In October through early November, the persimmons ripen at the Manship House. Similar to the common persimmon that grows wild in the south, this variety is a Japanese persimmon, a medium size fruit tree grown for ornamental use. By the late nineteenth century, many varieties of persimmons were brought to the United States from Asia. The fruit of this particular variety contains tannins that make it extremely astringent, and must be very ripe before it can be eaten. Wild persimmons are smaller and contain more seeds, with the same tannins that can cause your mouth to pucker.
Among the Manship family papers at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History is a notebook that belonged to Charlie Manship, probably Charles Phelps Manship, son of Luther and Belmont Manship and grandson of Charles Henry and Adaline Manship. The notebook contains school notes as well as several pages of hand-written recipes. Although the the contributors of the recipes are unknown, Mrs. McGill was most likely Mary Elizabeth Boyd McGill, daughter of James Hervey Boyd. The Boyd family lived on Jefferson Street in the “Oaks” house.
Mirabilis jalapa was a favorite in Victorian gardens. Commonly known as the four-o’clock flower or the marvel of Peru, flowers usually open in late afternoon around four o’clock and remain open until morning. An 1876 garden catalog describes the plant as “a great favorite, combining beauty of foliage, profusion of bloom, of rich and varied colors, and delicious fragrance.”
The Manship garden contains varieties of flowers and vegetables popular in the late nineteenth century. The Brandywine tomato is an heirloom variety dating back to 1885. The plant produces large pink fruit with potato-leaved foliage. Considered to be one of the best tasting tomatoes, it has been a popular variety for generations.
Greatly admired for its striking long red flowers, Amaranthus caudatus was a favorite in Victorian gardens. Commonly known as love lies bleeding or tassel flower, the plant gets its unusual name from its long drooping red flowers that can reach over twelve inches in length. A member of the amaranth family, love lies bleeding is an easy to grow annual with edible leaves and seeds. The flowers can be dried and used for arrangements.
The Manship House Museum was recently selected to host an AmeriCorps team for a one day project. The team of eight worked on grounds clean-up, removing nuisance vegetation and yard debris, and painting several rooms in the Visitors Center. The work completed by AmeriCorps will help the site prepare for re-opening.
On this day in 1812, Charles Henry Manship was born in Talbot county, Maryland. The eldest son of Noah and Rebecca Sangston Millington Manship, Charles Henry grew up in a blended household with older half siblings. After the death of his father Noah, the family moved to Baltimore, where Charles Henry was apprenticed to learn the trade of ornamental chair painting. In November, 1835, Manship boarded a ship to New Orleans and worked his way up the river until reaching Jackson in February, 1836. Manship soon found work as a skilled craftsman on the statehouse, state penitentiary, and governor’s mansion. In 1838, Charles Henry and Adaline Daley were married. The couple had fifteen children, ten of whom survived to adulthood. Manship was active in the community, and served in public office for over fifty years. Late in life, Charles Henry Manship recorded some of the significant events of his long life in hand written accounts for each of his children.
The new Manship garden is off to a great start. The first planting contains flowers and vegetables that were popular in the nineteenth century. We know from family recollections that the Manship family had a vegetable garden north of the Manship House, on what is now the Baptist Hospital parking lot.
Mary Belmont Phelps Manship (1862-1898) was born in Huntsville, Alabama and educated at Whitworth College in Brookhaven, Mississippi. In 1881, Belmont and Luther Manship were married in Magnolia, Mississippi. Luther Manship, the ninth of fifteen children of Charles Henry and Adaline Manship, was a prominent lecturer who served as Lieutenant Governor of Mississippi from 1908 to 1912. Both Luther and Belmont Manship were concerned for the welfare of the Civil War veterans, and Belmont Manship was an instrumental force in the construction of a monument to honor Mississippi’s Confederate dead.
On June 16, 1886, Belmont Manship and several other concerned women met in the Senate Chamber at the Old Capitol and organized the Confederate Monument Association of Mississippi. Their mission was to raise funds for a monument honoring the Confederate dead of Mississippi, to be located on the south Capitol Green, an area that is now the front lawn of the Charlotte Capers Archives and History Building. The first funds for the monument resulted from a concert organized by Mr. and Mrs. Luther Manship that featured a variety of songs and recitations performed by local talent. For several more years, the ladies of the Confederate Monument Association continued their struggle to raise funds, and in 1888 the legislature passed a bill appropriating $10,000 to complete the monument.
The birthday of Jefferson Davis, June 3, 1891, was chosen as the date for the official dedication of the Monument. A parade of Civil War veterans, the Mississippi National Guard, officers of the Ladies’ Monument Association, members of the family of the late Jefferson Davis, and other dignitaries, processed from the City Hall to witness the unveiling by Jefferson Davis Hayes, grandson of Jefferson Davis. It was estimated that twenty thousand people from fourteen states witnessed the unveiling of the Confederate Monument.
Luther and Belmont Manship had six children; Charles Phelps, Luther, Belmont, Douglas James, William Lewis, and Elizabeth Theresa Manship. Belmont Manship died in 1898 at age 36.
John Ray Skates, Mississippi’s Old Capitol: Biography of a Building (Jackson: Mississippi Department of Archives and History, 1990).
The Daily Clarion-Ledger, June 3, 1891, Jackson, Mississippi.
This handwritten recipe was found in Kate Manship’s cookbook, Common Sense in the Household: A Manual of Practical Housewifery, published in 1872:
A Good Ginger Cake
without butter, sugar, or eggs – Two coffee cups of syrup. Put in your mixing bowl. Stir in sifted flour until you can stir in no more (it should be stiff enough to crumble) Add two large kitchen spoonfuls of lard melted. Add ginger and spice to taste. Last stir in gradually 1 1/2 cups of Boiling Water in which is dissolved four teaspoonfuls of cooking soda. Bake slowly for about until quite done but not dry About one pound of raisins in above quantity makes a very nice cake -