John Manley ~1837-1922
County Mayo, Ireland
John's last name is an anglicized version of the Monnelly/Munnelly surname in Mayo. The original Irish form of that surname was Ó Maonghaile. For many years, it was believed the name originated within the Ó Dochartaigh (Doherty) Clan, who were a dominant force on the Inishowen Peninsula of County Donegal. According to John O' Donovan in the Ordinance Survey Letters (1839) "Ballymonelly was colonized by a tribe of the Dohertys who came hither as tradition says, under the conduct of Manaoile O’ Doherty, from whom they have been named O’ Moneelys." Apparently, Monaoile Ó Dochartaigh's male descendants began using the name Ó Maonghaile (O meaning "from").
The place in County Mayo where Manaoile Ó Dochartaigh resettled became known as "Baile Monaoile." Baile is the Irish word for home or settlement. The name was eventually anglicized and became "Ballymonnelly," a townland that, as you can see in the map on the right, still exists in Kiltane Parish. In Ireland, townlands are the smallest officially-defined geographical units of land. They are usually a grouping of farms that can vary greatly in size and always have a unique name.
Until recently, it had been assumed that this movement of Dohertys into County Mayo occurred as a result of the failed rebellion of Cahir Ó Doherty in 1608. However, Paul Manley has uncovered in his research several individuals with variations of the Maonghaile surname living in Mayo prior to 1608. Despite this, Paul notes that "Ó Donovan’s remark connecting the Ó Monnellys to Ballymunnelly is confirmed by earlier historical records." Also, DNA evidence indicates that the Ó Monnellys of County Mayo have a common ancestor who lived between 1300 and 1500 A.D.
After the fifteenth century, legislation under English rule forced the Irish to anglicize their Irish names. The Ó Maonghaile surname became O' Monnelly or O' Munnelly and the O was eventually dropped. Throughout the 19th century, the name had several variant spellings in Mayo that were likely the result of however the parish priest decided to spell what he was hearing. That was also the case when these individuals arrived in America and the name was anglicized even further to Manley or Munley.
This group is unrelated to Manleys who originated in other places, such as County Cork and England. While not a common Irish surname, there were numerous Monnellys and Munnellys in County Mayo in the middle of the 19th century. And many of them emigrated to find work in the coal regions of northeastern Pennsylvania.
Irish Counties are divided into civil parishes for local administrative purposes. Many of the civil parishes in County Mayo have a corresponding Roman Catholic parish, but their borders are not always coterminous. As one can see by following this link, the Moygownagh Roman Catholic Parish encompasses several townlands that fall within the boundaries of neighboring civil parishes.
While no complete set of Irish census returns survives for the period before 1901, there are two sets of records which provide partial substitutes. The Tithe Applotment Books were compiled between 1823 and 1837 in order to determine the amount tenant farmers should pay in tithes to the Church of Ireland.
According to her obituary, John Manley's mother-in-law, Mary Hughes Coleman, was born in Moygownagh Parish. Peter Coleman, a tenant farmer who was either her husband or his father, was listed on the Tithe Applotments in Fairfield Upper, a townland that lies within the boundaries of the Moygownagh RC parish and the Kilfian civil parish. The Tithe Applotment Books also indicated that Thomas, Francis, and Andrew McNamara leased land in the bordering townland of Fairfield Lower.
At the time of the Griffith’s Valuation, another tax survey that was published between 1847 and 1864, Mary Hughes' brother William also leased a small plot of land in Fairfield Lower. At some point, William emigrated from County Mayo to Scranton. At the time of the 1880 U.S. census, he was boarding with John and Mary Coleman. He was identified as an uncle who was a coal miner with lung disease.
The Griffith's Valuation also showed that by this time Thomas McNamara had disappeared, and only Francis and Andrew leased land in Fairfield Lower. The Griffith’s was not a static document. Every year, valuers recorded any change in the names of occupiers or immediate lessors. The Francis McNamara in Fairfield Lower disappeared shortly after the original Valuation was published.
