Cemetery.

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(1) Bristol Herald Courier

(2) The descendants of Joseph Howard and Rachel Rector Howard of Washington County Tennessee

(3) The House Furnishing Review October 1899

(4) Kingsport, Tennessee: A Planned American City

(5) The American Bottler