Thomas Mannix, deceased, was one of the self-made men of Rockford [Winnebago County, Illinois], who, improving business opportunities, worked his way steadily upward from an humble financial position to one of affluence. He settled there in pioneer days, becoming a resident of the city in 1841 and he conducted the first express business here. He was born in County Clare, Ireland, December 22, 1821, and his parents both died in that country in his youth. He was then reared by his grandmother and an uncle and he attended the common schools of Ireland and acquired a fair education. He was a young man when he landed on the shores of the United States and he made his way to Vermont, where he worked as a laborer. He was also employed as a farm hand in that locality, where he continued to reside for several years.
It was while making his home in Vermont that Mr. Mannix was married to Miss Margaret Leahy, a native of Ireland, who died in Rockford, in 1865. They became the parents of four children, of whom two are now living: Marie, the wife of Leonard H. Schmauss, the president of the Schmauss Company of Rockford and one of the leading business men here; and Ellen, the wife of Edward Condon, residing upon a farm near Kishwaukee. In 1866 Mr. Mannix was again married, his second wife bearing the maiden name of Katherine Connelly. She, too, was born in Ireland and her parents, John and Mary (Doyle) Connelly, were both natives of that country, where they spent their entire lives. Their daughter Katherine and her brother came to the United States together and settled in Rockford, where the brother died and where the sister was married. Three children were born of the second union: Thomas J., who married Ellen Condon and is engaged in the meat business; Katherine J., the wife of Edward Schmauss, who is traveling agent for the Schmauss Company and resides in Rockford; and Frederick, who died at the age of eighteen months. Mr. and Mrs. Schmauss make their home with her mother, Mrs. Mannix, and they have three children, Edna, Katherine and Alta.
Following his first marriage Mr. Mannix came to Rockford in 1841 and is well known to all its citizens as the first expressman of this place, beginning business here with an old two-wheeled dray. As the years advanced and the city grew his business also expanded until it reached extensive and profitable proportions. He had a very large patronage in his later years and derived a good income therefrom. Becoming suddenly ill with heart trouble he died December 15, 1895. He exercised his right of franchise in support of the men and measure of the democracy and he belonged to the St. James Catholic church, of which his wife and children are also communicants. There were no thrilling incidents in his career, but no history represented in this volume can serve as a better illustration to young men of the power of indefatigable industry and unswerving integrity in insuring success. Mrs. Mannix owns and occupies a residence at No. 604 South Fourth street and with her reside Mr. and Mrs. Schmauss and their children. The Schmauss Company are the large meat packers of Rockford and the family have attained wealth enough through the conduct of extensive business interests.
Source: Charles A. Church, Past and Present of the City of Rockford and Winnebago County, Illinois (Chicago: S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1905), p. 407.