John Laurence Manning

35th Governor of the State of South Carolina 1852 to 1854

Date Born: January 29, 1816

Date Died: October 29, 1889

Place Born: Hickory Hill Plantation, Sumter District, SC

Place Buried: Trinity Episcopal Churchyard, Columbia, SC

Residence: Sumter District, part of which became Clarendon District in 1855.

Occupation: Planter, Colonel in Confederate Army


College of New Jersey (Princeton University): 1833-1836

South Carolina College (now the University of South Carolina): Graduated 1837

South Carolina House of Representatives: 1842-1845

South Carolina Senate: 1846-1852

Governor of South Carolina: 1852-1854

Manning declined an offer by President James Buchanan to become US Minister to Russia

1860 – Manning signed the Ordinance of Secession - the first official act of the Civil War

1865 – Manning was elected to the US Senate in 1865 but was denied his seat

Milford Plantation (Sumter County) was built by Manning


John Laurence Manning (sometimes spelled John Lawrence Manning), the son of Richard Irvine Manning and Elizabeth Peyre Richardson Manning, was born on January 29, 1816 in the Sumter District (what later became Clarendon County again).

Manning was initially educated by the private tutor Rev. John White Chanler and at the Hatfield Academy in Camden, SC. He attended the College of New Jersey from 1833-1836, but returned home upon his father's death. He finished his formal studies at the South Carolina College and graduated in 1837.

John Laurence Manning first followed the occupation of a planter in South Carolina, and afterward pursued an interest in large sugar estates in Louisiana, where his works were among the first and most progressive on the Mississippi River.

On April 11, 1838, John Laurence Manning married Susan Frances Hampton, daughter of General Wade Hampton I and his wife, Mary Cantey Hampton, and half-sister of Colonel Wade Hampton II, who though he alone inherited their father's considerable fortune, shared it equally with her and another sister. Susan died giving birth to their third child. On April 23, 1848, Manning married a second time, to Sally Bland Clarke, daughter of Colin Clarke and Mary (Goode) Clarke, and they had four children.

John Laurence Manning and his first wife, Susan, had Millford Plantation built in 1839 near Pinewood, SC. It is now a National Historic Landmark. A large planter in South Carolina and Louisiana, in 1860, John Laurence Manning was identified as one of the richest men in South Carolina.

In 1842, he was first elected to represent the Clarendon District (a voting district within the Sumter District) in the House of Representatives of the:
- 35th General Assembly that met from 1842-1843
- 36th General Assembly that met from 1844-1845

In 1846, he was first elected to again represent the Clarendon District (a voting district within the Sumter District) in the SC Senate of the:
- 37th General Assembly that met from 1846-1847
- 38th General Assembly that met from 1848-1849
- 39th General Assembly that met from 1850-1851
- 40th General Assembly that met from 1852-1853

In the last assembly above, the legislature unanimously elected him to be the next governor of South Carolina on December 9, 1852, and he had to give up his seat in the SC Senate. He served for two years. As governor, Manning continued his interest in improving public education, having earlier established a scholarship at the South Carolina College. During his term in office, he resided at the Preston C. Lorick House.

In 1855, South Carolina re-established Clarendon District (county) out of part of the Sumter District, and they named the County Seat as Manning, in honor of John Laurence Manning. The former governor now lived in the Clarendon District, both a county and a voting district.

Representing the Clarendon District to the Secession Convention in 1860, he signed the Ordinance of Secession. He was appointed a commissioner to persuade Louisiana to secede from the Union (1861).

During the American Civil War, in April of 1861, John Laurence Manning was the Aide-de-Camp, with the rank of colonel on the staff of General P.G.T. Beauregard at Fort Sumter and at the Battle of Manassas in Virginia. He returned home and was again in the SC Senate.

Following a special election in the Clarendon District due to the death of Richard Irvine Manning, John Laurence Manning qualifed on November 28, 1861 in the SC Senate of the:
- 44th General Assembly that met from 1860-1861
- 45th General Assembly that met from 1862-1863
- 46th General Assembly that met in 1864
- 47th General Assembly that met from 1865-1866

In the last assembly above, he was elected to the U.S. Senate and had to resign his SC Senate seat on November 4, 1865. However, he refused to take the oath of office swearing allegiance to the Union, he was denied his seat and forced to resign in early December of 1866.

Although many wanted him to run for governor again in 1876, John Laurence Manning refused and gave his full support to Wade Hampton. Later, he was again elected to represent Clarendon County in a special election for the SC Senate seat, replacing Jared D. Warley who had resigned, and he qualified on January 17, 1878 in the:
- 57th General Assembly that met from 1876-1878

John Laurence Manning died on October 29, 1889 at Camden, SC in the home of his daughter and is interred in the churchyard at Trinity Episcopal Church in Columbia, SC.


John Laurence Manning was born at Hickory Hill, Sumter District (what later became Clarendon County), South Carolina. He attended the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) and in 1836 received a bachelor's degree from South Carolina College, where he later served as a Trustee and Alumni Association President and established scholarships. A planter by trade, he served in the South Carolina House of Representatives from 1842 to 1846 and in the South Carolina Senate from 1846 until 1852, when he was elected governor. During his gubernatorial term, the U.S. Congress passed the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which repealed the Missouri Compromise of 1820 and once more raised the issue of expansion of slavery into the territories. [Under the Missouri Compromise, Maine was admitted as a free state while Missouri was enabled to form a state constitution absent any restrictions on slavery, but with the proviso that slavery would be excluded from any land in the original Missouri territory north of the boundaries of the new state of Missouri. The Kansas-Nebraska Act nullified this compromise by permitting Kansans and Nebraskans to decide the slavery issue for themselves with the knowledge that the former would permit slavery.] Manning spoke the words: "No man can tell the consequences of the dissolving of the Union; but a people who is not willing to risk all in defense of constitutional government does not deserve its blessings." After leaving office, he was offered the position of U.S. Minister to Russia by President James Buchanan but declined appointment. He was a member of the South Carolina Secession Convention and a signer of the Ordinance of Secession. He served again in the South Carolina Senate from 1861 to 1865 and in the South Carolina House of Representatives from 1865 to 1867. Although elected to the U.S. Senate in 1865, he was denied the seat along with other southern Senators.

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