About Isaac Howland, Jr.
Isaac Howland, Jr., (1755-1834), eminent whaling merchant and founder of a celebrated house, was a man of slight physique, weighing it is said, not more than ninety or one hundred pounds, but the fire of a strong determination burned within him. In his years of successful enterprise he was wont to tell that he found it the greatest hardship and toil to accumulate his first thousand dollars. After the Revolution a brisk trade sprang up with the West Indies, and the sailors coming into port wore silk stockings. Mr. Howland bought these stockings from the men at a moderate figure, washed and ironed them, and resold them at a good profit. Later he shared in the shipping interests of his father, and subsequently established the firm of Isaac Howland, Jr., & Co., one of the most prosperous ever engaged in the whaling industry in New Bedford, and in fact, said to have been for a considerable time the most extensively engaged in the whale fishery of any concern in the world. The "company" at first was his son-in-law, Gideon Howland, Jr., son of Gideon of Round Hills, who married Isaac Howland's daughter Mehitable, and other members were subsequently admitted.
The history of this remarkable house, extending over a period of more than half a century, covers the most interesting era in the whale fisheries. Many splendid vessels, under notable captains, were sent out over all the oceans of the globe. Wealth was "drawn up from the broad fields of the ocean with much toil and manifold dangers, with perils from the ice and fogs, and storms of frozen regions, and exposure and diseases under the hot burning sun of the equator.' The skill of the merchant matched the hardy daring of the sailor not alone in the creation of individual fortunes, but in promoting a general prosperity for New Bedford that has never been effaced.
Mr. Howland and those associated with him constantly practiced the doctrine of preparedness. It has been said that the whaling industry was a gamble, sometimes seeming almost on a par with the margin system of speculation in the stock market, but the history of the Howland firm shows that in their case at least, this was far from the truth. The Howlands made certain, on sending forth their ships, that the vessels were staunch and seaworthy, thoroughly fitted and equipped in all respects, commanded by captains of wisdom and experience who mingled daring and caution in proportionate degrees, and manned by trusty and competent crews.
Source: "Howland Heirs"
Howland Island, an uninhabited coral island located just north of the equator in the central Pacific Ocean, about 1,700 nautical miles southwest of Honolulu; was named after Capt Gideon Howland, Jr and Isaac Howland, Jr.
Source: "The Naming of Howland Island"