The earliest representative of the Manning family in America emigrated from England in 1634 and settled in the suburbs of Boston, Mass. Ephraim, representing the third generation in line of descent, located in Woodstock, Windham county, where he lived and died. His sop William was a patriot, held a commission as captain during the war of the revolution, and served until , the close of the conflict. His children were six daughters and two sons, William H., the youngest son, being a native of Woodstock, where his birth occurred September 10th, 1776. He later removed to Pomfret, where he died in June, 1862. By his marriage to Lucy Tucker were born five children: Lory, Mary, Ephraim, Lucy and William. He married a second time Lois Paine, of Pomfret, whose children are: James WW., John M., Henry F., Edward P. and Edward P., 2d. The survivors of this number are William, John M. and James W.
James W. was born in Pomfret March 8th, 1822, and remained until his twenty-fifth year a resident of that town. He was educated at the Thompson and Woodstock Academies, and the Connecticut Literary Institution, at Suffield, meanwhile at intervals giving a hand at the work of the farm. He then accepted a clerkship and served for two years in that capacity, removing in 1847 to Putnam, where he embarked in the dry goods trade. This business he has continued until the present time, either alone or with partners, the present firm of Manning & Leonard having existed since 1869.
Mr. Manning has been prominent in local affairs, and on the organization of the town of Putnam was elected the first town clerk, which office he has held continuously until the present time. He has also filled the offices of town treasurer and registrar of births and marriages. He was in 1566, as a republican, elected a member of the Connecticut house of representatives, and in 1869-71-72 filled the office of state comptroller. He was for many years a director and is now the president of the First National Bank of Putnam, as also one of the incorporators of the Putnam Savings Bank. He has, from the organization of the town, manifested the deepest interest in its moral and material advancement, and was on its formation president of the Business Men’s Association of Putnam, which has proved a powerful agent in its commercial development. Mr. Manning is a member and deacon of the Baptist church of Putnam. He is a firm believer in the truths of Christianity and lends a willing hand to the support and propagation of the gospel. In the days when the question of slavery was agitated with much personal bitterness, he was an avowed abolitionist.
Mr. Manning was, on on the 5th of May, 1846, married to Emily, daughter of Daniel Fitts, of Pomfret. Their only child is a daughter, Helen A., wife of Doctor J. B. Kent, of Putnam.