Work to repair the two Visitors Center (Phelps House) chimneys has been completed. Over the years, the mortar on both chimneys had become badly deteriorated. Little or no mortar remained in some sections, allowing water to seep in through areas of mortar loss. To repair the chimneys, the old crumbling mortar was carefully removed by hand. New mortar matching the strength of the existing mortar was applied. The repair will prevent further chimney deterioration.
During the nineteenth century, fireplaces were often decorated during the hot summer months. The empty fireplace was considered to be unsightly when not in use and the source of falling soot and other chimney debris. Ladies’ magazines were filled with clever suggestions for ornamenting the empty fireplace opening. Godey’s Lady’s Book and Magazine, April, 1859, provided the following instructions:
In the warm summer days, the open fireplace is an unsightly object, and pretty devices to hide it are very acceptable to the careful housekeeper. We offer our readers one that is pretty, new, and easily made.
Take a piece of board that fits exactly into the space. Tack over it with small tacks a cover of green baize, stretching it tightly and smoothly over it. Make out of stiff, green paper a number of leaves, dahlia, rose, tulip, lily, etc., making them very large, and enough of them to cover entirely the green baize. Baste these leaves down at the stem, curl them at the edges with the scissors, and gum them down on the baize. Do not sew them anywhere except at the stem. Now make large paper-flowers, or, if you have them, take artificial flowers, and smooth them over. Place the flowers among the leaves, either following our pattern, or using your own taste in the arrangement. Five large roses should be placed at the corners and in the centre. Sew the flowers at the stem; but if you wish to fasten the flowers themselves down, use dissolved gum-Arabic.
Ladies’ magazines often contained suggestions for adorning homes during the summer months. The Ladies’ Floral Cabinet, June, 1886, provided the following ideas for decorating the empty fireplace:
Summer Decorations for Fireplaces.
Many fireplaces are not sufficiently pretty to be visible when the time for open fires is past, and yet it is a puzzle to know just how they can be made more pleasing to the eye.
If it is an open fireplace the prettiest manner of decorating is to fill it with growing ferns, concealing the pots in which they are planted with moss; and if the ferns die replace them from time to time, as may be necessary, with fresh ones from the woods. Lace above the ferns, slanting from side of the fireplace, a branch covered with gray lichen, and if possible a stuffed squirrel, as if it were running, or a gay-plumaged stuffed bird. The effect is more pleasing than can be imagined. Should the fresh ferns be considered too troublesome, as they will of course require care, a moss-covered log can be laid across the andirons, and the squirrel or bird placed on this.
Before the days of air conditioning, homes were transformed to survive the hot summer months. The first step was a spring house cleaning of gigantic proportions. The Home and Farm Manual, published in 1884, provided the following instructions:
XXI. Spring House-Cleaning.
Now is the time that tries women’s souls, and no sound is heard o’er the house save the scrub-brush, the mop and the broom. The spring cleaning is at hand.
Blankets and Furs. – And first, there are all the woolens, blankets, etc., to be washed, and all that can be spared (for we dare not put them all out of sight, lest we provoke another snow-storm), are to be packed away in deep chests, and plenty of cedar boughs strewn over them, or else powdered camphor gum. The fortunate possessor of a cedar-wood trunk need have no apprehensions, but without that, the moth-millers will make sad havoc among your furs, woolens, etc., unless you guard them carefully.
The Carpets. – All carpets do not need to be taken up; those which do not, can be loosened at the edges, the dust-brush pushed under a piece, and a clean sweep of all the dust can be made. Then, wash the floor thus swept, with strong soap-suds, and spirits of turpentine after. Then, tack the carpet down. The odor is soon gone, if you open your windows, and you can feel safe for this summer, at least. Upholstered furniture can be treated to the same bath, if applied with a soft, clean cloth, and the colors will receive no injury. But before using it, brush the cushions with a stiff hand-brush and a damp cloth, so as to take away all the dust.
A good way to clean straw matting after it is laid, is to sprinkle corn-meal over it, or damp sand, and sweep it thoroughly out.
Windows Washed. – Windows are hard to wash, so as to leave them clear and polished. First, take a wooden knife, sharp-pointed and narrow-bladed, and pick out all the dirt that adheres to the sash; dry whiting makes the glass shine nicely. I have read somewhere, that weak black tea and alcohol is a splendid preparation for cleaning the window-glass, and an economical way to use it would be to save the tea-grounds for a few days, and then boil them over in two quarts of water and add a little alcohol when cold. Apply with a newspaper and rub well off with another paper, and the glass will look far nicer than when cloth is used.
The Beds. – When mattresses and feather-beds become soiled, make a paste of soft-soap and starch, and cover the spots. As soon as it dries, scrape off the paste and wash with a damp sponge, If the spots have not disappeared, try the paste again.
