JAMES DAVID MANNING. Scotch determination and Irish wit make a combination of blood of which much of our vigorous Americanism is made and the resultant of its union in our counting houses, the professions, the shops and in the fields build into the fabric of our national life those dominant characteristics which distinguish us as a republic. The Scotch-Irish amalgam sails the seas, tunnels the earth, digs canals, wins battles and victories everywhere and is a race always to be reckoned with in a struggle for industrial supremacy. They are everywhere on our frontier building homes and establishing institutions which advance our civilization and from this great body of rural settlers much of the generations of the future will come. Inconspicuous among this vast throng, though earnest and positive as a citizen in his sphere, is James David Manning, of Wise county, whose name introduces this personal sketch.
In this article the Irish Manning and the Scotch Stephens is united in the authorship of our subject, and while their relationship with the pure bloods of each is a remote one, it is sufficient, even in the names, to identify the stock and to satisfy posterity of the genuineness of its origin. The paternal grandfather of our subject was a native of the state of North Carolina, and his vocation was that of a farmer. He lived in Alabama, at an early period of his mature life, and passed away in Mississippi. Among his children were: Robert, father of our subject; David, Henry and yet others, and in 1837 the family advanced a step farther west and settled in DeSoto county, Mississippi. In this vicinity Robert Manning met his future wife, and the union of the Mannings and the Stephens was made.
Robert Manning was born in 1812 and died in DeSoto county, Mississippi, in 1865. Farming was his vocation also, and prior to the war overseeing slaves was his station. He was not actively in the Confederate service during the rebellion, but was a militiaman and aided the southern cause as a Home Guard in his state. His wife was Sarah J. Stephens, a daughter of Pierce Stephens, whose other children were: George W., Eaton, Elijah and Ann, wife of Mr. Jennings. In 1869 Mrs. Manning brought her family of grown and growing children out to the Lone Star state and settled a farm north of Decatur, in Wise county. Until 1878 she was permitted to live among and guide and counsel her children, but that year she passed away, having been the mother of: Jane, wife of H. T. Bernard, of Wise county; Narcissa, who died in Mississippi as the wife of Joseph Williams; Sallie, who passed away in Sebastian county, Arkansas, as the wife of Joe Tidwell; Mary Helen, wife of Ben Shreves, of Jack county; Nannie, who married Lawson Reeves, of Oklahoma, and Mattie E., wife of Jerre Adams, of Wise county.
J. David Manning was born in DeSoto county, Mississippi, July 27, 1852, and at the age of fifteen years he accompanied the family by rail to New Orleans, by boat to Galveston, and by rail again to Calvert, Texas. They reached Decatur in course of a long drive and found a few rude houses dotted about on the Proctor hill. Here he subsequently attended school three months, one Crowell being the master in charge. In a few years he joined George M. Stephens‘ Ranger company, which traversed the counties of Clay, Jack, Young and Archer while scouting for the red man, and not infrequently did they come into contact with their wily foe.
On August 3, 1873, nine of the scouts, including Mr. Manning, encountered three hundred and fifty Indians on the East Wichita river, in Archer county, and from eleven in the morning until sunset lay in a ravine and defended themselves with Winchester and six-shooter, making havoc among the band, killing the chief and driving them to cover with their dead. Captain Stephens was wounded in the fight and it was his advice that before the Indians’ return from disposing of the chief the Rangers had better escape a charge and probable extermination by then striking the trail, and this they did, later on hearing the blood-thirsty band, disappointed and in pursuit. At another time thirty-seven Rangers fought some three hundred Indians in Loving’s Valley, losing in the engagement two men and many horses, and in this little scrimmage Mr. Manning also participated.
When he located to himself and undertook the battle of civil life Mr. Manning settled farther north of Decatur, where he lived some fifteen years, and improved and ultimately sold a fairly good farm. He then added his presence to the community in which he is now an honored resident, and began the grubbing out of a new farm and the building of a new home. He bought a hundred acres in the brush, built him a small box house out of lumber hauled from Sunset for the purpose. He began raising corn and cotton and prosperity came to him in proportion to the other effort he extended. He bought other land from timte to time and brought it under plow until two hundred and seventy of his three hundred and fifty-one acres bring him an annual crop.
August 25,1875, J. D. Manning and Miss Millie Guinn were married. Mrs. Manning was a daughter of John Guinn, who came to Texas from Louisiana, where she was born in 1857. Mr. Guinn married a Thompson, and Mrs. Manning was one of five children resulting from their union. The children born to J. D. and Millie Manning were: Carro, who died at the age of twenty-three as the wife of George Blythe, left issue, Earnest, Vera and Clarence; Dora, wife of N. G. McClain, is the mother of Hershell and Roy; John R., Marion D., Dee, Homer J., Buford H., Thomas Merl, Calvin and Escal.
Mr. Manning has held no public office other than a member of the school board, is a Democrat and communes in the Baptist church.
Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. II, pp. 93-94.