Richard Howell was born in Newark, Delaware on October 23, 1754. His early education was attained in the common schools of his native state. He went on to study law; however, his studies were temporarily interrupted when he became involved in the revolutionary movement. He was implicated in the burning a cargo of imported tea in Greenwich, as well as serving as captain and later major of the 2nd New Jersey Regiment. After his military service, Howell entered into a career as a public servant. From 1778 to 1793 he served as clerk of the New Jersey State Supreme Court. He next won election to the governorship in 1793, and was reelected to seven consecutive terms. During his tenure, he participated in the Whiskey Rebellion, directing and commanding the state militia into Pennsylvania. After completing his term, Howell retired from political life. He continued to stay active, resuming his legal career. Governor Richard Howell passed away on April 28, 1802, and was buried in the Friends Burying Ground in Trenton, New Jersey.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 3, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.