Town Mourns Friend and Servant

Daniel A. Manning served as Williamston Town Attorney for 53 years.

Williamston – The town of Williamston lost a friend and servant of the community with the unexpected death of local attorney Dan Manning on Feb. 18.

Born and raised in Williamston, Manning served as town attorney for an unprecedented 53 years.

On Dec. 2, 1968, Manning was appointed to the post by town officials to succeed his uncle, local attorney C.H. Manning.

Mayor Joyce Whichard-Brown said when she was elected mayor, she had no idea how to implement the ideas and dreams she had for the town of Williamston.

“I was blessed to have a town attorney who was a man of honor, knowledge and integrity and the same purpose as mine,” Whichard-Brown said.

She explained Manning was “not only a member of the team, but he ended up being a good and trusted friend.”

Commissioner Al Chesson remembered his friend and colleague as a man who “personified The Golden Rule,” calling Manning a “truly compassionate man.”

Chesson felt the following line in Manning’s obituary epitomized his friend well.

“His concept of success was to do good work in an unpretentious and unassuming way.”

A man of strong faith, Manning cherished his family, friends and valued the profession he worked so hard to honor.

Christina Craft, town clerk and incoming interim town administrator, worked directly with Manning on a regular basis.

“To all who knew him, he was a gifted lawyer, historian, conversationalist and public servant,” Craft said. “To the Town of Williamston, he was family and the loss is immense.”

Prior to Manning’s return to his hometown as an attorney, he served as an agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

According to Manning’s son, Dan Jr., a reminder of his father’s service time hangs on the wall of the law practice.

It is an commendation signed by J.Edgar Hoover, the first director of the FBI.

Manning and his partner had responded to a robbery call nearby. It was a call they did not have to answer, at a time where tensions were high and danger was a very real possibility.

The pair was put in harm’s way while responding, but their actions brought the incident safely under control until local police were able to take over.

Although Manning may have never seemed to be in a hurry, there was a definite method to everything he did.

The roles he likely cherished the most were that of a second father to his daughter-in-law and that of “Grandpa Manning.”

His son and daughter in law, Chrystal, recalled the excitement of annual visits to the beach where “Grandpa Manning” taught their sons a love of the ocean and all things that entailed.

Well aware of how loved Manning was to their family, today they take comfort in hearing of the numerous lives he touched simply by being himself.

Sarah Hodges Stalls can be reached via email at