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Biography of T. D. W. Manchester

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There are few more highly esteemed men in Union Grove than T. D. W. Manchester, who for many years engaged in the practice of law here but is now living retired. He has also been quite prominent in the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and is further entitled to recognition as a veteran of the Civil war. He was born in Cayuga County, New York, on the 18th of October, 1840, of the marriage of James T. and Lucy A. (Thornton) Manchester. The family has been represented upon the American soil since early colonial days, as one Thomas Manchester is known to have been a resident of Plymouth Colony in 1639. The line of descent comes down to T. I). W. Manchester, who is the eighth generation born in this country, through Elias Manchester, a soldier of the Revolutionary war. He was wounded at the battle of Saratoga and when seventy-four years of age was pensioned by the government for his services when at the front. He had fifteen children, of whom his son Elias was the father of James T. Manchester. The last named was born in Cayuga County, New York, in 1815 and in 1844 removed to Cleveland, Ohio, whence two years later he came, with his family to Racine County, Wisconsin. He dealt in grain in the city of Racine for many years and built up a large and lucrative business. At length, however, he removed to the vicinity of Union Grove where he purchased a small farm and later moved to Auburn, New York, in 1864. There his death occurred in 1900. In early manhood he supported the Whig party but after it passed out of existence gave his allegiance to the Republican Party. He attended the Baptist church, to which his wife belonged, and for years served as leader of its choir. He had a fine voice, was well trained in music and for a long period taught singing. He was married in Cayuga County, New York, to Miss Lucy A. Thornton, who was born in that County in 1815 and who passed away in Racine County, Wisconsin, in 1868. They were the parents of eight children of whom only two survive: T. D. W. Manchester and Mrs. Miles Moe, a widow residing in Sioux Rapids, Iowa. On the maternal side T. D. W. Manchester is also descended from Revolutionary ancestry as his great-grandfather, Jesse Thornton, fought in the, war for independence and while on picket duty took the countersign from Benedict Arnold when he deserted from the army at West Point.

T. D. W. Manchester attended the public schools of Racine, being a member of the first class graduated from the high school, and in preparation for the practice of law took a course in Union University at Albany, New York, from which he was graduated with the degree of LL.B. in 1862. He began the practice of his profession in New York City but a short time afterward, or on the 14th of August, 1862, went to the defense of the Union, enlisting in the Twenty-second Wisconsin Infantry. He was made regimental commissary sergeant and served in that position until captured on the 25th of March, 1863, at the battle of Brentwood, Tennessee, being confined in prison until the following July when he was exchanged and returned to the front. He was with the colors until the close of hostilities and participated in the following battles: Brentwood, Tennessee; Resaca. Georgia: New Hope Church: Gulps Farm; Kennesaw Mountain; Peach Tree Creek; Brentwood and Averysboro. He was also with Sherman on his memorable march to the sea, and after peace was concluded took part in the grand review at Washington.

On returning to civil life Mr. Manchester came to Racine and resumed the practice of his profession. Several years later he went to Salina, Kansas, where he practiced for some time, and he also lived in Peru, Indiana, for a considerable period. In 1902, however, he located in Union Grove and has since remained here. He was very successful as an attorney, winning a large percentage of the cases which he tried and holding a high place in the estimation of his professional brethren, but since 1910 he has lived retired. He has erected a comfortable residence in Union Grove and he also holds title to one hundred and sixty-five acres of well improved land in Racine County.

In 1866 Mr. Manchester was married to Miss Permelia E. Noble, who was born in Ives Grove, Racine County, and is a daughter of Ira and Fannie M. (Hervey) Noble, pioneers of this County, arriving here from New York in 1844. Mrs. Noble had taught school in the Empire state and after coming here taught in her home as there were no schoolhouses at that time. Mr. Noble was well-to-do and the family was spared most of the hardships which many of the early settlers had to endure. Mrs. Manchester was educated in the Racine high school and was a woman of unusual refinement and culture. She passed away in 1905, leaving two children. Charles Manchester was educated in the Wayland Academy at Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, and in Moody Institute in Chicago and is now a preacher of the Baptist faith. Lucy E. attended the Wesleyan University, completed, a course in elocution and oratory in Indianapolis, Indiana, and studied art in the Cincinnati Art Academy and the Chicago Art Institute. She taught school for a number of years but is now at home.

Mr. Manchester is a stanch republican in politics but has never been an aspirant for office. He was quite prominent in the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and for a number of years has given the secret work in Peru (Ind.) lodge. He has held all of the chairs in the subordinate lodge, and while living in Indiana was a delegate to the state encampment and served in the Patriarchs Militant, at Peru, that state. He is recognized as the leading member of the order in Racine County and takes the keenest interest in everything relating to the work of the organization. He is also identified with the Daughters of Rebekah. In religious faith he is a Baptist and heartily supports the various activities of that church. Through association with the Grand Army of the Republic he keeps in touch with his comrades in blue and the same spirit of patriotism which led him to enlist in the Union army in the ’60s has always characterized him, finding expression in his willingness to place the public good above his individual interest. He has the distinction of being the oldest member of the Racine County bar, having been admitted to practice in Racine in 1862. Although he is now living retired, he keeps well informed as to the movements and events which are of special interest to the profession and his counsel and advice are highly valued by the younger members of the bar.


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