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04 July 1878 Minnie M. Howell was born in Strawberry Plains, Jefferson County, TN, to J.M.T. (Jerry) and Francis Howell.
1886 The Howell family (Minnie, her parents, two sisters and a brother) moved to Manhattan, KS. J.M.T. Howell was a stone mason and served as a member of the city council from his area.
Manhattan, KS, 1890
Photo overlooking the town of Manhattan, ca. 1890, very similar to how it would have appeared when the Howell family arrived.
1895 According to the 1895 Kansas State Census Minnie Howell, age 16, lived with her parents, two sisters, and six brothers.
1896 Minnie graduated from the public schools of Manhattan, KS.
08 Sep 1896 Minnie Howell enrolled at Kansas State Agricultural College.
Main path to campus, 1900
Main Campus Path, 1900

The unpaved length of this main path to campus, now named Vattier Street, was traveled by students in rain, snow, or sunshine.
10 Oct 1896 The Ionian Literary Society elected Minnie as a member.
02 Dec 1897 J.M.T. Howell died of typhoid fever when Minnie Howell was a sophomore. Education was so important to the family that even though Francis Howell was now a single parent with nine children, Minnie continued her college education.
"Many blacks in Kansas believed that only through education would they be able to achieve economic prosperity and improve their social status."

From "The African-American Community in Manhattan, Kansas, 1865-1940"
Kansas History, Vol. 14, No. 4, Winter 1991-1992, pg.282.

1900 During the 1900 Federal Census Minnie M. Howell, age 21, lived with her mother, sister, and six brothers.
Manhattan Population
Year Black
Population
Total
Population
1865
9
328
1870
66
1,108
1875
100
1,753
1880
313
2,105
1885
357
3,030
1890
307
3,014
1895
312
3,110
1900
314
4,684
1910
303
5,722
1915
315
7,186
1920
289
7,989
1925
344
10,072
1930
332
10,136
1940
270
11,659

From "The African-American Community..."
Kansas History, Vol. 14, No. 4, pg.287.

13 Jun 1901 Minnie M. Howell graduated from Kansas State Agricultural College with a Bachelor of Science degree in Domestic Science. Her senior thesis was entitled "Healthful Homes."

Enrollment broken down by Classification during Minnie Howell's Education
[Classification broken down into Ladies (Total)]
Classification 1896-1897 1897-1898 1898-1899 1899-1900 1900-1901
Post-graduate 26 (46) 24 (57) 16 (40) 12 (27) 24 (40)
Fourth year 27 (62) 38 (82) 22 (65) 31 (69) 36 (74)
Third year 31 (69) 28 (77) 37 (92) 48 (109) 24 (80)
Second year 57 (163) 70 (174) 82 (177) 50 (163) 61 (183)
First year 93 (321) 100 (316) 91 (306) 113 (376) 111 (348)
Preparatory 8 (67) 15 (77) 20 (110) 39 (162) 62 (318)
Totals 242 (728) 275 (783) 268 (790) 293 (906) 318 (1043)
The number in bold identifies Minnie Howell's classification each year.
1901 - 1905 Minnie Howell taught Domestic Science and English Grammar at the Topeka Industrial Institute in Topeka, KS.
1905 - 1906 Returning to Manhattan, KS, Minnie taught in the city schools.
1905 During the 1905 Kansas State Census Minnie Howell, age 26, was a teacher living with her mother, two sisters, and six brothers.
1906 - 1914
Faculty of Sumner High School, 1911
Faculty of Sumner High School, 1911
[Minnie M. Howell has been identified as the woman seated on the right.]
(Photo credit: Sumner High School Collection, Kansas Collection, Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas)

At Sumner High School in Kansas City, KS, Minnie taught Domestic Science and Art. This photograph of the Sumner High School Faculty from the 1911 Sumnerian is the only known image of Minnie M. Howell.

Sumner High School faculty in 1911 were: Mr. J. M. Marquess, principal; Mr. J. J. Lewis, vice-principal; Mr. G. F. Porter; Mr. G. B. Buster; Mr. J. P. King; Mr. J. A. Hodge; Mr. H. N. Jenkins; Mr. W. A. Jackson; Miss M. M. Howell; Miss B. E. Burke.

04 June 1912 Minnie M. Howell married Elmer John (E.J.) Champe.
08 May 1913 Francis Annette Champe was born to Minnie and E.J. Champe. Most surviving information indicates her name is spelled 'Frances,' but according to her birth certificate, her name is spelled 'Francis.' Birth Certificate for Francis Annette Champe
1920 During the 1920 Federal Census Minna Champe, age 41, was a teacher living with her husband, step-son, and daughter in La Cygne, KS.
01 Mar 1922 Due to illness Minnie took a year's absence from her position as Assistant Matron at the Kansas Educational and Industrial Institute in Topeka, KS. Her daughter, Francis Annette, was taking fourth grade cooking and sewing under Addie (Poston) Groves, a 1907 Kansas State Agricultural College graduate.
Addie Poston, 1907
Addie Groves, 1907
1925 - 1928 Minnie taught Home Economics in a high school located on the campus of Virginia State College in Petersburg, VA. In 1927, she was promoted to Director of the high school Home Economics Department and taught Household Science.
1927 Minnie Howell-Champe wrote a congratulatory letter to Professor Walters on the occasion of his semi-centennial anniversary at Kansas State Agricultural College. Congratulatory letter written to Professor Walters from Minnie Howell-Champe
1931 - 1932 Alumni Association records show that Minnie paid $50 in eight installments for a "Life Paid Membership."
1931 - 1938 Minnie Champe served as Head of the Home Economics Department at Southern University, Negro A & M College in Scotlandville, LA, located just north of Baton Rouge, LA. During this period, her daughter, Francis Annette, earned her college degree. Minnie resigned at the end of the 1938 spring semester due to ill health.
01 Jan 1946 Minnie served as director of the Douglass Community Center in Manhattan, KS. Minnie was a community leader, taking an active part in civic affairs. She was a member of the board of the Douglass USO center during World War II and the League of Women Voters, as well as several other organizations.
Douglass Center in Manhattan, KS
Douglass Community Center, Manhattan, KS

Don Slater Remembers
"Sometimes when the boys were playing ball, it would get away from them and roll out into the hall, where Minnie stood watching. Rather than simply handing the ball back to the boys, Minnie would take the opportunity to impress them with her skill at shooting hoops."

"I called her the 'Cookie Lady,'" said neighbor Don Slater, "I was only seven or eight years old at the time. I would walk by her home, she'd be sitting on the front porch, and she'd give us kids cookies. She was frail, but had a sharp wit."

22 July 1948 Minnie M. (Howell) Champe, 70, died in St. Mary Hospital in Manhattan, KS, after a lingering illness of 18 months and was laid to rest in Sunset Cemetery. She was survived by her daughter, Francis Annette Allen.




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