Mitochondrial DNA and Minerva Ann (Tolliver) Mannin

By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.One of the great controversies in my genealogical efforts is in my Brown/Manning ancestors and relates to the parentage of Minerva Ann (Tolliver) Mannin. I know quite a bit about Minerva. She was born in Carter County, Kentucky in 1821. She married Enoch Mannin on October 15, 1843. Her husband Enoch led a group of 9 families (including her) to move to Minnesota in September 1882. At first, Enoch and Minerva settled in Stearns County but relocated to Cass County about 1888. Minerva died in May Township, Cass County, Minnesota on 24 Oct 1902.

I wrote about Minerva and her life in 2014 (See: Minerva Ann Tolliver (1821-1902)). The controversy revolves around her be Native American. Many researchers believe she was Native American. Indeed, she might have been, but I don’t think so. One bit of evidence is that she was never identified as “Indian” in any of the census records nor any other document I have seen. The other is that neither my mother nor my aunt have any segments that indicate a Native American lineage.  Surprisingly, both have segments on their X chromosome that indicate Sub-Saharan African. Their matching X-chromosome would have come from their common father, Richard. He would have received his X-chromosome as a recombinant X from his mother, Mary Elizabeth (Manning) Brown. She would have received one of her X-chromosomes as a replica of her father’s (John William Manning) X-chromosome. And he would have received his X as a recombinant X from his mother, Minerva Ann (Toliver) Mannin. It is also interesting to note that the percentage of Sub-Saharan African DNA on my mother’s and my aunt’s test results is consistent with the percentage of DNA that I would expect to be Sub-Saharan African if Minerva were 50% black. I wrote about this, also in 2014 in an article, “DNA, the X Chromosome & Minerva Tolliver Manning.”

It may be that mitochondrial DNA may be the answer.  Your mitochondrial DNA came from your mother, who got hers from her mother, who got hers from her mother and so forth. If a female line descendant of Minerva were tested and the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) showed ancestry from North America/Asia that would be convincing evidence that Minerva was Native American.  If the results showed ancestry from sub-Saharan Africa, that would be compelling evidence that Minerva was of African Descent.  If a mtDNA descendant were of European ancestry, we’d have no joy and have nothing to prove one way or another.

I would love to have a mtDNA descendant of Minerva take a mtDNA test and learn of the results. If you are such a descendant, please contact me.

Minerva Ann Tolliver had five daughters. The following chart shows the female descendants that I know about.  I know it is not complete, so If you have information that connects you to any of these individuals that information would help me further understand this family line. Minerva’s daughters were:

  1. Nancy Ann Mannin. Nancy married Jessie Monroe Barnett and had five daughters
    1. Frances M Barnett (1870-?) – I have no further information.
    2. Emma Nettie Barnett (1874-?) – I have no further information.
    3. Flarra Belle Barnett Flarra married George Wesley Horn and had two daughters.
      1. Helen Elvira Horn. Helen married Harold Anderson – I have no further information
      2. Dorothy Ellen Horn. No Issue.
    4. Sarah A Barnett (1883-?) – I have no further information.
    5. Sadie Barnett – I have no further information.
  2. Sarah Jane Mannin. Sarah married Joseph Hatfield Bryant and had four daughters
    1. Nancy Ellen Bryant. Nancy married John M Horn and had one daughter (that I know about).
      1. Mary A Horn (1903-?)
    2. Alice May Bryant. Alice married Sherman Morgan and Charles Lemmon and had three daughters
      1. Della Morgan
      2. Esther Lemmon
      3. Mary Etta Lemmon
    3. Hattie Ellen Bryant. Hattie married William Berry and had one known daughter.
      1. Dawn (Harvey) Berry
    4. Clara K Bryant. Clara married Oscar Harvey and had three known children.
      1. Evelyn Harvey
      2. Lois Harvey
      3. Dawn Harvey (Could this be the same Dawn as Hattie’s child?)
    5. Adella Mamie Bryant. Adella married Elmer Boaz Knowles They had five daughters.
      1. Elsie Lillian Knowles. Essie married Vernon Smalley – No further information.
      2. Alice May Knowles – No further information
      3. Clara Lavina Knowles – Married Luther Elbert Parker. They had two daughters that I know of. Both of them appear to be living.
        1. Daughter 1 Living
        2. Daughter 2 Living
      4. Lorraine Grace Knowles – Married Richard Markham Taylor. They had three daughters. Two of them appear to be Living.
        1. Daughter 1 Living
        2. Evelyn Joyce Taylor (1937-1984)
        3. Daughter 3 Living
      5. Bessie Katherine Knowles. Bessie married Albert Dickerman. They appear to have had one daughter
        1. Lillian Katherine (Dickerman) Breyer 1942-1990.
  3. Mary Ermaine Mannin – Married George Washington Gates in 1899 – No further information.
  4. Gresella Mannin (1856-1897) – No further Information.
  5. Prudence Mannin – Prudence married Frank P Bare – No further information.

Although this chart only shows female descendants that I know about. If you are male and your mother or your mother’s mother is any of these individuals, you too carry the mtDNA of Minerva. If you have information that connects you to any of these individuals, I would love to receive that information to help make my records more accurate.

Once again, if you are a descendant of Minerva (Tolliver) Mannin and carry her mtDNA, I am extremely interested in hearing from you. Please use the form below.  Thank you.

My public tree is on Ancestry.Com. Please see it for further details on this tree.

Further Action

  • Expand upon the Lorraine Grace Knowles & Richard Markham Taylor family unit and contact any mtDNA testing candidates.
  • Expand upon the Bessie Katherine Knowles & Albert Dickerman family unit and contact any mtDNA testing candidates.
  • Further research the descendants of Nancy Ann Mannin.
  • Further research the descendants of Sarah Jane Mannin.
  • Further research the descendants of Mary Ermaine Mannin.
  • Further research the descendants of Gresella Mannin.
  • Further research the descendants of Prudence Mannin.
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