WILLIAM H. McMANUS
William Henry McManus, of Piqua, is a native of Elizabeth township, Miami county, his birth having occurred on the 25th of July, 1855. His father, Benjamin F. McManus, was born in Albany, New York, August 9, 1824, and was of Scotch lineage. John H. McManus, the grandfather of our subject, was a native of Scotland, and in that land married Eve Brendel, daughter of Samuel and Barbara Brendel, of Glasgow. In the year 1796 Mr. and Mrs. McManus crossed the Atlantic to the New World and he lived to an advanced age. They had three sons in the civil war; Irvin, who died on Dover's Island; Henry, who was never heard from after the battle of Pittsburgh Landing; and James, who lived to return, and died in Mercer county, Ohio, in December, 1898.
Benjamin F. McManus, the father of our subject pursued his education in Albany, New York, until he accompanied his parents on their removal from the Empire state to Cumberland county, Pennsylvania. When a young man in his twenty-third year he took up his abode in Miami county, locating in Troy on the 8th of April,1847. About 1851 he married Miss Sarah J. Wrigley, a daughter of John and Rebecca (Holmes) Wrigley. The parents came from England and first settled in Kentucky, whence he afterward removed to Montgomery county, Ohio, later coming to Elizabeth township, Miami county. He owned a carding mill, manufactured woolen goods and dealt in oils. He was recognized as a leading business man and a prominent citizen.
William Henry McManus, whose name introduces this record, pursued his education in the public schools of Miami county and for six years successfully engaged in teaching. He learned the carriage-maker's trade and for nineteen years followed that pursuit in Troy. In 1896 he came to Piqua and was foreman of the Piqua Wagon Works until their recent destruction by fire. He has a comprehensive and thorough understanding of the business in all of its departments and was fully competent to discharge the important duties devolving upon him. As a business man he is very reliable and at all times has enjoyed the confidence of those with whom he has been connected. For two years he served as a member of the city council, giving his earnest support to all measures which he believes calculated to prove of public benefit. He is a citizen of sterling worth, progressive and enterprising and in the active affairs of life has justly won and merited the confidence and esteem of his fellow men.
Mr. McManus wedded Miss Priscilla Covault, daughter of L. C. Covault, of Lost Creek township, who was one of the pioneers of the community, very active in township affairs and a leader in religious work in that section of the county. Mr. and Mrs. Timothy Covault, the grandparents of Mrs. McManus, were wed in their eastern home and the following day started down the Ohio river in a flatboat to establish a home in the then far distant wilderness. They traveled with a party who built a fort called Fort Covault, in honor of the grandfather who was the leader of the party and who was shortly afterward killed by the Indians. The family were early identified with the Baptist church and the active part which they took in all public affairs has made their name inseparably connected with the pioneer history of the state.
Mr. McManus is a Democrat in his political affiliations, socially is connected with the Royal Arcanum and has served as grand representative to the state lodge on several different occasions. Both he and his wife are active members of the Methodist church and take a deep interest in its work. They are greatly devoted to their only child, a son, Melville Wright McManus, of whom they have every reason to be proud. He was born at Troy, October 28, 1882 began his education in the schools of that city and at the present time is serving his country in the distant Philippines as corporal in Captain Gilmer's Company of the thirty- first United States Volunteer Infantry. He enlisted at Fort Thomas June 1, 1899, and probably his parents were never called upon to make any greater sacrifice than when they gave their beloved and only son to the service of his country. He sailed on the ill-fated Manauense, which proved unseaworthy. The story of the heroism displayed by the Thirty-first on that terrible passage has been repeatedly told and will be recounted as long as history lasts, for seldom has such great heroism and sacrifice been displayed. For ten days and ten nights they bailed the water in which they were forced to stand up to their waists, and the water was intensely hot, coming from the boilers. The men had to endure great suffering, but with unflinching bravery they stood at their posts until the harbor was reached and they were released from their awful positions. Corporal McManus' letters to his Piqua friends and particularly to Colonel Batelle are extremely interesting and have been published in the local press. The young man is tall, straight and soldierly in bearing, and from a mere boy he has been imbued with a military instinct and ambition and studied tactics as ardently as other boys read stories. At the Piqua high school he organized and was captain of the cadets and was major of the battalion. Many citizens of Piqua and prominent men of the town and county are greatly interested in the promising career of Corporal McManus and desire to see him spared to return to his patriotic and devoted parents, as well as to see him promoted in the army. The promotion would be well deserved, for he is well versed in all military tactics, possesses a sturdy loyalty of the true soldier, is popular with his comrades and has displayed unflinching bravery in defense of the stars and stripes.
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