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Manning, William H.

WILLIAM H. MANNING (1852-1929)

William Henry Manning, a son of William Wallace Manning and Nancy Maria (Richardson) Manning, was born in Boston December 19, 1852, and died in Somerville, Massachusetts, May 28, 1929. He lived in Boston until 1882, when he came to New York and began to write novels for Beadle and Adams. Previously he had been doing journalistic work for New York publications since he was seventeen years of age. He continued writing for Beadle and Adams until they went out of business, after which he set up as a genealogist, having had much experience in such work since 1885. "The Genealogical and Biographical History of the Manning Families of New England and Descendants," published in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1902, was his greatest work, and to it he devoted some sixteen years of research. On April 11, 1897, he was married to Emma Electa Day, a New York City schoolteacher. They had no children.

Mr. Manning wrote under several pseudonyms. Mrs. Manning recalls "Capt. Mark Wilton," but has forgotten the others. Gilbert Patten said that he used the names "Capt. Mark Wilton," "Maj. E. L. St. Vrain"(1) and "Ben Halliday." Since the "Halliday" stories appeared also under the name "Jo Pierce," that likewise must be assigned to him. "Marcus H. Waring" may be one of his, for stories under that name appeared also under the name "Jo Pierce."(2) Miller gives also as Manning's pen names "Hugh Warren," "V. S. Warren," "J. T. Warren," "Warren Walters," "Warren F. Kent," "Ned Warren," "Barry DeForest," "W. M. Hoyt," and "Warren Edwards." Of these, only "Barry DeForest" was affixed to a Beadle publication, but that was a pen name of C. Dunning Clark. The others I have not tried to check, but it is doubtful if he used so many, for Mrs. Manning said he wrote very little except for Beadle and Adams. †He did, however, write thirty-nine stories, under the name 'Mark Wilton,' and one as Corporal Morris Hoyne, for the Nickel Library.

REFERENCES: Letters to me from Mrs. Manning, January 8, 16, and 19, 1941; Gilbert Patten, "Dime Novel Days," Saturday Evening Post, February 28, 1931, 126; Ibid., letter to John Levi Cutler in The Maine Bulletin, XXXVI, No. 10, 1934, 57, note. (In this footnote Patten states that Manning intended buying a drug store when he retired from writing. This, said Mrs. Manning to me, was never done.); W. C. Miller, Dime Novel Authors, 1860—1900, Grafton, Massachusetts, 1933; W. H, Manning, The Genealogical and Biographical History of the Manning Family, Salem, Mass., 1902, 555-56.

Dime Library. Nos. 279, 297, 385, 405, 415, 427, 437, 442, 449, 455, 463, 470, 479, 486, 492, 498, 506, 513, 521, 531, 539, 551, 563, 575, 585, 596, 611, 623, 638, 646, 655, 692, 703, 714, 738, 764, 774, 782, 790, 808, 823, 833, 841, 849, 864, 875, 885, 893, 899, 908, 920, 931, 948, 1078
Boy's Library (quarto). No. 64
Boy's Library (octavo). No. 73

Under the pen name "Ben D. Halliday" were published:

Banner Weekly. Nos. 323, 341, 351, 360, 366, 372, 384, 399, 405, 429, 435, 447, 483, 689
Half-Dime Library. Nos. 830, 903, 1044

Under the pen name "Jo Pierce" were published:

Beadle's Weekly. No. 153
Banner Weekly. No. 534
Half-Dime Library. Nos. 397, 415, 452, 460, 472, 494, 504, 509, 516, 526, 533, 541, 551, 559, 569, 577, 588, 603, 614, 623, 639, 649, 658, 683, 694, 706, 717, 726, 744, 765, 771, 781, 824, 837, 846, 850, 855, 860, 864, 878, 886, 890, 895, 899, 907, 915, 938, 950, 970, 987, 994
Pocket Library. No. 375

Under the pen name "E. L. St. Vrain" were published:

Beadle's Weekly. No. 128 (partim)
Half-Dime Library.
Nos. 292, 301, 312, 333, 352, 359, 371, 380, 390, 1090 (partim)
Pocket Library.
Nos. 257, 290, 307, 307, 315, 329, 338, 349, 354
Popular Library.
No. 43 (partim)

