History of Bureau County Illinois, H. C. Bradsby, Editor, Chicago Publishing Company 1885, Page 430
This town lies immediately east of Gold and is almost entirely unlike it in its topography, having little timber and the large part of it is high and rolling, and sand knolls and prominent rocky boulders are found. Hickory Creek runs from the northeast to southwest of the township. Gooseberry Island, the latter the headwaters of Hickory Creek, is timbered land. Gooseberry Island is simply a great marsh, containing about 1,100 acres. A great number of gooseberries once grew in this marsh and hence its name. A ditch has drained this land and it is being put under a high state of cultivation. Portions of this swamp and marsh land are peaty, and like all lands of this kind, contain too much ulmic acid to ever become rich in plant food.
This township was not organized until 1854; to that time it was a part of Greenville. Sylvester Barber was the first settler, 1847, on Section 5. Then near him settled D. Hill. In 1848 Allen Lathrop settled on 9. This was afterward the property of H. Hays. Charles McKune came next. The same year James Martin settled on the northeast quarter of Section 15. In 1850 W. N. Hewitt and Dr. Moore, on Section 14; the same year Townsend Fletcher on Section 36, near Hickory Grove. In 1851 Thomas Rinehart and Henry Hooper on Section 13; Jacob Seibel, Albert Thomas, Jesse Cain and Thomas Hope were the early settlers.
A branch of the Northwestern railroad running from Sterling to Peoria passes through this township from north to south, entering near the west line of section two and bears a little to the west and leaves the township near the west corner of section 34. On section 15 is located the village of Manlius. It has had a fair growth and being surrounded by a fine farming country will probably continue to increase in size and business. It was incorporated on June 21, 1905. The township, previous to the building of this new road in 1901, divided its trade between Sheffield, Wyanet and Walnut, but now it has elevators and stockyards and other railroad facilites within its borders.
From 1853 to 1856 a large number from Vermont settled in Manlius township. Among the number were M. D. Carpenter, the first supervisor, A. B. Kinsman, Sanford Hatch, Jason Jeffords, Nathan Harrington, Hiram Fisk, Oliver Badger and George Martin. Some of them lived there for many years, but strange as it may seem, not one of them or their descendants are now to be found within her borders.
On section eleven is found what is known as Gooseberry island and is surrounded by a marsh which is said to contain large beds of peat. An effort is being made to form a company to prepare this peat for fuel. In the last half of the sixties Jacob Seibel, living on section nine, erected a machine shop upon his farm and placed machinery in it for the manufacturing of self binding reapers, drawing his material from Sheffield, a distance of about eight miles. He completed several machines and placed them on the market and trial tests were made with them, but they proved to be too heavy and cumbersome to do satisfactory work, but the construction of them showed that Mr. Seibel had great inventive powers and had he followed it up and made the needed changes it would probably have become one of the competing reapers of today. The experiements cost him any thousand dollars.
The population of this town was 793 in 1900. The supervisors of Manlius have been as follows:
M. D. D. Carpenter, 1855
(Take from the Past and Present of Bureau County, Illinois. Chicago: Pioneer Publishing, 1906, Page 116 - Manlius Township)