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Home: Surnames: Manners Family Genealogy Forum

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Re: Researching Manners in NJ
Posted by: David E. Megyesy Date: September 24, 2001 at 19:28:54
In Reply to: Researching Manners in NJ by Jeff DeMarco of 317

I am new to this on-line geneology, but I've been working on this branch of my mother's since 1979. Mom is the granddaughter of James Harrison Manners, who was the youngest son of James Samuel Manners. My g-granddad, James Harrison(1889-1984) told me he could never recall his grand father's name, but told me where James Samuel and Mary Lucy Manners were burried in Frenchtown, NJ (as you drive into the grounds, toward the right near the big tree). He died in 1919, she in 1917. Death certs list no parent's name for him. What puzzled me for almost twenty years of off and on research, I believe, was only resolved a couple of years ago; I'll try to unravell what I think.
This Eunice Manners(b 1822) was the only daughter and eldest child of John S. Manners(b 1801). In an article printed in a Hopewell newspaper from, I belive 1906, was a recollection by a friend of the difficulties that the family faced when the mother died young, and Eunice had to tend to all the boys (I believe the word unruely was used for the boys). James Samuel was born out of wedlock (I've seen the birth record; father's name was "unknown." She had another boy before him, I believe two years so, Oscar Manners (same sketchy birth record). A couple of years after this, her father (John S. Manners) died, leaving her $2,000. She would go on to marry a younger man by the name of Cray, and have childern by him. James Samuel is listed in the 1860 census as being ten years old and living with this family in Hopewell ( the value of the real estate as $1500). The house still stands, with add ons, on the top of the hill on the Amwell Hopewell Road, looking into a valley bound on the north by what would become the Lindberg farm.
James Samuel Manners married Mary Lucy Snyder (everyone called her Lucy) at Lambertville in July of 1871. She gave birth to a daughter in December of that year, who didn't survive infancy and is burried in the Frenchtown plot with her parents and a couple of their sons. The couple was married shortly after the death of Eunice (Cray was since dead). Eunice left her clothing to another daughter (also born out of wedlock), some things to Oscar, and the farm to James Samuel. He would sell the farm, and eventually end up in Trenton working for the Pennsylvannia Rail Road as a foreman in the yards (the men called him "captain" Manners). The reason why this family is burried in Frenchtown is because of Lucy's people being from that area.
I remember a good character discription of James Samuel by his son, my g-granddad James Harrison. I was fortunate to take up this hobby as a teenager in the late seventies, and spent a lot of time talking about the history with him and my granddad James Harriosn Manners jr.. They both knew nothing of any ancestors of James and Lucy, but as my studies reveal there was certainly no reason to talk about it.
I have corresponded with two people over the last fifteen years. 0ne made a copy of Eunice's will. At the NJ state Library, I actually viewed the birth certificates with the missing father's name, but still these correspondents refuse to believe what I now see as obvious (I wished to deny it too, for several years). I've also consulted census returns, the area historical societies, and visited the Stout-Manners Cemetery in East Amwell (Ringoes) to view all the generations before James S. (Captain David, John Jr, and the original John Sr.) In the late seventies I did take down some details which was fortuanate, because the stones have suffered some serious wear and storm damage. I try to stop there every two or three years because it is in such a secluded area that I actually get a very good feeling from such visits.
I believe my deductions are accurate. I've seen enough spotty records to piece it together. The librarians at the NJ State library reach the same conclusions about Eunice: "She liked having babies." I didn't think that amusing, but as librarians, they've seen their share of it. As the years go by (I'm 40), I hope I am more forgiving of the frailities of human nature ( or I try to be with my students at the college where I teach).
I have these things documented somewhere, but if I give only general dates, it is because I am writing this from memory. After spending so much time with it, I am very familiar with the chain of events. Of course, I would be delighted if someone proved me wrong, but the fact is Eunice Manners was born into the Manners family, not married into it. The Doctor and the General really left to issue. The sons of John S. were all accounted for ): David S. would move to NYC, become mayor of Jersey City, then retire to Harlingen, Somerset County (his two sons never married); Theodore's sons all died young; Abraham died before marrying. and Charles and Daniel moved west, ending their days in, I believe Illinois (I have the exact details written down somewhere, but when they left at a young age, they never looked back).
The father of Eunice's two sons and daughter is in question. I believe it was Cray, but only because I recall seeing James Samuel with the last name once. But then perhaps he adopted it from his stepfather.
I seem to be rambling on more then I intended after stumbling onto this website. Please feel free to ask me any questions, I'll try to answer them.


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