The Elusive Manuel Family of Franklin, New Hampshire

A gem-sized tintype photograph of George Manuel of Franklin NH. He was born in 1848.

A gem-sized tintype photograph of George Manuel of Franklin NH. He was born in 1848, and died in 1911.

My quest to discover more about the Manuel Family of New Hampshire arose from my purchase of a gem sized tin type on Ebay of George Manuel of Franklin, New Hampshire. I remembered running across this rare name a few times during research of my own family in Boscawen.  As if often the case, I discovered a family relationship–that one member of this Manual clan married my 2nd great-grand uncle.

The origin of this family is obscure to say the least. In ancient records I find several “Manuel” lines possibly related to the New Hampshire branch, but probably not. The oldest record is of Minges Manuel who in February of 1671 was in Kingston NY court stating that a George Hall owed him 383 guilders. Closer to home, the earliest record is a marriage on 4 Sep 1731 between a Bathsheba Manuel and Peleg Barker in Rhode Island. In 1797 the Boston Athenaeum obituary lists a Joseph Manuel, mariner, born at Port o’Port and died 26 October 1797 in Boston MA, age 23 years. Several of these individuals are identified as black skinned, while other records do not say.  Manuel is a name found in many places, including England, Ireland and Portugal. 

Portsmouth New Hampshire had a Manuel family: “John (the foregoing underlined was struck out in the original record) George Manuel and Phebe Banks (people of Colour) were married Novr 1800 by Joseph Willard Rector of St. John’s Church in this Town.”

Rhode Island had a fairly extensive Manuel family living there at least by the early 1800s, many of which were listed as ‘black,’ or ‘negro’ in the records. In 1810 a Simon Manuel was enumerated in the census in the north district of Providence, Rhode Island (he is listed as ‘black’). An Elizabeth Manuel Wilcox, born in 1813 and d. 4 Aug 1891, daughter of John & Ann E. Manuel, and wife of Alanson Wilcox of Rhode Island. A Joseph Manuell, son of Joseph & Rosanna Manuell, b 1815, died 7 Oct 1890 at Rocky Brook, Rhode Island (these latter two families are not identified by skin color).

Deerfield, Massachusetts was home to another Manuel family. In 1816 and 1819 the Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850 show children being born in Deerfield, Franklin Co. MA in 1816 and 1819 (Samuel Portland Manuel, and Sarah Jane Manuel) to parents Prince and Mahala Manuel, “negro.” Reportedly a Kingston NH Manuel family originated from a Portugese sailor. [see Manuel family of Kingston NH and Kennebunkport, Maine at Find-A-grave] but this I will not prove nor disprove at this time. There were several other smaller family groups in Massachusetts, mostly in seaport towns.

There is another Manuel Family who lived in Vermont near the Canadian border, with some of the descendants living in Canada.  I suspect that this branch is related to the Peter Manuel of Jericho VT who was born about 1761, and died in Louisiana in 1825 (see obituary directly below).  I believe this Peter Manuel is the same as the Peter Manuel found in the “Town Book of Bow, Merrimack County, New Hampshire, under the year 1786 (page 47), as found in the records being chosen ‘Hog Reave’ for that year.  (This branch, living in such close proximity to the Franklin NH branch of the same name, could very well be related, though I have not made the genealogy leap to connect them.)

MORTUARY NOTICE–Monday, January 10, 1825 New Hampshire Observer (Concord NH) page 3. In New-Orleans, on the 3 Nov. Mr. Peter Manuel, aged 64 years–he was from Jerico, in the state of Vermont; which place he left in the month of May last in search of his son, whom he found on the river Brassos, in the province of Texas, in a very impaired stated of health, and brought him to this city, where he was waiting the departure of a vessel to New York, that they might return to their home. The fatigues of his journey, together with an ulcerated leg, so exhausted his vital powers, that he survived but a short time after his arrival in this city.


