On this day (January 22nd) back in 1906, Hester Ervin Howard gave birth to Robert. Just prior to Robert's birth, the Howard's were living in an area called Dark Valley. Toward the time Hester was to deliver, Dr. Howard took her to a little bit bigger community, Peaster, Texas to give birth to their boy. At the time of Robert's birth, the attending doctor documented the wrong day—January 24th, 1906—as seen in the Register of Births pictured below. Damon Sasser has two great posts about this issue at his blog (Two-Gun Raconteur) that can be read here & here.
|Parker County's Register of Births - notice the date is incorrect.|
Interestingly, the date from the Register of Births—January 24th, 1906—also appears on the historical marker that sits next to the Howard Family headstone in the Greenleaf Cemetery, Brownwood, TX. Apparently, according to Damon Sasser, the person who wrote the application for the marker took the erroneous date from de Camp's biography, Dark Valley Destiny. The Historical Society of Texas declared that they could replace the marker for a sum of $1200.00. Perhaps a fundraiser for this cost can be performed and a new marker with more accurate verbiage can be created.
|The Marker at Robert E. Howard's grave site|
In his later teen years, Howard had some success at writing which helped to prompt him to submit stories for some of the magazines he was reading at the time. In July 1925, at the age of just nineteen, Howard's story Spear and Fang was published by a struggling pulp magazine called Weird Tales. This was all it took, Howard would spend the next eleven years creating stories around memorable characters such as Solomon Kane, Bran Mak Morn, Kull, El Borak, sailor Steve Costigan, Cormac Mac Art, Breckinridge Elkins, Buckner J. Grimes, Pike Bearfield, and of course, Conan the Cimmerian along with many others; one of my personal favorites is Corcoran. Howard also was a prolific poet, writing some 700 or so poems.
With a new multi-million dollar board game on Kickstarter to an upcoming documentary titled Riddle of Steel about Conan the Cimmerian, Howard's popularity is ever increasing. So, on this day of days for Robert E. Howard, raise a glass, read a few lines from one of Howard's poems, or pick up your favorite Robert E. Howard story in celebration of his 110th birthday!
Happy Birthday, Robert E. Howard. Cheers!
January 22nd, 1906—June 11, 1936
|A picture of the Howard Family Bible|
Notice the date of birth for REH
Jan 22 1906