Early years

Robert E. Howard was the son of Hester Jane Ervin Howard,[citation needed] and lived in Cross Plains, in the west-central part of Texas.

A prideful Texan going as Bob Howard, he studied history as a hobby, and was admirative of the heroes of the Alamo: Travis, Bowie and Crockett, who held the fort against the Mexicans led by Santa Anna in 1836. Their sacrifice had given the resolve that led to the creation of a people, a republic, then a state, and bought Sam Houston the tim that allowed him to triumph at San Jacinto.

He became a writer, producing stories of all kinds (boxing, horror, historical, and even poetry, but those didn't sold) edited in pulps, 10 cents magazines such as Argosy, Flight Stories, and Weird Tales, who printed most of his tales, including his tales about King Kull of Valusia (though not all were accepted). King Kull, Solomon Kane, and Bran Mak Morn, were the most popular of the heroes he wrote about.[1] It remains unknown how Howard came to write about Kull, Solomon Kane, and Bran Mak Morn, heroes established to be existing in the same universe as he.


In February 1932, unable to write proper stories and sell them for months, he went to San Antonio, in south central Texas, to witness the Alamo, hoping it would help get back at writing. While looking for antiques, he was approached by Ranjit Topi from Calcutta. He then took the bus with Ranjit Topi for Rio Grande City, Topi interrogating Howard on his career, while mentioning his own experience during Chiang Kai-Shek's march into Shanghai three years before, or the massacre of foreigners that occurred at Nanking one month later, to the in-comfort to Howard.

Arriving at Rio Grande City, they parted ways. Howard went to buy a sombrero and a serape, and disguised himself as a Mexican. He went into the Mexican part of town, and pondered whether or not he should enter into a cantina that didn't welcome non-Mexicans.

In a reverie, he entered the cantina:

There, he overheard Ranjit Topi conversing with smugglers. He was spotted as a gringo by the waitress, Carmelita, who came to Topi to warn them about speaking of their business aloud. The smugglers and Topi took Howard outside and intended to gut him. Howard was able to smack one of them but was struck by a blade, fell into the Rio Grande, and was thought dead.
He managed to regain the shore, and followed Carmelita to the smugglers rendezvous. There, he attacked the group, disabling many thugs and Topi before being hit from behind by Carmelita. Recovering from the hit, he pursued Carmelita atop a water reservoir, and threw her into a mud pond.
Immediately, his exploits formed in his mind the hero he was looking for. At that instant, he had a vision of a black-maned barbarian appearing before him, uttering the words "I am Conan, a Cimmerian".

Awakening from his reverie, he decided not to enter the cantina, and rather take the bus back home. He soon began to wrote the story he had in mind for Weird Tales, cannibalizing parts of a Kull story rejected by the editor years before into "The Phoenix on the Sword", and establishing at the same time Hyboria and the Hyborian Age.[1]


Robert's mother became ill. The last words written by Robert were the following:

All fled, all done,
so lift me on the pyre;
The feast is over
and the lamps expire.

June 11, 1936, in the morning, Robert went to his mother's bedside and asked the nurse, Mrs. Green, if there any chance for her to regain consciousness. Devastated by the answer, he went to his car, entered it and, after rememorating his various creations, shot himself, dying at the age of 30 years, 4 months, and 19 days.

His mother died the next day. The funeral services were held at 10 A.M, Sunday morning, June 14, at the Baptist Tabernacle, Cross Plains. They were buried in Greenleaf Cemetery, Brownwood, Texas, at 1 P.M., the same day.[2]


Bob Howard was "pretty handy" with his fists.[1]

Discover and Discuss


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Savage Sword of Conan #200; Barbarians of the Border
  2. Epic Illustrated #34; Death of a Legend
  3. Savage Sword of Conan #200; The Father of Conan, by Glenn Lord
  4. Conan: Serpent War #1
  5. Conan: Serpent War #1; Director's Cut

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