Under the pen name "Marcus H. Waring" were published:

Popular Library. Nos. 2, 5, 9, 13, 19, 25, 37, 45, 49
Half-Dime Library. Nos. 7026, 1048, 1053, 1077, 1084, 1088, 1095, 1107

Under the name "Mark Wilton" were published:

Beadle's Weekly. No. 128
Dime Library. Nos. 176, 194, 202, 219, 223, 227, 237, 245, 258, 263, 266, 271, 276, 285, 291, 305, 311, 323, 1083
Half-Dime Library. Nos. 256, 270, 286, 1090 (partim)
Pocket Library.
Nos. 207, 239, 253
Popular Library.
No. 43 (partim)


"Central Pacific Paul, the Mail-Train Spy; or, Yank Yellowbird's Iron Trail." Dime Library No. 498, pp. 5-6.

Silence had fallen on the occupants of the car, and no one seemed willing to begin conversation, but Yank Yellowbird's voice finally rose in a mild, confidential tone.

"This is gettin' to be a good 'eal of a shower," hel remarked. "It wouldn't s'prise me a tall ef we had a deluge ekul ter that o' the year 1799, when my great-gran'father, Noah Yellowbird, built his Ark an' floated all the way from St. Louis ter China. Thar never has be'n a flood yit except the Yellowbirds got inter them. Moses Yellowbird got ketched in a big shower once, an had ter lay down in the bulrushes ter 'scape it, an' he got his feet mortal wet as 'twas. My voy'lent newrology comes o' my gittin' too much water when I's a boy o' nineteen or twenty. I disrecolleck the exact date; I ain't very good on sech things, though I had a brother who was sure death on dates. Ax him anything that had happened in the past, or was goin' ter happen in the futur', and he'd tell ye the date ter a day, hour an' seckont. He was the most egregious critter you ever seen fur crownological facks, an' a good many on 'em was true."

The mountaineer stroked his beard and looked seriously at Central Pacific Paul.

"Your family, I believe, has been a remarkable one," replied Ballard, smiling.

"I don't know o' one more remarkabler. Thar never was a wonderful thing did yit but the Yellowbirds had a finger in the pie, an' ef thar was plums thar, they was likely ter run in their hull hand. I'm afeared I don't keep up the fam'ly pedigreen in all respecks. My gran'father was a sojer-chap, great on the tick-tacks o' war, an' a sort o' heroical figger in seven or eight diff'rent wars. He riz rapidly from the ranks, holdin' one persition arter another, an' was third corporal when he died. I should 'a' took ter the army only I was so egregiously a'flicted with newrology, an' my left foot was a coward. It's a weak sister, is my left foot."

"Your record in the West does not show it."

"Some o' the truest facks in history ain't put down in the books."

"The Indians of the border regard you as a sort of terror. It was they, I believe, who named you 'Never-miss'."

"Jes' so; an' I can shoot a rifle pretty straight. But land o'Goshen! the Injuns ain't no need ter worry. I never t'ech one on 'em ef he lets me alone."

"I am well aware of it, mountaineer; your reputation is widespread. Men say that you never enter a fight or quarrel when you can avoid it, but, once in, you generally win. You are said to be a lamb in peace, and a lion in war. Honest people find in you a champion; knaves find in you a bad enemy."

"So that's my reputation, eh? Wal, I'm much obleeged, 'specially fur the news that I'm a lamb in peace. Always suspected I looked sheepish, by hurley!"

The veteran's gray eyes twinkled, and his humorous mouth expanded in a genial smile.

Van T. Stuyvesant Bliss leaned quickly forward.

"Excuse me, sir," he politely said, "but you have referred to your ancestors, a subject of deep interest to me. I, sir, am engaged in the business of genealogical researches, and my reason for coming West is to search for the lineal and collateral descendants of several families whose record, genealogical, historical and biographical, I am writing for publication. While in this part of the country it is my desire to get such genealogical facts from all with whom I meet as are accessible."

Mr. Bliss delivered this explanation in a ponderous manner, showing that he was greatly in earnest, while Yank listened with marked gravity.

"A very proper idee, by hurley!" he declared.

"You say your family is an old one."

"Ef the fu'st on 'em was alive he'd be atrocious old."

