History: J. E. Howe and Sons

Hallowell viewed from Butternut Park, Chelsea, ca. 1890
Hallowell viewed across the Kennebec River from Butternut Park, Chelsea, ca. 1890. Hubbard Free Library, Maine Memory Network.

Joseph E. Howe opened a confectionary in 1828 and the Hallowell Register says that he “established a reputation for honest dealings and honest wares.” He didn’t enter the brewing game until the 1870, when he branched out with two of his sons (Joseph E. Jr. and Frank) to produce small beer and pop beers of various kinds. Their venture was located on Water Street, at Perley’s Lane. However, some time in the early 1880s, Joseph retired from business, around the time that a third son, Eugene L. Howe was venturing into the same line of work just a few doors down.

Joseph E. Howe is notable among the other brewers listed for his service in the armed forces during the Civil War. He signed up for two years along with his sons, even though he was 54 at the time. After the end of his two year commission, he signed on till the end of the war, and was mustered out of the G.A.R. at 58 years of age. He died in 1891 at age 83. The Hallowell Register called him “one of our best citizens.”

Map of Hallowell with J.E. Howe and Sons, Young & Howe breweries
Map of Hallowell in 1884. J.E. Howe and Sons is located at the corner of Water Street and Perley’s Lane. Young & Howe is a few doors down toward Academy, across Water Street. Sanborn Map Company, Nov 1884. Library of Congress.


Will Anderson, The Great State of Maine Beer Book (Portland: Anderson & Sons’ Publishing Co., 1996), 30, 32.

Augusta, Gardiner, and Hallowell City Directories, 1870-1880