Valentine’s Day

On February 9, 2015, in Manship House, by mjones

An interesting article about the history of Valentine’s Day was featured in the American Agriculturist, February, 1886:

Valentines.-Why do we Send Them?

     Many boys on the night of the third day of July do not go to bed, or if they do so, they arrange to be called long before sunrise, that they may fire guns, blow horns, and make various other noises, by way of “celebrating the Fourth of July.”  If these boys were asked: “What is the Fourth of July, and why do you celebrate it?” they would be at a loss for an answer.  The fourteenth day of February is regarded as St. Valentine’s day, and in many places it is the custom with young people to send Valentines to their friends of the opposite sex.  This used to be a pleasant letter, ornamented with cut paper and other devices by the sender, the chief point being to keep from the one who received it the names of the giver.  These missives were called “Valentines.”  Of late years, “Valentines so called, are made for sale; some of them being marvels of cut and embossed paper, and pictures, grading all the way down to vile and insulting caricatures, which no decent person would look at, much less purchase.  If any girl is asked what is a valentine, and why do you send it on February fourteenth?  She will be as much puzzled for an answer as her brother, when asked to tell why he celebrated the Fourth of July.  The answer probably would be that “it is St. Valentine’s Day,” but if asked, who was St. Valentine, and why should his day be celebrated?  They would fail of giving an answer.  Well, the girls would be no worse off than the learned men, who have tried to answer the same question.  If there ever was a St. Valentine, it is doubtful if he had anything to do with our Valentine’s Day.  Those who have looked into the matter say, that in very early times, in several countries, especially those in the northern part of Europe, it was the custom of the young people to assemble; the names of the girls were placed in a box, from which the young men drew them.  The girl whose name was drawn was to be the young man who drew it, his “valentine,” and he was to show her special attention for the year.  It is said, that these “imaginary engagements” often led them to make real ones.

     It is also said, that the connection of this custom with St. Valentine’s day is purely accidental.  How the custom of giving presents or “valentines” on this day originated is not known.  While the young people made their own valentines, the custom was a pretty one, and in a country neighborhood often gave rise to much pleasant guessing.  Since valentines are made by machinery, the sending of them has lost its charm, the kind being sent being governed by the length of the purse of the sender.  The observance of Valentine’s day, whether there ever was such a saint or not, may be the source of much amusement, and as such we are in favor of it.


Wall Pocket for Papers

On January 26, 2015, in Manship House, by mjones

Instructions for making many styles of wall pockets could be found in nineteenth century books and magazines.   First published in 1875, Household Elegancies: Suggestions in Household Art and Tasteful Home Decorations, by Mrs. C. S. Jones and Henry T. Williams contained an entire chapter on wall pockets.  Instructions for Figure 2:


     The wall-pocket we show in Fig. 2 is made of white velveteen.  The figures are cut from paper, and fastened with small pins.  There are two sets of these: those leaving the surface pure white, and which constitute the flowers, stars and figures, which fill in the scroll-work point.  The scroll is cut separately.  These are placed in position, and the surface “spattered;” the scroll-work papers are then removed; the work again spattered slightly, then the flowers, etc., are removed; the black parts are then made with indelible ink and India ink rubbed together.  A pocket is made and lined on the upper part of the back, with black velveteen, which contrasts with the white edge, and shows the beauty of the work more distinctly.  This same pattern looks beautifully on white drilling-muslin, spattered with indelible ink, and is very useful in a chamber, to hang beside the bed or wash-stand.  An entire set, consisting of piano-cover, table-cover, tidies, covers for chairs, sofa, etc., were made with figures of various sized fern leaves; the sprays made with indelible ink, and India ink, equal parts.  Finish either with white fringe, cords and tassels.  The exquisite delicacy and beauty of this parlor-set can not be imagined; and after several washings, the beauty was not impaired.  We would advise our readers to try such a one.


Wall Pockets

On January 9, 2015, in Manship House, by mjones

Popular in Victorian homes, wall pockets were used to store a wide variety of small household items.  These useful receptacles were hung on the wall and designed as catch-alls to hold anything from letters to needlework.  Instructions for making many styles of wall pockets were often found in household guides and ladies’ magazines.  A popular household guide from 1875 described wall pockets as follows:

     “Probably no one article of modern invention and ingenuity has afforded greater satisfaction than wall-pockets.  Persons naturally incline to take use and comfort whenever it is possible, and to have a receptacle for various articles, without the trouble of going to some inconvenient place to reach it, or without having the trouble of opening it when it is reached.  Hence, “wall-pockets,” “catch-alls,” and all the numerous class of conveniences classed under the head of “trouble-savers,” are voted the most popular inventions of the day.  It is certainly great comfort to a tidy housekeeper to have all things in her abode in a state of perfect neatness; and the opposite condition, when from cellar to attic every article is out of place, or thrown carelessly down, because the place for it is not convenient, keeps things in that state of chronic “unfixedness” which produced impatience and ill-temper as well; hence, these wall-pockets, and their class of relatives, are blessings; and as pretty things are a “joy forever,” we rejoice in their capability of being made into really artistic house adornments.”


Adaline Manship

On December 23, 2014, in Manship House, by mjones

Adaline Daley Manship was born in Boston on February 23, 1822, and died at home, December 23, 1903, at 81 years of age.  She was the oldest woman resident of Jackson at the time of her death. Mrs. Manship’s obituary appeared in the Clarion Ledger, December 23, 1903:


Had Reached the Age of Eighty-One — Loved and Esteemed by Entire Community.

     Mrs. Adaline Manship, the oldest woman resident of Jackson died at the family residence on Fortification street at five o’clock this morning at the advanced age of eighty-one years.

