Temperance Turner Manley

Temperance Turner Manley

1730 – 1802

…for … the sum of two hundred seventy pounds lawful money … paid by Temperance Manley of Providence … do freely, fully, and absolutely … convey and confirm onto her … one certain tract or parcel of land lying partly in the town of Little Compton … and partly in the town of Westport … containing by estimation one hundred and ten acres … with the buildings thereon standing[1]

Little Compton Land Evidence Book 3 pages 187-189, December 3, 1787

Temperance Turner Manley was born around 1730[2] in Providence and Newport bought a farm on the eastern shore of Quicksand Pond from Nathaniel Richmond. Married women in Rhode Island were not granted separate economy until 1848[3] but as a widow in 1788, Temperance was free to buy and own property. Five months earlier, in July 1787, Temperance had been widowed when her husband of twenty-five years,[4] John Manley, died.[5] A merchant in Newport, Manley left his personal and real estate to his wife Temperance, to be split with their only child, son William Manley, when he reached the age of twenty-one. The five-page inventory of Manley’s personal estate paints a picture of a well-appointed abode and places the value of his personal estate at £437, nine shillings, four pence.[6] While conversion of Colonial money to modern money is inexact, one calculator converted the value of the personal estate to approximately $70,000.[7] The value of any real estate he owned isn’t known at this time.

Temperance Turner Manley made two more purchases of land in Little Compton: forty-five acres for £210 from Charles Brownell[8] and fifteen acres with buildings for £100-10 shillings from Job Manchester,[9] both in early spring of 1792. In all, she paid £580 for 180.5 acres of land in Little Compton. In 2019 the land she bought at the end of the eighteenth century was valued at an average of $200,000 per acre. [10]

Temperance witnessed the growth of her family over the fifteen years she lived in Little Compton. At the time of the 1790 census her son William’s household was comprised of four people: William, and presumably his wife Sally, their first child John, and Temperance.[11] At the time of the 1800 census William’s household was comprised of ten people: William, Sally, their seven children,[12] and the tenth was probably Temperance.[13] Though she did not live to see it, her grandchildren continued to expand the Manley clan in the Little Compton and Westport area. One of her grandsons, William Moore Manley, had seventeen children, including four sets of twins.[14]

Temperance Turner Manley died September 1, 1802. In her will she left all her estate—real and personal—to her son William for his use and improvement. Upon his death Temperance stipulated that her real estate, valued at $108 was to be divided among any surviving grandsons, and her remaining personal estate among her surviving granddaughters. She specified a “great looking glass” for her grandaughter Temperance, and a silver spoon for grandson John.[15] Where Temperance was buried is unknown; it’s possible she was buried in the Manley family burial ground[16] on the farm which contains several graves with uninscribed stones.

Melinda W. Green

April 2020

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[1] Little Compton Land Evidence Book 3 pages 187-189, December 3, 1787

[2] Temperance Turner Manley’s date of birth and parentage haven’t been verified by primary source documents. However, a number of clues point to Temperance being the daughter of William Turner (c. 1683-10/4/1759) and Patience Haile (c. 1693-8/5/1772) of Swansea, MA. Contextual support for this supposition:

  • Temperance’s husband, John Manley, is buried at the Common Burial Ground in Newport, directly adjacent to Patience Turner, and among other Turner family members. Section BE plots 544, 547, 548, 549 (William), 550 (Patience), 551 (Manley), 553, 555 all members of Turner family http://rihistoriccemeteries.org/newgravedetails.aspx?ID=145670
  • A transcription note on John Manley in the RI historic cemeteries database reads: “Turner [a transcriber] notes, “m’d. Temperence Turner, of Cap. Wm” http://rihistoriccemeteries.org/newgravedetails.aspx?ID=145670
  • Beebe Douglas Hale, Lyman Mower, The Haile/Hail/Hale Family & the Descendants of Richard Haile of Swansea (1640-1729), Higginson Book Co., the University of Wisconsin – Madison, 1997, page 39 Temperance is listed as sixth child of William Turner & Patience Haile’s children, born in Swansea, MA: “she married Capt. John Manly”
  • Caleb Turner, possible brother of Temperance, named one of his daughters Temperance
  • Temperance’s son, William, named one of his daughters Hailey, perhaps a nod to the Haile family and/or Temperance’s possible brother, Haile

[3] B. Zorina Khan (November 20, 2013). The Democratization of Invention: Patents and Copyrights in American Economic Development, 1790–1920. Cambridge University Press.

[4] Married August 21, 1762 at Trinity Church Newport RI Arnold, James Newell. Rhode Island Vital Extracts, 1636–1850. 21 volumes. Providence, R.I.: Narragansett Historical Publishing Company, 1891–1912 Volume 10 page 459

[5] Arnold, James Newell. Rhode Island Vital Extracts, 1636–1850. Volume 14, p. 77. Providence, R.I.: Narragansett Historical Publishing Company, 1891–1912, . John Manley, b. England c. 1727.  Died July 21, 1787, in Newport RI. [Note: not to be confused with Capt. John Manley of Marblehead, MA, Captain in the Navy during the Revolutionary War c. 1733-1793]

[6] Rhode Island, Wills and Probate Records, Vol. 7, 1582-1932, will: p. 177-178, 12/30/1768; inventory: p. 179-184, 3/8/1788

[7] Eric W. Nye, Pounds Sterling to Dollars: Historical Conversion of Currency, accessed Thursday, April 02, 2020, https://www.uwyo.edu/numimage/currency.htm.

[8] Little Compton Land Evidence Book 3 pages 280-281 February 21, 1792

[9] Little Compton Land Evidence Book 3 pages 283-284 March 7, 1792

[10] Based on sampling of current properties’ land valuation on Vision Government Solutions database http://gis.vgsi.com/littlecomptonri/

[11] Year: 1790; Census Place: Little Compton, Kent, Rhode Island; Series: M637; Roll: 10; Page: 377; Image: 216; Family History Library Film: 0568150

[12] William Manley’s children in Little Compton Vital Records Vol. 2 Page 19

[13] Year: 1800; Census Place: Little Compton, Newport, Rhode Island; Series: M32; Roll: 46; Page: 177; Image: 42; Family History Library Film: 218681

[14] William Moore Manley’s children in Little Compton Vital Records Vol. 2 Page 112

[15] Little Compton Probate Book 1: will 5/7/1802 p. 97-97; inventory 1/28/1803, p. 101-102

[16] http://rihistoriccemeteries.org/newsearchcemeterydetail.aspx?ceme_no=LC045