Life began for Freeman Manning on May 24, 1831 in Phelps, New
parents were William Manning and Isabella Sobers. Because of deaths in the family,
Freeman would become the only living descendant. Six years after he was born, his
parents accepted the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. They sold their property and
moved to be with the saints in Ohio. He watched as his family went through lots of
persecution and heartbreak and still remain faithful. They finally migrated to Illinois, once
again to be driven by the mobs. They traveled across Iowa to Winter Quarters. They
were assigned to the Uriah Curtis Company. This company left late in June 1852. They
arrived in the Great Salt Lake Valley on October 1, 1852. They settled in Salt Lake City
for some time. Freeman was called by Brigham Young to help move families south from
Salt Lake. So with his Yoke of oxen he moved the Adams family and the Hannet family
to Alpine, Utah.
Catherine Watkins was born April 22, 1838 in Comb's Moor, in the Parish of
Byton, Herefordshire, England. Robert James Watkins Jr. and Ann Palmer (her father and
mother) embraced the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ in England in April 1842. They
emigrated to America and joined the saints in Nauvoo. Her mother died in April 1843 and
in August her father married Mary Smallman. Then about a year later her brother died.
They went through the trials and tribulation that were heaped upon Nauvoo as well
as their own families loses, but they remained faithful. They left Nauvoo with the great
exodus of saint and finally went to Utah about 1852. They settled in Alpine, Utah. Here
she lived the life of a pioneer with all of its challenges. Her stepmother had very poor
health, so Catherine cared for her step mother and the children and cleaned house.
Catherine Watkins and Freeman Manning met in Alpine, Utah where her father
Jimmy Watkins as he was called was established in a wholesale meat business. After a
short but sweet courtship this couple were married the 30th of December 1855. They
made their home in Alpine where they helped build the town. It is said that Freeman's
father and mother lived with them while they were in Alpine.
Freeman and Catherine lived the United Order while it was in force. They were
really devoted to the church and were willing to do what they were ask. The following
schedule of Freeman Manning and the property he consecrated to the Lord the 14 days of
January 1857. Lot 22, Block 3 consisting of 65/100 of an acre in the Alpine survey of
building lots with a log house valued at $100., also lot 4 of Block 6 containing17 acres,
the fractional value $85 more or less., one yoke of oxen $80., one cow $30., farming tools
$13., household furniture $20., nine head of sheep at $5. each - $45., three bushels of
wheat @ 2. per bushel - $6., ten bushels of corn @ $1.50 per bushel - $15., fifteen bushels
of potatoes @ $1. per bushel - $15., the undivided 1/3 of a lime Kiln situated near the City
of Alpine $30., one rifle $10. and other property valuing $420. I certify that the foregoing
schedule of property was consecrated to the Lord the 14th of January 1857 in the year of
our lord...Signed: Lucas N. Scovil, Recorder of Utah County, Utah.
Freeman Manning was quite active in canyon work. There is a grove near Dry
creek canyon known as Manning Grove and a dugway on the east mountain known as the
manning dugway. These places must be in the vicinity of Mt. Timpanogas, the highest
point in that section of Utah. While in Alpine, three children were born to them. They
were Catherine, Mary Emeline and Freeman William.
In 1860 they moved to Charleston, Utah where two more children were born to
them - Sarah and Almon. Almon was actually born at Spring Point. Freeman's parents
must have moved there at about the same time, because there is record that William
Manning taught school there. Then they moved to Heber City where Robert, Eliza and
Frank or Francis Manning were born. About 1869, they moved from Heber City to
Provo. This is where Martha Matilda Manning was born and then died about nine months
later. The family then packed up and moved to Richfield, Utah in 1870. Here they settled
down for a few years. They helped build and settle this community which was at this time
an outpost of civilization and a far cry from Salt Lake City, where the Mormons had
become substaintially settled. Even at this late date it was necessary for them to form a
guard mount and to post it regularly to protect themselves against the Indians who were
still hostile in this region.
Al Manning tells the following story. He said that both he and his father, Freeman
Manning, belonged to a military organization which was evidently set up by the church or
the local townspeople to protect themselves from the Indians when they lived in Richfield.
This organization was probably the aftermath of the Nauvoo Legion. He told of some of
the training techniques used in that day and age. One of the maneuvers he explained was
how three men would set their rifles, with fixed bayonets, with the butts on the ground in a
triangular position. This was done in case of a cavalry charge from the Indians (The
Indians were masters in performing it, for the Indians were the best trained cavalry fighters
the white man had every encountered.)
Among some of the possessions handed down from Freeman Manning was a large
heavy calibered gun that later became very useful at celebrations after the Indians'
escapades had subsided. This gun was used to fire the salute at the break of day for the
forth and twenty forth of July celebrations. It remained, says Clara Casto, for many years
with our family. She said, " I recall seeing grandfather clean and polish this gun while he
lived with use during his declining years.
It was in Richfield that the balance of Freeman and Catherine's children were born.
They included George Henry Manning, who never married although he lived to be about
85 years old. Clara Ann Manning who married twice, the first time to Otto Jensen and
had four children by this marriage, then later to Edison Fuell and having a family by him
also. John Gideon Manning came next and finally their baby son, Alma Taylor Manning.
Freeman and Catherine did a great deal of temple work while they lived in
Richfield. They would drive to St. George with a team of either horses or oxen. They
would stay in St. George for a good share of the winter doing temple work. John, who
was about ten years old, would come along and take care of the team while his parents
were in the temple. Freeman and Catherine were dedicated in their church duties.
Freeman went from Elder to Seventy to High Priest and lived up to each calling a
Later they moved to Gooseberry, a small settlement about 10 miles from Salina,
Utah. Here they bought a farm and spent a number of years there. While in Gooseberry,
Freeman was President of the Branch. The family was always taught the true principles of
the Gospel and instructed to live them to the best of their ability. Freeman and Catherine
were the parents of thirteen children, of which three proceeded them in death.
Catherine was energetic, always striving to rear her family properly. There was a
time when she followed mid-wifery and became very efficient in this work. True to the
cause at all times and always helped when needed. She was also very proficient at
knitting, perfect in every detail. It has also been said that when she was a young women,
she was one of the best horsewoman in her section of Utah.
Catherine passed away November 7, 1895. "I recall seeing her in her casket", says
Clara Casto. "hers was the first corpse I had ever seen. Aunt Alvina Farnsworth was with
her husband when Catherine passed away. She was buried in Salina, Utah.
Freeman's granddaughter, Eliza Casto, lived with him the winter that Catherine
died. Eliza Casto's children went to school in Salina. During that time Freeman was very
ill, in fact for a time it looked as though he would never recover, however he did regain his
health. He lived with Aunt Lid Casto for another two years.
He then went to Idaho where he had a daughter and three sons living. This was in
and around Preston, Idaho. He lived in Preston for several years. He finally passed away
on 6 September 1901. He was buried next to Frank Manning's burial lot.
Recreated by John Shaw in September 1998. Grateful acknowledgment
is extended to
Clara Casto who compiled most of the information used in this history. Clara was
Freeman Manning's granddaughter, her mother was Eliza Jane Manning Casto. Clara was
also historian for the Daughters of Utah Pioneers for four years in Salina, Utah. Also J.
Harold Manning added many details. Thanks...
Also note: Catherine had two sisters and a brother who died:
Anne - born 6 Nov
1836, died 20 Oct 1838. Ann - born 27 Oct 1839, died 15 dec 1841. Thomas - born 25
Dec 1841, died about 1844.