Biography of William K. Mann
FROM: History of Livingston County, New York
By James H. Smith
Assisted by Hume H. Cole
Published By D. Mason & Co. 1881


Samuel Mitchell Mann, son of Samuel Mann and Margaret Keith Mann, grandson of John and Mary Mann, was born on the 25th day of August, 1781, in the township of Horsham, Montgomery county, Pa., where the family still reside in the fourth and fifth generations, in the same substantial stone house, and on the same farm originally bought by the founder of the family from the Penns.

Samuel M. Mann came to Western New York in 1805, with his brother-in-law, Samuel McNair, and located in what was then the town of Sparta, Ontario county, now Groveland, on a farm of 240 acres in the wilderness, and upon which there had not been cut a stick of timber. He returned the following year to Pennsylvania, and in September, 1806, married Susan, daughter of General John Borrows, of Northumberland county, Pa. Susan was a native of Philadelphia county.

They removed to their farm in Groveland, where they died after raising a family of nine children, seven of whom are still surviving, and six of them in this county. Dr. Josiah Stockton Mann. son of Samuel and Susan Mann, has been a practicing physician in Posey county, in the State of Indiana. for more than forty years. Samuel Mann and wife lived to be four score years of age.

The subject of this sketch, William Keith Mann, was born in the town of Groveland, on the 15th day of September, and was the third son of Samuel M., and Susan B. Mann, and now resides within one-half mile of the place of his birth. He has always been a farmer, and has sometimes dealt in produce. Mr. Mann cannot boast of the exaggerated advantages of modern schools, but may claim to be a graduate of the district school, the school of the people, whose advantages were made use of by him to its fullest extent.

He was married on the 28th of March, 1837, to Sarah D. McNair, by whom he had eight children, five of whom are living; one in Indiana, one in Pennsylvania, one in Colorado, and two in Groveland. In 1863 he was married to Mrs. Fanny M. Wheelock, by whom he has one daughter.

Mr. Mann well remembers when it was quite as common to see an Indian as a white man and when bears and deer were often seen, and rattlesnakes were killed by children singly, or hunted by men and killed by the score.

Mr. Mann has always had laudable ambitions, probably induced somewhat by pride of ancestry, as he can trace the blood of the Stocktons, Hubbards and Manns of New Jersey; and of the Keiths, Borrows, Torberts, Andersons and Mitchells of Pennsylvania, in his veins. Both of his grandfathers and one of his great-grandfathers were Revolutionary patriots and servedin the war of Independence. His great-grandfather, John Borrows, enlisted in the war with five sons, and two step-sons by the name of Wood, and out of the eight in the family but three returned-the father, Nathaniel and John Jr. One perished in a prison-ship in New York harbor, one was blown up on a vessel in the same harbor, when every soul perished, and a third fell at the battle of Camden, in South Carolina. John Jr., was promoted and remembered by his government, and subsequently was appointed a General in the war of 1812, and raised a brigade and was ready to march to the lines when peace was proclaimed. He was State Senator and Prothonotary of the county of Lycoming several years, and otherwise honored and respected.

William K.'s aspirations for learning led him to spend a few months at school in Geneva after he was 21 years of age, on his own responsibility, when his board, tuition and stationery did not cost him over fifty cents per week, and when he wrought on Wednesday afternoons and Saturdays to pay for his fuel by chopping and sawing wood, cleaning and digging ditches, and other jobs that were honest that he could get to do. He returned to his father's in the spring and continued to work for him as if a minor till in his 23d year, when he engaged in teaching school for several winter terms, still working on the farm in summer. Subsequent to his marriage, for a series of years, he worked lands on shares by the halves, and at times had contracts on the public works, when he bought the farm on which he now resides and has continued to add to it until he is now in possession of 840 acres, but his misfortunes have compelled its incubrance.

Being a man of decided opinions, one whose convictions were clear and conclusive, and believing that "no man has a right to say he will do as he has a mind to unless he has a mind to do right," he has always been a total stranger to policy, born without fear. If he thought a certain course right he was sure to say so if all the world beside him said otherwise, and if he thought it wrong it was sure to meet with his most emphatic condemna tion. His views on temperance were adopted early, amidst persecution, and never regretted, and he can now say truthfully that he never bought, offered, or received a glass of intoxicating liquor at ally public bar or elsewhere, since his views were fornled. which was when he was 13 years of age.

Politically he was born an Anti-Mason about the time William Morgan was abducted and murdered. He thinks the whole society of Masons responsible for the crime by trying to prevent the punishment of the perpetrators by encouraging their witnesses to treat the case with contempt, and treating them as if they had been martyrs in some righteous cause after they had served or paid the penalty of the law. He voted with the Anti-Masonic party until they united with the Wigs. His sympathies were with the Democrats, and his first vote for President was cast for that noble Democrat, Andrew Jackson. He continued to vote with that party until it seemed to him the only principles left it were the loaves and fishes and slavery. He abandoned the party in disgust and went in with the Republicans, voted for John C. Fremont, twice for Abraham Lincoln, twice for Gen. Grant, for R. B. Hayes, and lastly for Jas. B. Garfield. He prides himself on being called a Republican and in belonging to the party that carried us through the war and saved the country; proud of the glorious company of such men as William H. Seward, A. Lincoln, D. S. Dickinson, J. A. Dix, E. Morgan, Stanton, Sherman, Grant, Sumner and hosts of others that were originally Democrats.

Mr. Mann is decidedly of the notion that the Methodist minister was right when he said that "the man who sells seven feet of wood for a cord is no Christian," and he envys not the man's morals that thinks he can pay a just debt by bankrupt or assignnient laws.

His earliest recollections of the pioneers of this town which dates back to the close of the last war with Great Britain, embraces the McNairs, Robertsons, Vances, Baileys, Rosebrughs, Culbertsons, Lattimores, Brans, Stillwells, Kellys, Barbers, Hendershotts, Roups, Hylands, Magees, Berrys, Thompsons, Harrisons, Dotys, Gambles, Carrolls, Fitzhughs, Scholls, Mills, Ewarts ; nearly all from New Jersey or Pennsylvania. Most of them are dead, many removed, some have not even left one to transmit their names. The first clergyman he heard in this town was Rev. Lindsley.

We can find descendants of men of this town in almost every State and Territory west of this, and not a few in the South. The changes are almost incredible in other respects from hard labor to machinery, from the Indian paths, to railroads and telegraphs, and the rise in the value of land from $2,00 per acre to $100. We might search long for a race of men more distinguished for longevity than these pioneers.

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