"I mean, you trace them back several generations."

"To be sure."

"I should be happy to record such facts as you possess."

"All right."

Bliss produced a note-book.

"What was your father's name."

"Joshua Nicodemus."

"A Scriptural name."

"Jes' so. My gran'father, ye see, was a sojer chap, an' great on tick-tacks. He named his son Joshua out o' respect fur Gin'ral Joshua, who commanded the sun terstan' still. I s'pose he thought my father would grow up inter jest sech a man, but the tick-tacks wa'n't any good in that case. I hate ter say it, but my father was so lazy that he let the sun roll right on, while he stood still hisself. My father could do more standin' still in a sartain time than any man I ever knowed."

"When was he born?"

"Wal, that is suthin' that never could be foun' out."

"How was that?"

"The exact date never was l'arned, owin' ter the fack that none o' the folks was at home at the time."

"I don't understand."

"It happened in this way. Thar was a June trainin' o' militia, an' as my gran'father was a corporal, he went along—'twas ten miles away—an' took his wife with him. They was thar a week, an' my gran'father said he never seen better tick-tacks in his life. The militia marched and tramped ontil my gran'father raised a big blister on his left thumb-toe, an' he was pooty nigh fagged out when the week ended. He an' my gran'mother went home, an' when they got thar, thar was their son, Joshua. That's how ariz the doubt as ter when he was born, neither his father nor mother bein' present at the time. One on 'em alwas insisted 'twas a Tuesday, while t'other would hev it 'twas a Thursday."

"Sir," said Mr. Bliss, stiffly, "I do not wish to be made the object of levity."

"Don't blame ye a bit, mister."

"Then why do you make such an absurd statement?"

"Wait a bit, stranger. The Yellowbirds are a mild, even-dispersitioned race, but you can r'ile them egregiously ef ye cast doubts on the fam'ly pedigreen. Packs is facks, an' they can't be denied, an' him who disputes the fam'ly hist'ry makes me his inemy right off, quick."

"Pardon me, sir, but what you said seemed so extraordinary—never mind, however, I meant no harm. In what year did this occur?"

"I can't tell ye that."


"No. It was Tuesday or Thursday, but as the year didn't seem o' importance, it was never sot down in the fam'ly record. All I kin tell you is that my father was born later than my gran'father."

Bliss began to doubt the sanity of the mountaineer, but he determined to try one more question.

"Do you trace your family back of your grandfather?"

"Why, sartin. We trace it cl'ar back ter Adam Yellowbird, who married Eve Smith an' lived at Eden Garden, an' we'd have it furder only Adam accidently used the previous record ter light his pipe, an' 'twas all lost. We only know that Adam's father was named Ebenezer Yellowbird, an' that he was a telegraph operationer in Connecticut."

A look of hopeless bewilderment stole over Bliss's face, but at that moment there was a heavy shock and the passengers were thrown forward in their seats with painful force.

The train came to a standstill.

† Another short excerpt is given under Dime Library, no. 455 in Vol. I.

† Correction made as per Volume 3.


1 Gilbert Patten, "Dime Novel Days," Saturday Evening Post, February 28, 1931, 126. If "Maj. E. L. St. Vrain" as well as "Capt. Mark Wilton" were pseudonyms of Manning, then two chapters of the composite story "Jubilee Joe" were written by him. However, that is not improbable, for the publishers may have wished it to appear that the number of authors contributing was greater than it really was. Temporarily, at least, both "Wilton" and "St. Vrain" are here accepted as belonging to Manning.

† Manning, in a letter of June 2, 1912, now belonging to me, said: "Oddly enough, of my noms de plume, only Captain Mark Wilton was due to myself. Editors gave me the others. I don't like Ben D. Halliday and Jo Pierce, and Corporal Morris Hoyne is agonizing and sounds like a bad dream." Farther along in the same letter he mentions using Major E. L. St. Vrain as a nom de plume. He said that besides writing for Beadle he also wrote for the New York Weekly, Fireside Companion, George Munro, Norman Munro, and later for the War Library and for Street and Smith. "At least ninety percent of my output," he said "was for the various Beadle and Adams publications, then and long under the literary control of Mr. O. J. Victor, the peer of all capable and courteous editors."

2 See further under the name "Robert Inman."

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