Gen. John Manasco

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Gen. John Manasco - V. THURSDAY, JAN. 16, 1941 General John...
V. THURSDAY, JAN. 16, 1941 General John Manasco, Was One Of W a e r ounty's Most Distinguishe ioneer Citizens, Veteran Legislator Great Grand - father Of Carter Manasco, · Candidate For Congress, Was Democratic istrict's Early Days Stalwart In The following sketch of the life of General John Manasco, great-grand father of Carter Manasco was published in the March 27, 1895 issue of the Mountain Eagle, of Jasper. He died about a year later* It is the purpose of the Eagle during the coming summer to entertain its readers with sketches of Walker's earlier history and prominent men. as well as with articles descriptive of her vast mineral resources and material interests. As an introduction to these articles we can think of no character more appropriate than that of the distinguished citizen and statesman whose picture is here presentd. (Cut of picture appeared with article). General John Manasco was born in Franklin County, Ga., in the year 1800. His parents were of Scotch-Irish descent. His grandfather, a native of Wales, removed to America in Colonial times, long before the Revolution, in which great struggle he reached the rank of Captain and achieved enviable distinction. His father in turn was a soldier, and followed the fortunes of General Jackson, participating in the famous battles of New Orleans, in 1815. Early in his infancy his parents moved to Tennessee, where they were close neighbors to General Jackson, whom the ambitious young pioneer evidently adopted as a model and whose prototype he is in a marked degree. He came to Alabama in 1816 and resided for several years in Madison and afterwards in Morgan County. In 1828, he was married to Miss Lucinda Luster, a member of a distinguished Kentucky family, then residing in Limestone County. Of his earlier married life we can learn but little. He canie to Walker County in 1830, accompanied by his wife and three small children, and an absolute stranger, without relatives or friends, settled where at the age of 94 years he still resides. In his boyhood the educational institutions of this frontier section were few and far between. In fact, we doubt if the General attended a school of any character. He was thrown upon his own. resources long before maturity, and it was as a hired farm hand that he first began the study of politics. His employer was a Federalist but found pleasure in instructing the young man in the principles of then existing parties --Federalist, Whig\ and Democrat. After a thorough investigation he allied himself with the latter, and * through all its vicissitudes, alternate triumphs and defeats, he has remained steadfast in the faith--excercising perhaps a more extended influence in shaping its i destiny in this section of the State than any public man for more than half a century. His first active political appearance was in 1841. The candidates for the Legislature were Eldridge Mallard, a Democratic leader, and James Cain, au ardent Whig and nullifier--a partisan of pronounced ability and wide popularity, who -had already represented the county in the Legislature, having been elected in 1837. Mallard was the Representative in 1S38, but the Whigs had made great inroads upon the party and his defeat by Cain was a foregone conclusion. Manasco threw ·^ himself int o the breach and although a comparative stranger he developed such political sagacity and such traits as a leader, that his influence was felt throughout the district. Cain, however, was elected, and in 1842 again returned to the Legislature. In 1843, with the aid- and influence of Manasco, J. E. Clancy was elected. In 1844, General Manasco himself was a candidate against Lambert W. Baker and Clancy, but after a £pii*ited canvass against fearful odds, was defeated. It will be remembered that at this time' the territorial bounds of .Walker reached from Tuscaloosa nearly,' if not quite to the Tennessee vallgy, embracing all of the present county of Winston and portions of Lawrence, Cullman, Blount and Jefferson. Baker's manipulators managed to circulate tive strength of his two opponents, strength of his two opponents, and many friends of General Manasco in the extreme Eastern and Northern portions of the county, in their anxiety to defeat the Whigs, were led to vote for Clancy--esteeming him the better of the two Democrats. Baker was elected "by the skin of -his teeth," and there was an even smaller discrepancy between the votes of Manasco and Clancy. In 1845 the race was between the latter gentlemen, and Manasco was an easy victor. At this time the Legislature assembled at Tuscaloosa. The question of removal of the State Capitol, however, had been agitated for some time, and it was sprung at this term. The session was consequently an exciting one, and General Manasco at once took a prominent stand as an earnest anti-removal member. The superior inducements offered by Montgomery, through her representative, Mr. Bibb--A $100,000 building thoroughly equipped and ample grounds for the same carried the day. The General contends that it was the want of enterprise of the Tuscaloosans, whom he styles as a "set of insolvent aristocrats," rather than Montgomery's 'offer that acomplished their defeat. It is impossible within the limited space allotted those sketches to follow Manasco's course in detail. He was returned to the Legislature in 1847, and also to the sessions of 1851, '55, '63, '74, and '76, ever takkig a prominent part in Legislative proceedings, both in committee work and in the presentation of bills. Some of the most salutary laws yet upon the statute books wore drafted and introduced by Manasco.. In point of diligence and prompt, attendance his record as a legislator has never been equaled. He was never caught napping, but ever at his post, prepared to defend