Memorial window in Sackets Harbor Presbyterian Church, dedicated to Emmanuel's second wife, Ida. In the 1880 census, she was listed as being of age 23 years, making her 23 years his junior.









Manuel and Capt. Ralph Godfrey, his first-cousin's husband, were among those who assisted in the dismantling of the War of 1812-era ship-of-the-line New Orleans in Febuary 1884. The ship collapsed unexpectedly in the midst of their work and both men were injured, another being killed. An account of the accident in the February 13th issue of the Jefferson County Journal said this about Manuel's experience:

". . . E. Jeffrey, who was on a ladder when the alarm was given, tried to come down and got partly down when he fell about fifteen feet and was caught in such a manner that the beams covered without touching him. He escaped with a severe blow on the head which dazed him. He walked across the ice for a short distance to his home, but had no rememberance of anything that had transpired for some little time, but at the present writing is better. "



Manuel is buried in Lakeside Cemetery along with his wives and Mary, his sister-in-law.




Had Also Served Many Years as Sexton of Presbyterian and Methodist Churches and Hay Memorial Library.


        Sackets Harbor, July 24.—Manuel Jeffrey, for many years driver of the old Concord stage coach between here and Watertown and former sexton of the Presbyterian Church, died yesterday in his home here, aged 85 years and four months. Death came after an illness of several months and was due to his advanced years.

        Mr. Jeffrey was born in Ox Church, England, March 14, 1837, son of Henry [Robert] and Jane Lane Jeffrey. He came to the United States with his parents in 1844, settling at Sackets Harbor where he had continued to reside the remainder of his life. He was one of a family of seven children, including five boys and two girls.

        About 1859, Mr. Jeffrey began driving the Concord stage coach between here and Watertown, the line forming a connection with the railroad and the boats which then plied at frequent intervals from this port. At that time Sackets Harbor was one of the thriving villages of the North Country, being a port of call for many vessels. A Concord coach took its name from the place where it was manufactured, Concord, N.H. At least four horses were needed to draw it and usually six were driven.

        Mr. Jeffrey maintained a regular schedule between Sackets Harbor and Watertown. On one trip he carried 36 passengers, besides his baggage and express. The coach was the popular mode of travel and was considered about the speediest route to reach either of the two terminals. Driven by fast horses kept in the pink of condition it always drew throngs when it arrived at its destination. Along its route, farmers stopped their work to gaze in wonderment and admiration at the vehicle always kept in resplendent condition. Mr. Jeffrey took particular pride in his coach and team and was regarded as one of the best stage drivers of those days.

        He continued in his work for about ten years when he entered the mercantile business which he followed for about ten years. Finally he accepted a position as sexton in the Presbyterian Church and had served both that society and the Methodist Episcopal church and Hay Memorial library. In the library he had to attend to the entire tower which necessitated his climbing the four flights of stairs many times. He also wound the big clock.

        Mr. Jeffrey was unusually faithful to his work, which was exemplary. He did his duty regardless of personal discomfort. In winter his walks were always shoveled and kept in that condition no matter how quickly they filled with snow. This thoroughness and grit kept him at work many times when others would have given up. He resigned his position as sexton in January, 1921. He had held various offices, including that of street commissioner. In politics he was a staunch Democrat. He was a trustee of the Presbyterian Church.

        He was married three times, his last wife, Laura M. Jeffrey, surviving, with three nephews, Matt D. Jeffrey of Mexico, N.Y., John G. Jeffrey of 108 Massey street, Watertown, and Herbert Larkins of Belleville; and one grand-nephew, Edward Reader of Sackets Harbor.

        The funeral will be held Tuesday afternoon at 2:30 from the home. Rev. T. J. Searles of the Presbyterian church officiating. Burial will be made at Sackets Harbor.

St. John the Baptist Church, Hawkchurch, Dorset (now Devon), England, as it appeared at the time of Manuel's baptism there, on 24 April 1836. "Ox Church" was probably the closest-sounding approximation of "Hawkchurch" that Manuel's young U.S.-born relatives could recall at the time they were consulted for his obituary—even today, Englishfolk with heavy regional accents pronounce the name as "Awk-Church." Hawkchurch is where most of Manuel's English-born relatives lived, including the Stokes, Stoodley, and Lane families, all of whom emigrated to Hounsfield between 1832 and 1854.




A 19th-century Concord stage coach, similar to the kind Manuel would have driven between Watertown and Sackets Harbor. In 1919, Manuel recounted his memories of stagecoach work and life at Sackets in an article for the Watertown Daily Times.




Manuel's store, dwelling, and boathouse burned in the fire of 1889, which also destroyed the church edifice.





The Presbyterian Church, soon after its construction in 1900, showing the clock Emmanuel wound and the library tower he maintained.

© Mark A. Wentling, 2000
first cousin, four times removed to Mr. Jeffrey.