Deborah Taber Manchester

Deborah Taber Manchester

1857 – 1938

Lydia Maria and Stafford Andrew Wheeler had two children, my grandmother, Agema Villette Wheeler and Philip Manchester Wheeler, my great-uncle. Then very sadly, Lydia Maria and her husband died of consumption leaving my grandmother and my great-uncle orphans. From then on they were brought up half of the year in Brooklyn, New York by a Wheeler relative, and they came to Adamsville for six months of the year and lived with Debbie and Lizzie. They had a hard life. The Manchesters were well to do, and so were the Wheelers in Brooklyn, so they were fine that way, but emotionally, I think they felt that they didn’t belong in either place.

Aunt Debbie had diabetes and lost a leg. They put a little glass porch on the front of their house so that she could visit with the neighbors as they passed by. The porch is still there on their cute little white house with the gingerbread.

The Ball Field

Debbie did something wonderful for Adamsville in that she gave the land for the ball field to the town. It is in memory of Debbie’s nephew, Philip Manchester Wheeler, and Stafford Andrew Wheeler, her great-nephew. The latter was killed in World War II.

Based on an oral history interview with Anne Tripp Hopkins.

First published in “Remembering Adamsville” by the Little Compton Historical Society, 2013.

Placing the Monument

[William Tripp] was the originator of the Rhode Island Red and he lived down at the corner of William Sisson Road and Long Highway. But over here in Dr. von Trapp’s house was a family named Tompkins, Harold Tompkins and his brother, Lester. They were “poultry-fanciers” and they bred show birds. They bred the birds for nice color and conformity, and body, and all the things that go with “fanciers.”

The RI Red that was the first RI Red was nothing like the RI Red is today. It was kind of a scrubby-looking thing. It had kind of blondish feathers on its back, and the hackles were kind of a mahogany color, and the tail wasn’t the same thing. But the Tompkins, they really made a Red out of it

So they prevailed on Deborah and Lizzie Manchester to get this monument erected here in Adamsville. Well it was a big furor. Everybody in downtown Little Compton was terribly against it. They thought that was no place for the monument, and they were probably right too. But Deborah and Lizzie prevailed and the monument was dedicated in 1926. My father and I walked up from our place on Mullin Hill Road.

Based on an oral history interview with Abe Quick.

First published in “Remembering Adamsville” by the Little Compton Historical Society, 2013.

Lizzie and Debbie Manchester

They lived in that house next to McKinnon’s and there’s a glass porch there. Debbie was missing a leg but she had this nurse, Swailsie, and she used to sit on that porch all day long. Lizzie, she dressed like a man, had a man’s haircut, and she used to walk through the village with this hound dog, trailing along behind her. They owned the store. Then when Lizzie and Debbie died, it went to Alice Tripp, who was the nearest relative and Bordie Tripp [her husband,] who ran Bojuma Farm. [Alice] had him go in. He went up and ran the store. By that time, Walter had retired. They took that house and made it into two apartments, and the town didn’t like that. But it was quite a village.

Based on an oral history interview with Edith Manchester Peckham.

First published in “Remembering Adamsville” by the Little Compton Historical Society, 2013.

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