Howlett Family

Herman Clark Mechling was born in 1855 in Pennsylvania, the son of William H. Mechling and Emmeline Clark.

Herman married Helen Evans. Helen and Herman’s daughter was Helen and she married Henry James Howlett Jr. Below, Helen Mechling on her wedding day to Henry James Howlett Jr.,  right, with their son Herman Mechling Howlett.

Herman Clark was a “metal man”, first with the Vulcan Iron Company, the Whittaker Iron Company and then The Wheeling Corrugating Company.In 1906 he had been with the Wheeling Company for fifteen years.

Below Vulcan Iron Works and Wheeling Corrugating:

On June 21, 1906 Herman Clark was on his way home from a meeting in Cleveland Ohio. Friends and co-workers invited him to go to Wheeling W. VA to see the plant, but he declined and headed home to New York  aboard the Twentieth Century Limited. This was this train’s fourth run.

above photo 20th Century Limited from Chicago to New York June 16, 1906

“The 20th Century Limited was an express passenger train from 1902 to 1967. It traveled between Grand Central Station in New York City and LaSalle Street Station in Chicago. The 20th Century was known for its style: elegant lines, understated design and very exclusive. Catering to the upper class and the business traveler, passengers walked to and from the train on a plush, crimson carpet which was rolled out in New York and Chicago and was specially designed for the 20th Century Limited; thus, the Red Carpet treatment was born. In 1938 the Century was the world’s ultimate passenger conveyance — on the ground.”

“Mentor, Ohio Train Wreck

June 21, 1906


In the Most Horrible Railroad Disaster in History of Lake Shore Road — Twentieth Century Flyer Wrecked Last Night.

CLEVELAND, June 22. — White traveling at a rate of seventy miles an hour the famous Twentieth Century Limited, the fastest long distance train in the world, ran into an open switch at the little town of Mentor, east of Cleveland, at 9:20 last night, causing one of the most horrible accidents in the history of the Lake Shore road. Nineteen persons are dead as a result of the wreck.

Chief DALEY, general passenger traffic manager of the Lake Shore, says he believes the disaster resulted from someone tampering with the switch. He says after an investigation:

“The evidence points to a deliberate, malicious attempt, to derail the train.”

The engine was hurled into the ditch, part of the train was crushed on top of it, and the wreck partly burned. The train was crowded; practically all of its accommodations were taken when it left this city. It was behind time and great speed was being made to make up the time.

A particularly distressing feature of the rescue work was that the injured were so crazed when they were taken from under the mass of wreckage that they could not even reveal their own identity.

Assistant General Superintendent D. C. NOON, of the Lake Shore, who was on the scene soon after the wreck occurred, gave out the following statement:

“So far as can be learned the switch was opened and locked open by some party unknown – probably a crank – and evidently with malicious purposes. Train No. 10, the fast east bound, passed through the switch forty-five minutes ahead of No. 26, and it was all right at that time. It is certain no other train or engine passed through the switch between No. 10 and No. 26.”

Traveling at the rate of more than a mile a minute the heavy train was hurled to its doom with a momentum that was appalling.

The scene of the accident was at the Mentor depot. The switch that caused the trouble is located about 130 yards west of the depot. As the heavy engine struck the switch if left the main track and swung violently to the left. For a distance of twenty yards the engine ran on the rails, and then turned over on its side just to east of the depot.

The momentum was such that the heavy tender was hurled over the engine and buried in the depot. The combination car was hurled with terrific violence on top of the engine, and in a moment was enveloped in flames. The Chicago sleeper, immediately behind, crushed into the depot and was completely buried in the wreck of the building. The next sleeper following left the track, but the rest remained upright on the tracks.

An instant after the crash of the wreck the boiler of the great engine exploded with terrific force, scattering fire and steam through the wreck in a manner that made escape for the helpless and imprisoned passengers impossible.

The passengers and train men who were not injured started to rescue the imprisoned, but the heat of the fire soon drove them away. The fire department was called to the rescue, but it was after midnight before the flames were subdued and the work of taking out the dead and injured began.

The following is a revised list of the dead:

C. H. WELMAN, general manager of the WELMAN-SEAVER-MORGAN Engineering company of this city.

THOMAS R. MORGAN, of the same company.

A. P. HEAD, London, England, prominent English steel man.

JOHN R. BENNETT, patent attorney, New York City.

