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Elliot D. Mancill’s memoirs reveals his ancestry and heritage

It is so fortunate to discover copies of memoirs written by former citizens, especially those who were outstanding public servants. It is hoped that more individuals will record their family history for future generations who will cherish it greatly. The example of an excellent one written by Elliott Devocious Mancill is the topic of today’s story. He wrote the manuscript from memory while living in a cottage at his grandfather’s homeplace from 1982 to 1993.

Elliott D. Mancill was born in 1889 near Evergreen in Conecuh County, Ala., and he grew up in that area in the Herbert community. In his later years he moved to the Red Level community in Covington County, where his grandfather, John Jackson Mancill, had settled. He died there in 1988 at the age of 99.

The Mancill family of Covington County has been featured in two much earlier columns. Today’s writing will share some of the Mancill ancestry with the focus on Elliott Mancill’s family and his memoirs.

It is believed the earliest Mancill ancestor in this country immigrated from Ireland to escape religious persecution. He settled first in North Carolina, but later moved to Sumter, S.C. and most likely on to Marion County. Later two brothers, William and Edward Green Mancill Sr., migrated to Conecuh County, Ala., in 1817. The following statement documents that experience: “On the 6th of November, 1817, we left South Carolina and landed in Alabama the 23rd of December, 1817.” Both of these men were listed as heads of households in 1820, the first federal census for Alabama, and they had many descendants to inhabit the area.

William had settled near Evergreen, and Edward Sr. had chosen a site near the Sanford community in Covington County. Edward Sr. acquired a large tract of land just west of Sanford. It was stated that “he owned land as far as one could see in all directions.” He chose to build his home on a slight hill side overlooking a small creek, which became known as Mancill Branch or Mancill Creek; however, in later years it was named Five Runs Creek as it is known currently. The family established a burial ground near the home which was named Mancill Cemetery #1. (A second Mancill Cemetery #2 will be mentioned later.) Although their graves are not currently marked, it is reported that Edward Sr. and his wife, Mourning, are buried at the head of the cemetery, next to the two marked graves. Much has been written about the site including the belief that Mancill veterans of the Revolutionary War, War of 1812 and the War Between the States are buried there. Several other members of the family along with various neighbors are buried there as well. At present the cemetery is in a very neglected condition with only two graves having headstones which are for Edward Mancill’s grandson, Elisha J. (or G.) Mancill and wife.

The earliest ancestor identified from Ancestry.com by this writer was Samuel Mansell who was born in 1715 in Bethania, N.C., and who married Susannah Gassaway (1725-1784). They were the parents of Robert John Mansell, born 1741 in Culpepper, Va., and who married Elizabeth Pratt. This couple became the parents of Edward Green Mancill Sr., who migrated to Alabama. Edward Sr. was born in 1760 in Sampson, N.C., and died in 1840 in Covington County, Ala. He was married to Mourning Flowers (Indian descendent) (1773-1840).

Edward Green Mancill Sr. and his wife, Mourning, were the parents of Edward Green Jr. who was born in 1793 and who was married in 1814 to Nancy Ann Ward (1795-1878). Edward Jr. and Nancy Ann were the parents of at least the following children: Elias Green, Martha Jane, John Jackson and Emond Morgan. John Jackson Mancill is the grandfather of Elliott Devocious Mancill and the line being followed in this story.

John Jackson Mancill was born in 1823 and died in Red Level, Ala., in 1859. He was married to Annie Liles (Lyles), and they had the following children before his untimely death which left Annie a fairly young widow: William Calvin, b. 1840, d. 1858; John Edward, b. 1849, d. 1918, m. 1888 Charlotte Johnson (1860-1946); James D., b. 1851, d. 1894; Edmond, b. 1854, d. 1942, m. Rosetta “Rosa” Elvira Dillard; and Aaron, b. 1858, d. 1941, m. Lilia ?.

The son, Edmond Mancill, is the father of our subject, Elliott D. Mancill. Edmond was married circa 1870 to Rosetta “Rosa” Elvira Dillard who was born in 1849 in Eufaula, Barbour County, Ala. Edmond was a farmer in the Herbert community and was active and a deacon in the Sepulga Baptist Church at one time and before he became associated with the church of Christ. In 1884, he was appointed Post Master of the Almarant Post Office in Conecuh County. At their deaths, Edmond and Rosa were buried in the Old Town Cemetery which is east of Evergreen.

Elliott wrote quite a bit about his parents in his book. He described his father as a one-horse farmer who was one of the most upright men he knew. He was a great family man and a very strong Christian. Elliott described how he became acquainted with restoration evangelists who taught the New Testament plan of salvation and organization of the church. All the family became members of the growing church of Christ in the Herbert community. Elliott became a member and was an active and faithful member for more than 75 years. He was a leader in worship and preached for many years.

Edmond and Rosa Mancill were the parents of the following 10 children: Florence M., b. 1874, d. 1960, m. Henry H. Deer; Annie Lee, b. ca 1875, m. ? Parker; Minnie Lee, b. 1877, d. 1972, m. William Roland Shaver (1871-1938); John Elliott, b. 1878, d. 1971; Herbert, b. 1883, d. 1887; Honie Ernest, b. 1884, d. 1939, m. Ellie Rice Hill (1881-1962); Donie, b. 1885, d. 1886; Essie Mae, b. 1887, d. 1975, m. ? Thomas; Elliott Devocious, b. 1889, d. 1988, m. Cora Lee Wilson; and Alcus Gillis, b. 1893, d. 1973. Although most of the children were born in the Herbert community, as adults most of them resided in the Red Level community in Covington County.

Today’s story was begun with the idea of featuring the memoirs of Elliott Devocious Mancill. However, the ancestry lineage and family background encompassed so much space, that it will be concluded at this point. It is planned that more details outlined in Elliott’s book will be presented in next week’s column.

The sources for today’s writing included Memoirs of Elloitt Devocious Mancill, a family story in The Heritage of Covington County, Alabama, Gus and Ruby Bryan’s Covington County History, 1821-1976, and Ancestry.com.

Anyone who might find an error in the above or who has additional information on the Mancill family is requested to contact this writer, Curtis Thomasson, at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL 36420; 334-804-1442; or Email: cthomasson@cnturytel.net.