Periam, Johnathan. The Home and Farm Manual. New York: Greenwich House, 1984. (Reprint of the 1884 edition.)
During the nineteenth century, families prepared their homes to survive the oppressive heat, dirt and insects of the hot summer months. Each spring, households received a very thorough cleaning. Carpets were taken up, cleaned, aired, and stored for the summer. Straw matting was generally used in the summer for coolness and comfort. All upholstered furniture received light cotton or linen covers to protect them from sunlight and dust. Fireplaces were cleaned and adorned for the summer. Brass andirons were removed, cleaned, and stored until fall. Mosquito netting or gauze was draped over beds to help deter insects. Gauze, muslin, or tissue was used to cover gilded surfaces such as picture frames or parts of chandeliers to protect them from insect damage. Shutters and blinds were often kept closed to discourage mosquitoes and flies, which were a constant problem. Families adjusted their living arrangements to fit the weather, choosing to reside wherever it was cooler and more comfortable. Chairs could be moved to windows and doorways to allow inhabitants to enjoy any slight breeze. These changes would remain until the early fall, when another extensive house cleaning took place and the heavy winter furnishings were returned to the rooms.
Luther Manship was born April 16, 1853, the ninth of fifteen children born to Charles Henry and Adaline Manship. He died April 22, 1915, after a prolonged illness. Excerpts from The Daily Clarion-Ledger’s obituary follow:
LUTHER MANSHIP WILL BE BURIED HERE THIS MORNING
Mayor Issues a Proclamation Requesting Honors be Paid Distinguished Citizen – Capitol Will Close During Morning as Token of Respect to the Deceased.
JACKSON MOURNS PASSING OF BELOVED CITIZEN.
Secretary of State Jos. W. Power announced last night that the State Capitol will be closed this morning during the hours of the funeral of Luther Manship, former Lieutenant Governor and member of the Mississippi Legislature.
Mayor Taylor yesterday afternoon issued his proclamation calling on the merchants of the city to close during the funeral and ordering a general suspension while that event is in progress…
Luther Manship, a former Lieutenant Governor of this State, and at one time one of the best known men on the lecture platform of America, died here yesterday morning at 10:30, following an illness extending over several months.
The funeral services will be held this morning from the family home at 11 o’clock, conducted by the Rev. W. G. Henry, and the deceased will be laid to rest beside his wife in Greenwood Cemetery.
Luther Manship was one of the best beloved of Jackson citizens and the news of his death brought sadness to many in this city who knew and loved the departed…
Sketch of Life.
Luther Manship was born in this city April 16, 1853. His father was a mechanic of note and served this city for two terms as mayor, surrendering the city to the Federal troops in 1863.
The deceased early in life decided to enter the railroad service and served an apprenticeship in the shops in McComb.
In 1881 he was married to Miss Mary Belmont Phelps, of Magnolia, and later he came to this city to make his home. His wife and friends persuaded Mr. Manship to enter the lecture field, which he did, achieving a wide success…
For several years he was a member of the board of aldermen of Jackson, and in that capacity accomplished many things for this city. In 1896 he was honored with election to the Lower House of the Legislature and was elected Lieutenant Governor under the Noel administration. In this capacity he was often called on to act as Governor, and as presiding officer of the Mississippi Senate was a decided success.
The deceased was a man of many lovable traits of character. He was endowed with a rare sense of humanity and none came under his genial, benign influence but learned to love and respect him. There was none for whom more genuine grief will be felt by all classes than will be for the deceased…
The deceased is survived by five children, as follows: Charles P. of Baton Rouge; Luther, police justice of Jackson; Douglas, James Lewis and Miss Elizabeth, all of this city.
Mrs. Manship was the originator of the building of the Jefferson Davis monument in this city, and in this work was aided by her distinguished husband…
David Daley Manship was born December 30, 1844, the second surviving son of Charles Henry and Adaline Manship. Known as “Dave” by family members, he enlisted in the Confederate Cavalry as soon as he was of age. After the war, he returned home and worked as an apprentice machinist. On March 11, 1875, David Daley Manship and Lucretia J. Martin were married at Loves’ Station, Mississippi. For many years, the couple lived in McComb City where David was employed as an engineer on the Illinois Central. They adopted a daughter Kate, born in 1885, but had no other children. The Weekly Clarion, March 18, 1875, included the following wedding announcement:
MANSHIP-MARTIN-at Loves Station, Miss., March 11th, by Rev. T. Page, Mr. D. Manship, of Jackson, to Miss Lu Martin, of Loves Station.