A. L. RODGERS, Platt Iron Company, New York City, died at hospital.

H. H. WRIGHT, traveling man Chicago, died at hospital.

WM. B. MICKEY, address unknown.

F. J. BRANDT, Toledo, died at hospital.

F. H. BREKWITH, New York City, advertising agent, died at hospital.

J. H. GIBSON, Chicago, traveling man.

E. B. WALTERS, Hamburg, New York, baggage master.

ALLEN TYLER, Collinwood, engineer.

J. A. BRIDGLY, Akron, died at hospital.

HENRY TRINZ, New York City, barber on buffet car.

H. C. MECKLIN, manager Wheeling Corrugating Company, New York.

L. M. ELRICK, manager, Keiths Theatre, Cleveland.

Seven unidentified dead, one of whom is supposed to be ARTHUR L. JOHNSON, of Comey & Johnson, Cleveland.

Five were seriously injured and a number slightly.

CHICAGO, June 22. — Vice President W. C. BROWN of the New York Central telegraphed today to President NEWMAN at New York, an official report of the wreck.

In it he states that train No. 10 east bound passed Mentor at 8:35 p. m., at which time the switches were all set for the main track. No. 26 followed fifty minutes later and no trains had passed Mentor in either direction during the interval. The conductor of No. 26 examined the switch immediately after the accident and called the attention of General Passenger Agent W. J. LYNCH, of the Big Four, who was on the train, to the fact that it was set and locked for the sidetrack and the lights extinguished.

The switch is not damaged and worked perfectly after the accident.

The composite car which was telescoped by the engine was burned. No other cars in No. 26’s train turned over. Number 26 was on time and as a matter of fact was running slower than No. 10 when it passed through Mentor, as the latter was late.

Every possible effort is being made to locate the party who misplaced the switch.”

Daily Journal Colorado 1905-06-22

Submitted & transcribed by Stu Beitler

Alexander Glass, below, president of Wheeling Corrugating  brought Herman Clark Mechling home.

Obituary for HC Mechling

Vulcan Iron photograph found on-line : Shorpy Historic Photo Archive,


There was a time, not too long ago, when the very word “Hump” struck terror into the hearts of airmen, and well it might. Gallant youngsters, and oldsters, too, had given their lives in getting precious freight to China, in pioneering this largest of all aerial transport ventures. Known as the most hazardous of all aerial routes, its jagged peaks reached 20,000 feet into the sky; its 100-mile-an-hour gales forced pilots far off course, to crash on snowy peaks or into jungles so dense they hid all trace of plane and crew.” (ATC India-China)

I never talked to Meck about his time with the Air Transport Command during World War II. When Meck and Bea starting sorting through their things in order to make a move from Long Island to Hawaii and Meck had a box full of WWII pictures on the curb for garbage collection I said “Are you sure you want to throw those out?” He replied “Yes”. I said “Maybe donate them to a historical society or group?” He said “No”.

He did save his flight/navigator training book that logged his training for “stalling”, “landing”, “skidding”, “180 degree landings”, “series turns”, “spiral stalls”, “air work” and such. He did save his Air Navigator’s Log book….and there are a few photographs of places and faces while he served in the ATC. (below: Tezpur Airport, Greenland, and unknown)

Meck began his flight training in August of 1941 at Roosevelt Field NY. He finished in August of 1943. His Flight Navigator’s Log begins February 13, 1943, still doing some training, and on the last page dated October 4, 1945, Meck writes “THAT’S ALL BROTHER!” I can almost hear him!!

The log book records 357 missions. The shortest flight was about 89 miles and the longest was logged at 2377 miles. He was the navigator for over 25 pilots. I stopped counting. Noted in the log book in poignantly short sentences, the death of four of them.  July 16, 1943 the entry reads “Lost #2 engine 770 miles out. “On August 22, 1943 Meck notes: “First flight over Hump”.  September 23, 1943 four words: “caught in an alert”.  On October 13 Meck notes: “Zeros got a CNAC plane”. October 16 he writes: “First night flight over Hump”.  The next day’s entry is: “J. Keating killed.”  On Nov 11, 1943 he saw Mount Everest and three days later the entry reads: ” Red Alert 31 bombers”. On November 25, 1943 he flew a C87 #123696. The next day he makes an entry that the same plane: “Burned up next day with crew”. What would it feel like to write : “Glenn Golden and crew killed ” (8-27-44) when you had flown with them on many missions? Three months later he cites the death of two more peers: “C. Watkins and S. Barton killed”.  December 15, 1944, the birthday of his wife Bea, he notes in black pen: “Almost in a bad way on this one”.   Blown engines, 4 inch ice accumulation on the planes, alerts, failed this and broken that, faulty electrical equipment, lightening storms, heavy winds, snow and fog, are all entered and now serve as witness to how close Meck may have come to being injured or killed. For all the remarks “turned back”, I took a deep breath.

