Newton Mann

The family of this name in America descends in an unbroken line from William Mann, youngest child of Sir Charles Mann, who was born in England in 1607. At a very early day in the history of the Massachusetts colony William Mann immigrated to this country and settled in Cambridge, where he married, first, Mary Jarred in 1643, and second, Alice Tiel on June 11, 1657, and where he died in 1662. Rev. Samuel Mann, his only son, was born there July 6, 1647, was graduated from Harvard College in 1665, and soon afterward was ordained to the ministry and settled over the Congregational church in Wrentham, where he remained until his death, May 22, 1719. He is recorded as both a "learned minister and a great man," and was the paternal ancestor of Horace Mann, the celebrated New England educator, whose statue graces the State House in Boston. May 19, 1673, he married Ester Ware, of Dedham, and among their children was Samuel jr., who was born August 18, 1675, married Zipporah Billings, and died in 1732. Samuel Mann, jr., had thirteen children, of whom the youngest son, Dr. Bezaleel Mann, was born at Attleboro, Mass., June 15, 1724, and died there October 3, 1796; his wife, Bede Carpenter, died in 1793. Dr. Mann was an eminent physician and amassed large wealth. He was an active and influential patriot during the Revolutionary war, a member of the Committee of Safety, judge of the Superior Court of Attleboro, and a member of the committee to report upon the first constitution submitted to the people of Massachusetts. His children were Dr. Preston Mann, a graduate of Brown University, a physician in Newport, R. I., where he entertained Washington and La Fayette during the Revolution; Dr. J. Milton Mann, also a graduate of Brown University, a physician in Attleboro, Mass., and later in Troy, N. Y., and drowned in the Hudson River; Mary, who married Josiah Draper and the mother of Virgil Draper, whose portrait and biography appear in this work; Dr. Herbert Mann, a graduate of Brown University, a surgeon of the privateer General Arnold during the Revolution, and frozen to death at sea; Newton Mann, the subject of this memoir, subsequently mentioned; and Eunice, who married Dr. Seth Capron, who was graduated from Brown University, studied medicine with her father, and served in the war of the Revolution.

Newton Mann was born in Attleboro, Mass., in 1770, and inherited all the noble attributes of mind and body which distinguished his scholarly ancestors. He early imbibed those underlying principles of manhood that chacterize the respected citizen. His education was obtained in his native town where he remained till about 1806, when he came with Dr. Seth Capron and his family and the widow of Dr. J. Milton Mann and her children to Whitesboro, Oneida county, N. Y., for the purpose of engaging in the manufacture of cotton goods, which Dr. Capron had closely studied in New England. With Dr. Capron, Benjamin S. Walcott, Theodore Sill (who married Eliza, daughter of Dr. J. Milton Mann, and they were the grandparents of Edward Comstock, of Rome, whose portrait appears in this volume), and Thomas R. Gold, he at once organized a stock company and erected on Sanquoit Creek, on the site of the present New York Mills, the first cotton factory in this State. Mr. Mann was the principal stockholder. The Oriskany Woolen Mill was subsequently incorporated with a capital of $100,000 by Chief Justice Ambrose Spencer, Jovis Platt, William G. Tracy, Thomas R. Gold, Theodore Sill, Mr. Mann, and De Witt Clinton. This company imported large numbers of merino sheep from Spain, many of them costing as high as $600 and $1000 each. These sheep were kept in the vicinity of the village, mainly on the opposite side of the Mohawk River, and one of their farms was called "Mount Merino." The company continued business several years and prospered until the peace of 1815 opened our markets to a flood of importations. Before the year 1825 Mr. Mann withdrew from both enterprises and moved his family to Mannsville, Jefferson County, a village named from his son Major Herbert B. Mann, who in partnership with Judge Daniel Wardwell erected a large cotton mill there, which was burned in 1827, when ready to begin operation. There Newton Mann resided the remainder of his life, dying April 11, 1860, at the age of ninety years.

Mr. Mann was an old line Whig of pronounced convictions, but never sought nor accepted public office. An uncompromising Abolitionist himself he was a warm personal friend of Gerrrit Smith, Alvin Stewart, and other noted anti-slavery advocates, and during the great abolition movement which swept over the country prior to the Rebellion he was a powerful and an active factor. For many years he was intimately acquainted with the "underground railroad;" his house in Mannsville became a noted "station" and he personally assisted in passing large numbers of slaves on to Canada. He was a devout Christian and a member of the Congregational church, and throughout life manifested a lively interest in all charitable and benevolent objects, to which he liberally contributed. Kind-hearted, enterprising, and sagacious he merited and retained the confidence, respect, and esteem of his fellowmen and bore the highest reputation for honesty, integrity, and moral uprightness. He was a good businessman, a shrewd investor, and an able financier, and realized handsome profits from his various investments.

Mr. Mann was married in 1795 to Miss Abigail, daughter of Josiah Maxcey, granddaughter of Lieut. Josiah Maxcey, of Attleboro, Mass., and sister of Rev. Jonathan Maxcey, D. D., successively president of Brown University, Union College and the College of South Carolina. She was born in Attleboro, in 1766 and died at Mannsville, N. Y., November 17, 1860. Lieut. Josiah Maxcey, an officer in the old French war, was the owner of a slave named Caesar, whose tombstone is standing in the graveyard at North Attleboro, Mass., and upon it appears the following epitaph, which has been reproduced in most of the magazines of the country:

Here lies the best of slaves,
Now turning into dust;
Caesar, the Ethiopian, craves
A place among the just;
His faithful soul has fled
To realms of heavenly light,
And, by the blood of Jesus shed,
Is changed from black to white;
January 15th he quitted the stage,
In the 77th year of his age. 1780.

Mr. Mann was a person of magnificent appearance, endowed with a large but graceful physique, and in stature represented almost perfect manhood. Well-developed, dignified, and of elegant and commanding physical proportions, he was a typical gentleman of the old school. The likeness of him reproduced in this volume was taken when he had reached the age of eighty-five. At his wedding in 1795 he wore a blue broadcloth coat with crimson velvet collar falling below the point of the shoulders, a drab waist-coat and knee breeches, silk hose, low shoes with buckles containing French paste stones, and hair braided in a cue and powdered. His bride was attired in a peach-blow satin dress trimmed with brocaded satin, blue satin petticoat, peachblow silk hose, white slippers, and lace. These were elegant but not unusual costumes for those early days, and indicate the high and dignified positions their wearers occupied in society. Mr. and Mrs. Mannís married life of sixty-five years was an uninterrupted course of domestic peace and happiness. Their love and affection were simple, pure, and ardent, unmarred by the slightest infelicity, and graced by a constant and consistent devotion as beautiful as it was enduring. There were inseparable, especially during the latter years of their lives, and always found the highest enjoyment in each otherís society. Their children were Major Herbert B., who married Julia Doolittle and was the father of the late Dr. John Preston Mann, the celebrated specialist of New York City; Hetty, who married Judge Daniel Wardwell, whose portrait and biography appear in the present volume; and Abby Maxcy, who married Dr. Roswell Kinney, of Mannsville, N. Y.

Note on the bottom of page 101: Theodore Sill married Eliza, daughter of Dr. J. Milton Mann, and they were the grandparents of Edward Comstock, of Rome, whose portrait appears in this volume.

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