William Manning was the only white settler in western Tsilhqot'in territory in the spring of 1864. He owned a ranch near Benshee (or Puntzeen Lake) in partnership with Alexander McDonald, the head of the pack train that was to rendezvous with Waddington's road building party. Manning was also living with an Indian woman, probably a Tsilhqot'in, named Nancy.
Manning occupied territory that traditionally had been used as a Tsilhqot'in camping ground. The construction of his ranch, log house, and garden displaced the camping ground and removed access to the spring water. Manning nevertheless considered himself in good relations with the Tsilhqot'ins. Some of them had been hired to work for him and he had supported them during the winter when many were starving.
According to Nancy's testimony at the Trial of Six Indians, she warned Manning of the plot to kill him but he refused to believe it. On the day of the attack (the precise date is unknown), Nancy was about to leave when she saw Tahpit, accompanied by Anaheim, shooting at Manning outside the house.
Manning's body was found by Cox's expedition. According to Lundin Brown, the body was mutilated, his house was destroyed, and his fields ruined, suggesting resentment on the part of Tsilhqot'ins.
Hewlett, Edward S. "The Chilcotin Uprising: A Study of Indian-European Relations in Nineteenth Century British Columbia." MA Thesis, UBC, 1972.
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