Destinations included Ascension, Natal, Maidugui, Aden, Agra, Tezpur, Kunming, Yunnani, Chengkung,Chabua,Jorhat,Accra,Presque Isle, Prestwick, Casablanca, Marakech, Mingan, Goose Bay, New Castle,  Santa Maria, Paris, and others.  North America, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia.

Photographs of India, including the Taj Mahal with the camouflage netting:

Two pictures from Accra, Gold Coast, Africa

Street sweeper in Casablanca

Salt beds, Aden, Arabia

Harbor, Aden

more Aden


Iceberg somewhere in the North Atlantic…

So, what was the Air Transport Command, The HUMP and the CBI? The “Hump” was the first sustained, long range, around the clock, all weather,high altitude military aerial supply route. The route was between the Assam Valley in northeastern India, across northern Burma, to Yunnan province in southwestern China, flown during World War II.  There was no precedent for it. Nothing like it had ever been done before.  “China lost the Burma Road, its last remaining supply line to the outside world, due to the invasion of Burma by Japanese troops in April of 1942. The Burma Road extended 425 miles from Lashio, Burma to Kunming, China. China’s eastern seaports had previously been closed by Japanese Navy.”

“The United States determined a continuous flow of military supplies into China had to continue in order to allow the Chinese Army, and the U.S. Army 14th Air Force (formerly the American Volunteer Group (AVGs) and the China Air Task Force) in China, to remain effective and keep pressure on Japanese occupational troops, thereby denying their use as fighting forces in other parts of the CBI or south Pacific. The only means left for getting supplies to China was by air. Due to the presence of Japanese Army and Air Force in northern Burma, the only available air route to China was via the Hump route. In April 1942, pilots started flying the “Hump,” and continued missions until 1945, when the Burma Road was reopened.”

“The dangerous 530-mile long passage over the Himalayan Mountains took its toll. Official records from Search and Rescue were closed in  1945.  Final records showed 509 crashed aircraft records had been “closed”. 81 lost aircraft records were still open. 328 of the “lost” flights were ATC planes. 1,314 crew members were know to be dead. 345 were still listed as missing. “In addition, China National Aviation Corporation (CNAC) lost 38 planes and 88 airmen. ”

“Living  in the Assam Valley was difficult. Conditions were primitive. Personnel generally lived in tents or bamboo bashas. A few lived in tea plantation bungalows or in bungalow outbuildings. During the monsoon season bases were seas of mud. Sidewalks and tent foundations had to be elevated to stay above standing water. Temperatures during the monsoon season were extremely hot with very high humidity. Clothes and shoes mildewed within days. Food was government issued C-ration. Personnel did not eat off base for sanitary reasons. Malaria and dysentery were prevalent diseases. Water could be consumed only after purification by iodine.”

Leave papers December 3, 1943 for 6 hours….

“Maintenance of aircraft was a serious problem due to a shortage of parts and poor working conditions. The need for maintenance was high due to the need to fly aircraft well above their normal operating limits. Work during the monsoon season mostly had to be done at night due to the heat. There were no hangers for aircraft maintenance. All maintenance work had to be done in the aircraft parking areas. Make shift covers had to be placed over engines to complete engine work during the rainy season.” (Below maintenance in Natal)

“Loads carried over the Hump were many and verified. The primary load was gasoline, carried in 55 gallon drums and added to by siphoning from tanks of the carrying aircraft. Also carried were: small arms and ammunition, small vehicles, heavy equipment cut up and carried in pieces, truck and aircraft engines, bombs and aircraft machine gun ammunition, mortar shells, hospital equipment, personnel, 20′ lengths of 4″ pipe, etc.” (below, transporting Chinese soldiers to India for the Burma Campaign)

“All operations over the hump required use of oxygen. Oxygen was provided to crewmembers by a demand system which provided oxygen on inhale. It also had a constant flow and an emergency forced flow capability. Oxygen masks were very uncomfortable. Regulations required that oxygen be used above 12,000 MSL during daytime and above 10,000 MSL at night.”

