It may be said that, to a large degree, the success and organization of the Presbyterian church in Tarboro was due to Mrs. Anna Ragland Stamps Howard.  She married Judge George Howard at Milton, North Carolina, December 3, 1861, shortly thereafter coming to Tarboro as a bride.  She was a woman of rare character and charm – a strong Presbyterian and capable of leadership.  She was quiet and unassuming, yet of such a forceful nature that her hope for a Presbyterian church in her town became the dream of her life, the burden of her prayers.

Assisting in the Christian work around her, her heart held true to her desire and her strong faith, which had early become the firm conviction of mature years.  She was permitted to see not only a building erected, a church organized, a congregation gathered, but also to see her sons and daughters walking with her as she followed the footsteps of her Master.  With a heart full of gratitude and praise, she saw her husband, largely led by her quiet life of holy trust, take for himself the vows of the church.

With one exception, Romaine Clark (Mrs. David W.) Woodard, who lives in Wilson, all the grandchildren have grown up and served in the Tarboro church.  They are: Anna Baker (Mrs. W. E.) Fenner, Sue Baker (Mrs. W. W.) Green, Elizabeth Baker (Mrs. Curtis) Sprague, George Howard, Jr., Elizabeth Howard (Mrs. Biscoe) Howell, Rawls Howard, Mary Chamberlain Howard (Mrs. Durwood) Leggett, Rob Howard, Stamps Howard, Jr., Romaine Howard, Nelson Howard, Mary Howard, George Allen Holderness, Howard Holderness, William Henry Holderness, Thurston Holderness, Anna Holderness (Mrs. W. M.) Transon, Haywood Dail Holderness, Harriet Holderness (Mrs. Lee) Davis.

Excerpt from the book, Upon This Rock: A History of the First Hundred Years of Howard Memorial Presbyterian Church, Tarboro, North Carolina, 1874-1974, written by Mr. and Mrs. R. Brookes Peters, Jr. and Mrs. Robert B. Peters, III with the Reverend Mr. Robert E. Burns, III, published in 1974, page 77, found on the website, Internet Archive (, accessed 21 February 2021.

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