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A number of Manley families have lived in the Ohio Valley area (Belmont Co., OH; Harrison Co., WV; Marshall Co., WV; Ohio Co., WV) during the last century and a half. Francis Manley was the first, arriving in Wheeling in 1854 according to his naturalization records. At this point there is no definitive proof any of the Manley families are related, but there is evidence of connections (godparent, death informant, common names, etc.) that suggest there were family ties.

The original Gaelic form of the family name MANLEY was O'Maonghaile. According to legend, a Doherty from County Donegal settled in County Mayo around the 1500s in flight from the English attacks in his homeland; his descendants took his first name as their surname.   Munnelly and Monnelly are the ways the name has more often been spelled the last couple centuries in County Mayo, Ireland, the apparent origin of the Ohio Valley Manleys.

There are several data to support the Mayo origin theory.   First, Francis Manley's naturalization document notes his departure from Broadhaven, a port on the Belmullet peninsula in Mayo.   John T. Manley's obituary states he was born in Drum townland in Kilmore parish. A man with the name of his grandfather, Anthony Tighe, is listed in Griffith's Valuation living in Manraghrory which is adjacent to Drum.   Finally, the DNA of one of Peter Manley's descendants was a close match with a Manley whose ancestors came from the Belmullet area. They are both members of Group 4 in the Munnelly DNA project.  The map below shows the locations of Broadhaven, Drum, Manraghrory, and Belmullet.

Manley families summary - census

Manley data on Worldconnect

Munnelly origins writeup by Paul Manley

Manley witnesses and godparents

Manley in the 1860 census in WV

correspondence about Manley

Manley - distribution by county in Griffith's Valuation

Munley/Manley DNA project

Munnelly locations in County Mayo - recent and 1.5 centuries ago

Manley family documents

Manley newspaper clippings



Having immigrated to America sometime between son William's birth in Scotland in 1852 and the twins' arrival in 1855, Peter Manley and his family migrated along the path of the B&O railroad (see red line in map) over the next decade and a half before settling in Bellaire.

1855 - Glovers Gap - births of Bridget and Mary

1860 - Littleton (Milo P.O.) - census

1864 - Cameron - birth of James

1870 - Bellair(e) - census, son William, and grandson John operated the Bellaire wharf boat from the 1870s to the 1920s, when road and bridge traffic began to overtake rail and ferry.,%20volume%207697,%20issue%201%20(1921).jpgDescription from a 1921 journal wharf boat during the 1913 flood.


Belmullet, County Mayo, Ireland and surrounding parts - Broadhaven to the northeast and Drum/Monaghrory to the southwest.