Sources and credits: CBI Hump Pilots Association and,  and photographs from the personal collection of HM Howlett.

During the spring of 1728, two brothers, Theobald and Jacob Mechling left their home in Germany and made their way to Rotterdam Holland. Once there they boarded the ship James Goodwill and sailed to Deal England. On June 25, 1728  the Mechling brothers joined thirty six other  families headed to the port of Philadelphia.

A newspaper article from The Reading Eagle dated June 21, 1929 gives a general historical account of trips across the Atlantic during the early 1700’s. The article  was titled “Lehigh Mechling Family Notes 200th Anniversary”. The keynote speaker was Charles Roberts, Secretary of the Lehigh Historical Society. He writes: “The largest of the ships on which the German immigrants arrived was less than 100 feet in length and 28 feet in beam., while the average tonage of the ships was about 178 tones. They were crowded, food was poor, water limited in supply, many died on the voyage, while those who managed to complete the journey landed here penniless, or almost so, usually having been robbed and ill health.”

Three months later on September 11, 1728 Theobald and Jacob Mechling arrived in Philadelphia. Upon landing they went before the Provincial Council where they signed a declaration of allegiance to King George II of England.Theobald and Jacob went to Germantown, then on the outskirts of Philadelphia, where they engaged in the tannery business for a few years. There is speculation there may have been a sibling or other realtive already in Germantown who owned the tannery. It was not an easy job.

“Leather, for example, essential for harness, shoes and boots, belts for machinery, and many other products, was produced locally. The manufacture of leather was a complicated business, involving hard work and a series of – often malodorous – processes. First raw hides were carefully scraped on a fleshing beam to eliminate all traces of fat and flesh, then soaked for several days in a caustic lime solution to remove the hair or fur. After flushing with clean water (in the nearby creek), the hide was pickled, or tanned, by steeping it in a strong solution of ground oak or hemlock bark containing tannin.”  From Waterford History website.

Within a few years, Theobald married Anna Lauer, daughter of John Peter and Anna Margaret Lauer. In 1731 he obtained a grant of 125 acres in Bucks County, PA. from Thomas and Richard Penn, sons of William Penn. Theobald continued to obtained parcels of land for several years.

Theobald built a log cabin on his land, which is still standing as part of a larger house in what is now Zionsville PA. There is an organization, The Mechling Family Association, that is working to get the house back into the family as part of the Association.

On 19 September 1763, Theobald wrote his will leaving his beloved wife, Anna (Elizabeth) Mechling one complete Bed stead with all the furniture, one cow, one side saddle worth three pounds and ten shillings, one chest, one spinning wheel, two iron pots, all the flax which is not spun into yarn at my decease and two butter dishes, three plates, six spoons, one tea pot, two bureaus of which one is pine. He had already given some of the children 100 pounds each and the others were to receive 100 pounds each when they became of age. He left the plantation of 170 acres to the youngest son, Thomas with the agreement that Elizabeth could remain at the home and share in the profit of the plantation as long as she remain a widow. The plantation was valued at 400 pounds. Thomas was to take possession when he became twenty one years of age. He was to pay the other four brothers and one sister twenty five pounds each year until he had paid each one 1/6 of the 400 pounds.
Theobald died in April 1765. He and his wife are buried at the cemetery at Dillingersville by the Upper Milford Lutheran Church.

Anna Elizabeth and Theobald had eight children. We will follow the Mechling family line through Philip Mechling born 1749.

On the June 11, 1770 in the Zion Lutheran Church in Northampton County, Philip married Katherine Wetzel. He died in York County on November 11, 1817. By occupation, Philip was a tanner.

Philip and Katherine’s son Philip Jonas  was born Nov. 4, 1774 in Northampton Co. Pa. He married Catherine Coder about 1795 in Hempfield Township in Westmoreland County. He died in Westmoreland County, PA on Aug. 19, 1847 and is buried in the Old Union Graveyard in Greensburg. Philip was listed on census records as occupation – mason.

There is not a lot of information available on Philip or his son Philip Jonas.

Philip and Catherine’s son was Jonas (Jonathan) Mechling. Jonas was born 14 Aug. 1798, died 2 April 1868 & is buried at the Old German Cemetery in Greensburg. He married Florinds Gressinger. He was a Lutheran minister & traveled widely throughout Westmoreland County as a missionary pastor.

