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 James B Manor

James B Manor

Death 17 May 1881 (aged 76)
Burial Manor, Travis County, Texas, USA
Memorial ID 70960133 · View Source
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History of Manor, Texas

In the rich soil of the blackland prairie, just a dozen miles from the state capitol, stands the City of Manor. The city was named for James B. Manor, who was born in 1804 and was one the earliest settlers of Travis County. His family had known Sam Houston for many years back in Tennessee and in 1832 Manor came with Houston to Texas. In 1836 Manor settled on Gilleland Creek just west of present day downtown Manor while Texas was in its earliest days of the Republic. He cleared the land and constructed a log home on the east bank.

Soon after, E.D. Townes constructed the second home in the area on the opposite bank. In 1842, Manor constructed a two story frame home retaining the cabin at the rear of the house as the kitchen. That house served as the first stage stop out of Austin and as a post office when stage service from Austin to Houston was shifted through the area in 1857. Sam Houston and James Manor remained lifelong friends and Houston was often a visitor in the Manor home. The first settlers to the Manor area included Eggleston D. Townes father of Judge John Charles Townes, former Dean of the Law School of the University of Texas, Judge N.A. Rector, W.A. and A.C. Hill, J.I. Haynes, A.F., W.M. and J. Boyce, Dave Eppright, Sterling Chamberlain, W.L. Shipp, W.G. Howser, and Joe Bill, Sam and Walter Vaughn. Along with Reuben Hornsby, Josiah Wilbarger, James Gilleland, Noah Smithwick and John Webber these families comprise the core of the early settlers of eastern Travis County.

A school for boys began operation northwest of the present Manor High School complex in 1854 and was followed in 1858 by a school for girls near the present East Parsons Street school's location. Land for the latter school was given by James Manor to help assure a proper education for his daughters. The school was initially called Parson's Female Seminary in honor of Silas Parsons a primary contributor to the school. A Masonic Lodge was organized about the same time and occupied the second floor of the school. The boy's school closed in 1861 during the Civil War but boys were eventually admitted to the seminary and it came to be called Parsons Seminary and eventually Parsons Academy. It continued to serve both boys and girls as one of the leading private educational institutions in the area until the day of the public school system and was deeded to the Manor Public School in 1890. "Manor is beautifully situated, surrounded by considerable material wealth. It is remarkably free from evil influences; no bad places of resort, no vicious element. These advantages cannot be overestimated..." Manor Parsons Seminary Report for 1888-1889 (Austin History Center) In 1854 the Methodist Church was organized, first meeting at the boy's school and in 1857 moving to Parson's Seminary.

A post office was reestablished in the Manor home in 1859 under the name of Grassdale with James Manor again serving as Post Master but it was discontinued during the Civil War when the stage line route shifted its route through Hornsby Bend. Again in 1867, a post office operated out of the Manor home this time being couriered by horseback. This post office operated under the name of Gregg.

A mercantile store was built in 1868 by a Mr. Mawson on Wilbarger Creek near the present cemetery and was followed by a second store in 1869. That second store was operated by John Gill Wheeler near the location of the present Manor United Methodist Church on Burnet Street and the area began to be referred to as the Wheeler's Store community. A third store was opened by Mr. Browning soon after, and in 1869 a union church building was constructed within what is now the cemetery to serve all denominations.

Thomas Benton Wheeler, brother of John Gill, married Kitty G. Manor, daughter of James Manor. Thomas was elected Mayor of Austin in 1872 and served until 1877. He later became a District Judge and in 1887 was elected Lt. Governor of Texas serving until 1891. Kitty died in 1881. In late 1871 as the Houston and Texas Central Railway constructed the first railroad link to the Texas capital, James Manor made a donation of right-of-way which brought the line through what is now the town.

The inaugural train arrived in Austin in the evening of Christmas Day 1871. The following year the community of Manor was laid out and named. Manor became the center of cotton production in Travis County as it became the shipping point for long-staple cotton with as many as 18,000 bales of cotton being shipped annually. By the end of the 19thcentury it was said to be second only to Austin in population in the county. It was incorporated as a town in March of 1913 and converted to a general law city in 1921 with expectations of continued growth. But, following two devastating fires that destroyed most of the business district coupled with the decline of cotton production after the arrival of the boll weevil, Manor languished throughout most of the remainder of the twentieth century. Its population declined to as few as 654 residents in 1930 before climbing to a high of 1,204 in 2000.

As Austin began its expansion eastward in 2000, Manor started to grow. It is now one of the faster growing communities in the Austin area and is often referred to by a wag in the local newspaper as the Manorplex. Manor has been the location for a number of movies. Perhaps the most notable was What's Eating Gilbert Grapestarring Johnny Depp. The story centered around an autistic boy played by Leonardo De Caprio, who regularly disrupted the town's tranquility by climbing Manor's old water-tower. The tank, although no longer used, remains a landmark in the downtown district. The performance garnered De Caprio an Academy Award Nomination for Best Supporting Actor. He celebrated his 18th birthday in Manor.



Aged 76 yrs. 6 mos.




  • Created by: Jacquie Demsky Wilson
  • Added: 7 Jun 2011
  • Find A Grave Memorial 70960133
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for James B Manor (17 Nov 1804–17 May 1881), Find A Grave Memorial no. 70960133, citing Manor Cemetery, Manor, Travis County, Texas, USA ; Maintained by Jacquie Demsky Wilson (contributor 47307170) .