Mann, William Sr. 1a 2 3 4 5 6 7a 8a 9 10 11

Birth Name Mann, William Sr. 4a
Gender male
Age at Death 77 years, 6 months, 2 days


Event Date Place Description Notes Sources
Birth September 4, 1793 Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland Scotland's people Parish records for St. Cuthbert's parish
Marriage October 4, 1815 St. John's, Newfoundland Oct 4 1815 St. Johns William MUNN Sarah EFFORD John Hutchings, Samuel ''Toms?'', George Bates from VITAL STATISTICS VOLUME 23 (MARRIAGES): CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH, St Johns, Newfoundland Part - 1 (1832 - 1862)
Residence 1861 Queens, Prince Edward Island  
Death March 6, 1871 Prince Edward Island, Canada Death notice in charlottetown Examiner, gravestone says 1872


Relation to main person Name Relation within this family (if not by birth)
Father Mann, James
Mother Braidwood, Hannah
         Mann, William Sr.
    Brother     Mann, James
    Sister     Mann, Elizabeth


    Family of Mann, William Sr. and Efford, Sarah Knight
Married Wife Efford, Sarah Knight
Event Date Place Description Notes Sources
Marriage October 4, 1815 St. John's, Newfoundland transcriptions of Newfoundland BDM records
  1. Mann, Hannah Braidwood
  2. Mann, William Jr.
  3. Mann, Elizabeth Hutchings
  4. Mann, Mary
  5. Mann, Amelia
  6. Mann, Matilda
  7. Mann, James
  8. Mann, Sarah
  9. Mann, John



The starting point for the story of William Mann Sr. and his descendants was the book From the Top of the Hill: the History of an Island Community, Irishtown-Burlington. William's descendant Les Mann always claimed that his ancestors came from Scotland - Edinburgh to be exact - and the Irishtown-Burlington history gave this as William Mann's place of birth. William Sr.'s date of birth, from his gravestone, was 1795. The closest match found in the Edinburgh Old Parish registers, on the website Scotland's People, was William Mann, born in Edinburgh on September 4 1793 in Gifford's Park, and baptized at St. Cuthbert's. He was the son of James Mann, a carter or brewer's assistant, and Hannah Braidwood, daughter of James Braidwood, deceased. William's parents had at least two more children, a son James (1795), and a daughter Elizabeth (1798). William Mann named his first daughter Hannah Braidwood, which further supports that this was the right family.

William and his wife Sarah Knight were said to have emigrated to the Island sometime in the 1830s. There is evidence that William was a single man when he emigrated , perhaps with his brother James, as early as 1815 when he was in his early twenties. First, other than his eldest daughter, all of William's children, born between 1818 and 1834, gave Prince Edward Island as their birthplace on census documents. Second, according to the 1861 census of PEI, William Mann of Lot 20 was farming 180 acres under a 999 lease from Cunard, of which forty years had elapsed, which would place his starting date at 1821. And finally, there were two clues in the history of Burlington/Irishtown PEI - a map dated 1826 that showed the William Mann farm, and mention of a neighbour's lease, dated December 1817, that included the Mann farm as a boundary.

This same history had a list of 1816 Irishtown residents, taken from the book From Forest to Farm, that included a James Mann - could this have been his brother? Or should the entry have been William? William's mother, Hannah Braidwood, was recorded in the St. Cuthbert's church register as dying in 1847, a widow, so William's parents lived out their lives in Gifford's Park in Edinburgh and did not accompany him to the Island.

However, no match for William's wife, Sarah Knight, was in the Scotland's People database; nor was a marriage between William Mann and Sarah Knight recorded in that country. It seems to be highly unlikely, then, that they married in Scotland before emigrating to Prince Edward Island, and this is backed up by responses given by their children on census forms - their father's place of birth was almost always Scotland, but their mother's birthplace was given as Newfoundland, England, or PEI - but never Scotland.

It also seems that William landed first in Newfoundland, or at least traveled to that British colony. This would not be unusual. A number of early emigrants to Prince Edward Island arrived on Prince Edward Island via Newfoundland, and there was considerable traffic between the two colonies in those times. The source for this information came from a rambling letter that William's son-in-law, George Brace, wrote to his son Richard wherein George recounted the story of the Brace and Knight families of Newfoundland. A transcription of the letter was posted to Al Beagan's Newfoundland Genealogy website:

"My father's sister, Sarah, was married to a German called Knight, their sons were Philip, Michael, Thomas, George and William.  Another sister, Hannah, died when I was a child...She left two daughters... Another daughter, "That is Hannah's daughter," was Mary, she first married a man called Hammond he did not live long then she married a man called Efford. By him she had one son and two daughters. The son, William, was a ship carpenter. One daughter married John Hutchings, a sail maker, the other married William Mann your grandfather. After Efford's death she [Mary] married Samuel Wilson, I was then a young child. I just remember it and it was just after her daughter [Sarah] married W. Mann. Her daughters were displeased with her for getting married the third time though I never knew it until old W. Mann told me. This document was given to me by my father, Geo. Brace about the year 1877. Richard K. Brace, Charlottetown, P.E.I."