But now, to get back to the Franklin, New Hampshire MANUEL FAMILY, and to the interesting tintype photograph that I am sharing with you.  The original ebay posting shared this information: “This is a nice gem sized tintype (slightly larger than a postage stamp) of a young man identified as George Manuel of Franklin, New Hampshire. Census records and online databases indicate George Manuel was born in Franklin on November 9, 1848 and was the only child of Rufus A. Manuel and Sarah J. Knowles. He married Laura E. Merrill on September 19, 1875 and they had a son named Albert and a daughter named Ida. George Manuel died in Franklin on January 3, 1911 of arteriosclerosis and was buried beside his wife in the Franklin Cemetery. The photo dates to the 1860’s. See scan.”

[Editor’s note: a CAVEAT regarding the spelling of the Manuel(l) name.  I have found the correct spelling to be MANUEL and MANUELL for this line.  Despite some who claim that the name morphed to MANWELL, this is incorrect.  Though a few of the birth records available through FamilySearch and the state of New Hampshire do state “MANWELL” it is obvious by the 1906 date on these, more than a century and a half after the event, that this ERROR of changing the spelling occurred due to the town clerk or other person who was required to create new documents from the town birth book, per the law, to send to the State of New Hampshire vital records department.  It is obvious, since all other town documents and records show MANUEL(L) that this was an error in reading or transcribing on the town’s part.  I believe the same error occurred in the Town of Lyndeborough NH.]

What is definitely known is that the Manuel family appears in the Boscawen, Merrimack County, New Hampshire town records by 1734. Joel Manuel is listed as one of Boscawen’s first twenty-five settlers.  In addition a Thomas Manuel of Boscawen NH [editor’s note: Thomas is unidentified, could be father or brother of Joel] appears on page 38 of History of Boscawen & Webster NH 1733-1878 showing  that in 1743 he was one of the signers of a petition, praying for military officers, i.e. requesting soldiers commission. He would have had to be at least 21 years of age in order to appear here, so born by 1722.]

JOEL MANUEL, of unknown parentage was born abt 1715, and died abt 1763 in Boscawen NH (1763 was the year his will was probated).  He married Tabitha –. The History of Boscawen & Webster from 1733 to 1878, page 312 statedLittle is known in regard to this settler. Diligent search has failed to discover anything concerning his identity. He came to Contoocook in 1734, and his name appears in several places as member of communities. His son John resided on High street, near the residence of Gen. E.G. Wood. This family is nearly if not quite extinct.”  He signed a petition in 1748 for a grist mill.  In 1757 he [and his son Joel Jr] were of the signers of a petition in Contoocook NH for the granting of a town named Newbury [NH].
PROVINCE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE, VOL 7, 1760-1763, page 474; (regarding ESTATE of)  JOEL MANUEL 1763 BOSCAWEN
— Administration on the estate of Joel Manuel of Boscawen, granted to Moses Manuel, September 27, 1763] [Probate Records, vol 23, p. 79]
— Bond of Moses Manual of Boscawen, yeoman, with John Noyes of Pembroke and Samuel Rogers of Bow, yeoman, as sureties, in the sum of L500, September 27, 1763, for the administration of the estate; witnesses Matthew Stanley Parker, William Parker]
— Guardianship of Elizabeth Manuel, minor, aged more than 14 years, daughter of Joel Manuel, granted to George Jackman, Feb 26, 1766] [Probate records, vol 24, page 460]
— Bond of George Jackman Jr. with Joseph Hoit and Winthrop Carter of Boscawen, as sureties, in the sum of L500, Feb 26, 1776 for the guardianship of Elizabeth Manuel; witnesses, Moses Burbank Jr., Benjamin Jackman.]
— Account of administration; receipts L2.l0.0; expenditures L81.8.7-1/2; allowed Feb. 26, 1766
Children of Joel & Tabitha (?) Manuel:
1. +Joel Manuell, b. 20 Nov 1736 Boscawen NH; m. Phebe —
2. Moses Manuell, b 13 Sep 1738 in Boscawen NH; m. Hannah. Had ch: Sarah b 8 Jan 1764
3. ?+John Manuel, b. abt 1740, d. 7 Feb 1821 in Boscawen NH [see notes below on John’s parentage]
4. Elisabeth Manuell, b. 14 Aug 1748 Boscawen NH [birth record lists as third child]
5. +Samuel Manuel, born by or before 1751 [see question of parentage below]

