One of the most remarkable men of Clyde is F.X. Manna, the subject of this sketch. Mr. Manna had the sad misfortune to lose his eyesight when a young man of twenty-six years, while rafting timbers on a river in the logging camps of Wisconsin. He was struck in the eye by a file that had been inserted in a stick; caustic was applied by the oculist who treated him, which destroyed the remaining sight, rendering him totally blind, not discerning daylight from darkness. Though deprived of his sight Mr. Manna possesses a keen intuition and has engaged in almost every enterprise; mercantile, real estate and on down to "swapping" horses, and seldom gets the worst of a deal. He seems contented and reconciled to his fate, gets on in the world, and with these great odds against him is making more of a success in life from a financial standpoint, than many of his fellow townsmen and friends who have two good eyes. His income is about ninety dollars per month.
Mr. Manna located in Clyde in 1867, when there were less than a half dozen buildings in the city. His possessions were less than twenty dollars. He came with friends, among whom were the Bolanges. He worked by the day at odd jobs. Later he rented a shanty and started a confectionery and cigar stand and in that way got his start. He afterward became associated with Francis Girard and opened a saloon. They prospered in this business, accumulated rapidly and within three years they owned three farms. For several years Mr. Manna was interested in Bull Run ferry, three miles above Clyde, and another on the Republican, opposite Clyde. He homesteaded one hundred and sixty acres of land which he sold in 1887 and bought a bottom farm across the Republican river, one and one-half miles from Clyde, which he still owns and has repeatedly refused six thousand dollars for. He owns and erected the building the postoffice is now in, in 1884, at a cost of forty-one hundred dollars, and before the building was erected he refused twenty-seven hundred dollars for the lot. He also put up the building now occupied by Delude Brothers, in 1882, at a cost of about four thousand dollars. He sold this building at one time and subsequently with Mr. Rigneir bought it back again, making a margin of about eight hundred dollars in the deal. He also owns two very desirable cottages in Clyde.
Mr. Manna is a native of Canada, province of Quebec, born in 1836. When quite a young man he went to Wisconsin, where he worked in the pineries until losing his eyesight, as related in the beginning of this sketch. Mr. Manna has never been married. He has two brothers living In the state of Washington, a sister in Rhode Island and a brother in Iowa. He is a member of the Catholic church.
Transcribed from E.F. Hollibaugh's Biographical history of Cloud County, Kansas biographies of representative citizens. Illustrated with portraits of prominent people, cuts of homes, stock, etc. [n.p., 1903] 919p. illus., ports. 28 cm.
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