The Mannings had their early origin in Germany and went over to England from Saxony in the fourth and fifth centuries, three branches settling^in Kent county, in Sussex and in Norfolk. The Mannings who came first to America were from Kent. The coat-of-arms was quite similar for all of the surname, and was granted in 1577 to Manning, Downe. Kent County, according to "Burke's Armory," page 656. The motto is, "Better die than submit to disgrace." The first of the name mentioned in the county of Kent was Ranulph de Manning, or Manheim, Lord of Manheim, who married the aunt of King Harold. Simonde Manning, son of Ranulph, possessed lands in Downe and was knighted in the second crusade. He was among the very first of the English barons to take up the cross and go with King Richard to the holy wars in 1190. He was the ancestor
of the line of Manning of Downe, and Gootham, who were knight s-marshal in the household of England's sovereigns for nearly four hundred years. The old manor house of this progenitor was an entailed estate and is still in the Manning family.
During the reign of Henry II (1154-1189) some of the name migrated to Ireland, where there has always since been a large representation of the Manning family. As late as in the reign of King William of Nassau (168-9-1702) there were Mannings in the Emerald Isle who tcok up arms for the restoration of James II. and for their action the greater part of their estates was confiscated and never returned to them. Sir Henry Manning, knight-marshal to Henry VII. married Eleanor Brandon, aunt of the Duke of Suffolk, who was the husband of Mary, sister of Henry VIII and widow of Louis XII of France. She was the grandmother of Lady Jane Grey. Sir Henry s grandson, John Manning, son of Hugh, had a grant of a large part of the possessions of the Earl of Esmond, in Ireland, and joined the Earl' of Essex, about 1600. in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, in an expedition to the land of the Irish people.
Among the early emigrants to America, some Mannings settled in New England and some in Massachusetts. The earliest mention of any person by this name in America is in August. 1635. when the English ship "Globe" left London for the new world with one John Manning on board, born about 1615. as he was then twenty years of age. It is supposed that he settled in Massachusetts, for as early as 1640 a Captain John Manning and wife Abigail were living in Boston. There was a William Manning at Cambridge, admitted a freeman in 1640. His son William left two sons. Samuel and John. Mention is also made of a George Manning, of Boston (1653), who was one of the original proprietors of Sudbury in 1640. By his second wife, Mrs. Hannah Blanchard, he had eleven children, George, John and Joseph being the sons. There was a George Manning who went to St. Johns, New Brunswick, about 1738, among the loyalists, and became one of the grautors of the city. There was a Captain John Manning (about 1659) living near the old boundary line between the colonies of New York and Connecticut.' He became a man of prominence and power, both as a military and civil officer. His name is recorded in the provincial documents of New Jersey as a British army official during the governorship of Philip Carteret, when New Jersey and New York were connected in government. He lived also at Newtown, Long Island, and became the owner of the long narrow island in the East River, owned by a Dutch officer. Captain Francis Fyn, since 1651. It was confiscated and given to Captain John Manning for services to England in the wars with the Dutch. He named it "Manning's Island" and deeded it to his daughter Mary, who married Robert Blackwell, of New Jersey, in 1676, and it became Blackwell's Island, and has borne the name ever since. Robert and Mary (Manning) Blackwell lived there. The Blackwells became prominent among the old merchants of New York.