Howard Hearnes Carwile (November 14, 1911 – June 6, 1987) was an American lawyer and politician.

Howard Hearnes Carwile
Member of the Virginia House of Delegates
from the 35th district
In office
January 9, 1974 – January 14, 1976
Preceded byWilliam Ferguson Reid
Succeeded byGerald Baliles
Personal details
Born(1911-11-14)November 14, 1911
Charlotte County, Virginia, U.S.
DiedJune 6, 1987(1987-06-06) (aged 75)
Richmond, Virginia, U.S.
Political partyIndependent
Spouse(s)Violet Talley
Alma materAlma White College
Southeastern University

Early and family lifeEdit

Howard Carwile was born in Charlotte County, Virginia, to parents Willis Early Carwile (May 6, 1873 – May 10, 1950) and Allie Taylor (July 2, 1887 – November 23, 1968); they were tenant tobacco farmers. Howard was one of 13 children. His great-great-grandfather Jacob Carwile, served as a soldier in the American Revolutionary War.

In 1948, he married Violet Virginia Talley (January 28, 1918 – October 21, 1994), daughter of John C. Talley (May 8, 1882 – ?) and Virginia Magnetta Cullingsworth (March 27, 1895 – Feb. 1986), and a divorced beautician.[1] Howard and Violet had one son, Howard H. Carwile, Jr., and one grandchild, Taylor Lane Carwile. Both Howard and Violet died in Richmond, Virginia.



Howard Carwile was known as a fiery, passionate trial attorney in Richmond, Virginia. He opposed the Byrd Organization in his early years, a machine of Conservative Democrats led by Harry Flood Byrd which dominated Virginia's politics from the 1920s until the mid-1960s.

Carwile represented many black clients as a trial lawyer in the 1940s through 1960s in Richmond. He was an ever-vigilant watchdog over the Richmond Police Department and champion for reform of Virginia's prisons and a general political gadfly. He was known for his colorful rhetoric in public, such as calling a city-hall boondoggle he disliked a "horrendous heap of hokum" and his campaign style, including an automobile completely covered in Carwile bumper-stickers. He was appreciated by Richmonders for his verbal theatrics, and in the 1970s it was not uncommon to hear someone say he or she was "shocked and appalled", a frequent Carwile exclamation. His case against Richmond Newspapers concerning an editorial by the Richmond Times-Dispatch reached the Virginia Supreme Court in 1954 and was decided in his favor.[2] A collection of his papers is housed in the Special Collections and Archives section of the library of Virginia Commonwealth University.

Government offices heldEdit

Served on Virginia House committees:

  • Health, Welfare & Institutions
  • Militia and Police


Published and broadcast worksEdit

  • Weekly columnist for the Richmond Afro-American newspaper
  • Published Speaking from Byrdland, a compilation of his weekly radio programs decrying racial segregation
  • Autobiography Carwile, His Life and Times, published June 1988 ISBN 1-55618-043-8

Clean up City Hall – every crevice and crack;
Purge the parasite and liquidate the quack.
Carwile in Council will be something new;
He will represent all but the privileged few.
"The Taxpayers Candidate"

— Howard Carwile, From his handbill as an unsuccessful candidate for Richmond City Council in 1962


  1. ^ Virginia Marriage record of June 7, 1948 available on
  2. ^ Howard H. Carwile v. Richmond Newspapers, Inc, 196 Va. 1 (Supreme Court of Virginia 1954).

External linksEdit