Thanks to efforts of AmeriCorps Team Delta 5 and MDAH volunteers, several significant projects have been completed at the Manship House. The team and volunteers worked inside the Manship House cleaning floors and walls, removing dirt from the recent foundation repair project. The work completed by the AmeriCorps Team and volunteers will help the site prepare for re-opening.
Development of a new garden feature is underway at the Manship House Museum. AmeriCorps team Delta 5, MDAH volunteers, and garden specialist Michael Gentry prepared the walkways and beds for an heirloom vegetable garden. The new garden will feature varieties of vegetables commonly grown in nineteenth century kitchen gardens, similar to those the Manship family may have grown. We know from an oral history interview that there was still a vegetable garden on site in the 1920s. The vegetable garden was probably located north of the Manship House, on what is now the Baptist Hospital parking lot. The heirloom vegetable garden will provide a unique educational resource for visitors to connect with history and nature.
The Manship House Museum and grounds are looking much better thanks to the efforts of AmeriCorps Team Delta 5 and MDAH volunteers. The team and volunteers worked together to remove years of overgrown nuisance vegetation, cleared away a large bamboo thicket, pruned trees and shrubs, and hauled away many fallen tree limbs from the Manship grounds. Removal of nuisance vegetation greatly improved the appearance of the grounds and allowed more sunlight in garden areas.
AmeriCorps Team Delta 5 has been hard at work at the Manship House Museum over the past weeks. The fence surrounding the Manship House and Visitors Center was in need of repair and painting. After repairs were completed by Capitol Facilities, the AmeriCorps team and MDAH volunteers got to work scraping loose paint from the fence. Fence boards were primed, and the entire fence received a fresh coat of paint. The team completed several significant projects that will help the site prepare for re-opening in 2014.
Over the next few weeks, AmeriCorps NCCC team Delta 5 will be at the Manship House Museum working on a variety of projects to help the site prepare for re-opening. The AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) helps communities meet their most compelling needs. NCCC service issue areas include:
1. Disaster services (preparation, mitigation, response, recovery)
2. Environmental stewardship and conservation
3. Urban and rural development
4. Energy conservation
5. Infrastructure support
AmeriCorps team members are men and women age 18 to 24 who serve a full-time, 10-month term to address community needs on teams of about 9-11 members. Team Delta 5, comprised of seven members, will soon work on priming and painting the white board and picket fence surrounding the Manship House and Visitors Center. State Capitol Facilities have been busy pressure washing and repairing the fence to prepare it for painting.
Sometimes, the smallest thing can lead to an exciting new discovery. Since the Manship House first opened as a museum in 1982, the back porch walls, ceiling, and door frames were all painted a cream color, the same color used for the exterior trim. Recently, a scrape on the back porch door frame uncovered what appeared to be a dark color hidden underneath layers of the cream colored paint. A small section of the paint was carefully removed from the door frame, exposing mahogany graining underneath, a detail that had previously not been known. Small sections of all the other door frames were also investigated, and indicated that all the door frames had been grained in imitation of mahogany, to match the doors. This new discovery provides additional insight on how Charles Henry Manship decorated his home, and will help to guide future restoration efforts.
Charles Henry Manship used his skill as a decorative painter on most of the wood elements throughout the Manship House. Pine doors were painted to look like mahogany, dining room walls were painted in imitation of a paneled oak room, mantels imitate marble, and baseboards were painted to look like slate, mahogany, and oak. During the foundation repair project, new baseboards were fabricated and installed around several chimneys. The new baseboards required the skills of fifth generation master-grainer Malcolm Robson, to recreate those originally done by Manship. Baseboards in the dining room imitate a wide mahogany base with an oak cap. The new baseboards were primed in pink and gold colors, and a glaze layer applied to imitate a basic wood grain. The next glaze layer added the distinctive figuring characteristic of mahogany and oak. Varnish was then applied for durability and luster.
On May 1, 1839, a group of citizens met at the home of Charles Henry Manship and organized Jackson Fire Company No. 1, the first volunteer fire company in the young city of Jackson. The company’s motto was “always ready.” Two fire engines were soon purchased, and in 1852 the Legislature appropriated funds to construct an engine house on the north end of Capitol Square. After completion of the fire house, the city purchased a large new bell to replace the old bell which was too small to be heard beyond the downtown area. Manufactured in Troy, New York in 1854, this bell served as the fire bell for the Jackson Fire Company No. 1 for many years. The bell was used not only to warn of fires, but also to alert the city of important events. In 1861, the bell rang out when Mississippi seceded from the Union. The bell was in active use until the fire alarm came into vogue in the early 1890s, and was no longer needed. In 1894, members of Jackson Fire Company No. 1 unanimously voted to present the bell to Charles Henry Manship, the last living member of the original fire company. The bell was installed on the Old Capitol grounds for a number of years, and was again used to signal special events such as the end of World War I. On November 12, 1918, the Daily Clarion-Ledger reported that the people of Jackson spent the entire day celebrating the end of war:
...The blowing of the whistles and ringing of the bells, the locomotives having joined in, made sleep impossible. Nobody wanted to sleep, and before day light, the “Manship girls,” had reached the old capitol and began furious ringing of the “Liberty Bell,” that hangs in front of the restored old capitol, and which was presented to their father by the old volunteer fire department over twenty-five years ago…
Some years later, the bell was placed on a large pedestal on the south lawn of the Manship House, and was moved to its present location behind the Manship House during the 1980 restoration.
Source: McCain, William D. The Story of Jackson. (A History of the Capital of Mississippi, 1821-1951). Jackson, Mississippi: J. F. Hyer Publishing Company, 1953.
The Mississippi State Fair has been a popular event in Jackson since 1859. In 1875, Charles Henry and Adaline Manship entered several competitions at the Mississippi State Fair. Both received awards, as reported in the Weekly Clarion, November 24, 1875. In the category for painting, hair work, wax work, etc., “Best ornamental sign painting, (a business directory of the city of Jackson), C. H. Manship, highly meritorious, and diploma recommended.” In the preserves, pickles, jellies, wines, etc., category, for “Best half bushel dried peaches, Mrs. C. H. Manship, Jackson, three dollars.” Also receiving an award that year, was Mrs. L. Manship (probably Lucretia Manship, wife of son David Manship), for “Best hair flowers and wreath, Mrs. L. Manship, Jackson, ten dollars special premium by J. S. Barfield.”
This view of the Manship House side porch prior to foundation repair, shows how seriously out of level the structure had become. Over the years, the unstable Yazoo clay caused the foundation to shift over thirteen inches out of level. Now that the foundation repair has been completed, the house has been successfully stabilized and is level once again.