MANNING, TEXAS. Manning, a lumber town in the Neches River bottomlands of southeastern Angelina County, flourished between 1903 and 1934. In 1863 a Dr. W. W. Manning constructed a small sawmill at the site, which lies nine miles south of Huntington, near Farm Road 844. In 1885 Manning built one of the first two steam sawmills in Angelina County, on Lindsey Lake south of Homer. Manning, who was born in 1820 in Monroe, Louisiana, brought the talents of a druggist, physician, merchant, and industrialist to the development of Angelina County.
W. T. Carter and G. A. Kelley organized the Carter-Kelley Lumber Company in 1903, built a new sawmill near the site of Manning's first mill, and named the site Manning. Their mill, built for yellow pine, had the most modern machinery in its time and cut all sizes of lumber. It had a capacity of thirty-four million board feet a year and employed 300 people. Timber was brought to the mill from Angelina, Tyler, Polk, and Jasper counties. In 1907 the Shreveport, Houston, and Gulf Railroad (known as "Shove Hard and Grunt") was built from Manning to Huntington to connect the sawmill town with the Cotton Belt and the Texas and New Orleans railroads. The Carter-Kelley Company, like many other Angelina County sawmills, issued scrip instead of currency and served as a bank for its employees' so-called "Manning checks." Manning got a post office in 1906 with Charles C. Gribble as postmaster.
In 1910 Manning had a population of about 700, which made it one of the largest towns in Angelina County at the time. By 1925 it had over 1,000 residents, of whom about two-thirds were white and one-third black. At its height the community had a seven-teacher school for whites, a two-teacher school for blacks, a commissary, a barbershop, a movie theater, a garage, three churches, a civic center, a drugstore, a post office, a railroad depot, and several office buildings belonging to the lumber company. The population declined sharply after the sawmill burned in 1934, since the mill was not rebuilt. The houses were removed and sold to Dallas businessmen, and the schools and churches emptied quickly as mill employees left to find work elsewhere. In 1939 the population estimate was 100. In 1945 it was thirty, and the town had only one business left. Mail service was transferred to Huntington in 1940. Manning has not been included in the Texas Almanac's list of cities, towns, and villages since 1947. By the 1980s only the Manning cemetery, two houses, and the sawmill ruins were left at the site of the town. For a long time the Flournoy family hosted a Manning reunion each year on the first Sunday in June; in 2004 the reunion was moved to the first weekend in May.
Bob Bowman, The Towns We Left Behind (Diboll, Texas: Angelina Free Press, 1972).
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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.Handbook of Texas Online, Megan Biesele, "Manning, TX," accessed July 29, 2016, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/htm08.
Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on April 26, 2016. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.