Written by H. Thomas Kearney
Mangum, Willie Person, Jr (7 May 1827-11 Feb 1881), diplomat and foreign service officer, was born in Wake County, the son of Priestley Hinton and Rebecca Hilliard Sutherland Mangum. He was the brother of Priestley Hington Mangum, Jr., and the nephew of his namesake Willie Person Mangum. He was educated at the Bingham School in Orange County, Wake Forest College, and the University of North Carolina, where he was graduated in 1848. Afterwards he was a tutor at Wake Forest for one year before reading law with his father.
After his father's death in 1850, he took a position with the Federal Census office in Washington, DC Three years later he returned to North Carolina and resumed his law studies, this time under the tutelage of George Badger. Mangum continue to read law with E. W. Stoughton, a prominent judge and attorney in New York City and the District of Columbia, where he began practicing in 1855. He was also licensed to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Mangum practiced law until 1861 when he was commissioned, on 27 March, as consul to Ning-po, China. There he rendered valuable service during the disorder of the Taiping rebellion. In 1864 he was transferred to Chinkiang but in the same year was forced to return to the United States because of poor health.
In 1865, having recovered his health, Mangum was appointed consul to Nagasaqki, Japan. He held this post until 1880, through the momentous years of teh opening of Japan to the West. In 1867 he returned briefly to China where, as acting consul at Shanghai, he established the first American mail service in China. In 1874-75 he was chosen by the representatives of England, Holland, and Japan to arbitrate the Takashima mines dispute. In 1880 for reasons of health, Mangum was transferred Tientsin, northern China, where he died the next year.
During his tours of duty, Mangum was highly regarded by the consular corps in both China and Japan. He was among the first Caucasians to visit part of Japan after it's opening to the West. He was elected a nonresident member of the North China Branch of the Royal Asiastic Society.
In 1855, shortly after he began practicing law in Washington, DC, Mangum married Fannie Vaulx Ladd. They had no children. During her travel with her husband in the Far East, Mrs. Mangum became something of an authority on Chinese and Japanese coins and ceramics. After his death, Mangum's remains were interred briefly in China but subsequently were brought back to the United States and reinterred in the Congressional Cemetery in Washington.
Mangum Dormitory at UNC Chapel Hill is named for three Mangums U.S. Senator Willie Person Mangum Sr., Rev. Adolphus Williamson Mangum and Willie Person Mangum Jr. There are three marble plaques in Memoral Hall at UNC Chapel Hill for Sen. Mangum, Methodist Rev. A. W. Mangum, and Sen. Mangums son Lt. William Preston Mangum, who was a first cousin of Willie Person Mangum Jr. and has a marker at Manassas battlefield where he was mortally wounded in 1861.
Fannie Mangum's ceramics collection is at Ackland Museum also at UNC Chapel Hill, which she presented to the University in the 1870s. She was responsible for bringing back Willie Jr's. body back to the United States and getting him buried in the Congressional Cemetery.
Before the Civil War, Willie Jr. retuned to North Carolina and told the Mangum family that the South could not win the war, because there was not one munitions factory in the South, and had no Navy that could match the United States Navy. For this he was thrown out of the family, and was the Mangum the family never spoke about, except his brother Priestley Hinton Mangum Jr. who did correspond with him. Not until the 1870s was he allowed back into the family, and the rift was somewhat healed for his decision for siding with the North (probably because by that time he was a famous U.S. diplomat). N.C. historian Stephen B. Weeks, who married Sen. Mangum's granddaughter wrote his brief biography for Samuel Ashe's North Carolina Biographies series, may have been responsible for helping to heal the rift between the family.
*New York Times, June 24, 1864, transferd to from Ninng-po to Chin Kiang. (Also see: May 31, 1861, March 25, 1861,Sept. 23, 1861;
Wilmington, (N.C.) Journal, July 5, 1861)
*Mrs. Fannie V. Mangum presented to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill her and her husband's collection of Japanese curios and pottery, valued at the time $10,000 dollars --Alamance Gleaner Newpaper; February 27, 1896, p.4: Graham, N.C.
*Williie P. Mangum's brother, Probate Judge Leonard Henderson Mangum before the Civil War Mangum was a law partner of Confederate General Patrick Cleburne at Helena, Ark. He foughtr with Cleburne Perryville, Kentucky and Franklin, Tenn. He was wounded several times and several horses shot from under him. He is also buried in Washington, ,D.C.at Glenwood Cemetery. He comitted sucide on April 28, 1903.-- Galveston Daily News, Galveston, Texas April 29, 1903
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