James Manning was of English descent, his ancestors coming to the colonies in 1646 and he served in the Revolution as colonel and sustained a wound at Valley Forge. His son, James, was born in Maine, then a part of Massachusetts, in 1795, and married Jane Bowness, who was born in County Kent, in England, in 1805 and died in Maine, in 1884. Her father, Isaac Bowness, came to America in 1818 and was superintendent of public works in New Brunswick, receiving a large grant of land which is still in the family. To James and Jane Manning were born our subject on November 21, 1836, in Oldtown, Penobscot County, Maine; Cyrus M., who came to the vicinity of Lewiston, in 1862, worked at lumbering, fought in the Nez Perces war. and was killed in a runaway in 1880; Hamilton died when he was young: William C. who came to California with our subject and was companion with him in all the war hardships, being in Libby prison, was promoted to rank of major and died in 1892; John B., died in Oregon: Mrs. M. A. White, in Lewiston; Mrs. Lydia Cushman, in Spokane.
Our subject was educated in the Oldtown Academy and came to San Francisco, via Panama, in 1859, and mined two years with good success. In August, 1861, he enlisted in Company F, Second California Cavalry, as private and steadily began by merit to rise in rank. He was instrumental in arresting the principal members of the Knights of the Golden Circle on the Pacific coast. He gained the rank of second lieutenant in First California Cavalry and was detailed to organize a battalion to serve in the east. He went east as captain and his five hundred men were the only Californians who fought in the war in the east. He was attached to the Second Massachusetts. He was active in the service until February, 1864, when he was captured and languished in Libby prison, and others.
He was one of six hundred officers placed in Charleston to avoid bombardment of the city. He was in various places and was finally paroled at Raleigh and reached his own lines at Wilmington, North Carolina, in March, 1865, and went after Johnston but he surrendered before he was captured. After a most worthy service in the hardest of the fray, in the keenest of the suffering, the worthy subject of this article was mustered out on July 20, 1865, with rank of major and badly wounded in side and leg. He returned to Maine and remained there until December, 1869, when he went to California and then to Lewiston in 1870. He went to lumbering and farming, taking a preemption close to town which he still owns.
In 1878 Mr. Manning was a member of the tenth senate of the state. He has been clerk of the United States court, serving in 1880 and 1881. He was deputy United States marshal from 1882 to 1886, and district attorney of Kootenai County in 1888 and 1889. Then he took up real estate business and in 1890 he was appointed by the President one of the National Commissioners of the Columbian Exposition which position he held for eight years, since which time Mr. Manning has been giving his attention to fruit raising, milling and real estate.
On September 29, 1855, Mr. Manning married Miss Susan E., daughter of Frank and Elizabeth (Manning) Hawthorne. To them have been born three children: Fred M., proprietor of the Idaho steam laundry, in Lewiston; James A., raising fruit at Lewiston; Charles F., at Post Falls, Idaho. Mr. Hawthorne was born in Massachusetts as were his ancestors for generations back, being a descendant of Nathaniel Hawthorne. Mrs. Manning was born in Bangor, Maine, on December 15, 1836, and was educated in Boston. Her brother Charles is a lumberman in Maine and her brother Frank is a stockman in Colorado.
Mr. Manning is a prominent member of the G. A. R. and his wife affiliates with the Methodist Church. He is one of the prominent and leading men of our County and is highly respected by all.
Back to: Nez Perce Biographies
Source: An Illustrated History of Northern Idaho, Embracing Nez Perce, Idaho, Latah, Kootenai and Shoshone Counties, Western Historical Publishing Company, 1903
1 thought on “Biography of Honorable George A. Manning”
Just including for your records, a letter written by George A. Manning. The “Observer” to whom he refers was a correspondent for the Oregonian and Statesman newspapers for many years. He wrote as a political correspondent in Oregon and Idaho, at different times, and as a traveling correspondent to many of the mining sites during the prospecting heydays. There were previously written letters that invoked Mr. Manning’s reply, as follows:
April 9, 1879 – (Idaho Avalanche, Silver City, Owyhee County, Idaho, p. 1, c. 3)
“A Reviewer Reviewed by G. A. M..
“April 5, 1879.
“Editor Idaho Avalanche:
“In your issue of the 15th ult., a writer signing himself ‘Observer of Observer,’ attempts to correct a statement made in a former issue in regard to ‘Bills that did not Pass,’ signed ‘Observer.’ He also refers to me with a desire to be enlightened on several points.
“I cannot see where ‘Observer of, etc.,’ can take issue with ‘observer,’ as I find by looking over my file of the Avalanche that ‘Observer’ merely corrected a statement made by your Boise correspondent, which was incorrect, and ‘Observer of, etc.,’ does not contradict it, and certainly knows that ‘Observer’ is right.
“‘Observer of, etc.,’ is certainly right when he states that I approved and favored the militia bill, and I believe the members of the Council will bear me out in the assertion that I made due effort to have the bill passed. The ‘worst features’ alluded to by ‘Observer’ was probably the clause that authorized the Commander-in-Chief to revoke any commission at his pleasure, which was giving him more power than has the President of the United States or the General of the U. S. Army, as no officer can be deprived of his commission until after due trial and conviction by a court martial.
“Another ‘worst feature’ that was probably alluded to by ‘Observer’ was the appointing of the Quartermaster and Commissary Generals by the Commander-in-Chief, where a law of Congress expressly provides that they shall be elected by the people. Of course, the bill provided that the above officers should have a lower rank, but as some of the members thought we should follow all well established precedents in regard to those officers, I agreed with them.
“There were several other clauses stricken out and amendments made which did not in the least impair the usefulness of the bill, and it passed the Council by a fair majority.
“As to the question of why the bill was postponed in the Council two whole days, I would say that it was done for the purpose of having the bill printed so that every member might have a printed copy before him so that he could act and vote understandingly on it, and would also say that it is no unusual thing for an important bill to be postponed for two days, or even longer. The bill was certainly sent to the House in time for that body to have passed it if they had desired to do so. I suppose they can give good and sufficient reasons for not doing so.
“As ‘Observer of, etc.,’ has not attempted to refute any statement made by ‘Observer’ in his letter of February 22d, I have come to the conclusion that he only took that as a text, and wandered very far from his subject to give our late honorable body a fling, as did ‘M’ in your issue of the 8th inst., both of which, no doubt, emanated from the same brain.
“I do not claim that we had all the talent of the Territory in our last Legislative Assembly. That there were plenty of men who were better qualified to represent the people there is no doubt, but when I hear a man carping and growling and telling what he would have done if he had been there, I make up my mind that the people among whom he lives know better than to send him there.
“And now, Mr. Observer of, or any other man, if you have any fault to find with our late honorable body, come out like a man, over your own signature and we will try to meet you on a square footing; you know it is cowardly to use personalities under an assumed name, and I am sure you would not do anything of the kind, especially after your military training. Would be glad to hear from you again and will answer any question you may ask if I can, but let me know who I am talking to.
“Geo. A. Manning.”