Using transcriptions of Newfoundland church records, almost every detail in the letter can be backed up. There was a marriage between a "William Munn" and Sarah Efford that took place in 1815 in St. John's, when William Mann would have been 22 and Sarah 24. (Also, I asked a Scottish colleague who confirmed that to an English clergyman, Mann could sound like Munn) One of the witnesses was John Hutchings, the sailmaker who married Sarah's sister Elizabeth. The other witness was transcribed as George Bates, which could have been George Brace, an uncle or cousin of Sarah's. The date of marriage fits with other parts of George Brace's story - Sarah's mother Mary remarried later that year, to Samuel Wilson, a much younger man. As well, their first child, Hannah Braidwood Mann, was born around 1816, and Hannah always gave Newfoundland as her place of birth.

By about 1817, William Mann had a farm on the Irishtown Road in Prince Edward Island. His farm was given as a boundry in a lease dated that year, and when he was taken to court by the Cambridge family in 1833 for non-payment of rent, the date of his lease was 1 September 1817. William and Sarah's next child, William, was born on PEI around 1818.

William and Sarah had at least eight children; all, except for their eldest daughter, were born on the Island. No baptismal records could be found for any of them, nor did William write a will naming his children. The names listed in the local history were: William; Mary; Amelia; Matilda; James; John; Sarah; Evangeline, who married a Mr Brace from Summerside;and one unnamed daughter, who married Rev. Tuffts from Bedeque. This incomplete list suggests that the source of information for this family was a person, and not a family bible or church records - and even for the names that were incorrect or incomplete, the clues given helped identify the right person. Connections can be made among these people: William was called William Mann Jr.; Hannah and Elizabeth had a middle name associated with the parents' families; Mary and Sarah, who never married, were living with other members of the Mann family in Irishtown in 1891 and 1901; Matilda was the fifth daughter of William Mann on her marriage announcement, and William Mann was a witness at her marriage; and John Mann was identified as being the son of William Sr. in a legal document that James Mann witnessed. As well, John Mann was a witness at the marriage of William Mann to Mary Fraser, and Alexander Bernard, who married Amelia Mann, named his brother-in-law John Mann as executor to his will.

The corrected names for the children described in the history of Irishtown for William and Sarah were: Hannah Braidwood (1816), who married George Brace from Charlottetown; William Jr. (1818); Elizabeth Hutchings (1819 or 1829), who was the mother of the Rev. Tuffts in Bedeque; Mary (1822); Amelia (1825); Matilda (fifth daughter, born 1830); James (1831); John (1834); and Sarah (1834). The main sources for the dates were census records and gravestones, which can be incorrect. William and Sarah might not have followed the naming conventions of the time (see below), perhaps because Sarah was angry with her mother around the time of the birth of their first daughter, who was named for William's mother Hannah. William Jr. could have been named after Sarah's father, or his own father. Then there is some question about Elizabeth's date of birth - on records she could have been born any time between 1819 and 1829, so either before or after Mary. Then, Amelia and Matilda, who was called William's fifth daughter in a newspaper item. Finally, James (after William's father), John (after John Hutchings?), and Sarah, for her mother.

From descriptions in PEI Archives, the Mann family probably attended the early Presbyterian Church in New London, a log church. This church was burned, and records did not survive.

As well as being a farmer, William's work as a carpenter is noted in a number of local PEI histories, including The History of Long River:
"In 1836 the church known today as the Geddie Memorial was built James Clark of Campbellton was the contractor who built the church and he had two carpenters; George MacLeod of Irishtown and a Mr. MacPhee. William Mann, a cabinet maker, made the pulpit and sounding board. Wm. was a Lowland Scot, just out from Edinburgh. An amusing story is told of the first attempt at preaching in this now historic church. When the work on the church was completed, Wm. Mann gathered up his tools and departed. A little later, MacLeod and MacPhee decided to stroll back to the church to have a last look at their handiwork. On nearing the church they were amazed to hear a loud voice from within. They approached the building and silently entered the vestibule. Now it seems, that Wm. Mann when he left the church, had decided that the completion of such a fine place of worship was some- thing which should be fittingly celebrated; so hiding his bag of tools behind a bush, he proceeded over the hill to Adam's Mill where there was also a still. After a good drink of Adam's brew he returned to pick up his tools, but before leaving he decided to enter the church once more for a final look at his work. He began to wonder if this thing dangling from the ceiling would really work. Would it really re-echo the minister's voice so that everyone in the church or even in the church yard would hear? Well, there was just one way to find out.

Being well versed in the scripture he moved in the pulpit and began speaking. He soon warmed up to his task and with hair standing on end and long, hairy arms flailing the air, he was calling on all of New London's miserable sinners to turn from their evil ways. But oh! oh! he has an audience. There in the doorway stood the two carpenters, with bulging eyes and gaping mouths, amazed at what they were seeing and hearing. For William was now reveling in his oratory. Leaning over the pulpit he pointed an accusing finger at them and said, 'I ken ye twa Heilan brats peeking through the door at an honest man and I'm telling ye, if ye dinna mind your ways you'll fare na better than Tarn O'Shanter, Ah Tam! Ah Tarn! thou'll get thy farin for now they'll roast thee like a herrin.' Presbytery took no note of Williams ministerial efforts and the church was officially opened in due course."

