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Historic Manley-Bohlayer Farm
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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.
In spring of 1821, he brought his wife Betsy (1794-1884) his three children and his widowed mother-in-law, Betsy Wright (1792-1859) form 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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
The history of the Manley-Bohlayer farm starts in the 1860’s. (Exact dates have been difficult to find.) Thomas Scott Manley (1824-1905) purchased the land to the east of Rt. 414 in East Canton during the 1860’s. The farm had been called “Valley Farm”. Thomas S. Manley was the fifth child of Thomas (1790-1866) and Betsy Wright Manley (1794- 1884). The senior Thomas Manley came to East Canton in 1820 from Connecticut and purchased wilderness land near the west end of East Canton for $3.00 per acre. He returned to Connecticut for his family and returned to East Canton in the spring of 1821 with his three children, his wife Betsy and his widowed mother-in-law, Betsy Wright. They made the trip by ox cart.
Thomas Scott Manley, the first son, was born in East Canton. He was the fifth child of eleven children. Thomas Scott Manley married Lucy Miranda Taylor on April 15, 1847. During approximately the next eight years, Thomas taught school and built carriages in East Canton and Troy, Pennsylvania. During the 1860’s Thomas and Lucy purchased the land that would become the Manley-Bohlayer farm. History has it that Lucy told her husband that they would buy the flats on the east side of the road in addition to the land on the west side of the road; for she “did not want to covet her neighbor’s property.”
The first house was in need of repair. When Thomas suggested to his wife that they should repair the first house Lucy told him, “I will live in the old house as long as you say, but we will not put any money into it.” That was it, money was borrowed and the large house that now stands on the property was built in the 1870’s.
Originally the house had over 30 rooms. A south rear portion was separated and moved about 300 feet to the south for use by a hired man. This portion of the house is still standing and in use as a dwelling. It stands on the opposite side of the road near the corner to the south.
As seen in photos on the PHOTOS page, the house was first built with a traditional folk style roof. The exact date that the roof was changed to its current Gothic Revival style is unknown. Also see photographs taken at the 1876 Manley reunion and the roof had not yet been raised. This reunion was in honor of Mrs. Betsy Manley’s 83 birthday.
Thomas and Lucy Manley had 11 children during the nearly 58 years they were married.
This page will have more information as time permits adding the details.
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