JOEL MANUEL(L) JR., son of Joel & Tabitha (?) Manuell, born 20 Nov 1736 in Boscawen NH, and died 7 Feb 1821 in Boscawen NH. He m. Phebe –. In 1757 he [as Jr.] was one of the signers of a petition in Contoocook NH for the granting of a town named Newbury [NH]. Possibly the same Joel Manuel in Lyndeborough NH who paid one month’s bounty for a man to go to West Point for three months in 1780. [history of Lyndeborough NH, page 185; page 305 calls the family “Manwell”]
Children of Joel & Phebe (?) Manuel(l):
1. Amos Manuel, b. 10 Nov 1763 Boscawen twp. Merrimack Co. NH – died June 22, 1840 Boscawen twp. Merrimack co. NH Married Rhoda –. Possibly the Amos Manuel found in Lyndeborough NH, a soldier in Capt. Jonas Kidder’s Co. of Col. Nichols’ Regt. in duty at West Point 1780
2. Mary Manuel, b Sept. 5 1765 Boscawen Twp. Merrimack Co. NH, d. c1817 Merrimack NH- Married 6 March 1781 in Concord NH to Jonathan Emerson. Children: Isaac, Samuel, Molly/Polly, Ruth, Mehitable, John and Nancy.
3. Isaac Manuel, b Nov 25, 1767 Lyndeborough Twp. Hillsboro Co. NH had 2 sons that I know of Amos (married to Eliza Waddle) and Moses married to Elizabeth and had a son Isaac b Feb 20, 1830
4. Sarah, Manuel b Nov 30, 1770 Lyndeborough Twp. Hillsboro Co. NH
5. Hannah Manuel b 9 November 1771 Lyndeboro NH
6. Phebe, Manuel, b 13 July 1773 Lyndeboro NH
7. Judah Manuel b 21 September 1777 Lyndeboro NH
8. Moses Manuel b 3 May 1780 Lyndeboro NH

JOHN MANUEL, possibly son of Joel & Tabitha (?) Manuel. The Boscawen NH town records do not provide a birth record for him, and there is no direct evidence to prove he was the son of Joel, other than vague reference in the town history that he was the son of Joel Manuel.  It is possible that he and Samuel Manuel, referenced below were sons of the unidentified Thomas Manuel who was in Boscawen at the same time as Joel.  John Manuel was born abt 1740 (one source says prob Newbury MA), and died  7 Feb 1821 in Boscawen NH m. Mehitable/Mehetabel –. John Manuel was living in Boscawen NH in 1820 census. He was engaged in service during the American Revolution, upon orders of July 1, 1777 to Sutton, Unity, Cavendish, etc. A 2nd account shows that a John Manuel, in Capt. Aaron Kinsman’s company was killed in June 1777. These records are conflicted and the latter death notice does not seem to apply to this John Manuel, but another.
Children of John & Mehitable (?) Manuel:
1. Tabitha Manuel b 29 July 1769 in Boscawen NH; d. 23 June 1849 in Boscawen NH
2. Hannah Manuel (twin), b. 19 Feb 1771 in Boscawen, Merrimack Co. NH
3. Jenny Manuel (twin),  b 19 Feb 1771 in Boscawen NH
4. Molly Manuel, b. 22 Dec 1774 in Boscawen NH; d. 6 Sep 1845 in Boscawen NH
5. Mehetable Manuel, b. 30 March 1777 in Boscawen NH
6. +Moses Manuel, b. 6 May 1779 in Boscawen NH

SAMUEL MANUEL, of unknown parentage, possibly son of JOEL MANUEL or THOMAS MANUEL.  Samuel Manuel, m. Bethia — and resided in Boscawen NH children’s births recorded in Boscawen NH.  Most probably part of this same Manuel family.
Children of Samuel & Bethia (?) Manuel:
1. Dorothy b 8 June 1770 at Newton [original says NEWPORT NH]
2. Charles b. 16 June 1772.
3. Molly b 7 May 1774, d. Feb 27, 1852

