From - Nebraska: The Land and the People, Vol. 1. by Addison Erwin Sheldon,  Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co.,1931.


The People's Independent Convention met on September 8th. The correspondent of the Brownville Advertiser, writing from Lincoln, spoke of the convention as having been "run by General R. R. Livingston, of Plattsmouth, Estabrook of Omaha, and-least and last-Church Howe, of Nemaha." He said it was a failure as to numbers, and that "not a man participated in this convention but disappointed aspirants and chronic office hunters-those who had been 'sluffed off' from the other parties because failing in their desires." Perhaps this statement should be accepted with caution, due allowance being made for partisanism. Church Howe, to whom the writer referred so contemptuously, was at this time receiving considerable notice in the newspapers. As a former member of the Legislature, he had served as chairman of one of the committees to investigate the conduct of Governor Butler. He again had legislative ambitions and about this time, or soon after, announced his intention to put through a law "to have printers' fees cut down and have the rates of legal advertising and printing delinquent tax lists greatly reduced." This caused the Advertiser to print a half-column editorial, in which it said: "We would suspect Mr. Howe, if he should, unfortunately for the people, be elected, of doing some such thing rather than of the advocacy of any measure of real reform and economy;" and it asked, "Does Mr. Howe not know that it is with difficulty the newspapers of this state can live even at the prices that at present exist?" It called his idea "a very small and contemptible one."


But in its survey of the stage of politics, the Advertiser seemed to regard Church Howe as the chief villain of the play. That gentleman appears to have been a very uncertain quantity. It was hard to know where to place him or where to find him next. He posed as an independent, but as there was no independent party, to speak of, he appears to have acted either with the Republicans or with the Democrats, as suited his mood or his interests. He had loudly protested against the special session, but, according to the Omaha Republican (see Advertiser, February 22, 1877), he had at that session, being then a member of the House, supported the Republicans, and "it was his support in the extra session to count the electoral vote which enabled the work to go on, and gave the state to Hayes and Wheeler." That paper thought that "the Republican party would not forget his timely and priceless services." The Advertiser said that Howe probably wrote this "puff" himself and paid for its insertion, but that whether he did or not, the spirit and sentiment it promulgated was false; the Republicans of Nemaha knew that he was pledged to Hitchcock and Saunders at the same time, and that he was also pledged to the Democrats to support a Democrat for United States senator. They knew, it said, that he was the Democratic candidate for president of the Senate; that he had voted with the Democrats regarding the propriety of holding the extra session, and that when the opinion of the Senate was called for as to whether Tilden or Hayes should be declared President, he had asked to be excused from voting; also that during the campaign he declined to say publicly whether he was for Hayes or Tilden, and that he had tried to make bargains with both political parties-a long list of political crimes and misdemeanors. The Advertiser concluded its tirade against Mr. Howe by declaring that the eulogistic paragraph in the Republican was "a glaring and barefaced lie."


By a correspondent writing from Lincoln to the Omaha News, Church Howe was credited with great activity in advancing beneficial legislation, and his political promotion was prophesied. The letter was stigmatized by the Advertiser as "slobber." That paper's issue of February 13, quoted a paragraph from the Fairmont Bulletin to the effect that Mr. Howe, who had for some time been regarded as the leader of the Greenback party in the state, had returned to the Republican fold. The Bulletin did not believe that he had experienced any change of heart. "Howe is a shrewd, longheaded man," it said, "and he seldom makes so important a move as this without a motive."


The greatest surprise of the election was the overwhelming defeat of Church Howe for congressman in the First District by John A. McShane, of Omaha, the vote being 23,396 to 16,373 in McShane's favor. Mr. Howe's defeat was due to several causes. For one thing, he was opposed by the Omaha Bee, whose editor, E. Rosewater, had long been hostile to him. Then, Mr. McShane was very popular in Omaha and made a very effective campaign, securing in Douglas County alone no less than 7,110 votes, while Mr. Howe got only 1,909 there. Even in his own county-Nemaha- Mr. Howe polled only 1,297 votes, 1,101 being cast for Mr. McShane. Further, it is said that McShane was in closer touch with the then prevailing tariff reform sentiment, and it might be added, spent a large amount of money in the campaign.