When the Manship House was built in 1857, the front step and side porch buttresses were stuccoed and scored to imitate ashlar masonry. After the Portland stone color was applied, the incised lines were painted white to heighten the effect of masonry construction. The front step and side porch buttresses have now been reconstructed, and painted as they had been originally.
Despite delays caused by the recent rains, progress has continued to take place at the Manship House. The side porch, step risers, and step wings have been reconstructed and are being primed. The reconstructed chimneys have been primed and prepared for painting, and most of the interior plaster work has been completed. Installation of the new HVAC heating and cooling system is underway.
The original buttresses flanking the front steps would have been built of brick and stuccoed and scored in imitation of ashlar masonry. They have been rebuilt using concrete blocks so that it is easy to determine that they are part of the current restoration rather than original to the house. The buttresses, foundation piers, and chimneys will be painted a Portland stone color as recommended by A. J.Downing in the Architecture of Country Houses.
Now that construction of the three steel chimney tower frames has been completed, the visible brick portions can be reconstructed. The steel chimney tower frames, anchored to the steel frame underneath the house, will support the new brick chimney stacks. The steel chimney frames replace the old heavy interior brick towers that had contributed to the differential movement of the house and foundation. Each of the three chimney stacks will be reconstructed to the same dimensions as the original chimneys, but will not be functional.
The design of the Manship House was probably inspired by Design XXIV - A Cottage – Villa in the Rural Gothic Style, in Alexander Jackson Downing’s The Architecture of Country Houses, a popular pattern book published in 1850. In The Architecture of Country Houses, Downing describes the effect of the chimney design for Design XXIV:
…The high pointed gable of the central and highest part of this design has a bold and spirited effect, which would be out of keeping with the cottage-like modesty of the drooping, hipped roof, were it not for the equally bold manner in which the chimney-tops spring upwards. Altogether, then, we should say that the character expressed by the exterior of this design is that of a man or family of domestic tastes, but with strong aspirations after something higher than social pleasures….
The dining room was said to be Charles Henry Manship’s favorite room, and was originally painted by him in imitation of oak paneling. The plaster walls were wallpapered and painted with a golden base color. Thin glazes were applied to look like oak, and then varnished to give the walls luster and durability. Over the years, the dining room was host to many Manship family Christmas dinners. Menus for Christmas dinners were featured in popular magazines and often included a variety of meats and fowl. Then, as now, cranberry jelly was suggested as an accompaniment to various meats. The following recipe is from Godey’s Lady’s Book and Magazine, December, 1879:
Ingredients. – One quart of cranberries,
One pound of loaf sugar.
Wash the cranberries in clear, cold water, and put them in a porcelain saucepan, with as much water as remains on them after washing. If lifted out of the water with a skimmer, sufficient remains on the berries. Stew very slowly until every berry has burst open; strain through a colander, squeezing out every particle of pulp from the skin. Put the pulp and juice back in the saucepan; add the sugar and boil half an hour, stirring very frequently. Wet a mould with iced water, and pour in the jelly. When cold, turn out. A very ornamental dish to serve with poultry.
Christmas trees in the nineteenth century were commonly placed on the table in the parlor, the most formal room in the house. This tradition followed the fashion set by Britain’s Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Children and adults made their own ornaments before commercial production made them commonly available. Small gifts were often hung on the trees. Cookies, dried and preserved fruits, and gilded nuts made fashionable as well as tasty decorations. Cornucopias, bon-bon boxes, tiny drums, and nest shaped baskets held Christmas sweets. Magazines offered inspiration and instructions for making a wide variety of Christmas tree decorations at home. Godey’s Lady’s Book and Magazine, December, 1879, included the following instructions:
BOX FOR SWEETS FOR CHRISTMAS-TREE.
This little box, which is in the form of a witch’s pointed hat, may be easily made. The crown is cut from a piece of thin cardboard or stiff paper, folded in the shape of a sugar-paper, cut evenly at the bottom. It is covered with black satin, edged with a row of silver beads, and is ornamented with a circle of silver beads and one scarlet feather, which may easily be made by painting a small white feather with a little vermillion paint, if a scarlet feather or dye is not to be had readily. For the brim and inside, which is made to hold sweets, take the bottom of an ordinary pill-box, line it with a little tin-foil, and sew it to a circle of cardboard covered with black satin. A narrow ribbon can be fastened at one side to attach it to the Christmas-tree.
Charles Henry and Adaline Manship celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary December 12, 1888, surrounded by their ten surviving children, and numerous grandchildren. The Jackson newspaper, The New Mississippian, December 12, 1888, described the special occasion:
Mr. and Mrs. C. H. Manship to-day, at their lovely home, celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of their marriage. This pleasant event which is vouchsafed to but few – very few, is also made the occasion of a happy family re-union, the first enjoyed by them in years.
Mr. and Mrs. Manship were married just a half century ago, in this city, and their wedded union has been blessed with fifteen children, ten of whom still survive, all grown to the estate of man and womanhood; and it is a family of children, too, upon whom any parent might well look with pride and affection. Mr. Manship has long since passed the allotted years of three-score and ten, and now enjoys the distinction of being Jackson’s oldest resident. He and his estimable family passed in the very highest degree, the respect, confidence and esteem of the community; and we but echo the universal sentiment, when we wish the venerable couple many more years of companionship, ‘ere the sands in the glass of life shall have been run, secure in the love of their children and the affection of their friends.