Around that time, about 1860, a Francis McNamara, his wife Mary Manley, and their seven children emigrated from County Mayo to Quebec, Canada. They purchased farmland in the township of Lochaber. A John McNamara, most likely Francis’ brother, had already immigrated to the same area around 1835. All but his first two children were born in Canada. Living descendants of John McNamara confirmed that he originally came from Moygownagh Parish.
Irish families, especially in the nineteenth century, often followed traditional patterns when naming their children. The first male was named after the father’s father, the first female after the mother’s mother, etc. Since they usually had large families, they eventually got around to using the names of their siblings. John McNamara named his first son Thomas. This could mean that his father was the Thomas McNamara who appeared on the Tithe Applotment list for Fairfield Lower, County Mayo.
A few years after arriving in Canada, Patrick McNamara’s two oldest sons, Michael and Patrick, relocated to Scranton and were closely linked to John Manley throughout his life. John was obviously related to them through their mother, Mary Manley McNamara, and they were probably first cousins.
Andrew remained as the sole McNamara leasing land in Fairfield Lower for several years, but he gradually transferred his leases to a Michael McNamara, who was likely his son. By this time, Ireland had instituted civil registration of births. Beginning with Ellen in 1864, these records show that eight children were born to Michael McNamara and Ellen Maughan of Fairfield Lower. Michael eventually emigrated to the US and settled in the town of Pittston in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, 12 miles south of Scranton. Ellen followed later, arriving in New York with most of the children in 1880.
There are no extant records in Saint Cormac's, Moygownagh's parish church (pictured here), until the latter part of the 19th century. This might explain why John Manley and so many of the people he was closest to are untraceable. The present church was built in 1846 by Father James McNamara. Whether he was related to the McNamaras of Fairfield Lower is unknown.
At this time, there is no evidence that identifies where John Manley and his brother James were born. Therefore, his connection to Francis McNamara and Mary Manley, who emigrated from Fairfield Lower to Canada, is revealing. He and his McNamara cousins baptized each other's children. Patrick McNamara and his son John were pall bearers for John's wife Mary Coleman. This closeness would indicate that John could have grown up in or near Farifield Lower. His father Anthony may have been given land to work by the McNamaras when he married their daughter, a common practice in Ireland at the time.
Also, there were many Monnellys in neighboring townlands. Bryan Manley and his wife Honor McCabe immigrated to Scranton with three children in 1870. Birth records revealed that two of their children were born in the towmland of Ballintober, which bordered Treanagh. Their son Michael served as godfather for Patrick McNamara's son Thomas in 1876. Like John Manley, Patrick must have been connected to Bryan through his mother Mary Manley. Therefore, John and Bryan Manley must have been connected somehow and John may have also lived in Ballintober.
John and Mary appear together in Scranton on the 1860 Census. His occupation was listed as "Iron Worker," which meant that he worked at the Lackawanna Iron and Coal Company. The population of Scranton in 1860 was 9,223 and consisted mostly of the Iron Company employees and their families. In 1866, Scranton annexed the boroughs of Hyde Park and Providence and was incorporated as a city. By 1870, its population had ballooned to 35,092.
The Scranton City Directory of 1861 listed John as the only Manley in Scranton. He and many of his fellow iron workers lived in South Scranton on Orchard Street between Pittston and Prospect Avenue. An alley that runs parallel to Orchard Street one half block to the south is named Manley Place. This was the base of what was called the "Shanty Hill" neighborhood. One of Scranton's earliest residential neighborhoods, many Irish immigrants who found work at the nearby Iron Furnaces lived on Shanty Hill. The alleys and courts in this neighborhood bear the names of many of these early families. The furnaces of the Iron company are located at 159 Cedar Avenue in Scranton and were restored in the late 1960s.
So far, only one sibling of John's has been identified. His brother James immigrated to Scranton a few years after John. James married Catherine Clarke in 1864. They lived in South Scranton and, like John, James was employed at the rolling mill of the Lackawanna Iron and Coal Company. Both James and Catherine identified County Mayo as their place of birth on the 1870 census. Their first two children, Mary and John, were born in Scranton. However, sometime between 1870 and 1874, when their son Frank was born, James and Catherine moved to Allentown, PA, where James took a job with the Allentown Rolling Mill. Their youngest child Kate was born in 1877 and they lived in Allentown for the rest of their lives.
