The Manning Association

Incorporated in 1901 to Preserve the

Manning Manse of North Billerica, Massachusetts


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Manning Genealogy

Numbers next to names are Indices from Manning Genealogy.

2. William Manning (son of 1. William Manning)
b. Circa 1614 England; d. March 14, 1691 Cambridge, Mass.

m. Dorothy (Maiden name unknown)(date amd place unknown)
(b. circa 1612 England; d. July 26, 1692 Cambridge, Mass.)
4. Hannah (b. June 21, 1642, Cambridge, Mass.)
5. Samuel (b. July 21, 1644, Cambridge, Mass.)
6. Sarah (b.Jan. 28, 1646, Cambridge, Mass.)
7. Abigail (b. Jan. 15, 1648, Cambridge, Mass)
8. John (b. Mar. 31, 1649, Cambridge, Mass.)
9. Mary (b. Circa 1651, Cambridge, Mass.)
10. (Timothy ? uncertain)

William Manning (Sr.) and his son William both traveled to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in approximately 1634. It is not known whether they traveled on the same ship. William Manning's first wife, whose name is no longer known, died during the voyage. After arrival, he was to remarry. This second wife, named Susannah (her maiden name is no longer known), would die at Cambridge on Oct. 16, 1650.

Immediately following their arrival in the Colony, the Manning family took temporary lodgings in Roxbury for nine or ten weeks. Being of some means (by modern standards probably comfortable middle class), they soon purchased property in Cambridge (a house and garden), together with some outlying land for crops and such.

The original homestead was at the southwest corner of what are now called Mount Auburn and Holyoke Streets, just a block south of Harvard Square. There is, at present, a house on this site which is very old, but it is probably a replacement dwelling for the original Manning Homestead.

William Manning Sr. would eventually return to Boston, where he died, probably in 1666, at the age of 74. Uncertainty exists regarding the dates of both his birth and death. At the time of his death, he was living in Boston, where he had joined the First Church. The location of his grave is no longer known.

William Manning Jr. remained at Cambridge in a house located at the southeast corner of Dunster and South Streets, diagonally across from a warehouse he also owned. He was known as a waterman, and a memorial plaque nearby identifies the location of Manning Wharf, at that time quite close to the banks of the Charles River. He married Dorothy (whose maiden name is no longer known) at a date which is uncertain.

William Jr. was a very successful merchant, and became one of the most respected members of the Cambridge community. Perhaps the crowning achievement of his life was the rebuilding of Harvard.

Harvard was founded at Cambridge in 1636. The original College building was in need of serious repair by 1672, and in that year, the General Court of the colony appointed William Manning Jr., and a church deacon named John Cooper, to oversee the task of rebuilding Harvard College. Of the two, Mr. Manning was to manage the business of rebuilding, while Deacon Cooper was to officially represent the Church.

The task was difficult almost beyond imagining. Funding for the project was raised by subscription at all the surrounding parishes, whose needs for ordained ministers were met exclusively by Harvard. It was Mr. Manning's task to convert their promises into negotiable currency, contract with craftsmen for the work required, and in general oversee the entire task. Collecting on these pledges required considerable creativity. Often poor, the parishes could only pay in goods, such as pigs, chickens, or grain. Managing the construction became an exercise in trade and barter, requiring excellent business skills. At the same time, persuading the parishes to make good on their pledges required much political skill, as many were unwilling or unable to fulfill their promises.

He accomplished this task with such resounding success that his reputation in the community was elevated until he was perhaps one of its most respected members. In matters of business and money, he was trusted implicitly by all of Cambridge. The building was opened in 1677, and commencement exercises from the College were held there in that year. Completely finished in 1682, the building was named Harvard Hall. It measured 42 feet by 99 feet and was four stories tall. It stood for 82 years, until destroyed by fire on Jan. 24, 1764. A modern building, also named Harvard Hall, stands on the site.

William Manning Jr. was often chosen for public office in the Colony. He was a Selectman (a member of their legislative body), and served as an official emissary of the Church to England, in the recruiting of important new ministers. He died "full of years and honors", an ancestor to be proud of.

William Jr. and Dorothy Manning had six children. Of the two boys, one (John) lived to the age of 29. He never married. The other, Samuel, was born on July 24, 1644. Samuel would carry on the Manning name, establish a family home at Billerica, Massachusetts, marry twice, and father 14 children, among them 7 sons.

William Jr. died at Cambridge on March 14, 1690/91, at the age of 76. Dorothy died on July 26, 1692, at the age of 80. They are buried side by side in the old cemetery at Christ Church, near Harvard Square, at the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and Garden Street. Their tombstones may still be seen there.

(Photo by Lee Manning, June 2013)

These four modest stones mark the graves of William (on the right here) and Dorothy Manning
in the "Old Burying Ground" next to Christ Church, at Harvard Square, in Cambridge.
Stones nearest the viewer are headstones, those farther away footstones.

(click here or on the image to see it enlarged)


The individual headstones are pictured below, and enlarged views may be seen by clicking on either image.

William Manning

(Photo by Lee Manning, June 2013)

The Inscription reads


(click here or on the image to see it enlarged)


Dorothy Manning

(Photo by Lee Manning, June 2013)

The Inscription reads


(click here or on the image to see it enlarged)