Samuel Shaw Howland (1796-1853)

Co-Founder of the Pacific Mail Steamship Co., New York

He was born in New York City and together with his brother, Gardiner Greene Howland, they established a firm that imported high-end goods from China such as porcelain, opium, silk, and tea. In 1832, on the admission of his nephews (William Edgar Howland and William Henry Aspinwall) the firm became known as Howland & Aspinwall and aside from their vast profits they became well-known as the owners of some of the most famous clipper ships ever built. In 1848, the Howlands (along with Aspinwall and Samuel's son-in-law Henry Chauncey) founded the Pacific Mail Steamship Company that provided a service to California - fortuitously in the year before the Gold Rush. They were also won the government contract to operate a transoceanic line, competing with Cornelius Vanderbilt's unsubsidised line. In 1818, he married Joanna, niece of the diarist and Mayor of New York City, Philip Hone. They were the parents of seven children (listed). Samuel died at Rome in Italy leaving an estate that was valued in excess of $11-million. He left each of his six surviving children $250,000. The Pacific Mail eventually became American President Lines, now part of Neptune Orient Lines.
Contributed by Mark Meredith on 19/01/2020 and last updated on 26/12/2023.