About Elias Howell's life beyond politics, nothing is handed down. His life data are given only incomplete in the sources. He attended the common schools. In 1819 he moved to Newark, Ohio. In the 1820s he joined the movement against the future President Andrew Jackson and became a member of the founded in the 1830s Whig party. Between 1830 and 1832 he sat in the Senate of Ohio.
In the congressional elections of 1834, Howell was in the twelfth electoral district of Ohio in the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington DC chosen, where he became the successor of Robert Mitchell on March 4, 1835. Since he resigned in 1836 to further candidacy, he was able to complete only one term in Congress until March 3, 1837. This was determined by the discussions on the policies of President Jackson. Elias Howell died in May 1844 in Newark. His son James (1816-1880) was a U.S. Senator for the State of Iowa.