Over the past several months, a great deal of work has been accomplished at the Manship House. The house has been brought back to level and the building is supported by the new structural steel frame. All three of the steel chimney tower frames have been constructed. Work now shifts from demolition and the extensive work underneath the house, to rebuilding the chimneys, brick piers, and porches.
November 26, 1879, marked a special occasion for the Manship family. On this day, daughters Jessie and Jennie Manship were married in a double wedding ceremony held in the central hall of the Manship House. The festive occasion was described in an article in the Jackson newspaper The Comet, Saturday, November 29, 1879:
The Duplex Wedding
The most enjoyable event of the day has been the wedding yesternight, given by Mr. and Mrs. Manship to their two daughters – Miss Jessie, and Miss Jennie – giving them both away on the same occasion – the first to Mr. Charlie Brougher, the latter to Mr. Jeff Davis Gordon – all of the old and best families of Hinds County.
At sunset the beautiful suburban cottage of the Manship Family – a Garden of Eden itself – seemed an illumination from the splendors of the retiring suns. “A city set on a Hill” – to which all eyes were turned, and where the guests on this occasion began to assemble – a living concourse of Hopes and Joys – passing into this evergreen ground and decorated Bridal Home, until 8 o’clock – all animated with the Holy Spirit of the occasion, and banishing the busy world for a glance of Heaven.
“In my father’s house are many mansions,” was fully illustrated there, and in those hospitable rooms were numerous happy coteries, mingling in joys common to them all – an unalloyed delight.
At 8 o’clock the highly decorated Bridal panorama, enfiladed with illuminated floral bowers – was unveiled at the eastern end of the family Hall, presenting the Duplex couples of Brides and Grooms, like lovely statuary in pantomime, but soon resolving into living, loving animations, attesting the glorious truth, that -
“Things of beauty are joys forever.”
The Right Rev. Doctor Watkins officiated, administering the “Gordian Knots” – or rather weaving. “The silken ties that bind two willing hearts.”
This solemn ceremony concluded the affectionate salutations, and loving caresses of a numerous family connection, assembling from the Northern city of St. Paul to the Southern Homestead of the Manships in Mississippi – were showered on the modest but lovely and beautifully attired Brides – as the dews of Hermon upon the Mount of Olivets – electrifying all hearts with live coals from the altars of affection.
The twains now made one, their connections – comprising many families – seemed married also, – “the substance of things hoped for, the essence of things not seen!” – these accumulated loves, and joys, and hopes exalted, became epidemic throughout the charmed assembly, leaping like the live thunder from Alp to Alp, and filling all souls to satiety.
Then came the feast, to which the miraculous Parable of the five loaves and two fishes bears no comparison. In addition to those two Jewish dishes, were banks of oysters – stall fed – from the Bay of Biloxi – Red fish and Flounder from Pascagoula – Hams odorous from St. Louis and Chicago, salads from the Grouse of Minnesota – salmon chowder from Oregon and Alaska, oranges and bananas from Havana De Cuba, coffee from Java, teas from China – and last but not least cakes and candies from the Martz at Jackson – the Bridal cake with its magic ring and crystal floral crown the magnetic Queen of the repast.
From these several fountains of nourishment – each a cornucopia in itself – the thronging guests partook in the abundance of a generous hospitality – heartily received – ate and drank -
“Drank, deeply drank -
Drank draughts that common millions might have quenched -” as Pollock of Byron said, but not like the latter “to die at last because there was no more to drink” – the fountains continued full flowing until the joyous feasters became exhausted receivers, and post prandial satiety succeeded submerged digestion.
However with “a courage not of earth” the conquered revellers soon rallied to a “Feast of reason and flow of soul.”
All faces were now wreathed in smiles and sallies of wit, with compliments and congratulations to the ladies – always so well deserved – were followed by peals of laughter, in all
“Won’t meray [merry] as a Marriage Bell”
Finally, at “noon of night” with -
“One long, last lingering look,”
adieus were taken and farewells exchanged in those homely but sincere and heart searching words “Good bye – Good bye – Good bye.”
Dwight. Nov. 27, 1879
With the above notice written by an admiring friend, came a variety of delicious cakes, which brought gladness to the hearts of the attaches of this office. The Comet tenders its congratulations to the happy couples, and hopes that their cup of bliss will always be as full as it is to-day.
The persimmons are ripening at the Manship House. This variety is a Japanese Persimmon, a medium size fruit tree grown for ornamental use that originated in Asia. It is similar to the common persimmon, a tree that grows wild in the south. The common persimmon is one of the ornamental trees recommended for use in landscape gardening by A. J. Downing, in his book Landscape Gardening and Rural Architecture, published in 1856. Downing, a landscape architect whose work inspired the building of the Manship House, was a proponent of the Picturesque Movement, in which the architecture fits comfortably into its landscape setting. Over the years, the Manships may have selected and planted trees recommended by Downing in their own landscape. Downing describes the Persimmon tree in Landscape Gardening and Rural Architecture:
“The Persimmon bears a small, round, dull red fruit, about an inch in diameter, containing six or seven stones; it is insufferably austere and bitter, until the autumnal frosts have mellowed it and lessened its harshness, when it becomes quite palatable…. A strong brandy has been distilled from them; and in the south they are said to enter into the composition of the country beer. For the latter purpose they are pounded up with bran, dried, and kept for use till wanted.
…The Persimmon has no importance as a tree to recommend it; but it may be admitted in all good collections for its pleasing shining foliage, and the variety which its singular fruit adds to the productions of a complete country residence….”