Rev. Jonas Mechling

“In the spring of 1849, Rev. Jonas Mechling was called to be pastor. He labored here until his death in 1868.

Rev. Jonas Mechling, son of Philip Mechling, was born in Hempfie1d Township, Westmoreland County, on the 14th of August 1798. He was baptized in infancy by Rev. Wm. Weber, and confirmed by pastor John M. Steck. He received his early education in the church schools of Westmoreland County and studied theology under Rev. J. Schnee of Pitts burg and Rev. John M. Steck. He was licensed to preach by the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Ohio on September 19th, 1820.
He then took charge of a number of congregations of Father Steck’s parish; St. James and Hankeys, Hope, Zion’s and St. John’s and the Churches of Ligonier Valley. Later he served St. Paul’s Ridge St. James, Youngstown, and Christ Church West Newton. Upon the death of Father Steck he was called to the Herold-Greensburg parish, which consisted then of the following congregations: Herold’s, Brush-Creek, Greensburg, Manor, Hill’s and several other preaching sta tions. He also preached in the Churches on this side of the Ridge until 1855. He died on the 2nd day of April, 1868 in the 70th year of his age and the 48th of his ministry.

“Rev. Mechling was a man of persevering energy and re markable endurance. As a testimony to his earnestness and fidelity as a minister of Christ, we need only to give a few items of the record of his ministerial acts. During his ministry of 48 years, he preached 6,327 sermons, baptized 6,286 children, confirmed 2,039 adults, married 890 couples, and buried thousands.”

(Source: History of the Old Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church, Hempfield Twp., Westmoreland Co., Pa., by William Arter Zundel, pub. by Church Council, 1922, pp. 108-9.)

Jonas and Florinda had eleven children. Next in the Howlett family tree is William H Mechling. He was born in 1827 in Pennsylvania. In the census reports he is listed as a “Hotel Keeper” and “Wholesale Liquor Distributor”. He married Emma (Emmeline) Clark, daughter of Ashbel Clark and Mary Weller.

William and Emma’s son was Herman Clark Mechling. We will continue this story on a soon to come post! Stay tuned!

Above: Henry Pearl Talmadge

Henry Pearl’s ancestor, Thomas Talmadge arrived in The American Colonies either in 1630 with Gov. Winthrop and The Winthrop Fleet or in 1631 on the ship  Plough. He landed in Charlestown and made his way to Boston and then moved to Lynn, MA. On May 16, 1634 in “Genall Court” he was made a “free man”

In 1638 he was “allotted” a 200 acre lot of land.

Southampton, L.I. was founded in 1640 by people mostly from Lynn, MA.  In 1642 Thomas was granted a “home lot”. In 1650 he moved to Easthampton, of which his son Thomas Jr., was one of the founders in 1649.

Thomas’ descendant, Henry Pearl Talmadge, was born in Troy, New York on March 10, 1847.  His parents were Henry Talmadge and Frances A. Cossitt.  In 1868 Henry graduated from Harvard and was a member of Phi Betta Kappa and The Hasty Pudding Club. In 1871 he received his A.M. from Harvard.

On April 18, 1872 he married Lucy White, daughter of Herman Lincoln White and Lucy MacIntosh Dunbar. In 1877 they moved to Netherwood NJ.

Henry Pearl was involved in banking beginning in 1886 with the banking house of Henry Talmadge and Co. and was also president of the South Carolina Railway. Henry was also organizer and president of the Southern Pine Company of Georgia, the director of the Phoenix National Bank and Vice President of The Empire Trust Company New York City. He served seven years with the 7th Regiment of New York.

In 1887 Henry Pearl’s mansion in Netherwood, NJ was completed. It was a Victorian manor designed by Douglas Smythe , took three years to build and cost $45,000. It was said to have been 92 feet long and 62 feet wide with thirty three rooms.

Henry Pearl and his wife Lucy had five children: Lucy White, Henry, Arthur White, Helen, and Francis (Frank) Cossitt.  Henry Pearl died in 1968 and the house burnt down in 1969 probably from arson.

Here is a video of  the mansion on Youtube.

Francis (Frank) Cossitt Talmadge married Beatrice Cornish and their daughter is Beatrice Cornish Talmadge Howlett……our Bea.