Edwin C. Manning, of Winfield, one of the strong pioneer characters, of Kansas, is well known to the public through the part he took in state affairs in an early day, through his loyalty as a soldier and his work as a newspaper man, but most of all for the part he had in the organization of Cowley county and the location of its county seat at Winfield, the town he founded and helped to build. His name is intimately connected with the history of that county and the city's formative period, and his has been the pleasure of witnessing the transition and development of that unbroken prairie land, uninhabited save by Indians and wild game to one of the richest farming districts of the state. He has seen Winfield grow from one log cabin to a city of 8,000 inhabitants; a city presenting one of the most beautiful panoramic views to be found in the state, with its stately shade trees, its clustered spires, groups of college buildings and accompanying grounds, and fine school buildingsthe view being accompanied by the hum of many and varied industries, and the city's personnel being one of exceptional progressiveness and culture.
Colonel Manning was born amid the hills of the northern Adirondacks, at Redford, N. Y., Nov. 7, 1838. His father, Louis Frederick Manning, was born on the ocean, Jan. 14, 1814, while his parents, Louis Manning and wife, were making their voyage from France to America. They were French Huguenots and settled in Montreal, Canada, where the father engaged in the lumber business. Louis Frederick Manning was reared and educated in Canada by his uncle, Henry Manning, his father having died when he was two years of age. After leaving his uncle he learned the trade of glass cutting, which trade he followed for fifteen years, ten years of that time having been spent in Burlington, Vt.
At Redford, N. Y., he married Mary Patch, born in 1812. She was a daughter of Samuel Patch, born Aug. 24, 1774, in Massachusetts, and who served as a soldier of the war of 1812. His father, Abraham Patch, was a native of Littleton, Mass., born March 1, 1739. The Patch family was an old one in New England, having been established there in the Seventeenth Century by ancestors from England. Louis F. and Mary (Patch) Manning came westward to Dubuque county, Iowa, in 1852, and there engaged in farming until 1856, when they removed to Jackson county, Iowa. There the mother of Colonel Manning died, in 1858. His father survived until Feb. 2, 1889, when he too passed away. He was originally a Whig, but became a Republican upon the organization of that party. In church faith he was a Methodist. He and his wife were the parents of five children: Edwin C., Cyrenus S. (deceased), Gilman L., Edgar F., and Samuel A.
Colonel Manning spent his early youth in Vermont, and the common school education begun there was completed in Iowa. From 1856 to 1859 he alternately engaged in teaching and in attending Maquoketa Academy, where he completed the course in 1858. In 1859 he came to Kansas and located at Marysville, where he became editor of the "Democratic Platform," having previously learned to set type. Though a Republican in his personal views he remained in charge of that paper until July, 1860, when a storm came and scattered the plant to the four winds. Its owner, Frank J. Marshall, a stanch Democrat, said he was glad of it, as he would rather see it destroyed than to have it print Republican sentiments. Edwin C. Manning was a young man, poor in purse but strong in energy, determination, and the power of accomplishment, and though the struggle for a living was a hard one in that day, his subsequent business career was one of success. He was serving as postmaster at Marysville when Lincoln made his call for troops in 1861. He promptly responded to the call by resigning as postmaster and enlisting as a private in Company H, Second Kansas infantry. He was commissioned sergeant, however, and later was made first lieutenant. He served with his regiment in the Army of the Frontier until 1863, when he resigned and returned to Marysville, where he helped to organize and was made colonel of a militia regiment for frontier protection, the same being armed by the Federal government. He also resumed newspaper work as publisher of the "Big Blue Union." In 1864 he was elected state senator and served one term, representing Marshall, Washington and Riley counties. In 1866 he removed his publishing plant to Manhattan, where he established the "Kansas Radical," which is still extant as the "Nationalist." After conducting that publication two years, however, he sold it and, in 1869, removed to the vicinity of what is now Winfield, where he entered into a contract with the Osage Indian tribe for a tract of land. This contract, which Colonel Manning still has in his possession, is as follows:
"Winfield, Cowley county, Kansas, Jan. 18, 1870.
