Brave And Valiant, Meaning Of Name—Early Grants Of Land In England—Knighted In The Holy Wars
Manning is from an old Norse word—manningi— meaning a brave or valiant man, and one of the first forms of the name was Mannin; another orthography was Mannyng.
One historian gives a Saxon origin for the family, which he calls "ancient and noble." According to him, Manning was the name of a town in Saxony, and from thence the family of Great Britain sprung. Others make Mannheim, Germany, the cradle of the family, and begin its history, with Ranulph, or Rudolph de Manning, Count Palatine, who, having married Elgida, aunt to King Harold L, of England, had a grant of land in Kent. His name is also written de Mannheim— Budolph of Mannheim.
His place in Kent was Downe Court, and there the Mannings have been a power ever since. Simon de Manning, called a grandson of Ranulph, was the first of the English barons to take up the cross, and go forth to the Holy Wars. He was a companion of Richard I., Cceur de Lion, and knighted on the battlefield. We can easily see where the cross, of the coat-of-arms illustrated, comes from. At Downe Court these arms are seen graven upon tombstones of the Mannings. By the thirteenth century the family was well represented in over a score of countries, and several towns bear their names—Manningham, Yorkshire, and Mannington, Norfolk.
In the "new world" the Mannings have always been well represented. In 1634, William of Kent, made a home at Cambridge, Mass.; about the same time we find John and Thomas at Ipswich; another John and George at Boston; in 1662, Nicholas at Salem, Mass., and in 1676 Jeffrey Manning in New Jersey. The story of a forefather who "ran away" should come in right here, but details are lacking to make the story complete, and where he ran from or what he ran for must be left to the imagination.
William of Cambridge is regarded as the ancestor of the Mannings of Vermont, Connecticut, and New York. His grandsons were Ohio pioneers.
A few years ago, and perhaps at the present, the house Samuel, grandson of William, built at Billerica was standing; for 175 years it was the home of the Mannings, and possibly it, or the other, is still owned by the family. The house, a frame one, was built of brick on the north side, like all houses of the time.
William, of Cambridge, and Susannah, his wife, had one son, William, born 1614, in England—perhaps their only child. He married Dorothy, and they had five children—two were sons. He was a surveyor, selectman, member of the grand jury, and one of the pillars of the church. When it was decided to call a new pastor, he was sent to England to ask Rev. Urian Oakes to accept the position, which he did, and later he became president of Harvard. To William Manning, Jr., and John Cooper was entrusted the task of collecting funds for the building of Harvard Hall.
In 1635, Thomas and John Manning, born in England, were living in Virginia. Stephen Mannering (not Manning, although this may have been the correct spelling), in 1677, confessed, with others: "We have bin notoriously actors in ye late horrid rebellion, set on foot by Nathaniel Bacon." We confess ourselves traitors and will never, no never do so again, is the sum and substance of the confession, although not exactly thus worded.
Mme. Washington, wife of Colonel John Washington, said to Manning, "If you had been advised by your wife you would not have come to this pass." "Madame," he replied, "if I were to doe, I could doe it again." We all
admire his spirit, and, in passing, we ask, did any man ever follow his wife's advice; indeed, did he ever ask it?
In Spottsylvania County, Va., Andrew and James Manning were living about 1770, and in Princess Anne county, Henry K. Manning. The family was prominent in South Carolina, where there is a town, Manning, in Clarendon County. Thomas Manning was one of the Council of Safety, S. C, in 1775.
The picturesque figure of this story is Captain John Manning, whose career, on both land and water, was noteworthy. He was born in England. In 1667 we find him high sheriff of New York City, a judge, and a commander on the high seas, "fit for any employment in the militia," as the Earl of Clarendon wrote to the King. In 1673, the Dutch fleet arrived with the enterprising purpose of annexing Manhattan Island.
Demanding the surrender of Fort James, it was given up, and straightway Captain John returned to England to explain to the King how impossible it was to hold the fort with but a handful of men. The King, turning to the Duke of York, said, "Brother, the ground could not be maintained with so few men." Manning was thus exonerated, and returned to New York in the same ship with Governor Andros. At one time the Captain was fined twenty shillings, because it was said that he had traded with the Dutch, and his vessel was advertised to be "sould at Milford, on Tuesday next, at three o'clock in ye afternoon by an inch of a candell, he that offers most to have her."
The Captain spent his last years on what is now called Blackwell's Island, New York City. He owned the island, and it was called Manning, or Manningham. His stepdaughter, Mary, married, in 1676, Robert Blackwell, and the island has since gone by this name. It is not known whether the Captain had any children.
The family has its war record, and one to be proud of. Representatives are found in all colonial wars. Benjamin, Daniel, David, Thomas, and Samuel were among the number. Diah (where did he pick up this name?),