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Hawthorne at Salem

Life & Times

Maternal Ancestors

The Maternal Ancestors of Nathaniel Hawthorne: Introduction

Robert Manning, Hawthorne
Robert Manning, Hawthorne's maternal uncle (courtesy of Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA)

 

 Richard Manning, Jr. (Hawthorne's maternal grandfather; 1755-1813)
 Miriam Lord Manning (Hawthorne's maternal grandmother; 1748-1826)
 Elizabeth (Betsey) Clarke Manning (Hawthorne's mother; 1780-1849)
 Robert Manning (Hawthorne's uncle; 1784-1842)
 Richard Manning (Hawthorne's uncle; 1782-1830)

 
Richard Manning, Jr. (Hawthorne's maternal grandfather; 1755-1813)
Hawthorne's maternal grandfather, Richard Manning, Jr. (1755-1813), was born in Ipswich, MA and moved to Salem before 1774. A blacksmith, he became the owner of the Salem and Boston Stagecoach Line, and he acquired considerable property in Maine. Manning prospered; according to Edwin 

Haviland Miller, at Manning's death he "left an estate of more than $50,000, with real estate holdings worth about $33,000. Mrs. Hathorne did not inherit until 1826 and remained even then a charge of her brothers since she received less than $200 annually" (28-29). Despite his business success, however, Manning and his family lived modestly in the house at 10 ½ Herbert St. in Salem.

Richard Manning married Miriam Lord (1748-1826), also from Ipswich, and they had nine children, five sons (William: 1778-1864, Richard: 1782-1830, Robert: 1784-1842, John: 1788-?, and Samuel: 1791-1833) and four daughters (Elizabeth: 1780-1849, Mary: 1777-1841, Maria Miriam: 1786-1814, and Priscilla: 1790-1873). The first child, Mary, was born in Salem in 1777. After her mother died, Mary inherited the Manning house on Herbert St. where she lived until her death in 1841. The second child, William, born in 1778, worked as stage agent of the Salem and Boston Stage Company. It was here where Hawthorne worked as a bookkeeper when he was sixteen. All of Richard Manning's sons except John worked in the family stagecoach business, but it was Robert Manning who managed the business and who enjoyed the greatest success.

 
Miriam Lord Manning (Hawthorne's maternal grandmother; 1748-1826)

Miriam Lord was the twelfth child of Thomas Lord and Elizabeth Clarke Lord, a woman who, Margaret Moore reports in The Salem World of Nathaniel Hawthorne, "was accustomed to living thriftily. She is characterized as parsimonious, self-righteous, and with a passion for cleanliness. Nathaniel wrote to his mother in 1819 that his grandmother did not allow fruit or jelly in the house to be eaten 'for it's esteemed sacrilege...because she is keeping them against somebody is sick' even if the fruit spoiled in the meantime" (CE 15:112). She was also, according to Mrs. Moore, a woman with "a very strong sense of family.... Miriam Manning took in her husband's sister when she was old and widowed. She also gave employment (but probably with little or no wages) to her cousin Hannah Lord. From the evidence I have seen, I do not view her as tight-fisted as does Gloria Erlich or, for that matter, as did her Hathorne grandchildren. She was left a widow with money to be preserved and invested for her children and her grandchildren, and she seems to have been conscious of that responsibility" (57).

Miriam Lord Manning died in December, 1826, after Hawthorne's return from Bowdoin. 

 
Elizabeth (Betsy) Clarke Manning (Hawthorne's mother; 1780-1849)

Hawthorne's mother, Elizabeth (Betsey) Clarke Manning, was born in 1780, the second daughter of Richard and Miriam Manning. Richard Manning, Jr. (1755-1813), a blacksmith, was born in Ipswich, MA and moved to Salem before 1774. He prospered as the owner of a stage business in Salem, and he acquired considerable property in Maine. Richard Manning married Miriam Lord (1748-1826), also from Ipswich, and they had nine children, five sons and four daughters. The first child, Mary, was born in Salem in 1777. After her mother died, Mary inherited the Manning house at 10 ½ Herbert St. where she lived until her death in 1841. The second child, William, born in 1778, worked as stage agent of the Salem and Boston Stage Company. It was here where Hawthorne worked as a bookkeeper when he was sixteen.

