Born: 1793-10-09 Vermont
Died: 1869-01-08 Joliet, Illinois
Born in Andover, Vermont, Joel Manning was a lawyer, public servant, public works board member, real estate investor, and a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church . He graduated from Union College in Schenectady, New York in 1818, and soon after became administrator of Chester Academy in Chester, Vermont. In 1819, however, he struck out on foot for the West. He settled first in St. Louis, where he began studying law. He eventually relocated to Brownsville, Illinois, where he practiced law and, in 1820, was appointed recorder, probate judge, circuit clerk, and clerk for Jackson County, Illinois. In September 1823, he married Diza Jenkins, with whom he had at least three children. In 1836, Governor Joseph Duncan appointed him secretary of the Board of Canal Commissioners for the Illinois and Michigan Canal. After receiving this appointment, he relocated to Chicago. In 1838, he moved again, this time to Lockport, Illinois, after the canal board opened an office there. Between 1836 and 1864, he purchased hundreds of acres of public land in at least five different counties in Illinois. By 1850, he owned $4,500 in real estate.
The History of Will County, Illinois (Chicago: Wm. Le Baron, Jr., 1878), 306; W. W. Stevens, Past and Present of Will County, Illinois (Chicago: S. J. Clarke, 1907), 787-88; Historical Sketches of Jackson County, Illinois (Carbondale, IL: E. Newsome, 1894), 43; A. D. Field, Worthies and Workers, Both Ministers and Laymen, of the Rock River Conference (Cincinnati: Cranston and Curts), 1896), 277-78; For an exhaustive list of Manning's land purchases, search "Manning Joel," https://www.ilsos.gov/isa/landsrch.jsp; U.S. Census Office, Seventh Census of the United States (1850), Lockport, Will County, IL, 11.