One of the most useful and active citizens of Nowata is J. C. Manning, who has been holding the office of city manager since 1920. A native of Indiana, he was born in La Fayette, on the 7th of April, 1881, and there received his early education. After graduating from high school he became a student at Purdue University and was graduated from that institution in 1901, with the B. S. degree. Subsequently he made his initial step into the business world as an employee in the engineering department of the Illinois Central Railroad and after ten years in that capacity resigned his position to accept a like one with the Rock Island Railroad. At the termination of three years he went with the Interstate Commerce Commission in the government valuation for railroads and one year later became assistant city engineer of Ottawa, Illinois. For a like period he served as assistant county highway superintendent of that community, after which he became city manager of South Haven, Michigan. After acting as city manager of Hayes, Kansas, for some time he came to Nowata in 1920, as city manager, which office he is now holding. Nowata is enjoying a commission form of government and Mr. Manning was appointed by the five commissioners to his present office. He is eminently a man of business sense, of well balanced mind, even temperament and conservative habits and he possesses that kind of enterprise which leads to great achievement. Since assuming the duties of city manager Mr. Manning has been successful in putting through a three hundred and sixty-five thousand dollar paving program and all of the out streets are in good shape. The municipal water plant is now operating on a paying basis and an efficient police force has been organized. Two thousand dollars of Nowata’s 1916 warrants have been cancelled and the city has been put on the “pay-as-you-go” basis, all of which has been accomplished by applying business principles to city government and by having good will and harmony between the governing heads and the executive head, the city manager. Mr. Manning was engineer of construction for the first railroad built into this town and he also built sixty miles of railroad throughout Arkansas. The town of Manning is named in his honor.
In June, 1903, was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Manning to Miss Hattie Thompson of Golconda, Illinois, the oldest town in that state, and to their union one son has been born: James Kenneth, who is fourteen years of age and a sophomore in the Warren high school.
The religious faith of the family is that of the Presbyterian church and Mr. Manning is a generous contributor to its support. Fraternally he is a Knights Templar Mason and he is an active and prominent member of the Rotary Club. He is vice president of the City Managers Association of Oklahoma and holds membership in the American Association of Engineers. Mr. Manning has been a student of the sociological, political and economic problems of the country and concerning such endeavors he keeps abreast with thinking men. He recognizes the duties and obligations as well as the privileges of citizenship and therefore Nowata has found him active in his endorsement of and aid in various projects for the city’s welfare and growth.