The First Manning of Wittenberg

The Louisiana Purchase had just been made by the United States in 1803-1804.  It did not take long for a Revolutionary War veteran by the name of John Manning to acquire a piece of this new American land in what later became Perry County, Missouri.  He acquired a piece of property along the banks of the Mississippi River just south of the Brazeau Creek.  That land eventually became the place where the town of Wittenberg would later emerge after the German Lutherans purchased it in 1839.

John Manning was born in 1745 in St. Mary’s County, Maryland, which is where the Potomac River empties into Chesapeake Bay.  In about 1768, John married Susan Wimsatt.  This couple had five children before Susan died in 1779.  John remarried in 1780.  His second wife was Anastasia Ormsby.  This couple had five more children.

During the Revolutionary War, John Manning served in the 3rd Maryland Regiment under the leadership of Captain Lowe.  I found this description of the activity of the 3rd Maryland Regiment during that war.

“The regiment would see action during the Battle of Brandywine, Battle of Germantown, Battle of Monmouth, Battle of Camden, Battle of Guilford Court House, Battle of Eutaw Springs and the Battle of Yorktown. The regiment disbanded on January 1, 1783 at Charleston, South Carolina.”
Here is a form which shows some of John’s service during the War for Independence.
John Manning Revolutionary War Muster Roll
The last of the Manning children is said to have been born in Kentucky in 1793, indicating that this family was heading in a westward direction.  Then when the Louisiana Purchase was completed, John bought the property in Missouri.  He owned that property even before Lewis & Clark passed by on their way up the Mississippi during the beginning of their expedition.  Here is probably the first map ever made of the area which later became Wittenberg.  It shows the piece of land owned by John Manning.  It also shows property owned by Robert Manning, who was one of John’s sons.
First map of Wittenberg
All evidence points in the direction that John Manning was a Roman Catholic.  His residence in the Catholic colony of Maryland is one indication.  Also, he is one of the men who signed a request sent to a Catholic official in Kentucky asking for a priest to be sent to this area of Missouri in 1806.  Several Mannings signed this document.
There seems to be a little dispute over whether John Manning died in 1814 or 1815.  A plaque which was made in his honor uses the 1815 date.
This plaque was originally placed in a cemetery in Silver Lake.  A few years ago, some local military historians felt that this plaque would be better placed if it was on land that John Manning once owned.  They also wanted a location which might enable more people to view it.  Our museum owns a small piece of property on this land just next to the Brazeau Creek, so we offered this parcel to be the location of this plaque.  Because the river is quite high right now, you can see the Brazeau Creek in the background of this photo.  Also, this plaque is located near where our monument for the Saxon Landing Area can be found.
You can see that Saxon monument in this photo which has the Manning monument in the foreground.
It is believed that John Manning is actually buried in the hills on his property near the river.  It is probably up in the forested hills you see in this photo.  Again, the Manning monument rock is in the foreground.
A few years ago, several of our museum workers searched those hills for John Manning’s grave.  It has reportedly been seen there, but we could not find it.
Another interesting document is the last will and testament of John Manning.
John Manning's Last Will and Testament
It mentions his property along the Brazeau Creek.  I am always amazed by how some of these wills state, like this one does, that certain heirs are granted things like a cow or just one dollar.
It is believed that John Manning is the only Revolutionary War veteran buried in Perry County.  If you ever have the occasion to visit our area, you should include a trip down to the river where you can see the landing area for the Saxon immigrants and the Manning monument…..assuming we are not being flooded at the time.  It is a story which is definitely part of our history.

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