It is possible this story has been embroidered over the years. According to the Royal Gazette, William was a fence viewer for Lot 20 in 1839. This was a position of some responsibility, and was given to men with a good reputation in their community.

Another story comes from his great grand-daughter, Laura Woodward. As a staunch Christian and Presbyterian, William knew his Bible and often carried one with him. One day, he came upon two men burying a man without benefit of a Christian ceremony. William read a few words from his Bible. Thereafter, he was reportedly called upon to perform similar ceremonies in the absence of clergy. This tale is supported by an article about the early New London church that appeared in the Island Magazine. The author C. B. Stewart noted that this congretation only had a minister once a month, and that elders of the church filled in on the other Sundays.

Hannah was living in Charlottetown by 1839, where her name appeared as a member of a Charlottetown Methodist Society group. She married her second cousin George Brace at Trinity Methodist in Charlottetown in 1842. A few years later, William Jr. was managing his own farm, marrying Janet Johnstone in 1852. Matilda married William Paynter in 1852, and Amelia married the widower Alexander Bernard in 1855.

By the time of the 1861 census, William listed 7 people living in his household: in addition to himself and Sarah (two people over 60), there were his two unmarried sons James and John (2 males between 21 and 45), and 2 females between 21 and 45. These could be Sarah and Mary, his two daughters who never married. There was one young man between 5-16 who is unidentified - with two young men at home, it seems unlikely that William would need a hired hand, and less likely that Sarah had borne a child at the age of 54. All seven were members of the Presbyterian Church. Unfortunately, the second schedule of this census that would have given the place of birth for members of the household seems to have been lost.

Elizabeth was living in Halifax when she married Theodore Tuffts in 1864. Like her sister Hannah she may have left home earlier to find work. James later married Ann McLeod of Park Corner, and John married Elizabeth Moase in 1876.

William transferred his land to his son John on 24 December 1866. This was in an agreement between William Mann Sr. of Irishtown, Lot 20 PEI and his son John Mann, witnessed by James Mann. John was to provide the said William Mann with good and sufficient board and lodgings, and sufficient raiment, and free access to all parts of the house. There was no mention of his wife Sarah or unmarried daughters in this agreement, although all were living in Irishtown at the time the agreement was signed.

The 1870 COMMISSIONER OF PUBLIC LANDS report lists John, James and William Mann as landowners in Lot 20.

Sarah died in Irishtown on December 27 1868 at the age of 76. William died there on March 6 1871 at the age of 78, and was buried with his wife behind Geddie Memorial Church in New London, PEI.

No will or administration papers could be found for William. His main possessions, the land, barns and house, had already been transferred to his son John. John and William Jr., and later his widow Mary Fraser Mann, provided homes for their two unmarried sisters.

The census of 1891 had a code that described the house. William's grandson John A. was living on the homestead, which was a 2 story wood-frame home with 7 rooms.

Traditional naming pattern used by lowland Scots families
Eldest son named for father’s father
Second son named for mother’s father
Third son named for father
Eldest daughter named for mother’s mother
Second daughter named for father’s mother
Third daughter named for mother





  1. Mann, James
    1. Braidwood, Hannah
      1. Mann, William Sr.
        1. Efford, Sarah Knight
          1. Mann, Hannah Braidwood
          2. Mann, William Jr.
          3. Mann, Elizabeth Hutchings
          4. Mann, Mary
          5. Mann, Amelia
          6. Mann, Matilda
          7. Mann, James
          8. Mann, John
          9. Mann, Sarah
      2. Mann, James
      3. Mann, Elizabeth

Source References

  1. Dyment, Jane: Ancestry Family Trees
      • Page: Ancestry Family Trees
  2. The Heritage Group of Irishtown-Burlington, compiled by Ruth L. Paynter and Thelma Campbell.: From the Top of the Hill. The History of an Island Community Irishtown-Burlington, Written and 1977.
  3. Fraser Family: Personal Communciation
  4. 1861 Census of Canada
      • Source text:

        Residence date: 1861 Residence place: Queens, Prince Edward Island, Canada

      • Source text:

        Residence date: 1861 Residence place: Queens, Prince Edward Island, Canada

  5. Al Began: Al Began's Genealogy Notes of Newfoundland
  6. Long River Women's Institute: History of Long River Prince Edward Island 1797-1967
  7. Scotland's People
      • Page: Old Parish Records for St. Cuthbert's Edinburgh
  8. Newfoundland Church Records
      • Date: 1815
      • Citation:

        Part - 1 (1832 - 1862)

  9. Geddie Memorial Church Records
  10. Geddie Memorial Church Cemetery
  11. William Mann Jr. lib. 71 page 660 1856 - land transfer