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News Eagle - Hawley, PA
  • Local History: Recalling night watchman John Manley

  • HAWLEY- Among the scores of families from the Emerald Isle who settled in Hawley in the mid-19th Century was John Manley. The subject of our sketch served as a night watchman for the Pennsylvania Coal Company (PCC) and became a successful farmer in later years.
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  •  HAWLEY- Among the scores of families from the Emerald Isle who settled in Hawley in the mid-19th Century was John Manley. The subject of our sketch served as a night watchman for the Pennsylvania Coal Company (PCC) and became a successful farmer in later years.
      He and his family lived in Shanty Hill, later to be known as Marble Hill. His home may still be standing, on Columbus Avenue just a short walk from the old Shanty Hill Schoolhouse that also remains to this day. An 1860 Hawley street map locates the home of "J. Manly" in this location, the spelling perhaps an error or variation.
       An account of his life appeared in the Commemorative Biographies of Northeastern Pennsylvania, published in 1900- five years after his death. His writer described him as "one of the highly respected and prominent citizens of Hawley."
       Manley was born in County Mayo, Ireland, March 22, 1825, a son of Patrick and Catherine (Lynn) Manley. His father was a farmer of County Mayo to his death. In 1849, the mother, with three children boarded a sailing ship for the United States.
       They settled in Hawley, Pennsylvania, a town that was growing rapidly with the promise of jobs related to the arrival of the PCC gravity railroad. Starting in 1850, the PCC brought coal to Hawley where it was sorted and transferred onto waiting boats on the Delaware & Hudson (D&H) Canal. The  canal basin was prepared at this time, for the boats to line up for its cargo. PCC was also busy expanding the village, laying out streets on the flat lands that would soon become Hawley's new downtown and a broad residential district.
        Originally known as Paupack Eddy, the village had been renamed Fallsport in 1848, the year before the Manleys arrived. In 1849, the name was changed to Hawleysburgh- for the PCC President, Irad Hawley. Two years later it was shortened to Hawley.
        Mrs. Manley made her home here only until 1871 when she returned to Ireland, and so remained the rest of her days. Although the account says she arrived with three children, it goes on to list four.
       Her children were Francis, who died in Tafton, Pa.; Barbara, who married Thomas Brown and moved to Ireland where they both died; John; and Nellie, who was wed to James Lynn and died in Chicago, where her husband was employed in public works.
        The 1860 map locates the home of "F. Manly" next door to J. Manly, which may mean John's brother Francis Manley.
        John Manley worked 13 years as a night watchman for the PCC.
        He would have had a large responsibility, with a complex tangle of incoming and outgoing tracks and trestles, in effect a roller coaster not for amusement but for the daily grind of life. Six days a week were men so employed, laboring at the massive coal storage pockets, breaker, weigh house, assorted machine and repair shops, a turntable, stationary steam engine houses and company offices. The PCC yard was sandwiched between the Irish neighborhood of Shanty Hill where so many of the PCC workers lived, and the rest of town. Hawley Fire Hall and New Covenant Fellowship church occupy part of the PCC yard today.
    Page 2 of 3 -     We can only imagine the poor lighting conditions by night and welcome, comparative silence that must have descended on Hawley as the sun sank behind the ridge. By day, Monday through Saturday it was a clamor of grinding and screeching steel, thunderous roar of falling coal, whistles and clouds of dust that had to be the bane of every Hawley housewife trying to hang the laundry out to dry.
       For most of those who were employed on the gravity and canal operations, long work days must have stirred both a hearty appetite and anticipation of their feather beds, turning in early and rising before dawn.
       Manley, the night watchman, must have had a lonely but sometimes coveted post of duty, seeing the stars over the valley of Hawley and hearing the night sounds of the neighborhood dogs, owls and distant coyote, and the songs of townsmen who stayed too long at the tavern.
       His home on upper 29th Street (later to be renamed Columbus Avenue) had its back to the PCC loaded gravity rail track along the Middle Creek. Long lines of coal-laden cars would groaned and squeal as they coasted by his back windows every working day.
        How Manley ever slept in the daytime we will surely never know.
        The machine and car shops in Hawley were in need of extensive repair in 1862-1863. Because these shops were so far from the coal mines and would be so costly to renovate, the PCC decided to create new, enlarged shops at Dunmore. This is also where the PCC headquarters were located.
        What connection there was is not clear, but after this change, Manley also relocated to the Lackawanna valley. He worked as a coal miner for 10 years.  Having been a night watchmen for many years, working in the dark mines might not have been so unsettling as for some.
       In 1879, he moved back to Hawley where he had his home, while operating a farm outside of the village in Palmyra Township. His biographer noted, "As a farmer he met with excellent success and became quite well-to-do."
          John Manley was wed to Miss Anna Bowland on October 25, 1852, at Hawley. Manley was age 27. Like so many of the Irish in Hawley, Manley was Catholic, and we may presume they were wed at St. Philomena’s Church (now Queen of Peace).  The parish was founded in April of that year. Rev. William O’Hara was the pastor. The wedding, however, was performed by Rev. Father Malone.
        Anna was also a native of County Mayo, born May 10, 1833 to William and Dora Bowland. Like John, Anna's father was a farmer and also died in Ireland. Her mother emigrated in 1851 with two children, arriving in Hawley.
    Page 3 of 3 -    Mrs. Bowland died May 6, 1871, age 74. Her children were Patrick, who died in Hawley; Mary, wed to Patrick Lynn and died in Pittston; Robert, who died in Hawley; William, who went to California in 1854 and was never heard from again; Anna and Christopher, who died in Hawley.
        John and Anna Munley had 10 children: Catherine, who died at one year, seven months; Anna P.; Professor Patrick J., who wed Dora Boland of Hawley and after her death, Mary Rutlidge of Pittston (Patrick became principal of schools at Pittston); Frances E., wife of Joseph Kenny, a railroad engineer at Dunmore; William O., who died at 11 years; John C., who wed Elizabeth McCander and worked as a motorman on a trolley at Stapleton, NJ; James J., who died at 15 years; Thomas J, who died at 23 years; Ella and Dora.
        Mrs. Anna Manley died September 10, 1893, and John Munley was called to his final rest February 19, 1895.
        They were buried at St. Philomena's Cemetery in Hawley.
       John Manley took an active role in political affairs and was seen as a leader of the Democratic Party in his community. He held several local offices, including township supervisor, school director, tax collector and judge of elections.
         The 1906 Hawley directory lists only one by the family surname, Annie Manley, who boarded on Main Avenue.
        Reference might be made to his son John C. Manley, in a newspaper brief in the Honesdale citizen in 1913. He was residing in Scranton. John's sister Dora was living in Marble Hill, Hawley, wife of Edward McNamara, an Erie Railroad brakeman.
        Also at Queen of Peace Cemetery is the grave of "John Manly" (different spelling), born at County Mayo, Ireland, died age 29, on Jan. 20, 1868.
        Interestingly, there is a private drive off of the upper end of Columbus Avenue, Manley Drive. Realtor listings online give an address there as John P. Manley Drive.
        
      
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