W.F. Seymour Howe was born in Gateshead, County Durham, England on 27th July 1878. He must have immigrated to the Innisfail area and trained in Chemistry. Howe had been the mill chemist at Mossman Mill 1903-1907, been manager of Mourilyan Mill for some time, and grew cane in the Mourilyan area prior to being appointed to Mulgrave. He served as Chairman of the Johnstone Shire Council (1917-1919) and was appointed as manager of Mulgrave Mill, after responding to an advertisement placed by the Mill Board in March 1919.
He was a flamboyant, larger-than-life character, who inherited plans to upgrade Mulgrave Mill and carried them out with great determination. In this he was ably assisted by his chief engineer Maxwell (Max) Smith.
Using his training in chemistry, Seymour Howe was forthright in his advice to canegrowers on fertilisers, insisting that a proper balance of nitrogen and potassium was necessary for the efficient production of a cane crop.
Seymour Howe represented Queensland at the second triennial congress of the International Society of Sugar Cane Technologists convened in Havana, Cuba, in 1926. Also at that congress was Norman Bennett, Queensland Government travelling scholar, who was then a student at the Audubon Sugar School in Louisiana, USA. While at the congress, Messrs Howe and Bennett became confirmed in the view that a Queensland branch of the International Society would be of great benefit to the Queensland sugar industry. It was agreed that Bennett should pursue this objective on his return to Brisbane in 1928.
When the Queensland Society of Sugar Cane Technologists was formed in March 1929 after four days of technical discussions, the delegates elected Seymour Howe as President of its first conference in Cairns in 1930. While Seymour Howe was president of the fledgling QSSCT he was fortunate to have as mill staff two highly respected sugar technologists in chemist Myles A. Doolan (Mulgrave period 1924-1950), and engineer Max Smith (Mulgrave period 1920-1945).
During the nineteen-year period when he was manager of Mulgrave (1919-1939), Seymour Howe was active in promoting by-product ventures such as filter-press-molasses mixes as stock feed, and electricity generation for the neighbouring townships of Gordonvale and Edmonton.
There is a monument to Seymour Howe in Norman Park, Gordonvale acknowledging his importance as a pioneer of the sugar industry of Queensland. He died, aged 61 years, on 4th July 1939 in a road accident at the 'Goondi Bend', Innisfail, and is buried, along with his wife Frances Louisa Howe, in the Gordonvale Cemetery.