Tri-Counties Genealogy &
History by Joyce M. Tice
Canton Township, Bradford County
Bradford County PA
Chemung County NY
Tioga County PA
Families & Individuals
of the Tri-Counties
Thomas Manley of East Canton
|Photo: Thomas Manley
|Township: Canton Township, Bradford County
|of East Canton
|Year: Letter written 1904
|Photo Submitted by: Jo Mapel
My Dear Children: At different times you
have asked me to write a little outline of my uneventful life, not realizing
the task of doing so at my time of life, but knowing that it would please
you, I am attempting to do it.
Joyce's Search Tip - January 2008
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First I will go back a little while and
note Father [Thomas Manlely] and Mother’s [Betsey Wright] start in
life at Canton. Father came to what is now East Canton, in the fall
of about 1820, and purchased, for $3.00 per acre, the farm, then a wilderness,
where W. T. Lawrence now lives, cleared a small fallow, put it into rye
and went back to Conneticut. In the spring, with a team, he took
his family of Mother and three children and made the journey to Canton
in three weeks and moved into a little log hut in what is now Mr. Smiley’s
garden, and I have heard my mothr say she was never happier than in that
hut where she could sit at a table and help herself to all she had.
It was their first own home. They soon built them a new log house
of two rooms with a ladder to go upstairs and a string to open the doors.
There I was born February 5th, 1824. I think all the children not
born in Connecticut were born in that house. You ask no doubt how
they lived and brought up so large a family--eleven children. Well,
we did not have much of the extras either in food or clothing. Father
taught school, so did all the family with posssibly one exception.
Mother made straw hats for many of the wealthy ladies of the vicinity.
Now about your father. Like all
boys then, I had to work but always attended such common schools as we
had and made as good use of my time as most boys, but reciting in classes
was unknown until I was about fourteen years old, when D. N. Newton came
here and infused new life into our schools and from that time until I was
about eighteen I made good progress. When I was about fifteen, I
remember working on this farm and wondering if I might not some day own
it. When I was about eighteen, Mr. Newton and myself started on foot
prospecting for a week, at a cost of $1.00 each. I took a school
in Columbia County, finished my term, came home and with the money paid
the last payment on father’s farm. The next fall I started out on
foot through Sullivan county, going through Shunk, Forksville, and a very
long piece of wilderness. I came out to the Berwick Turnpike about
25 miles south of Monroeton, turned to the left and took a schoool near
Cushore, where I taught two terms, boarding with Wm. Lawrence. I
received $15 a month and paid $5 per month for my board. I have always
looked upon my turning to the left and spending the two winters with Mr.
Lawrence as one of the providential small things that had much to do in
shaping my business life--not only of my own but of others also.
One of the incidential things I will mention, Mr. Lawrence afterwards married
my sister, Ann, came to East Canton and purchased the old homestead, where
W. T. Lawrence now resides, and I have always looked upon my friendly and
business intercourse with him as a large factor in my owning this farm.
The next event I went into partnership with Benjamin Landon in the wagon
making business (no carriages in those days.) My stock in trade at
that time was $4.44. I taught school two terms, where I found your
Well, how did it happen? It was
this way. When I was fifteen years of age, I used to go into that
neighborhood to visit some cousins. I learned of the large family
of Taylor girls and again I wondered if I would not some day find a wife
there. In those days teachers were hired by vote of the District.
Consequently when they met to decide there was some little jealousy as
a number of teachers had found wife or husband in the Taylor family and
it was suggested that the teachers must not spark the girls, so I had to
be pretty careful but still kept an eye open. While teaching there,
sister Achsah said, “Thomas, that Lucy Taylor is a splendid girl.”
I said, “Guess I had better see about it.” On April 15, 1847, we
were married. For these 57 years she has been a loving, faithful
and helpful Christian companion, whose advice it has been safe to follow,
and My Dear Children, she has been to you a Mother with all that endearing
name implies. Now when you get home read the last chapter of Proverbs.
Perhaps, Children, you would like to
hear about our start in a business way. About three years after working
at my trade we were married and went to keeping house in what is now the
East Canton blacksmith shop. I found a little fault with your Mother
for not sitting beside me at the table, but she said that that was not
the proper way. Of course, I succumbed. In the meantime I had
purchased the property where Mr. J. N. Smiley now lives. After about
six years I sold it and moved to Troy and went into partnership with Newberry,
Dart & Fitch in the carriage business. After two years we came
back to East Canton and after a coupld of years I purchased this farm.
One incident I will mention. I thought some of buying only
the west side of the road, when Mrs. Manley said, “Thomas,” (with a big
“T”) I don’t want you to buy the farm without the Flat, for I don’t want
to covet my neighbor’s property.” That settled it. The next
thing was to pay for it. Well, we determined not to wait for something
to turn up but to try and turn something up and my recollection is that
never but once was a payment thirty days past due.
Another incident! When we came
to think we ought to have a better house I suggested we repair the old
house again. Mrs. Manley said, “Thomas, we will live in this house
just as long as you say, but we don’t want to put any money into it.”
That again settled the question.
Now, my dear ones all, it is the great
joy of my old age that I do not have to mourn over the waywardness of any
of my children, and that none of you have been drawn into the maelstrom
of intemperance, and that no breath of scandal has ever darkened our doors,
and I pray God to ever keep you all in the path of rectitude.
Many other incidents I might mention
which in their day interested us, but will close by saying that I haver
expected to have another as joyous a time with you all, in this world,
as we have had today, but I hope to have in the next. My life has
been a busy one and I trust the world has been a little better for my having
lived in it.
Good bye my Dear ones
with a Fathers Blessing
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Bradford County PA
Chemung County NY
Tioga County PA
Published On Tri-Counties Site On 07 OCT 2000
By Joyce M. Tice
Joyce M. Tice
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