Ancestral Family Topic 22

 22   Luther Napoleon Manly (c.1833-c.1896)
Pedigree Chart 05

Luther Napoleon Manly, in his own words
If he could speak to us today, Luther Napoleon Manly might describe his life as follows.

Like my father, Archibald, I had some formal education. I was 21 when Rev. Willis Harris Peace united me and Julia Anna Barrow in marriage 24 October 1855.  By 1860 we were the parents of Sarah M. and Lucinda.
Once Julia was washing our daughter’s heads after our third girl was born. Sitting in the cool air, they got desperately ill—with diphtheria, I heard—and only Lucinda lived. Madora Ezell was born a few years later.
After I enlisted at Richmond 2 July 1861, the Confederate Army assigned me to Co. G, 21st Virginia Infantry Regiment. I was our company’s color bearer and a hospital attendant at the General Hospital at Staunton in 1862 and 1863. Confederate veterans expected some form of retaliation for our service. Known as Luther N. before the war, I was usually Napoleon afterwards.
Not only was I a violinist, I could also make furniture, including a chair John William Pritchett has.
Although described as a laborer in 1860 and 1870,  I was a miller by 1880,  employed at Meherrin Mills south of Lawrenceville for $150 per year. An ad I printed in 1883 described my “long and extensive experience in the milling business.” Dr. William Robert Ezell, who owned the mill, treated my wife and daughter when they got sick.
Madora died of childbirth in 1891 and Julia, 4 January 1892. After a mill accident killed me about 1896, I was laid to rest next to them on a hill overlooking the Meherrin River.

Julia’s wedding record said she was a daughter of Davis and Nancy Barrow, but this appears to have been an error.
Mac Pritchett always understood that at least two girls died in the hair-washing incident. Presumably one of these was Sarah and the other girl was born after 1860.

For more about the family and military experience of Luther Napoleon Manly, see Civil War Soldiers from Brunswick County, Virginia Learn more 
Mac Pritchett remembered, “My Uncle Luther Benjamin Pritchett recalled to me his experiences of staying with his grandparents on the Meherrin River when he was a child, and being there when a mill accident killed his grandfather and he was buried. Uncle Luther remembered his grandfather as ‘Napoleon,’ rather than ‘Luther,’ although they undoubtedly named him Luther for his grandfather.” It was from Luther Napoleon Manly that Luther Pritchett received the inspiration to play the violin, at which he was very accomplished.

Working at Meherrin Mills
Several receipts dated 1884, 1886, and 1888 from the files of Dr. Ezell signed by “L.N. Manly” show Dr. Ezell employed Luther “for attention to Meherrin Mills” and paid him a salary of about $150 a year and gave Luther Napoleon other provisions as well. For example, some months he was given 50-70 pounds of bacon and 80 pounds of beef. There is also a reference that Dr. Ezell paid $10 for Dora’s board for school.
Here is a flyer that promoted Dr. Ezell’s mill.

Jan. 15th. 1883
Dear Sir:
I now take pleasure in informing my friends of Brunswick, Mecklenburg, and the Public generally, that I am now superintending Meherrin Mills, which is one of the finest factories in the country; being supplied with all the modern improvements of the day.
We have had long and extensive experience in the milling business, and having entire charge of the Flouring department would most respectively solicit your patronage. I will assure my customers that I will extend to them every courtesy and accommodation that they wish. We will keep on hand a supply of meal that will be exchanged for corn when desired. Customers with their team will not have to stay at the MILL, for we have sufficient capacity to grind their Grist and let them go home with it, and not have to come back another day.
Hoping you will give me a trial, I am,
Very Truly Yours,
N.B.- Corn Meal, Flour, Ship - Stuff, Bran, &c for sale in any quantity, and at low prices.

Of interest, too, are some references in the medical journal of Dr. Ezell indicating he visited the Luther Napoleon Manly family 17 Jan. 1885 and treated Dora with some medicine, for which he charged $1. From 21 to 29 Jan. he treated his wife for a charge of $2 and gave her 30 grams of quinine at no charge.
The ledgers of Meherrin Mill show that John William Pritchett took grain to Meherrin Mills for grinding. Although he lived on a farm a few miles east of present-day Alberta, he took grain to Meherrin Mills because his father-in-law ran the mill.
Meherrin Mills adjoined the Dunlop property, later known as the McCrea farm. Just across the road leading to Meherrin Mills is a large cemetery on a high hill overlooking the Meherrin River. It is likely this cemetery, now known as the Heartwell Cemetery, in which Luther Napoleon Manly and his wife, Julia, his daughter Dora, and other members of the family are buried. The old mill was torn down years ago, and little remains to show where it was.
Dr. Ezell died in 1917 at the age of eighty. His 2nd wife, who was still living in 1966, says that she recalled hearing Dr. Ezell speak of the Manly who got killed in the mill. Dr. Ezell was the grandfather of Alice May (Ezell) Samford, widow of Henry Samford, who carried mail for many years.
On her visits to her grandfather’s farm, Mrs. Alice Ezell Samford recalled seeing a cottage that was where the millers lived. We assume that this was the house, which stood on a high hill overlooking the Meherrin River, the Manlys occupied when they lived there. The house had a central hall with a room on either side and with several rooms in the back, which was then a typical arrangement of a moderately priced house.

Descendants of Luther Napoleon Manly
Information about the children of Luther Napoleon Manly, their descendants, and allied families previously found at is now available as Southside Virginia Genealogies. Learn more 
Names found in this topic include the following.
 Sarah M. Manly (1856-1862),  
 Lucinda Ann (Manly) Pritchett (1858-1932),  
John William Pritchett,   
 Madora Ezell (Manly) Jackson (1868-1891),  
Edward Reece Jackson,  Henry Jackson,  Ailsey Williams,  Melissa Hannah Mabry,  William Mabry,  Letitia —,  Anna Gray Jackson,  Elizabeth Jackson,  David E. Jackson,  
Susan Julia Pritchett,   
Manly Ezell Jackson,  

This family topic includes the following notable individuals.
Soldiers of colonial and American wars
Luther Napoleon Manly - Civil War  

This topic, which represents .09% of all the family history material at, includes 5 citations and the names of 24 individuals.
Virginians - The Family History of John W. Pritchett
Copyright © 2001-2006, John W. Pritchett. All rights reserved.
Civil War Soldiers from Brunswick County, Virginia 
  • 1,140 family histories
  • 744 pages
  • 35,000-name index
  • Attractively bound
  • Military histories
  • Index of church cemeteries
  • Confederate veterans photo
  • More...