Susan Manning was a native of Perry County, Missouri, and was born in 1807 when the area was the territory of Upper Louisiana. Her parents were Mark Manning and Margaret Heard.
Mark Manning was born in St. Marys County, Maryland, about 1774. In the early 1790s, his family moved to Washington County, Kentucky, where they resided until about 1803. He married Margaret Heard on 22 March 1798, in Washington County, Kentucky. His father, John Manning, received a Spanish land grant west of the Mississippi, and by December, 1803, the Manning family relocated there. Brazeau Creek formed the northern boundary of their 640 acres. Mark Manning received a small land grant north of his father's property.
To Mark and Margaret Manning were born eleven children, the first three in Kentucky, and the rest in Missouri. Susan Manning was the fifth child and third daughter, born in 1807. Her parents died in 1836 and 1855 respectively.
Susan Manning was married twice, the first time on 22 June 1830, to Daniel E. Abernathy, who was a member of the Abernathy clan that came from North Carolina. They were married for 19 years, until his death in October 1849. In his will, Daniel stated that he had no children, and so made his wife his sole heir, and executrix of his will. The property Susan inherited included 80 acres of land and five slaves, "Tisha, Mary Jane commonly called Jemima, Columbus, Monroe and Margaret". Columbus and Monroe, who had been continually running away, were sold three weeks after Daniel's death.
Although Susan and Daniel Abernathy had no children, they were not childless. When Susan's sister, Clara, wife of Bernard Horrell, died in 1848, leaving her husband with six minor children, all six went to live with relatives. Susan Abernathy took in her niece, and namesake, Susan Horrell. Another sister, Matilda, and her husband, John Baptist Moore, died in 1849. Their children, Emaline Margaret and John Timon, went to live with Susan and Daniel. By 1850, a fourth child, Margaret Taylor, was also living with Susan Abernathy.
Susan Manning Abernathy did not remain a widow for very long. In October 1850, almost a year after Daniel's death, she married Thomas Twyman and moved to his farm. Thomas had three children from a previous marriage, and two grandchildren. The ownership of Susan's property from her first marriage was transferred Thomas when she married him. In 1851 she purchased 80 acres of federal land in her own name. Susan and Thomas Twyman were married until his death in May 1855. In his will, he bequeathed to Susan all the property that she brought with her, including her farm, three slaves, some animals and furniture.
At the age of 48, the twice widowed Susan Twyman found that she could afford a luxury not available to most women at this time: independence. In an extremely rare move, the county named Susan Twyman the legal guardian of (Emaline) Margaret and (John) Timon Moore in 1855. Even mothers were rarely made the guardians of their own children. Susan took in four more children: Alphonsus and Mary Matilda, (children of her sister, Mary Cecelia and husband James Joseph Moore), Joseph E. Wimsatt and Roxana Layton.
08 May 1874, the Weekly Perryville Union, which often reported items of a tragic or comic nature, ran this:
"THOROUGHLEY BAPTIZED. -- On Saturday last, while Mrs. Tweiman and a gentleman, whose name we did not learn, were crossing the Cinque Homme Creek, their carriage turned over in a deep hole that had washed out during the late rains, and both lady and gentleman were precipitated into the water. They were fortunate enough, however, to get off with a thorough wetting."
Lest the readers get the mistaken impression that Mrs. "Tweiman" and a gentleman friend were some sort of "date", the Union printed a correction the following week, clearly identifying all the carriage's occupants as her nephew and two nieces.
"A CORRECTION. -- In our last issue in speaking of Mrs. Tweiman and a gentleman receiving a severe wetting in Cinque Homme Creek on Saturday week, we neglected to mention two other persons who were in the carriage at the time it capsized. There were four persons in the carriage, instead of two: Mrs. Tweiman, Miss Martina Moore, Miss Angeline Moore, and Mr. Felix Horrell, all of them being pretty thoroughly baptized in Cinque Homme Creek."
Susan Twyman made her will in 1885. She left her home to her former ward, Mrs. Margaret E. Powers (Emaline Margaret Moore), for use during her life, and then after her death to her daughter (Elizabeth Matilda) Leona Hughey. The remainder of the estate was to be divided equally among her remaining relatives.
Susan Manning Abernathy Twyman lived to see her 80th birthday. She died 08 November 1887 of pneumonia after being ill for ten days. A lifelong member of the Catholic church, she left $150 to the parish priests and $50 to pay for masses to be said for the "repose of her soul". She was buried in St. Mary's Cemetery (now Mt. Hope) in Perryville, the following day, next to her first husband, Daniel Abernathy.
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