his position, protect the interest of constituents and the good name of his party. The issue of 1848 was the division of the county of Walker, and in this contest General Manasco was defeated by his old competitor, the lamented James Cain. Manasco advocated the division from North to South, while Cain was in favor of an East and West line. Subsequent events tend to show that Manasco's position was not recklessly taken. For the territory then not only embraced our very best farm lands, but the most available, if not the best mineral deposits. His following wished to locate the county site near old Cheatham place, thirteen miles of Jasper. Who knows but what the success of this measure would have brought on the recent developments of a century sooner, and changed the location of many of our railroads and leading 'enterprises, giving Birmingham to Walker instead of Jefferson? In 1875 he was elected a delegate to the convention which framed our present constitution. Here too he was a -conspicuous figure. The convention, was composed of many of the lifetime political associates of the grand old man and his opoinions were respected, his advice sought and hi? genius engrafted upon its work. He was last a legislator in 1876. This ended Mariasco's official cai^eer, but for ten or twelve years later -he was at the head and front of the local Democratic organization of Walker, actively participating in the Presidential canvass of 1888, Mi*. Manasco was commissioned a Brigadier General during President Folk's administration. Just previous to the war General Manasco enjoyed an influence ncvei^ before or since exercised over his people--a veritable patriarch to whom . all looked for ** * counsel, and whose views commanded involuntary acquiescence. An ardent States rights Democrat, · he yet opposed secession, and with all the empetuosity in him fought this blasting issue. With what success the result is best evidence. On the passage of the Ordinance there were less than Fifty Secessionists within the broad- limits of^ Walker, When i Alabama seceded, however, Man- j asco accepted the .situation and remained true to his beloved State and -Country. Too old for active military duty, he the enemies as best he could in legislative halls. During the war the old gentleman was much harassed by the Southern "lay-outs," as were his parents in his boyhood by their colonial proto-types, the Tories. An amusing scene growing out of this, was created by the General at a session of Circuit Court, which the writer, then a boy, well remembers. Mudd was presiding and had a trial fairly under headway. A witness, Mr. was introduced and sworn. General Manasco arose from his seat in the audience addressed the court: "Your honor, I protest against that man swearing." When the Judge had recovered his breath he enquired: "What's the matter Manasco? 5 ' "Well, sir, that man called on me during the war, with a of ruffians. He found me unprotected and abused, cursed and robbed me. A man who would it is not fit to testify in a of justice." It is not necessary to animadvert upon the weight of the testimony of the witness. Private Life An incident highly illustrative of the indomitable will of the General occurred in his early boyhood. He was only fourteen of age when news of the victory at New Orleans reached him. Being told that the army had disbanded and the soldiers were coming home afoot, he saddled a pony and leading another set to meet his father. Day after day he encountered straggling squads of soldiers but could learn nothing from them. Many ,of soldiers in reply to his questions, would tell him that his father slain; others would guy and ridicule him mercilessly. He would believe nothing--each succeeding disappointment only increasing his determination to carry out his purpose. His lonely journey in heart of winter had now occupied more than a week. At last the little fellow rode up to a camp where a body of soldiers were spending the night, and about SO miles distant from Orleans. Here he met some of father's company, and was told he had not been killed, but was sick and, they feared unable to make the trip home. They had left him two days before. At next day the noble boy found father resting by the roadside, foot-sore and jaundiced--his face being so yellow and haggard the son failed to recognize him. The response to his oft-repeated question; "Can you tell me anything about Hone Manasco--one of Jackson's men ?" enlightened him. The joy occasioned by this meeting of father and son--the one worn and scarred by the hardships of war, the other crushed with fatigue from his long and wearisome journey -- what language may describe it? There was born to General Mrs. Manasco six children, five boys and one girl. The only daughter, Sarah, a most estimable became the wife of Rev, J. E. Cox, and died a few years ago. Carlton W. removed to California in early life and for 33 years been egaged in mining--accumulating, we learn; a considerable fortune. Jere, the second son, became a physician but enlisted in the Confederate Army and yielded his life on the battlefield of Shiloh. David, of beloved memory, was the third son. He became minister of the Baptist faith, was a most zealous and untiring Christian. He once held the position of County Superintendent of Education and also edited a denominational newspaper in Jasper. He died in 1884 in the of vigorous and useful manhood. James K. P and Doctor John Manasco are prominent citizens of Townley, in this county, and with each other in tender care and solicitude for the comfort happiness of their venerable and illustrious father. h W. R, S., Jr. (Pd. Pol. adv. by friends of Carter Manasco.) i I v

Clipped from
  1. The Cullman Democrat,
  2. 16 Jan 1941, Thu,
  3. Page 2

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  • Gen. John Manasco

    perkykat – 10 Jun 2013

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