After her family moved to Salem, Elizabeth (Betsey) Clarke Manning attended East Church in Salem, the liberal and Unitarian church presided over by Dr. William Bentley, and she was a participant in Bentley's singing school in 1792. Betsey Manning married Captain Nathaniel Hathorne (1775-1808) on August 2, 1801. Hathorne lived on Union St.in Salem, one street over from Herbert St. where Betsey lived with her family. Her husband went to sea as a youth and was frequently away on long voyages. Their first child, Elizabeth, was born on March 7, 1802, while Hathorne was away on one such voyage. Hathorne was again away at sea when his second child, Nathaniel, was born in the Union Street house on July 4, 1804. The Hathorne's third child, Maria Louisa, was born on January 9, 1808, two weeks after Hathorne set sail on the journey to Surinam (Dutch Guiana) from which he would not return. That spring, after Betsey Manning Hathorne learned that her husband had died at sea, she moved with her children from the house on Union St. to the house on Herbert St. where they lived with her parents and her eight siblings, who ranged in age from seventeen to thirty-one. Thereafter, Betsey Clarke Manning Hathorne was frequently in the position of accepting the favors of her Manning relatives. Her brother, Robert, for example, built houses for her and her children on Dearborn St. in Salem and in Raymond, Maine.

Thus Hawthorne's mother was dependent upon the good graces of Manning relatives all of her life. Perhaps this, and the lifelong grief over her husband's death, partly explain the demeanor which, according to Edwin Haviland Miller in Salem Is My Dwelling Place, the Peabodys referred to as "'gloomy or melancholy'" but Betsey Hathorne's daughter, Elizabeth, labelled as merely "'serious'" (32). Although Hawthorne's mother emerges as a parent who was not demonstrative in her affection, the family was close; they supported each other throughout their lives. Elizabeth, for example, helped Hawthorne with his research and checked out books for him from the Salem Athenaeum, and the children were sympathetic to their mother and her plight. Furthermore, this sympathy spills over to Hawthorne's sensitive portrayal of women in his fiction.

Although she herself was reared in East Church, it was in the First Church where Betsey Manning Hathorne had her children baptized, and it was a minister of First Church who buried her on August 2, 1849, in the Howard St. Cemetery. Her daughters Louisa and Elizabeth, neither of whom married, are also buried there.

 
Robert Manning (Hawthorne's uncle; 1784-1842)

Of the five Manning sons, it was Robert (1784-1842) who played the greatest role in Hawthorne's life. He arranged for the education of his sister,  Betsey's, children, and he was the uncle who was most often present in the Manning home on Herbert St. where Hawthorne lived with his mother and sisters after his father died in 1808.

Also, it was Robert Manning who invited Hawthorne to visit him in Raymond, Maine, the village on Lake Sebago where the Mannings had purchased property over the years. (Richard Manning, Robert's brother, moved there to live after he married Susan Dingley from Raymond.) Moreover, in 1818 Robert Manning built a house in Raymond for his sister and her family next door to the house owned by Richard. Hawthorne's days there were spent in the woods and on the lake, and in his later years he fondly recalled these idyllic times.

Robert married his cousin, Rebecca Dodge Burnham, in December, 1824, and they moved into a house Manning had built for his bride at 33 Dearborn St. in Salem. Robert Manning operated a stage business and also became a noted pomologist, publishing the Book of Fruits in 1838 with John M. Ives. On land behind this house were Manning's gardens and a fruit orchard. Manning was particularly known for his pear trees; he had over 1,000 varieties in his garden. The house survives, but the orchard and gardens do not. In 1828, Manning built a cottage next door where Betsey Hathorne lived with her children until 1832. That cottage was moved in 1852 across and down the street to number 26 where it stands today. In 1826, while the Hawthornes were living at 26 Dearborn St., Hawthorne's grandmother, Miriam Lord Manning died.

Robert and Rebecca Manning had three children: Robert, Jr., Richard, and Rebecca (1834-1933). In The Salem World of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Margaret B. Moore has said that she has found no record of Robert Manning joining a church, but she says that his wife and children joined the Tabernacle Church. Robert, Jr. continued his father's work in pomology. Rebecca Manning never married and lived her entire life in the house at 33 Dearborn St., the last member of the Manning family to live there, and with the exception of her nephew, Richard C. Manning of Gambier, Ohio, was the last surviving member of the Manning family.

 
Richard Manning (Hawthorne's uncle; 1782-1830)

After the death of his father, Richard Manning, Jr., in 1813, Richard moved to Raymond, Maine to oversee the family property there. He married a woman from Raymond, Susan  Dingley, and remained in Maine throughout his life. Hawthorne visited him there, and he spent happy days in the woods near his uncle's house.

