Nehemiah Manross of Connecticut
Nehemiah, the youngest of Denis and Jane's children, was born in Dorchester MA. in 1692. The evolution of our surname was due to the fact that Denis was not able to read and write English when he first arrived from Ireland. Nehemiah's brothers, Denis Jr. and Richard, used the Meraugh spelling although they are recorded in one Connecticut deed as Manross. Nehemiah used the Manross spelling and anyone with the surname Manross is related to and descended from Nehemiah.
Esther Bishop of Lebanon CT married Nehemiah Manross in 1710 and they had five sons and two daughters who survived childhood. They were Nehemiah Jr., Esther, Bishop, Samuel, Ruth, Elijah and Elisha. There are real estate transactions between Nehemiah and his father in law, Thomas Bishop, in Lebanon CT in 1710, 1715, and 1728. All the children were born in Lebanon prior to 1728. Records of the baptisms of all the children are recorded in the Congregational Church of Lebanon.
In 1728 Nehemiah and his oldest sons set out from Lebanon to build a new home in the Pequabuck meadow and hill country called the Great Forest by the Indians. It was formerly the hunting ground of the Tunxis tribe, whose village once stood in Farmington. Nehemiah and Ebenezer Barnes were the first settlers in this region. Nehemiah's original house stood a quarter of a mile north of the Pequabuck River on an Indian trail which later became King's Road. When the house was built and the land cleared, Nehemiah and the boys brought the rest of the family from Lebanon, along with their belongings to settle in their new home. In time Nehemiah became an extensive landholder. His wife Esther died in the early 1740's and he remarried Thankful Roberts. Nehemiah was one of the founders of the original New Cambridge Society, which later became the Congregational Church. He died in 1761. Nehemiah's will, which is housed in the Bristol, CT vault, can be viewed in one of the photos.
The Manross family of Connecticut played a significant role in the development of the State. They were well educated and many enlisted and fought in every conflict from the French and Indian War, the Revolutionary War, War of 1812 and the Civil War. They also were successful industrialists and owned the first motor car in the state.
Elisha Manross, one of the pioneers of brass clockmaking in America, was born in Forestville CT in 1782. He was a grandson of Nehemiah and the son of Elijah, a drummer boy in the American Revolution. Elisha married Maria Cowles Norton in 1821. They had seven sons and one daughter: Robert, Martha, Newton Spaulding, Elijah, Charles, Eli, John and Henry.
In 1820 Elisha began the production of complete clocks in Forestville, CT. Elisha was the first clockmaker in the country to make a jeweled clock movement. He and his sons devised a machine for cutting clock jewels to make them run more smoothly. In 1845 their output of clocks was over twenty thousand. He also served as a Captain, commanding the Second Regiment of Light Artillery, in the War of 1812 in defense of Clinton Harbor. Mary and I received a Manross clock as a gift from Col. Fred Manross and his wife Betty of Forestville, CT.
Newton Spaulding Manross
One of Bristol, CT's most admired heroes, Newton Spaulding Manross, was born on July 20, 1825. He was the second son of Forestville clockmaker, Elisha Manross and the great great grandson of Nehemiah Manross. Newton graduated from Yale in 1850 and sailed to Europe to attend the University of Gottingen in Germany. There he studied chemistry and received a PhD. In 1857 he married Charlotte Royce. Together they had a daughter, Charlotte Maria, who was a missionary to the Sandwich (Hawaii) Islands and taught the King and Queen to read and write English.
Returning from his studies in Germany, Newton was very interested in mineralogy and conducted mining surveys in South and Central America. In 1861 he was a professor of Chemistry and Biology at Amherst College in MA. He was known as a very successful lecturer due to his scholarship and articulate speech. In the summer of 1862 Newton debated on whether he should enlist in the Army to help defend the United States during the Civil War. He wrote his wife, "You can better afford to have a country without a husband, than a husband without a country." He then accepted the appointment as Captain, commanding a hastily formed Company K 16th Connecticut Volunteer Infantry. Three weeks training was all he and his men received because of the urgency of the upcoming battle at Antietam in Maryland. The September 17, 1862 Battle of Antietam was the first major battle of the Civil War to take place on Union soil. It was the attempted invasion of the Union and the bloodiest single day battle in American history, with a combined tally of 22,717 dead, wounded or missing. At the age of 37 Captain Newton Manross was struck by a cannon ball and died two hours later.
Although the Battle of Antietam was inconclusive, the Confederate Army was the first to withdraw from the battlefield and retreated to Virginia. Thus, it was considered a Union victory. The invasion of the Union had been stopped. The victory was significant enough to give President Abraham Lincoln the confidence to announce his Emancipation Proclamation which discouraged the British and French governments from pursuing any potential plans to recognize the Confederacy. Captain Newton Spaulding Manross has been recognized as a hero in multiple books, monuments and in the Manross Public Library in Bristol, CT.