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.
The installation of the new cedar roof is now underway at the Manship House Museum. Last March, a powerful hailstorm hit Jackson, causing extensive damage throughout the area. Windows in the Manship House and Visitors Center were broken, paint chipped off exterior surfaces, and cedar shingles on the nearly completed roof were split and broken. The roof sustained substantial damage and required replacement.
The old shingles are removed in sections, as the new cedar shingles are installed. New copper flashing replaces the hail damaged flashing around chimneys and in gutters. The roof will look much like it would have when the house was constructed in 1857.
Travelers in the nineteenth century often took food along on their journeys. As the Manships prepared to depart for their trip abroad, family friend Mrs. Mary Barrows sent a cake for them to eat on their long voyage to Scotland. On the reverse side of the recipe for silver cake, Mrs. Barrows wrote the following note to Mrs. Manship:
Mrs. C. H. Manship
As you seemed to like my cake the other evening, I send you one made by the same recipe, for your lunch; hoping it will be acceptable.
With many good wishes for a pleasant voyage, I am
Mary M. Barrows
May 19th 1874
Charles Henry and Adaline Manship arrived in St. Paul, Minnesota on August 31st, 1874, just days after the birth of a new granddaughter. They spent the next two weeks enjoying the company of their oldest son and family, and visiting some of the local attractions. Early in the morning on September 15th, they boarded the train for home, and arrived in Jackson late in the evening September 17th, weary, but happy to see their own family after a long journey abroad. Charles Henry Manship continued writing daily journal entries until they reached home.
Monday, Aug 31st 1874
…Arrived at St Paul at 5 20 oclock P.M. where taking cab were soon in company with our son Charly & drove to his home where we found his wife in bed with a Daughter 4 days old. Each of them being as proud of it as young parents usually get to be on such occasions. After a good wash had tea & early to bed for a good nights rest something we had been strangers to for quite a time.
Monday Sept 14th 1874
Was occupied in making our preparations for our early start next day for our home having calls to make & to receive ocupying most of the day. Lizzie & Mrs. F coming up in the evening with Luncheon for our travels which was very nice…
Wednesday Morning Sept 16th 1874
Found us at 7 oclock at the beautiful city of Chicago beautiful in her Ruins and Mortgages. Mortgages covering in all probability every cents-worth of property in her great limits. Still Chicago is the Queen City of the Earth, the Style & Grandeur of her buildings almost defies competition. Our transit through the city carried us directly thro the old Burnt district and reminded me of the sad appearance of our own doomed little city of Jackson after our Northern brethren had paid us their friendly visits during the late unpleasantness, So called…
Thursday Morning Sept. 17th 1874
Found us on the south side of the line in Kentucky, on the Mississippi Central RR all along which road to Jackson the blighted and terabil drouth had done its work, most effectually leaving the husbandman scarcely any fruits of his toil, it was indeed sickening…
…at 10 oclock & 40 minutes brought us to anchor at our Station at Jackson where our Girls & some few friends were in waiting & after a hearty embrace started for home, awoke the children and had a kiss around a cup of tea & at 1/2 past 12 went to bed & had a good nights rest
End of journal entries.