Literature Related to Hawthorne's Maternal Ancestors

Robert Manning, Hawthorne
Robert Manning, Hawthorne's maternal uncle (courtesy of Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA)
 

Excerpt (see below) from The House of the Seven Gables, Chapter XV, "The Scowl and the Smile," relating to Robert Manning 

In Judge  Pyncheon, Hawthorne attacks Rev. Charles W. Upham, the Salem Whig largely responsible for Hawthorne's firing from his position at the Salem Custom House, but in her book The Salem World of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Margaret Moore observes that Claudia Johnson "indicates that the vengeance may be against many of the patriarchs in Hawthorne's Salem" (196) including Hawthorne's uncle Robert Manning. This conclusion seems likely in light of this passage from Chapter XV, "The Scowl and the Smile," in which Hawthorne refers to Judge Pyncheon's "benefits to horticulture, by producing two much-esteemed varieties of the pear," an obvious reference to his uncle, Robert Manning, a noted pomologist who had over 1,000 varieties of the pear in his gardens in Salem.

 

Excerpt from The House of the Seven Gables, Chapter XV, "The Scowl and the Smile," relating to Robert Manning

In Judge Pyncheon, Hawthorne attacks Rev. Charles W. Upham, the Salem Whig largely responsible for Hawthorne's firing from his position at the Salem Custom House, but in her book The Salem World of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Margaret Moore observes that Claudia Johnson "indicates that the vengeance may be against many of the patriarchs in Hawthorne's Salem" (196) including Hawthorne's uncle Robert Manning. This conclusion seems likely in light of this passage from Chapter XV, "The Scowl and the Smile," in which Hawthorne refers to Judge Pyncheon's "benefits to horticulture, by producing two much-esteemed varieties of the pear," an obvious reference to his uncle, Robert Manning, a noted pomologist who had over 1,000 varieties of the pear in his gardens in Salem.

To apply this train of remark somewhat more closely to Judge Pyncheon.--We might say (without in the least imputing crime to a personage of his eminent respectability) that there was enough of splendid rubbish in his life to cover up and paralyze a more active and subtile conscience than the judge was ever troubled with. The purity of his judicial character, while on the bench; the faithfulness of his public service in subsequent capacities; his devotedness to his party, and the rigid consistency with which he had adhered to its principles, or, at all events, kept pace with its organized movements; his remarkable zeal as president of a Bible society; his unimpeachable integrity as treasurer of a widow's and orphan's fund; his benefits to horticulture, by producing two much-esteemed varieties of the pear, and to agriculture, through the agency of the famous Pyncheon-bull; the cleanliness of his moral deportment, for a great many years past; the severity with which he had frowned upon, and finally cast off, an expensive and dissipated son, delaying forgiveness until within the final quarter of an hour of the young man's life; his prayers at morning and eventide, and graces at meal-time; his efforts in furtherance of the temperance cause; his confining himself, since the last attack of the gout, to five diurnal glasses of old sherry wine; the snowy whiteness of his linen, the polish of his boots, the handsomeness of his gold-headed cane, the square and roomy fashion of his coat, and the fineness of its material, and, in general, the studied propriety of his dress and equipment; the scrupulousness with which he paid public notice, in the street, by a bow, a lifting of the hat, a nod, or a motion of the hand, to all and sundry his acquaintances, rich or poor; the smile of broad benevolence wherewith he made it a point to gladden the whole world;--what room could possibly be found for darker traits, in a portrait made up of lineaments like these? This proper face was what he beheld in the looking-glass. This admirably arranged life was what he was conscious of, in the progress of every day. Then, might not he claim to be its result and sum, and say to himself and the community,--"Behold Judge Pyncheon there"?

Full text of The House of the Seven Gables

Original Documents Related to The Maternal Ancestors of Nathaniel Hawthorne

Note that Robert Manning added to a letter his sister, Priscilla, wrote on August 9, 1816 to their sister, Hawthorne's mother. Robert and Priscilla were in Salem at the time, and Betsey Hathorne and her children were in Raymond, Maine.

