Thomas Manley

The first Manley in the East Canton area was Thomas Manley (1790-1866).  In 1820, he came to East Canton from Connecticut and purchased wilderness land near the East Canton store for $3.00 per acre.  He cleared some of the land, planted rye and went back to Connecticut for the winter.

Betsy Wright Manley

In spring of 1821, he brought his wife Betsy (1794-1884) his three children and his widowed mother-in-law, Betsy Wright, from Connecticut by ox cart.  At first they lived in a crude hut.  Soon they built a two-room log house with a loft.

Thomas S. Manley (1824-1905), (builder of the Victorian house), was born in this log house. Thomas Manley, to support his growing family, farmed and taught school.  His wife Betsy made and sold straw hats. Thomas S. Manley married Lucy Taylor (1827-1905) in 1847. Before he started farming, he taught school and built carriages in East Canton and Troy for about eight years.

Thomas S. Manley

When buying the land for this farm, his wife Lucy, insisted that they would buy the flats on the east side of the road in addition to the land of the west side of the road; for she did not want to covet her neighbor’s property. Years later, Thomas S. Manley suggested to his wife that they should repair the first house they built on their farm.  His wife told him, “I will live in the old house as long as you say, but we won’t put any money in it.”

Lucy Taylor Manley

That settled it, money was borrowed and the large Victorian house was built in the 1870’s.  Originally the house had over 30 rooms.  It also was built with a Federal style roof.  It is unknown the date that the roof was raised to its present pitch. The left rear two-story portion of the house was cut off and moved about 300 feet to the south for use by a hired man.  This portion of the house is still in use today. Thomas S. Manley and his wife Lucy, both died in 1905. At that time, the youngest son, Joel T. Manley (1867-1935) and his wife, Mollie Grant Manley (1870-1963), both former schoolteachers, operated the farm until the late 1920’s when Joel’s health failed.

Molly Grant Manley

Joel T. Manley

Joel was a progressive farmer as was his father.  Joel owned the first sickle bar mower and the first TB free herd of cows in Bradford County.

Manley Horses

The farm was sold to a distant relative who lost it in the 1930 depression.  It was then purchased by Franklin Bohlayer and well managed until his death in 1987.  At this time Franklin’s daughter, Sylvia, began a room-by-room restoration until her untimely death in 1997.

*This Manley history […] has been furnished at the request of the PA Apple / Cheese Festival Committee by Philip S. Preston, Canton, a great-grandson of Thomas S. Manley.

To view more photos:  Historical Photos

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