James Patrick Howley was born in St. John's in 1847. He was educated at
St. Bonaventure's College, St. John's, and at an early age showed an
interest in natural history.
He worked in the public service in the office of the Colonial Secretary.
At about this time (1867-1868),
Alexander Murray came to Newfoundland from the Geological Survey in
Ottawa, to become the first director of the Newfoundland Geological
Survey. Howley's interest in natural history was quickly recognized by
Murray and in 1868, was appointed as Murray's assistant. In 1887 Howley
became the second director of the Geological Survey.
Howley was a prolific writer and published several books, including one
that was used for many years as a standard text book in Newfoundland
schools. Probably his most famous work was his book about the native
inhabitants of Newfoundland who became extinct in 1829, The Beothucks
or Red Indians, which was published in 1915. A work which was
entirely financed by Howley.
Howley prepared the first coloured
geological map of Newfoundland. It was published in 1919.
James Howley died in St. John's on January 1, 1918.
Source: Encyclopedia of Newfoundland and Labrador, 1995