Born near Savannah, Georgia, and as an adult became a citizen of Liberty County. His emergence into public life occurred in 1779 when he organized the General Assembly which met at Augusta, Georgia. In November of that year, George Walton was elected governor, while Howley was named to his executive council.
There was at that time another political faction called the "Supreme Executive Council" headed by John Wereat. It opposed the group headed by Howley. The two factions eventually merged and elected Howley governor on January 4, 1780. Howley was also elected a delegate to the Continental Congress, but it was several months before he was able to leave for Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where it convened.
The situation in Georgia was such that Howley was forced to flee to New Bern, North Carolina, in May 1780 with the state's paper money and archives. It was not until July 6, 1780, that he took his seat in the Continental Congress. Howley made his home at Sunbury after the Revolutionary War, but died at Savannah, Georgia, in December 1784.
From "Sweet Land of Liberty, A History of Liberty County, Georgia" by Robert Long Groover; Appendix Number 39, Page(s) 221; Used by the permission of the Liberty County Commissioners Office