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Harriett Howard (1842–1932)

The death of Mrs. E. Howard (nee Harriett Small) which occurred at her residence, 10 Alary street, Grafton, yesterday morning, marks the passing of not only one of the oldest of pioneers, but an outstanding, distinctive personality of the Clarence district.

She was over 90 years of age and would have been 91 had she lived until February next. Mrs. Howard met with an accident at her home in December last which resulted in a fractured leg which caused her to be an inmate of the Grafton District Hospital for several weeks. She returned to her home, but she has since been confined to her room.

During the past fortnight Mrs. Howard's health began to fail. A few days ago she contracted influenza and she passed away peacefully in her sleep yesterday at about 4.45 a.m.

Three daughters surviving their mother are Mrs. Henrietta Cochrane, of Sydney, Mrs. Mary McFadden, of West Maitland, and Mrs. Laura Fraser, who has been residing with her mother in Mary street.

The funeral will leave the residence in Mary street at 3 p.m. to-day for Christ Church Cathedral where there will be a short service, after which the funeral will proceed to the Grafton cemetery.

Mrs. E. Howard (formerly Harriett Small) was born in 1842, and her father was the first man to establish a home on the Clarence River. The late John Small arrived on the Clarence about 1837 or 1838 in the Susan, which was the first boat to enter the Clarence River with settlers. They established their home— the first house built on the Clarence River— on Woodford Island, and it was here that Mrs. Howard was born. She was the last survivor of John Small's family.

It is interesting to note that John Small was the son of a non-commissioned officer on the staff of Governor Hunter, the first Governor of New South Wales.

Mrs. Howard spent her early years on Woodford Island, and it was there that she was married to the late Thomas Seller on July 23, 1862, the ceremony being performed by the Rev. Garvin, Presbyterian minister. Following their marriage she and her husband went to Newton Boyd, to manage the station property, which Mr Seller and the late J. F. Small (his wife's brother) had purchased from the late T. G. Hewitt.

When she went to live at Newton Boyd Mrs. Seller rode 70 miles on horseback carrying a six weeks old baby in her arms, over Barney's Hill through Cunglebung. They had to sleep under a dray owing to the river being in flood and had to swim the horses over the flooded river. Mr Harvey Maxted (then a child) was living at Cunglebung at the time— about 1866— and the baby was the first white child he ever saw.

They spent about seven years at Newton Boyd and then went to Broadwater, on the Richmond River, where they lived for three years, afterwards returning to the Clarence, where Mr. Seller was host of the Steam Ferry Hotel, South Grafton, which stood on portion of the site now occupied by Walker's Hotel. They afterwards removed to the two-storey hotel which they erected opposite, but which was afterwards burnt down and later rebuilt. This is now known as Tattersall's Hotel.

Mr. Seller afterwards — 52 years ago — purchased the freehold of the Crown Hotel, Grafton, and resided there until his death, 40 years ago. The widow, who was left with two sons, since deceased, and three daughters, carried on the hotel business.

In 1895 Mrs. Seller married the late Mr. E. ('Jim') Howard, and together they continued the hotel business until they retired in 1914, when the customers and friends gave her a presentation and banquet. Mrs. Howard and her husband subsequently lived in retirement in Mary street, Grafton, and Mr. Howard predeceased his wife on August, 18, 1931. He was a well-known and highly respected member of the Grafton Bowling Club.

Original publication

Additional Resources

  • profile, Daily Examiner (Grafton, NSW), 3 February 1932, p 4

Citation details

'Howard, Harriett (1842–1932)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 17 July 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Small, Harriett
  • Seller, Harriett

1 February, 1842
Woodford Island, New South Wales, Australia


30 October, 1932 (aged 90)
Grafton, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death


Religious Influence

Includes the religion in which subjects were raised, have chosen themselves, attendance at religious schools and/or religious funeral rites; Atheism and Agnosticism have been included.