MOSES MANUEL, son of John and Mehetable (?) Manuel b. 6 May 1779 in Boscawen NH; m. 2 March 1815 in Hill NH to Nancy Sleeper. She b. abt 1792 in NH and d aft 1860 prob NH. In 1850 living in Northfield, Merrimack Co NH, in 1860 living in Franklin NH. Some of the children were born in the Alexandria and Northfield NH area.
1850 US Census > NH > Merrimack Co. > Northfield
Rufus A. Manuel M 30 NH
Sarah J. Manuel F 21 NH
George F. Manuel M 1 NH
Moses Manuel M 71 NH
Nancy Manuel F 58 NH
–living next door–
Asaph E. Manual 28 M Farmer 250 NH
Charles Manuel 26 M Farmer 250 NH
1860 Census > NH > Merrimack County > Franklin
Rufus Manuel M 40 NH Farmer 1500/577
Sarah J. Manuel F 31 NH
George F. Manuel M 81 NH
Moses Manuel 81 M Farm Laborer
Jane Manuel F 89 NH
Mehitable Manuel F 83 NH
–living nearby—
Charles Manuel 34 M Carpenter 900/300 NH
Patience Manuel 24 F Canada
Nancy Manuel 65 F NH
Asaph Manuel 36 M NH Farmer
Children of Moses & Nancy (Sleeper) Manuel:
1. **Sarah Ann Manuel, b. 15 Aug 1816 in Boscawen NH; d 19 Sep 1845 in Boscawen NH; m. 24 Sep 1834 at Boscawen NH to Elbridge Tuttle [SHE WAS THE WIFE OF MY 2ND GREAT GRAND UNCLE].  They had three daughters: Lucy Ann, Mary Ann, and Sarah Jane Tuttle.
2. Betsey Hoit Manuel, b. 6 Sep 1818 Boscawen NH.
3. +Rufus Anderson Manuel, b. 24 June 1820 Boscawen NH or Northfield NH.
4. Asaph Evans Manuel, b. 26 Jan 1823 in Alexandria NH, d. 15 March 1894 in East Andover NH; m. 10 June 1876 in Franklin NH to Christine C. Davis. She b. Andover NH. He was a carpenter. Children: (1) Daughter, b 1 May 1878 in Franklin NH. He is buried in Franklin NH
3. William Jonson Manuel, b. 2 Feb 1825 in Alexandria NH
4. Charles Walker Manuel, b 2 Feb 1825 in Alexandria NH, d. 28 Sep 1904 in Campton NH, aged 79. Farmer. Buried Union Cemetery, Laconia NH

RUFUS ANDERSON MANUEL, son of Moses & Nancy (Sleeper) Manuel, b. 24 June 1820 in Boscawen NH [son’s birth cert says Northfield NH]; d 12 Sep 1903 in Franklin NH; m. 27 Dec 1847 in Concord NH to Sarah J. Knowles, dau of Leavitt & Abigail (Small) Knowles. She b. 24 Sep 1828 in Salisbury NH [or Gilmanton NH] and d. 17 June 1901 in Franklin NH.
Child of Rufus A. & Sarah J. (Knowles) Manuel:
1. George Manuel, b. 9 November 1848.

**GEORGE F. MANUEL [see photograph at top], son of Rufus & Sarah J. (Knowles) Manuel, b. 9 November 1848 in Franklin, Merrimack Co. NH and d. 3 January 1911 in Franklin NH. He m. 19 Sep 1875 to Laura E. Merrill, dau of James L. & Clara B. (Paige) Merrill [of Hill NH and Sanbornton NH]. She was b. 13 Oct 1857 in Salisbury NH and d. 14 April 1908 in Franklin NH, aged 50. Both buried in Franklin Cemetery, Franklin NH. He was a milk dealer in 1910, off Prospect Street
Children of George F. & Laura E. (Merrill) Manuel:
1. +Albert Hayes Manuel, b. 25 June 1876 NH, d. 29 March 1937 in Franklin NH. He m. 5 Jan 1916 in Franklin NH to Gertrude M. Scribner, dau of Morrell & Adella Grace (Scott) Scribner. She died 16 Sep 1947. He was City Marshall of Franklin NH in 1937. In 1900 living with grandparents.
2. Ida Mae Garfield Manuel b. Oct 1880 NH Franklin NH, d. 28 March 1943 in Franklin NH. Administratrix of her brother Albert’s estate

