In 1836, Joseph C. Howell moved to Illinois from New Jersey. He served as Carlinville postmaster, 1841-44; justice of the peace, 1847-65; and was made Assistant U. S. Marshal, responsible for taking the county census, in 1850. Howell also sold real estate and agricultural implements, and made the first map of Carlinville and Macoupin County.
Included in this collection is a transcript of Howell's "Brief History of Macoupin County from 1822 to 1858," in which he describes the earliest settlements of the county. The collection also includes transcripts of census information, 1853-54; lists of houses built in Carlinville, 1854-58; and a diagram of the Carlinville square and surrounding buildings.
Professor J. D. Conley of Blackburn College donated these transcripts to the Library in 1912.