|Congratulations to Raymond Mansker, who was elected to the position of Town Constable in Pocahontas, Randolph County, Arkansas. He is the first African-American constable in the history of the town.|
From the evidence available, it appears that the African-Americans who bear the surname "Mansker" are descended from the slaves, once owned by the Manskers who went south and west to Tennessee, Arkansas and Missouri, who were set free, either by the family member (such as in a will -- see below), or as a result of the Civil War and the Emancipation Proclamation. The first African-American Manskers appear in the 1870 census rolls of Arkansas and Missouri.
Like the rest of the family, the African-American Manskers have also had a long and colorful history in this country. One of the more notable is Hollywood stunt man Eric Mansker (see the On the Web Links Page for a link to his Web Page.)
The historical record has numerous references to the fact that members of the Mansker family were active participants in our era of National Shame:
In his will, written on 31 Jul 1820, Kasper Mansker left, among other things, his slaves to his wife Elizabeth, stipulating that upon her death the slaves were to be freed and moved north to Illinois, Indiana or Ohio, where they could experience "the full enjoyment of their freedom". However, after Kasper's death, Elizabeth married neighbor Isaac Walton. Elizabeth's will, written in 1825, stated that her property was to be sold and distributed among the freed slaves. However, after her death, the heirs of Walton kept her property instead of selling it, and in 1846 some of the heirs of Kasper sued the heirs of Walton for a share in the estate. It isn't clear what happened to the slaves; they may have been set free as Elizabeth wished, or they may have been included in the "property" that the heirs fought over.
In his will George Mansker did not indicate that he had slaves, but following his death in 1822, it is noted that three slaves were sold: "1 Negro girl, Malinda, bought by Lewis Mansker for $401.00; 1 Negro boy, Jeet, bought by William Mansker for $602.00; 1 Negro woman, bought by Jacob Miller for $366.00." Consequently, it is obvious that Lewis Mansker and William Mansker also owned slaves.
John was the son of George Mansker. His will, recorded at the Wayne County, Missouri, court house on 3 March 1823, stipulated that "a Negro, Isaac", be sold to pay any debts; Isaac was sold on 23 March 1823, price unknown.
Mary was the daughter of John Mansker (above) and the granddaughter of George Mansker. According to the marriage contract between Mary and her second husband, John McDuff, she owned slaves named Mayer (or Major), Maria, Martha, Letty and Emily and their "increase" (i.e., their children). In 1847, according to a newspaper article in the Jackson, Missouri, Review, these slaves were sold as part of the settlement of John and Mary's estate.
The 1870 census of Cape Girardeau, Mo., lists Major Mansco, #112, black, male, 60, farmer, property of $600/$2,500, born in Tenn. He could not read or write. Wife Charlotte, 54, mulatto, keeps house, born in VA, could not read or write. Children in household (relationship not noted), Emily Brown, 5, born in Arkansas, Frank Kimball, 4 (9?), born in Mo. Nearby, at #118, were Joseph Renfroe, black, male, 23, laborer, wife Emily, 20, mulatto, keeps house, children Louisa, 9, and Mary, 2. This could have been Emily Jane, youngest daughter of Major and Martha; note names of daughters are also names of Mansker girls.
Mary's daughter Christina Chandler, however, appears to have become an ardent abolitionist.
A large number of the African-American Manskers joined in the Great Migration of the first half of the 20th Century, moving out of the Old South, northward to the industrial centers of the upper midwest, such as Chicago and Detroit. Many of their descendants still live in those areas. Stunt man Eric Mansker is from the Chicago branch of the Mansker family, which originally came from Randolph County, Arkansas. Randolph County for many years was also the home of many of the descendants of George Mansker Sr. See also the Old Mansker Cemetery in Randolph County.