==============BRIEF MERRILL GENEALOGY===============

James Lancaster Merrill b. abt 1823-1825 New Chester [later Hill NH], d abt 1889 in Boscawen NH; m. by 1857 to Clara/Clarissa B. Paige/Page, dau of Benjamin F. & Lydia (Smith) Page. She b. abt 1836 Sanbornton NH; d. 7 Feb 1908 in Franklin NH. She m2d) 2 Sep 1894 in Franklin NH to Thomas S. Austin. She is buried in the Franklin Cemetery, Franklin NH
1860 US Census > NH > Merrimack County > Andover
James L. Merrill 37
Clarissa Merrill 23
Laura E. Merrill 2
Marinda Merrill 1
1870 US Census > NH > Merrimack Co > Franklin
James Merrill 44
Clarissa Merrill 33
Laura E. Merrill 12
Merinda Merrill 11
Otto Merrill 5
Rodney Merrill 3
Mary Merrill 1
1880 US Census > NH > Merrimack County > Franklin
James L. Merrill 55
Clara E. Merrill 43
Rodney T. Merrill 13
Mary M. Merrill 10
Frank R. Merrill 8
Edith M. Merrill 7
Harry E. Merrill 5
Robert M. Merrill 3
Children of James L. & Clara B. (Paige/Page) Merrill:
1. + Laura E. Merrill, b. 13 Oct 1857 in Salisbury NH and d. 14 April 1908 in Franklin NH. SHE MARRIED GEORGE F. MANUEL (see above)
2. Miranda Johnson Merrill, b 10 Apr 1859 in Sanbornton NH, died 29 June 1915; ?m1st) Arthur Guy; m2nd) 9 Nov 1903 to Killis F. Tarrio/Terrio, son of Joseph & Julia (Bloomer) Tarrio [as his 3rd wife]. He b. abt 1858 in Great Falls NH. She is buried in Franklin Cemetery, Franklin NH
3. Fred Leslie Merrill, b. 12 June 1862, d. Aug 1864 NH
4. ?Viola Merrill, b. 9 June 1863, d. Jan 1864 NH
5. Otto Devan Merrill, b. 24 Sep 1864 in Franklin NH; m. 20 Dec 1897 in Franklin NH to Lucy A. Moody-Baths, dau of Frank & Mary Moody. She b. abt 1855 Pittsfield NH, m1st) — Baths, widowed. He m2d) 6 Sep 1911 in Franklin NH to Etta G. Dolby, dau of George & Almira (Hunt) Dolby. He is buried at Maplewood Cemetery, Salisbury NH.
6. Rodney T. Merrill, b. 24 Feb 1867 in Franklin NH, d. 18 Feb 1944 in Franklin NH; m. 30 Dec 1891 in Swanton VT to Mattie E. “Martha” Tatro; he worked on the Railroad [had 13 children]
7 Mary Maria Merrill, b 16 May 1869 Franklin NH
8. Frank Rowell Merrill, b. 12 Aug 1870 in Franklin NH; m. 7 June 1897 in Franklin NH to Sophronia Bythrow, dau of Petro & Sophia (Adams) Bythrow.
9. Edith M. Merrill, b abt 1873 NH; d. 14 Oct 1920 Franklin NH
10. Harry Eugene Merrill, b 28 July 1874 in Concord NH; d. 1 Aug 1935 in Franklin, Merrimack Co. NH; caretaker of the Webster Birthplace in Franklin NH; buried Franklin NH
11. Robert Mack Merrill, b 1 July 1876 NH; d 2 Oct 1948 Concord NH


Plymouth Magazine: My First Excavation [An archaeological excavation in Boscawen NH)

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13 Responses to The Elusive Manuel Family of Franklin, New Hampshire

  1. Paul Veltman says:

    I am a descendant of David Manuel of Boscawen, Merrimack, New Hampshire. He married Susan Corser, whose family is from Boscawen. Her father was Asa Corser from Boscawen. They moved to North Troy Vermont. I did join the Boscawen Historical Society to see if I could find out who the parents of David were, but am highly disappointed as I have heard nothing from them. I have the descendants of David pretty well lined out. My branch of the family moved to the Napa Valley of California in 1862. Any thoughts out there?