"Received of E. C. Manning six dollars, for which I, Chetopah, a chief of the Osage Indian tribe, guarantee a peaceful and unmolested occupancy of 160 acres of land on the reservation, for one year from date.
This contract secured to Colonel Manning the peaceful occupancy of that tract of land, which later became the original town site of Winfield. The first forty acres platted embraced what is now that portion of the city north of Ninth street and west of the east side of Main street. In the same month, prior to his contract with the Indians, he had organized the Winfield Town Company and, having some knowledge of surveying, had located the line of Main street by the North Star at night, determining by mathematical calculations the magnetic variations, as there were no surveying instruments in that region at that time. A later survey by the government disclosed a variation of but fifteen degrees by its established magnetic meridian. In the previous months of October and November Colonel Manning had erected a log cabin near the north end of what is now Manning street, and in this cabin the town company was organized, in January, 1870. The town was named Winfield at the suggestion of Rev. Winfield Scott, a Baptist clergyman at Leavenworth, who had said: "If you are going to start a town there and will give it my name, Winfield, I will go down and build a house of worship for you." As the town company adopted the name of Winfield Reverend Scott kept his part of the pledge and, with local aid, erected a church building in Winfield, which is still standing on Millington street, between Seventh and Eighth streets. The first residence to be built on the original town site of Winfield was a balloon framed structure erected by Colonel Manning, in January and February, 1870, and was located at the corner of Manning and Eighth streets, the site now occupied by the Doane lumber yard. To this cottage Colonel Manning removed his family from Manhattan. Other claims now incorporated in the town of Winfield, besides that of Colonel Manning, are those of A. A. Jackson, C. M. Wood and W. W. Andrews. On Christmas day, 1869, there arrived at Colonel Manning's cabin the following party of men: Prof. H. B. Norton, G. H. Norton, Judge Brown, T. A. Wilkinson, H. D. Kellogg and John Brown. They brought with them a letter from Lieut.-Gov. C. V. Eskridge, Hon. Jacob Stotter and Preston B. Plumb requesting that Colonel Manning should coöperate with this party in establishing a town at the mouth of the Walnut river, in Cowley county. The present site of Winfield appeared to be at about the junction of the Walnut and Arkansas rivers, the point designated in the letter, according to the map of the state at that time. Colonel Manning accompanied the party, which camped the first night in the low bottom woodland south of Timber creek and near its mouth, the stream being known at that time by the Indian name of "Lagonda," As Colonel Manning had previously explored that section he advised that the junction of the two rivers would be too far south for the proposed metropolis. As a precautionary measure, for fear Colonel Manning's views were correct, the party spent the second day in staking out claims, covering all the beautiful and fertile valley south of Timber creek and east and north of Walnut river. The third day, December 27, the party moved southward and camped that night at the mouth of the Walnut river. The following day Judge Brown and Colonel Manning started in search of the state line. After weary hours of travel, over bluffs and through briers and brush, they found the surveyor's marks, which showed that the line crossed the Arkansas river near the mouth of Grouse creek. Colonel Manning swam the river on his horse at this point and recrossed the river about two miles above the mouth of the Walnut river, breaking the ice at each point and arriving at camp about dusk. The party decided on the present site of Arkansas City and named the prospective city Delphi. Later the name was changed to Cresswell and then to Arkansas City. Colonel Manning returned to his claim and, on Jan. 1, 1870, located A. A. Menor and Col. H. C. Loomis upon two of the abandoned claims. The nearest postoffice and the nearest official who could administer an oath was twenty miles away. Colonel Manning sent for the neighborhood mail several times a week and was taking the "Daily Capital Commonwealth." Through its columns, in February, 1870, he discovered that a bill had been introduced in the senate to organize Cowley county and to establish the county seat at Cresswell. Lieutenant-Governor Eskridge, president of the senate; Hon. Jacob Stotler, speaker of the house of representatives; and Senator Preston