John's wife, Mary Coleman, was the daughter of Peter and Mary Hughes Coleman. The elder Mary died on November 14, 1894. Her obituary reported that she was living with her daughter, Mrs. John Manley, on Beech Street and that she was born in the parish of Moygownagh, County Mayo. It was also reported that she had two other children, Michael Coleman of Scranton and Mrs. James Murphy of Omaha, Nebraska.
John and Mary's first child, Sarah, was born in 1860. Sarah and all her siblings who would follow were baptized in St. Vincent de Paul church. Sarah's godfather was Peter Reap. Peter, a coal miner, was an early resident of Scranton. He married his first wife, Anna Tigue, in St. Vincent's in 1851.
Sarah's godmother was Bridget McAndrew, who was about the same age as Mary Coleman. Bridget's parents, who lived near John and Mary Manley, were Owen and Anne Coleman McAndrew. Mary Coleman Manley was likely related to Bridget's mother Anne in some way. Bridget and all but two of her siblings were born in the townland of Freeheen, Crossmolina Parish, County Mayo. According to Tony Donohue, in his "History of Crossmolina," the townland of Freeheen essentially disappeared as a result of the famine. Eleven tenant farmers, including Owen Mc Andrew and Richard, Patrick, and Edmond Coleman, leased land there in 1835. They had all abandoned the land and moved away by 1856. The McAndrews emigrated to Scranton with their first five children sometime between 1845 and 1854.
John and Mary's oldest son, Anthony, was born in 1863. His godfather was Patrick Devitt. Little is known about Patrick, but Devitt was a common name in County Mayo. Anthony's godmother was Mary Roach, whose maiden name was Maughin. Mary married Lawrence Roach in Scranton in 1854. Lawrence arrived in New York aboard the ship "Envoy" on June 12, 1852. When Anthony was baptized, the Roaches lived on Orchard Street near Prospect, the same block as John Manley and the Scranton City Directory listed Lawrence's occupation as "Furnaceman." Mary Coleman Manley served as godmother for Margaret Roach, who was born in 1859.
President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated on April 14, 1865. John Manley Jr. was born on October 28, 1865. His godfather was Michael McNamara, who, as was explained above, was very likely the elder John's cousin. Little is known about Bernardine Regan, who was John Jr's godmother.
On April 10 1866, John purchased land in South Scranton from the Pawnee Coal Company. In the 19th century, coal companies purchased large parcels of land in Scranton so they could protect the right to mine the anthracite coal deposits below. They would resell lots for home development, but purchasers were required to relinquish any rights to the mineral deposits beneath the lot. John Manley's original deed was recorded in the Luzerne County Courthouse. Scranton was located in Luzerne County PA until 1878, the year it became the seat of the newly formed Lackawanna County.
John purchased a large lot (40 X 140 feet) that was located on the southwest corner of Prospect and Beech Streets. Apparently, he did not build on the lot immediately. When the 1870 census was taken, he reported that he lived on Moosic Street, probably to be close to the Rolling Mill where he worked. By 1875, Scranton city directories began to identify his location as Prospect Street near Beech. Houses were not numbered yet. That house eventually became 902 Prospect Avenue. Sometime around 1880, John constructed a second house on the western half of the lot. His location was then described as Beech Street near Prospect. That house was eventually numbered 540 Beech Street and he lived there until his death. The photo below shows how the lot appeared in 2012. The original house, 902 Prospect, is on the left. At some point, a small commercial building was added on the side yard. 540 Beech Street is the house in the lower right of the photo. The original lot was officially divided into two lots shortly after John's death.
Mary was born in 1869. Her godfather was John's brother, James. Mary's godmother was Mary Reap, the wife of Anthony Hughes. John and Mary associated with this Hughes family for many years. They were most likely related through Mary Coleman's mother, Mary Hughes. In 1868, Anthony Hughes was a baptismal sponsor for Mary, the first child of Mary Coleman Manley's brother Michael. John witnessed Anthony's will in 1904. Mary's parents were Patrick Reap and Bridget Quinn. She was probably related to Peter Reap, Sarah's sponsor. She may have also been related to the Quinns, who will be discussed a little later.