Note that Robert Manning added to a letter his sister, Priscilla, wrote on August 9, 1816 to their sister, Hawthorne's mother. Robert and Priscilla were in Salem at the time, and Betsey Hathorne and her children were in Raymond, Maine.
The note reads: "Dear Sister, Send Nathaniel---he may bring his 2 Suits of Mixt Cloths & no more, your Loving " Robert Manning (courtesy of Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA)

Obituary for Rebecca Manning, cousin of Nathaniel Hawthorne and last surviving child of Robert Manning
Obituary for Rebecca Manning, cousin of Nathaniel Hawthorne and last surviving child of Robert Manning
Obituary in the Salem Evening News in August, 1933 for Rebecca Manning, daughter of Hawthorne's uncle, Robert Manning, who was the last Manning to reside at 33 Dearborn Street. NOTE: The article incorrectly gives the date that Robert Manning and his wife moved to 33 Dearborn St. as 1825; the correct date is 1824. Also, the article states that Robert Manning and his wife had four children when, in fact, they had three. (courtesy of Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA)

Images Related to The Paternal Ancestors of Nathaniel Hawthorne

Autograph of John Hathorne from Perley's <I>History of Salem</I>
Autograph of John Hathorne from Perley's History of Salem
 (courtesy of Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA)
Charter Street Graveyard and  Peabody (Grimshawe) House in Salem
Charter Street Graveyard and Peabody (Grimshawe) House in Salem
Judge Hathorne and seven other Hathornes are buried here, but Hawthorne is buried in Concord. The Peabody House is where Sophia lived with her parents when Hawthorne courted her. It is also the setting of "Grimshawe" and the unfinished novel,The Dolliver Romance. (courtesy of Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA)
The Burying Point, 1637, Salem
The Burying Point, 1637, Salem
The Burying Point, Salem's oldest cemetery, dates from 1637 and contains the remains and gravemarkers of many prominent people in Salem's history. Some of Hawthorne's early ancestors are buried here, as well as individuals associated with the witchcraft episode and China trade period. The burial ground is situated on what was once a bluff, projecting into the South River. Cattle used to graze in the burial ground, and for several years it was the site of John Horne's windmill.  (Photography by Joseph R. Modugno)
Hathorne Family Gravestones in The Burying Point
Hathorne Family Gravestones in The Burying Point
Hathorne family gravestones in The Burying Point,established in 1637, and the oldest cemetery in Salem. It is located on Charter St. next to the Peabody (Grimshawe) house in Salem. None of the Hawthornes are buried in the Charter Street Burying Point. (photography by Bruce Hibbard)
John Hathorne, 1717, Charter St. Burying Ground
John Hathorne, 1717, Charter St. Burying Ground
Slate gravestone of Magistrate John Hathorne (1641-1717), Charter Street Cemetery, Salem (The Burying Point, 1637). Hawthorne's great-great grandfather was at the center of the witchcraft hysteria of 1692--as an interrogator of the accused and as a member of the infamous Court of Oyer and Terminer.  (Photography by Joseph R. Modugno)
John Hathorne, 1717, Charter St. Burying Ground
John Hathorne, 1717, Charter St. Burying Ground
Slate gravestone of Magistrate John Hathorne (1641-1717), Charter Street Cemetery, Salem (The Burying Point, 1637). Hawthorne's great-great grandfather was at the center of the witchcraft hysteria of 1692--as an interrogator of the accused and as a member of the infamous Court of Oyer and Terminer.  (Photography by Joseph R. Modugno)

 (courtesy of Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA)

Critical Commentary Related to The Maternal Ancestors of Nathaniel Hawthorne

Robert Manning, Hawthorne
Robert Manning, Hawthorne's maternal uncle (courtesy of Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA)
 

Multimedia Related to The Maternal Ancestors of Nathaniel Hawthorne

Robert Manning, Hawthorne
Robert Manning, Hawthorne's maternal uncle (courtesy of Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA)
 

All video andp audioclips are courtesy of Loretta and Roger Rainville, current residents of 33 Dearborn St., Salem, MA and of David Gavenda, National Park Service, Salem Maritime National Historic Site. Mr. Gavenda knew Mary Cate, a friend of Rebecca Manning. Mr. and Mrs. Rainville and Mr. Gavenda narrate the audio and videoclips.

Websites Related to Hawthorne's Maternal Ancestors

 

Robert Manning, Hawthorne
Robert Manning, Hawthorne's maternal uncle (courtesy of Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA)
 

 

  • Hawthorne Community Association, Raymond, Maine This site provides information about Raymond, Maine where Hawthorne visited his Manning relatives as a boy and information about current and past events sponsored by the Association.

Lectures and Articles Related to the Maternal Ancestors of Nathaniel Hawthorne

Robert Manning, Hawthorne
Robert Manning, Hawthorne's maternal uncle (courtesy of Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA)
 

 

  • From letters and conversations with Mary Cate, friend of Miss Rebecca Manning; courtesy of David B. Gavenda, park guide, Salem Martime National Historic Site of Salem, MA