William Mann, a Quaker, lived in New Jersey during the
Revolutionary War. After the war, the New Jersey state government persecuted
Quakers for their refusal to bear arms. In "Friends in the Niagara Peninsula",
Richard MacMaster relates their plight:
"Friends began settling in the Niagara region in 1786. They
were part of a larger migration "from the states of New York, Pennsylvania,
and New Jersey, particularly the county of Sussex, in the latter state".
Many incoming settlers, including some Friends, had stood loyally by
King and country during the American Revolution and could be counted
as refugees from the United States. Nearly all Friends who came to Niagara
had taken no active part in the war and did not claim to be Loyalists.
They had suffered nevertheless from double taxation and the loss of civil
rights for their refusal to bear arms or pledge to defend the new nation.
These penalties continued after the war. In 1778 Quakers in Chester County
"in behalf of themselves and others in similar circumstances" petitioned
the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania for relief stating that
"being conscientiously scrupulous of bearing arms, they have been fined
in considerable sums for not attending militia musters" and their property
seized by local collectors who gave no receipts so "the petitioners are
still chargeable with the same fines." In urging repeal of "the present
disgraceful test law" in 1789, the editor of the Pennsylvania Gazette observed
Virginia, and the governor of Canada, have already taken advantage of
our folly; they invite Quakers, and other sects who are opposed to oaths,
and promises of fidelity to government to come and settle among them."
Objective evidence of William Mann Sr.'s presence on the Niagara Peninsula
is provided by Mann descendent and researcher, Donna Cole. She cites a
list dated 17 September, 1787 from the National Archives, listed as RG 4,
A1, Volume 34, from Civil and Provincial Secretary Lower Canada "S series",
Page 11012, which states:
|Return of Families
who have this season come into the Settlement of Niagara and who have not
taken the Oaths.
|A Quaker well known & much respected -
as such never took up arms.
William Mann Sr. received a Crown grant in Grantham Twp., Lincoln County
registered 10 Aug. 1801 of Lots 6, 7, 8, 9, & 10 in concession 5. (Each
lot was 100 acres.) Although this Crown grant was registered in 1801, a
map drawn by surveyor Augustus Jones in 1791, shows Wm. Mann resident on
the land at that date. The following maps show the location of William Mann's
In 1824, William Mann Sr. divided his Crown grant between
5 of his children.
got lot 6, lot 7 went to
lot 8, lot 9 went to
got lot 10. John and Elkanah
were born before William Sr. came to Canada, they were 2 of the 4 sons that
arrived with him. One of the unidentified sons is believed to be
who received a Crown grant in Beverly Township
of Wentworth Co., Ontario
in 1795. William Jr. later removed to Charles' property. No objective evidence
of Charles birth, death, or the land transfer to William Jr. has yet been
There is also no evidence that William Sr. joined other Quakers in Canada.
In addition, three of his sons served in George Ball's Company of the Lincoln
Militia during the War of 1812.
William Sr.'s wife
died 25 June 1825 and was buried in Homer
Cemetery, St. Catharines, Grantham Twp., Lincoln Co., Ontario, Canada. William
Sr. probably died after Esther and was probably buried in the same cemetery.
Who William Mann was not
William Mann from New Jersey is often confused with another William Mann
from New York. Because there's so much mis-information on the internet,
I want to show here that they are clearly two different people.
from New Jersey
from New York
Stillwater, Washington Co., New York
|Col. Isaac Mann (1723 - 1803)
||Sir John Johnson's First Battalion
of the Royal Regiment of New York
|Descendants of William Mann from New Jersey (the
subject of this page) are not descendants of Col. Isaac Mann.
William Mann before 1787
A number of Mann family researcher have tried to find records of William Mann's life before he came to Canada.
I personally visited the New Jersey state Historical Society in Newark and the Sussex Co. Historical Society in
Newton without success. It seems likely that William came from the Quaker settlement near the border of
Sussex and Warren Counties because he came to Canada with Henry Beamer, for whom Beemerville in Sussex Co is named.
The Quaker settlement was about 20 miles south of Beemerville.
Little is known about this settlement, it's bearly mentioned in "The Quakers in the American Colonies" by
Rufus Jones. The property for the meeting house at this settlement was supposedly donated by a descendent of
William Penn. The meeting house (in Warren Co.) is gone, but a Quaker Burying Ground (in Warren Co.), a Quaker
Church Road (in Warren Co.), and a Quaker Road (in Sussex Co.) still exist today.
Two books written by Scott Shepherd ("Early Settlers in the Quaker Community of the Pequest River Valley,
Allamuch, New Jersey and Vicinity" and "My Early Quaker Roots in West Jersey: the Lundy, Schooley, Wilson and
Associated Families at Crosswicks, Kingwood and Hardwick") seem relevant, but do not list a William Mann.
Our William Mann is not listed in William Hinshaw's "Quaker Encyclopedia".
I found a couple of references to William Mann at the Sussex Co. Historical Society, neither seems to be the
1. In "New Jersey Marriages 1665 -1800", Nelson, pg 259, a William Mann got a license to marry Beulah Gaskill
at Mount Holly (Burlington Co.) on Nov 3 1784. This is interesting because Beula Gaskill was a Quaker, and Burlington
Co. was the site of the West Jersey's Yearly Meeting. However, our William Mann went to Canada three years
later with a different wife and 6 children. So, it seems unlikely this is the same person. Beulah Gaskill of
Mount Holly was disowned by the Quakers in 1795 for marrying Asa Rogers, who was evidently not a Quaker. A search of
the WorldConnect database for Beulah Gaskill of Mount Holly, NJ produced 22 separate records, none of which show
her married before 1795 to anyone.
2. A William Mann is on a list of the Militia enrolled in the County of Essex, New Jersey, found in "New Jersey 1793"
by James Norton. William is listed next to a Joseph Mann in this record. This appears to be the William Mann
born in 1743, and shown in this
I have not been able to eliminate another William Mann shown in this
The subject record shows a William Mann born the same year as our Mann. There is no information about his marriage
or death, so it's possible this person could have married Esther and moved to New Jersey. However, I have no
objective evidence of this.
Our William Mann had a wife and 6 children when he went to Canada. It seems odd there is no record of his farm, his marriage
or any of the children's birth in Sussex Co., New Jersey. One possible explanation is that he didn't live there.
Although the record of William's marriage to Beula Gaskill seems bogus, it's possible two separate records got crossed in
transcription. This would indicate William Mann made some kind of record at Mount Holly in 1784, which would
suggest he lived there. I'm currently looking at that possibility.