Growing Up in Working Class Youngstown — Dr. Henry Manning

Dr. Henry Manning

I recently re-ran an old article about Dr. Timothy Woodbridge, the first doctor born in Youngstown. The doctor who trained him was Dr. Henry Manning, the second doctor to practice in Youngstown, Charles Dutton being the first. Manning not only cared for the medical needs of the people in Youngstown but was a businessman and leader, a civic leader, and even served for a time in the state legislature. Part of his land become one of Youngstown’s most venerated cemeteries.

Henry Manning was born on January 15, 1787 in Lebanon, Connecticut. He settled in Youngstown briefly in 1811, only to be called into his country’s service as a surgeon for the Ohio Militia in the War of 1812. he was the first doctor in the area to perform cataract surgeries. He started a pharmacy in 1815 with Caleb Wick. He also trained many other students in addition to Timothy Woodbridge. His eldest son, John, born in 1824, followed him in medical practice. As an early settler, he saw Rayen’s tavern by Spring Common, leaving us this description:

“A two story white house, shingled on the sides, instead of weatherboarding. There was a log house attached to it on the north, and a kitchen at the back build of round logs.

“Between the log and the frame part was a wide hall, open at both ends, and wooden benches on the sides for loungers.” (Aley, 1975)

Manning left a record of his practice that may be viewed at the Melnick Medical Museum, as well as digitally through Maag Library. It comes in the form of his “daybook” in which he kept a record of each patient that he saw, what service he rendered, and the charge. Here is one page:

Screenshot Henry Manning’s Day book for August 1834, accessed from Digital.Maag Repository

Most of the charges on this page range between $.25 and $1.75, and some of these were for house visits!

Manning had extensive land holdings as well as sheep and cattle. In 1853, he sold land to the Mahoning Valley Cemetery Association, of which he was Chairman, that became Oak Hill Cemetery. When Manning’s time to be laid to rest came, he was buried in Oak Hill Cemetery.

He served in the state legislature twice, in 1819-1820 and 1843-1844 and as a state senator in 1825-1826. He also served as an associate justice of the Court of Common Pleas from 1836 to 1843.

Add to his occupations of doctor, pharmacist, legislator and judge the role of business leader. He was the president of two banks, the Mahoning County Bank in 1854 and the First National Bank when it was formed in 1863. He also served as the first president of the Youngstown Board of Education and was a township trustee. The standards for teachers were markedly different in his day. He wrote, “if a man could read tolerably well, was a good writer, and could cypher as far as the rule of three, knew how to use the birch scientifically, and had firmness enough to exercise this skill, he would pass muster.”

During his years in Youngstown, this renaissance man had his finger in just about every aspect of Youngstown’s early life. He died on January 11, 1869. Joseph G. Butler, Jr. put the coda on his life with this description: “In his profession, he was an excellent physician and a most skillful surgeon.” It seems, at least from this distance, that this could be said of every aspect of his life.

To read other posts in the Growing Up in Working Class Youngstown series, just click “On Youngstown.” Enjoy!

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