John Howard was a younger brother to James Howard, founder of the shipyard. John worked in the shipyard alongside his brother until James tragically drowned in 1876; after that John and, James' son, Edmund, jointly ran the company for the next ten years. Around 1885, John left the boat building business and with several other local businessmen purchased French Lick Springs. French Lick was a natural spring where people would come "to take" the waters. It was very popular. For the next fifteen years John managed the property while his son, Dr. John Howard, Jr., was the medical director. (French Lick still exists today as a gambling and golf destination), Around 1901 John decided to retire, he sold the Springs and moved to Louisville. In his retirement several times each week he would walk to the Louisville wharf to watch the comings and goings of the boats and to meet with other retired rivermen to talk steamboat. (I imagine as these retirees met, the boats got bigger, faster, more elegant, the perils got more perilous, and the men in the stories got more manly). John did this up til the week before he died. It just goes to prove that no matter how long you're removed from the river, once you get mud in your blood you can never get rid of it. Sorry, there is no known cure.