  2. Paul Veltman says:

    Hi Adrienne and Janice, You are descended from David Manuel through his son Chandler Manuel and Chandler’s son David Augustus Manuel and Charlotte Brown. I’m descended from David Augustus and Laura Griswold. They married in Illinois and came to Napa California on a wagon train from Missouri where they had some land for a while. I did join the Boscawen Historical Society a year or so ago but have heard nothing from them. I’m somewhat disappointed in them to say the least.

    I made up a hypothetical lineage of David Manuel. It starts with Joel Maxwell (1690 – 1780) and his wife Tabitha (1696-1750). There is a Joel Jr. (1736-1821) and his wife Phebe. They had 11 children surnamed Maxwell, Manwell and Manuel. David, b. 1778 would be their second youngest. The second possible line is from Joel to his son Mose Maxwell b. 1738 and Hannah but this seems unlikely. The third possibility is John Manuel (1740-1821) and his wife Mehitabel. David would have been born between Mehetable 1777 and Moses 1779. The other possibility would be Samuel Manuel and his wife Bethiah. David would be the younger brother of Dorothy, Charles and Molly. Given the year spread, this seems promising. Let me review Janice’s original article again and see if anything makes sense to me.

    • Adrienne Soto says:

      My Grandmother Was Grace Manuel Salmon She Was Daughter Of David Manuel In Calistoga Ca Napa

      • Paul Veltman says:

        OK guys, I just made an outline of the Manuel family from David through 9 generations. I used mostly the LDS Family Search website. John, I have your e-mail address but I can’t find Adrienne’s or Janice’s. If you guys or anybody else wants a copy, just e-mail me at and I’ll send it to you. It’s in Excel. My next chore is to number everybody with the NGSQ numbering system and then start filling in the blanks. For the most part, it only includes deceased individuals. If you would do me a favor and forward any correction or amplifications to me.



    • Adrienne Soto says:

      I Been Investigating Them With Cousin John Manuel In TX For Years We Found This Book Plots Crime
      Mystery And Conspiracy… INVISIBLE SUPERNATURAL By Eleanor Manuel KIng
      That Is A Really Far out Book It Tells All About Are Manuel Family Wow

      • Paul Veltman says:

        Oh, you found a copy? I have 3. It was self published. Yes, it’s a crazy book. I scanned it in a few years ago and have a .pdf of it. Eleanor Manuel King was my grandfather’s sister. She was born in Missouri in 1860, the second of 4 children of David A. Manuel and Laura Corbin Griswold. She was 14 y/o when they got married. They had to get married in a different county because they thought her father, James Griswold would have a s*** fit if he found out. Well he did find out and he did have a fit. I think George S. Manuel, the first child b. 1858 then Eleanor (Nutty Nellie) b. 1860 then David Louis Manuel b. 1865 and finally my grandfather, Augustus, b. 1868.

      • Paul Veltman says:

        Yes, I know you are in touch with John,

  3. Adrienne Soto says:

    My Dad And Mom are Burried With David Manuel
    In St Helena Ca There Name Is Salmon

    • Paul Veltman says:

      Precisely. I visited the graves in the St. Helena Public Cemetery a few years ago. And the Salmons were there as well. Charlotte and Jess and Paul Manuel are in a different location nearer to the entrance.

  4. Adrienne Soto says:

    I Hope We Can Figure This Out

  5. Lisa Manwill says:

    My family is Manwill / Manwell / Manuel…. Growing up I heard stories and have copies of history of (my 4th GGF) ‘John Worthley Manwill (b.1791)’ changing the spelling to Manwill. Also many DNA matches of Manwell & Manwill and one DNA match to Manuel who’s ancestor is Peter Manuel (b.1785). I have been researching in I would love to fill in holes and see if we can figure out if we all connect. I have fallen down rabbit holes searching variations of names and possibilities. I have found a few fun stories but have no idea if some are my actual ancestors.

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