The American Agriculturist, February, 1886, provided instructions for making the following valentine gift:
“Instead of sending useless trifles of cut paper, we think it far better to have the valentines in a measure useful, as well as tasteful, and were glad to receive from Mrs. E. S. Welch, who has given so many pleasing designs for the Household Department, some which may be readily made by the boys and girls, and sent to friends as valentines. . .
WATCH POCKET FOR A VALENTINE.
A half a yard of three-inch satin ribbon can be twisted and turned into the prettiest little watch pocket imaginable. Fold the ribbon in a point, as in figure 4, and join the two parts on the back up to where it is tied with the narrow ribbon. One of the ends is cut in points, and the other is fringed out. “St. Valentine’s Day,” and the hearts, pierced with flying arrows, are painted on. If you would rather have a sachet in place of the watch pocket, place several thicknesses of cotton, sprinkled with sachet powder, in the pocket, and sew it together across the top. Light pink, blue, and green are the prettiest colors for the pocket of the sachet. Another pretty little sachet can be made of satin, in the shape of a heart, with a gilt arrow piercing it.”
An interesting article about the history of Valentine’s Day was featured in the American Agriculturist, February, 1886:
Valentines.-Why do we Send Them?
Many boys on the night of the third day of July do not go to bed, or if they do so, they arrange to be called long before sunrise, that they may fire guns, blow horns, and make various other noises, by way of “celebrating the Fourth of July.” If these boys were asked: “What is the Fourth of July, and why do you celebrate it?” they would be at a loss for an answer. The fourteenth day of February is regarded as St. Valentine’s day, and in many places it is the custom with young people to send Valentines to their friends of the opposite sex. This used to be a pleasant letter, ornamented with cut paper and other devices by the sender, the chief point being to keep from the one who received it the names of the giver. These missives were called “Valentines.” Of late years, “Valentines so called, are made for sale; some of them being marvels of cut and embossed paper, and pictures, grading all the way down to vile and insulting caricatures, which no decent person would look at, much less purchase. If any girl is asked what is a valentine, and why do you send it on February fourteenth? She will be as much puzzled for an answer as her brother, when asked to tell why he celebrated the Fourth of July. The answer probably would be that “it is St. Valentine’s Day,” but if asked, who was St. Valentine, and why should his day be celebrated? They would fail of giving an answer. Well, the girls would be no worse off than the learned men, who have tried to answer the same question. If there ever was a St. Valentine, it is doubtful if he had anything to do with our Valentine’s Day. Those who have looked into the matter say, that in very early times, in several countries, especially those in the northern part of Europe, it was the custom of the young people to assemble; the names of the girls were placed in a box, from which the young men drew them. The girl whose name was drawn was to be the young man who drew it, his “valentine,” and he was to show her special attention for the year. It is said, that these “imaginary engagements” often led them to make real ones.
It is also said, that the connection of this custom with St. Valentine’s day is purely accidental. How the custom of giving presents or “valentines” on this day originated is not known. While the young people made their own valentines, the custom was a pretty one, and in a country neighborhood often gave rise to much pleasant guessing. Since valentines are made by machinery, the sending of them has lost its charm, the kind being sent being governed by the length of the purse of the sender. The observance of Valentine’s day, whether there ever was such a saint or not, may be the source of much amusement, and as such we are in favor of it.
Instructions for making many styles of wall pockets could be found in nineteenth century books and magazines. First published in 1875, Household Elegancies: Suggestions in Household Art and Tasteful Home Decorations, by Mrs. C. S. Jones and Henry T. Williams contained an entire chapter on wall pockets. Instructions for Figure 2:
WALL-POCKETS FOR HORTICULTURAL PAPERS.
The wall-pocket we show in Fig. 2 is made of white velveteen. The figures are cut from paper, and fastened with small pins. There are two sets of these: those leaving the surface pure white, and which constitute the flowers, stars and figures, which fill in the scroll-work point. The scroll is cut separately. These are placed in position, and the surface “spattered;” the scroll-work papers are then removed; the work again spattered slightly, then the flowers, etc., are removed; the black parts are then made with indelible ink and India ink rubbed together. A pocket is made and lined on the upper part of the back, with black velveteen, which contrasts with the white edge, and shows the beauty of the work more distinctly. This same pattern looks beautifully on white drilling-muslin, spattered with indelible ink, and is very useful in a chamber, to hang beside the bed or wash-stand. An entire set, consisting of piano-cover, table-cover, tidies, covers for chairs, sofa, etc., were made with figures of various sized fern leaves; the sprays made with indelible ink, and India ink, equal parts. Finish either with white fringe, cords and tassels. The exquisite delicacy and beauty of this parlor-set can not be imagined; and after several washings, the beauty was not impaired. We would advise our readers to try such a one.