B. Plumb, all residents of Emporia; were members of the Cresswell Town Company. The situation required immediate action to save the day to Winfield. Colonel Manning hastily dispatched J. H. Laud, C. M. Wood and A. A. Jackson to the valley of the Arkansas, Walnut and Grouse rivers, there to secure the names of all the settlers and to report to him at Douglass, three days later, with an enumeration of at least 600 settlers. They met at Douglass, Feb. 23, as agreed, before 'Squire Lamb, made a sworn statement as to the census taken, and signed a petition requesting Gov. James M. Harvey to issue a proclamation organizing Cowley county and designating Winfield as the county seat. With this petition and enumeration Colonel Manning hastened to Topeka, 200 miles distant. At the time of his arrival the bill was being read for the third time before the senate. He failed to secure its defeat in the senate, but his friend, Hon. John Guthrie, a member from Topeka, by shrewd tactics prevented a vote on the bill in the lower house until the legislature adjourned three days later. On February 28 Colonel Manning took his papers to Governor Harvey, who acted favorably on the petition. The settlers at the mouth of Walnut river did not learn of the defeat of their bill until several days after the legislature adjourned, nor that the county was organized with Winfield as the county seat. Colonel Manning helped to establish the first store in Winfield; served as the first postmaster; raised the first wheat in Cowley county; and, in the fall of 1870, served as the first representative from Cowley county. He was reëlected to the legislature, in 1878, his legislative service consisting, in all, of two terms as representative and one term as senator from Marshall county. Although Congress had passed an act, July 15, 1870, for the purchase of the Osage reservation, it was not until January, 1871, that the government survey was made. The first tract of land entered was the Winfield town site and the second entry was the eighty acres owned by Colonel Manning. The town of Winfield began to build up immediately and, in 1876, Colonel Manning erected the square of buildings known as the Manning Block. He was admitted to the bar, in 1872, and practiced some. He also edited a newspaper in Winfield two years. In 1880 he went to New Mexico on account of ill health and remained there two years. He then became a resident of Washington, D. C., where he remained until 1896. He was there engaged in the management and direction of a creosote plant, located at Wilmington, N. C., and in securing railroad franchises at various points throughout the South. In 1896 he returned to Winfield, where he is actively engaged in local affairs and in the management of his considerable holdings in business and residence property. In 1910 he was appointed a member of the municipal commission of Winfield, which has charge of the $250,000 water and light plant, and of this body he was chosen chairman.
In 1860 Colonel Manning married Delphine Pope of Jackson county, Iowa, who bore him three children: Benjamin, deceased; Martha (Goodwin); and Ernest Frederick, who was the first white child to be born in Winfield and is now an expert mechanic at Bridgeport, Conn. Mrs. Manning died Feb. 20, 1873, and, in 1874, Colonel Manning married Margaret J. Foster. Of their union were born two daughters. One is Mrs. Margaret Belle Murphy of Kansas City, Mo., and the other is deceased. The third marriage of Colonel Manning occurred when Miss Linia Hall became his wife. She is the daughter of Lot Hall, a native of Massachusetts, who spent his entire life in his native state. Colonel Manning is a Republican in politics. Fraternally he is a member of Siverd Post, No. 85, Grand Army of the Republic, and of the Kansas branch of the National Loyal Legion. He is a member of the Masonic order and of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. He has also achieved distinction as a journalist, his articles having been sought and published by various journals of the state. One of the best articles from his pen was that entitled, "The Passing of Ingalls," published by the "Winfield Courier," in 1896. Colonel Manning was made president of the Kansas State Historical Society on Dec. 6, 1910. He has just published a book, under the title of "Autobiography, Historical and Miscellaneous," which will be found in some of the public libraries of the state and on a shelf in the State Historical Society.Pages 1260-1264 from volume III, part 2 of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed December 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM195. It is a two-part volume 3.
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