John Manuel, who for a number of years was one of the most prominent businessmen of Murphy, was born in England in 1836, and died at his home in California November 19, 1898. The intervening period of sixty-two years covered a life record that was at all times honorable and upright and worthy the high regard of those who knew Mr. Manuel. He was sixteen years of age when he left the land of his birth and immigrated to the new world. He spent the three succeeding years in New York and thence came to California, arriving in this state in 1855. He was a young man of nineteen years, full of energy, courage, ambition and determination. He engaged in mining at Douglas Flat and Central Hill, and was the owner of a large hydraulic mine at the former place, operating it most successfully and taking out a large amount of the precious metal. In 1877 he abandoned mining and turned his attention to lumbering, purchasing a saw-mill eight miles above Murphy. His business grew in volume and importance and he increased the capacity of the mill until now twenty thousand feet of lumber constitutes the daily output. In 1878 he established a lumber yard at Murphy where he had a large local demand, supplying the miners throughout this locality and for a considerable distance through the surrounding country. He conducted a profitable and constantly growing business, winning that prosperity which is ever the reward of carefully directed effort.
Mr. Manuel was married in 1856 to Miss Mary Williams, a native of Wisconsin, who came to California when fifteen years of age. They had twelve children, eight of whom are living, namely: Frances, now the wife of William H. Matteson; M. Henry; Ella, at home; John; Roy; Emma; Mizpah; and Joseph. The mother of this family passed away in 1894. She was a member of the Congregational Church, a consistent Christian woman, and faithful wife and loving mother, and was highly respected throughout the community in which she resided. For his second wife Mr. Manuel chose Miss Mary Malspina, who yet survives him. Mr. Manuel was a prominent member of the Masonic fraternity and of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. On questions of national importance he was a Democrat, but was a liberal-minded man, who in local matters was not bound by partisan ties, considering only the qualification of the candidate and his fitness for public office. He was regarded as one of the most reliable and successful businessmen of his county, and as a result of his well-directed efforts he was enabled to leave to his family a valuable property. They now have a fine residence in Stockton and also a good home in Murphy. The children have incorporated the business under the title of the Manuel Estate and the eldest son, Henry, is president and manager of the company.
Henry Manuel was born in Murphy on the 15th of November, 1871. He acquired his literary education in the public schools and was graduated at Heald’s Business College, in San Francisco, with the class of 1890. On the 13th of December, 1895 he wedded Miss Laura Jones, a native daughter of Calaveras County. He belongs to the Masonic order, having been raised to the sublime degree of a master Mason in Ophir Lodge, No. 33, F. & A. M., of Murphy, in 1892, when he was just twenty-one years of age. He is now one of the prominent representatives of the craft in Calaveras County and is serving as treasurer of his lodge. He has followed in the political footsteps of his father, voting for the men and measures of the Democracy on questions of state and national importance, but at local elections casting his vote regardless of party ties. The Manuel family is widely and favorable known throughout this portion of California and the eldest son occupies a very creditable position in business circles, fully sustaining the untarnished name of the father.
Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.
© 2011 Gerald Iaquinta.