Best Corn Bread

On July 29, 2015, in Manship House, by mjones

Weekly Clarion, November 28, 1877.

The Manship family often entered their best recipes at the state fair and frequently won in a variety of categories.  In 1877, fifteen year old Minnie Manship won for the “Best corn bread.”  Minnie’s older sister Kate owned the cookbook Common Sense in the Household, a Manual of Practical Housewifery, by Marion Harland, published in 1872.  The cookbook offered the following information and recipe for corn bread:


There is a marked difference between the corn-meal ground at the South, and that which is sent out from Northern mills.  If any one doubts this, it is not she who has perseveringly tried both kinds, and demonstrated to her own conviction that the same treatment will not do for them.  An intelligent lady once told me that the shape of the particles composing the meal was different–the one being round and smooth, the other angular.  I am inclined to believe this.  The Southern meal is certainly coarser, and the bread made from it less compact.  Moreover, there is a partiality at the North for yellow meal, which the Southerners regard as only fit for chicken and cattle-feed.  The yellow may be the sweeter, but I acknowledge that I have never succeeded in making really nice bread from it.

Indian meal should be purchased in small quantities, except for a very large family.  It is apt to heat, mould, and grow musty, if kept long in bulk or in a warm place.  If not sweet and dry, it is useless to expect good bread or cakes.  As an article of diet, especially in the early warm days of spring, it is healthful and agreeable, often acting as a gentle corrective to bile and other disorders.  In the winter, also, it is always acceptable upon the breakfast or supper table, being warming and nutritious.  In summer the free use of it is less judicious, on account of its laxative properties.  As a kindly variation in the routine of fine white bread and baker’s rolls, it is worth the attention of every housewife.  “John and the children” will like it, if it approximates the fair standard of excellence; and I take it, my good friend–you who have patiently kept company with me from our prefatory talk until now–that you love them well enough to care for their comfort and likings….

Receipts for Corn Bread made of Southern Indian Meal.


1 teacupful sweet milk.

1 teacupful buttermilk.

1 teaspoonful salt.

1 teaspoonful soda.

1 tablespoonful melted butter.

Enough meal to enable you to roll it into a sheet half an inch thick.  Spread upon a buttered tin, or in a shallow pan, and bake forty minutes.  As soon as it begins to brown, baste it with a rag tied to a stick and dipped in melted butter.  Repeat this five or six times until it is brown and crisp.  Break–not cut it up–and eat for luncheon or tea, accompanied by sweet or buttermilk.


Beaten Biscuits

On July 14, 2015, in Manship House, by mjones

The Weekly Clarion, November 27, 1873.

In 1873, Mrs. Charles Henry Manship won a $5.00 prize for the “Best Beaten Biscuit without soda or chemicals” at the State Fair.  Daughter Minnie Manship Phelps was also known for her excellent beaten biscuits.  Highly prized for their soft flaky layers, beaten biscuits were very labor intensive to make.  Since beaten biscuits contain no leavening agent, the dough was either beaten with a rolling pin or mallet, or fed though a machine called a biscuit brake to create flaky layers.  Similar to an old fashioned clothes wringer, biscuit brakes had rollers operated by a hand crank.  The biscuit dough was folded and fed through the rollers over and over to trap air between the folded layers.

The following recipe was passed down from Manship family descendants:

Beaten Biscuit

2 cups Postel’s Elegant Flour (soft winter wheat flour)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 pound butter which has been chilled and cut into pea sized pieces

1/2 cup ice water

Cut butter into flour mixture until it is the consistency of fine meal.  Add water slowly.  Knead until dough is very stiff.  Roll dough through rollers of beaten biscuit machine over and over until surface of the dough blisters.  Place on a marble-top slab and roll with rolling pin until thin – about 1/8″ thick.  Work with half the dough at a time.  Flour marble-top lightly.  Cut out with 1 1/2″ cutter.  Place 1″ apart on biscuit pans.  Bake in moderately hot oven for 30 minutes until barely brown.  Butter while hot or split and fill with thin slices of “old ham.”






Chimney Repair

On July 2, 2015, in Manship House, by mjones

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.


Summer Fireplace Treatments

On June 18, 2015, in Manship House, by mjones

Parlor fireplace, Manship House Museum.

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.


Summer Home Decorations

On May 28, 2015, in Manship House, by mjones

Summer fireplace treatment, Manship House Museum.

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.


Spring House Cleaning

On May 21, 2015, in Manship House, by mjones

Sitting room, Manship House Museum.

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.)


Summer Dress

On May 14, 2015, in Manship House, by mjones

Master bedroom, Manship House Museum.

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

On April 22, 2015, in Manship House, by mjones

Luther Manship. Call number Z/1129.000 MDAH Collection.

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:


Mayor Issues a Proclamation Requesting Honors be Paid Distinguished Citizen – Capitol Will Close During Morning as Token of Respect to the Deceased.


     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…




Manship Marriage

On March 4, 2015, in Manship House, by mjones

David Manship, ca. 1865. Accession number M2011.1.1 MDAH Museum Division collection.

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.


Valentine’s Day Watch Pocket

On February 13, 2015, in Manship House, by mjones

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. . .


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.”