Historical Details

Manorgan Family

Courtesy of Our Heritage: Niobrarans and Neighbors, 11/23/2020


by Harold G. Manorgan

Joseph Albert Manorgan was born in 1865 at Newport, Ky. to George and Margaret Manorgan.    Both parents died while he was still a baby, so he was left in care of his brothers, George and William, first in Ohio, Illinois and later in Iowa. It was impossible for the brothers to care for Albert properly so he was made a ward of Mr. and Mrs. Newton B. Allen.

He received his schooling in Iowa until 1885, when the Allen family migrated to the site of Manville. The Allens filed on a homestead just west of Manville and Mr. Manorgan took a homestead a mile south of Manville where he cut, trimmed and built his own log house.  When he received the patent to the land, he started to work to accumulate enough money to start a mercan­tile business.  He went to work for the Fremont, Elkhorn and Missouri Valley rail­way as they extended their lines westward. He became foreman of the section called Stroud, just east of Casper and lived in the section house there until his savings were sufficient to return to Manville and estab­lish the Manville Mercantile Company in June 1894. By hard work and fair dealing his business prospered to such an extent that in 1902 he was able to incorporate the Manville Supply Company, with several prom­inent partners including Mr. H.B. Card, Mrs.A.A. Spaugh and Mr. DeForrest Richards. They erected a large new building with a basement which contained about ten thousand square feet of floor and display space. Al­so a large storage warehouse was built at the Chicago & Northwestern tracks to store salt, flour and machinery.  The Northwestern had taken over the Fremont, Elkhorn and Missouri Valley facilities.  Mr. Manorgan was able to increase the stocks substantial­ly and thereby draw patronage from a much larger territory until the volume became one of the largest in the eastern part of the state.

In 1911 he was appointed postmaster and located the post office in the store. He was one of the organizers of the Bank of Manville, which was also housed in the store until 1918 when a new brick building was erected across the street to house the bank. He was assistant cashier and vice president of the bank for many years. He was one of the organizers of the Methodist Episcopal church and Sunday school in Manville.    He was Sunday school superintendent for many years and many times in the absence of a pastor would himself deliver the Sunday message.

Mr. Manorgan was always deeply concerned with the progress of his town, his county and his state so took a keen interest in the development of schools, roads and civic organizations. He was mayor of Manville and for many years was secretary of the Modern Woodmen of America at the time of his pass­ ing.  In 1907 Mr. Manorgan was the victim of a severe freight train accident which kept him hospitalized and bed-ridden for several years. He then returned to manage the store until 1919 when he sold it. He then led a more quiet and retiring life.

Elizabeth Lydia Kern was born in 1866 in Chenoa, Ill. to Rev. Josiah and Martha Toy Kern. Later the family migrated to Baldwin, Kan., home of Baker University, where Rev. Kern was a circuit riding preacher for the Methodist church and taught Greek and Arabic languages in the University.

In 1892 Elizabeth (Lizzie) Kern came to Manville to teach school which she did in the country schools of the territory, making her headquarters with her cousin, Mrs. Jennie Baughn, in Manville.

In December 1893 Lizzie Kern and Joseph Albert Manorgan were united in marriage.

They soon built a home in Manville, just a block from their store business. A son and daughter were born to them, both of whom died in infancy. They were buried, as were Mrs. Manorgan's parents who had come to Manville in their last years, in Dellview cemetery, which Mr. Manorgan had donated to the town--20 acres from his homestead.    On Feb. 2, 1900 a son, Harold George was born and Jan. 26, 1906 a son, James Arthur, was born.

Harold completed high school in Man­ville and in 1917 enrolled in Baker Univer­sity at Baldwin, Kan. graduating in 1921.

He was soon married to Estelle Williams of Olathe, Kan. A daughter, Marjorie, was born to them in 1922. They lived in Casper where Harold was a teller in the Wyoming National Bank, shipping clerk at the Texaco refinery until 1924 when they went to Denver with his uncle, A.A. Spaugh, to revive the Sunset Oil Company.  They made some progress and return­ed to Casper in 1930 when Harold became a salesman for the Wyoming Grocery company until his retirement in 1956. Meanwhile, his wife, Estelle, contracted cancer and passed away in 1942. The daughter Marjorie, was married to James L. Simonton, an attorney and county attorney for Park County at Cody.

They became parents of three children--Steve, a captain in the U.S. Air Force, now stationed at Clark Field near Manila, the Philippines, with his wife, Kay, and small daughter, Shelley. The daughter,

Judy, now married to Glenn Catchpole, who is now head of ROTC in New Mexico Uni­versity at Albuquerque and George, who like his brother, Steve, is a graduate of Allegheny College, Meadville, Penn. on a permanent scholarship given to their great grandfather, Rev. Kern about 1830. George was a law student at Wyoming University.

Marjorie is with the public relations department of the chamber of commerce in San Diego, Calif.

In 1949 Harold married Frances Perry.They live in Casper where they own property and live a contented and happy life.

James Arthur graduated from Manville high school and attended one year at Wyoming University.  At vacation time he was help­ing move a large engine. It slipped on the truck and he was sent under to jack it up when it fell on him and broke the large pelvic bone.   He was in Wheatland hospital for many months before he could walk. He then acquired the Oldsmobile agency in Cheyenne and ran it successfully for several  months. He then went to work for the Huber Carbon Black plant in Lance Creek, where he was employed when he was married to Marie McLaughlin, a registered nurse in Lusk.

They lived in Lance Creek for several years and to them was born a daughter, Mary Lou, now Mrs. Connie Langaas.  She is a nurse at DePaul hospital in Cheyenne and the mother of four fine young daughters.  Arthur then was able to purchase the Cody Welding and Machine Shop which he ran successfully for many years.  In Cody were born two daugh­ ters--Anne, now married to Bert Avery.

Both are teachers in the Indian schools at Thoreau, N.M.  Also Doris, was born in Cody. She has recently returned from Korea where she represented the American Red Cross.

In 1965 Arthur was called upon to repair the frozen gas line into Cody which he had installed. He and a helper repaired the damage and in the 35 degree below zero weather got in their car to get warm. When the gas was turned on too suddenly it ex­ploded, mashing the car down on the two occupants. It took over an hour to cut them out of the mashed car. Arthur was killed and the helper spent several months in the hospital. Marie, his widow, lives in Cody with Doris. The town still mourns an astute and loyal citizen.

Mrs. Lizzie Manorgan was always a great help to her husband. No couple could be more conscientious, loyal, patriotic nor more concerned for the growth and progress of their community, nor more reverent and hope­ ful for the moral and spiritual growth of its citizens than were Lizzie and Albert.

When Albert died Feb. 12, 1937 and Lizzie passed away Nov. 22, 1945, Niobrara county lost honest and loyal citizens who can never be replaced. Their Biblical mottoes are an indication of their philosophy. Albert--Romans 8:28 "We know that all things work together for good to them that love God." Lizzie--St. Mark 14:6 "Let her alone - she has done what she could."

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Related/Linked Records

Record Type Name
Obituary Manorgan, Joseph (09/22/1865 - 02/12/1937) View Record
Obituary Manorgan, Elizabeth (11/21/1866 - 11/22/1945) View Record