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Manning, James Smith

by Elizabeth W. Manning, 1991

1 June 1859–28 July 1938

Photograph of James Smith Manning. Image from the North Carolina Museum of History.James Smith Manning, judge, was born in Pittsboro, the son of John and Louise Hall Manning and the grandson of Commander John Manning, U.S. Navy. His father was a distinguished professor of law at The University of North Carolina; his mother was the granddaughter of Judge John Hall of the North Carolina Supreme Court. He was educated at Pittsboro Female Academy (Dr. Sutton) and A. H. Merritt's School, then entered The University of North Carolina, graduating in 1879 and receiving the Phi Beta Kappa key years later. After teaching school in Pittsboro for a year or two, he reentered the university to study law and earned an LL.B. degree in 1882. Subsequently he obtained his license to practice and established himself in Durham in 1883. Manning was attorney for the city of Durham during the period 1886–87. On 12 Dec. 1888 he married Julia Tate Cain, of Hillsborough, the daughter of Dr. James F. and Julia Tate Cain.

In 1906 Manning, a Democrat, was elected to the legislature from Durham County and served as chairman of the Committee on Public Service Corporations. In 1908 he won a seat in the state senate and became chairman of the Judiciary Committee. In 1909 Governor W.W. Kitchin appointed him to fill an unexpired term as justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, where he served until January 1911. In 1912 Manning moved to Raleigh with his wife and family and joined a partnership with former Governor Kitchin in the firm of Manning and Kitchin. In 1916 he was elected attorney general of North Carolina, a position he held for eight years. He served as a trustee of The University of North Carolina from 1899 to 1931 and for a time was president of the North Carolina Bar Association.

An Episcopalian, Manning took a leading part in various efforts to enhance the well-being of his community and state, despite his pressing legal activities. He was esteemed throughout North Carolina as a lawyer of exceptional ability and integrity. Judge and Mrs. Manning had four sons and two daughters: John Hall, James S., Jr., Frederick C., Sterling, Julia Cain, and Anna Louise. He was buried in Raleigh. His portrait hangs in the North Carolina Supreme Court building.


Adolph O. Goodwin, Who's Who in Raleigh (1916).

Daniel L. Grant, Alumni History of the University of North Carolina, 1795–1924 (1924).

North Carolina Biography, vol. 4 (1941).

North Carolina Manual (1909, 1917, 1919, 1923).

Sketch of Class of '79, University of North Carolina.

Who Was Who in America, vol. 1 (1943).

Additional Resources:

North Carolina Bar Association. "Hon. James Smith Manning." Proceedings of the Fourteenth Annual Meeting of the North Carolina Bar Association. Wilmington, N.C.: Jackson and Bell Co., Printers. 1912. 231-234. (accessed April 24, 2013).

Manning, James S., and Nash, Frank. Biennial Report of the  Attorney-General of the State of North Carolina 1918-1920. Raleigh [N.C.]: Edwards & Broughton Printing Co., State Printers. 1920. (accessed April 25, 2013).

Manning, James S., and Nash, Frank. Biennial Report of the  Attorney-General of the State of North Carolina 1920-1922. Raleigh [N.C.]: Edwards & Broughton Printing Co., State Printers. 1922. (accessed April 25, 2013).

Manning, James S., and Nash, Frank. Biennial Report of the  Attorney-General of the State of North Carolina 1922-1924. Raleigh [N.C.]: Edwards & Broughton Printing Co., State Printers. 1924. (accessed April 25, 2013).

Image Credits:

"Photograph, Accession #: H.19XX.327.50." 1900-1930. North Carolina Museum of History.

Origin - location: 

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This article is from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, 6 volumes, edited by William S. Powell. Copyright ©1979-1996 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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