John is identified as a "Roller" on the 1870 census, which meant that he was working in the L I & C C Rolling Mill at that time. Peter, who was probably named after his grandfather Peter Coleman, was born in 1871. Mary Coleman Manley's brother Michael was his godfather. Michael also sponsored John, the son of John Manley's brother James. Bridget Murphy was Peter's godmother. She was probably the daughter of James and Anne Murphy, who lived nearby on Prospect Street. James worked in the steel mill with John.
Francis (Frank) was born in 1873. Little is known about his baptismal sponsors, Martin Carry and Mary Maxwell.
Michael Coleman was, once again, a godfather for Catherine, born in 1875. Her godmother was Michael Coleman's wife, Anne Nealis. Anne's parents were Farrell and Ellen Wills Nealis. Annes's brothers Patrick and John, who worked in the steel mill, never married and boarded with Michael and Anne for many years. Her brothers Farrell and Charles lived in the townland of Shanvodinnaun, Moygownagh Parish.
Anthony and Mary Hughes were the godparents for Thomas, born in 1879. His baptismal record had a "sub conde" notation, which meant that the baby was not expected to live. Apparently, Thomas did not survive, since John and Mary named another child, Thomas, in 1884.
On the 1880 census, William Hughes, who worked in a coal breaker and had a lung disease, lived with the Manleys and was identified as an uncle. He would have been Mary Hughes Coleman's brother. As mentioned earlier, William immigrated to the U. S. from Moygownagh parish in County Mayo. His death certificate, dated 22 Feb 1889, identified him as a 75 year-old male, who lived on Beech St.
Also on the 1880 census, John and Mary's oldest daughter Sarah lived next door, probably at 902 Prospect, with her husband Michael Quinn, the son of Owen Quinn. Owen immigrated to Scranton from Carn, a townland in the Lacken Civil Parish of County Mayo. Michael and Sarah Quinn died very young and their two children, Mary and Frank, were raised by their grandmother, Bridget, the widow of Owen Quinn. Bridget's maiden name was O'Boyle and she was born in a townland called Ratheskin in Kilfian Parish, County Mayo.
John and Mary's son Michael was born in 1882. His godmother was Sarah Carrol and her connection to the Manleys has not been discovered. Michael's godfather was John and Mary's son-in-law Michael Quinn. Not much is known about James McAndrew and Elizabeth Snow, the godparents of Thomas, John and Mary's last child, born in 1884. A Snow family lived next door to John and Mary around that time.
Most of the 1890 U. S. Census was destroyed in a fire.
In 1900, John and Mary, who should have been around 60 years old, still had two children living at home, 18 year-old Michael and 16 year-old Thomas. There is no occupation listed for Michael. It's difficult to read the occupation for Thomas, but it could be "Iron Works." Mary reported on this census that she gave birth to a total of 12 children, but only 8 were alive.
John's wife, Mary Coleman, died on October 13, 1901, one day after his brother, James, died in Allentown. In 1902, the Lackawanna Iron and Coal Company moved to Lackawanna NY, near Buffalo. This may be why John's daughter Mary and her husband Henry Joynt also moved to Lackawanna around that time.
In 1910, John's age was now listed as 70 and he lived with 26 year-old Thomas, a fireman, and 30 year-old Catherine. In 1920, 83 year-old John appeared on his last census. He was still living on Beech Street with 40 year-old daughter Catherine and 35 year-old son Thomas, still a fireman. These children never married and were eventually buried with their parents in Saint Mary's Church cemetery in Dunmore.
On December 6, 1921, representatives of the forces that had been waging a war of independence with the English army signed a treaty that essentially ended 700 years of British rule in Ireland. John Manley died on April 10, 1922. His life began during the Great Famine and ended shortly after his homeland gained independence.
Note: No connection has been established between this John Manley and Mary Coleman and the John Manley who married Anna Coleman in Dunmore, PA, a borough that borders Scranton.