Manning, a community in the western part of Dallas County, had very little cleared land before the coming of the railroad. Some of the first families to settle there were Sing Adams, Jim Adams (Sing's son), W. A. Moore, Page and Burton Porterfield and Walter Adams. The Camden and Malvern railroad operated about 54 miles of track between Malvern and Kent in 1911 that was purchased by Rock Island in 1913. The community was named for a railroad man sent here from Chicago. Manning, wife and son Kenneth stayed with the Jim Adam family while the railroad was under construction. After the arrival of the railroad, a town site was established and surveyed by J. W. Holeman in 1914. In 1915, a Baptist church was established (the longest existing institution in the community). Also in 1915, a Methodist congregation was formed. In its heyday, Manning boasted five stores, a barbershop, hotel, cafe, a cotton gin (operated until the 1940's) and Dr. Allie M. Stuart's office The first school (three rooms - two classrooms and a combination classroom and auditorium) was formed in 1914 on Judge Ed Porter's property. In 1927, W. P. and C. F. Sturgis of Arkadelphia began operating a sawmill at Maiming. The sawmill had both a drykiln and a plainer and was a big employer in the area. The Sturgis brothers also had a sawmill at Princeton where lumber from that mill was hauled to Manning to be plained. On March 12, 1941, 112,362 board feet of lumber were shipped out by rail from Maiming in one day. After a part of the mill burned in 1964, many families moved away from Manning to find jobs at sawmills in Leola and Sparkman.

Source: Merritt, Richard (1976) Review of Dallas County, AR History gleaned from the Bicentennial Edition of the FORDYCE-NEWS ADVOCATE.

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