     Softly and peacefully, like a little babe falling to sleep in the arms of a loving mother, the life of this venerable old lady ebbed slowly out, and so gently and sweetly did the vital spark depart that the weeping watchers at the bedside could scarcely observe the transition form earth’s estate to the heavenly realms above.

“Fate seemed to wind her up for three score years and ten;

Yet ran she treshly [sic] onward ten winters so or more:

Tell, like a clock worn out with eating time,

The wheels of weary life at last stood still.”

     Beautiful, indeed was the passing away of this noble soul, to be gathered unto the captain Christ under whose colors she had fought so long.  The grave has no victory, death has no sting, when a life such as this is called back to God who gave it.

     No woman in this community was more deeply loved or held in higher veneration than this venerable lady, nor none can hope for higher place in Heaven’s realm.  Her life was a benediction, her mere earthly existence a rich blessing to those loved ones by whom she was surrounded, and to those who enjoyed the honor of her acquaintance and friendship.  In younger days when health and strength permitted, she was a ministering angel to the sick and lowly, dispensing sweet charity and neighborly help and consolation with a lavish hand, and in half the households of Jackson her name is a synonym for all that is good, and pure, and noble.  The sunset of her life was equally as beautiful.  A joy to the living and a comfort to the sorrowing, her heart was an ever-flowing fountain of hope and sympathy and as she now sinks to “the grave in full age, like as a sheaf of corn cometh in its season,” there are multitudes will recall her kind and noble deeds, and their eyes will be dimmed with the tears of divine  regret.


     Mrs. Adaline Manship was born in Boston in February, 1832, being a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. David Dailey [sic].  Mr. Dailey [sic] was prominent contractor of those early days, and come overland to Jackson from New Orleans in 1836 where his first work was the contract for the woodwork of the capitol building then in course of construction, and which was abandoned several months ago when the state government was moved to its new domicile.

     Since girlhood this aged lady had watched the transition of the then struggling village of Jackson to the proportions of a thriving city.  She has witnessed the coming and going of generations, and during this long and eventful period none have been held in higher respect or greater esteem.  When in the full bloom of young womanhood and beauty she was united in marriage to Hon. C. H. Manship, one of the capital city’s most prominent citizens, who served as mayor of the city, afterwards as postmaster, and was one of the founders of the first volunteer fire organization — Jackson Fire Company No. 1.  The present fire alarm bell at the Central school building is named in his honor.  Mr. Manship died about nine years ago.

     To this union a large family were born, of whom the following are surviving: Hon. Luther Manship, Jackson; Mr. David Manship, McComb City; Misses Addie and Kate Manship, Jackson; Mr. C. H. Manship, St. Paul; Mrs. A. D. Galloway, Jackson; Mrs. Charles Brougher, Monroe county; Mrs. Edgar Smith, New Orleans.  Two sisters, Mrs. A. M. Bellinger of Jackson, and Mrs. J. M. Coats of Denver, and one brother, Mr. Charles Dailey [sic] of Jackson, also survive her.

Funeral Tomorrow

     The funeral services will take place Thursday afternoon at three o’clock from the First Methodist church.  The services will be conducted by the Bishop Charles B. Galloway, a life-long friend of the family.  The oldest residents of the city will act as pallbearers, and a large and sorrowing assembly will follow the remains to their last resting place beneath the green cedars of Greenwood cemetery.

     All members of the family have been notified and are expected to arrive in time for the obsequies.  Hon. Luther Manship is now in South Carolina on a lecture tour, but is is believed that he will arrive in time for the services.


Christmas Ornaments

On December 19, 2014, in Manship House, by mjones

Christmas ornaments and small gifts were frequently made by hand.  Women’s magazines such as Godey’s Lady’s Book, were full of useful advice and step-by-step instructions for creating lovely, inexpensive Christmas gifts and decorations.  Small gifts such as pen wipers, pincushions, sachets, and dolls were highly favored and were often hung on the tree.


Christmas Trees

On December 9, 2014, in Manship House, by mjones

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 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 tree.  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.



Plum Pudding

On November 21, 2014, in Manship House, by mjones

“Hurrah for the Pudding!” From Little Folks, ca. 1870.


The Christmas plum pudding was a highly anticipated finish to Christmas dinner in the mid-nineteenth century.  A tradition popularized in England, plum puddings were usually prepared far in advance of Christmas and aged for a month or even a year.  The steamed or boiled pudding is composed of many dried fruits, suet, eggs and spices, and contains no actual plums.  Many households had recipes for Christmas pudding handed down through the generations.  Kate Manship’s cookbook Common Sense in the Household: a Manual of Practical Housewifery, by Marion Harlan, published in 1872, contains the following recipe for Christmas plum pudding:

The Queen of Plum Puddings.

1 lb. butter.

1 ” of suet, freed from strings and copped fine.

1 ” of sugar.

2 1/2 lbs. of flour.

2 ” of raisins, seeded, chopped, and dredged with flour.

2 lbs. currants, picked over carefully after they are washed.

1/4 lb. of citron, shred fine.

12 eggs, whites and yolks beaten separately.

1 pint of milk.

1 cup of brandy.

1/2 oz. of cloves.

1/2 ” of mace.

2 grated nutmegs.

     Cream the butter and sugar; beat the yolks when you have whipped them smooth and light; next put in the milk; then the flour, alternately with the beaten whites; then the brandy and spice; lastly the fruit, well dredged with flour.  Mix all thoroughly; wring out your pudding cloth with hot water; flour well inside, pour in the mixture, and boil five hours.

      I can confidently recommend this as the best plum pudding I have ever tasted, even when the friend at whose table I had first the pleasure of eating it imitated the example of “good King Arthur’s” economical spouse, and what we “couldn’t eat that night,” “next day fried,” by heating a little butter in a frying-pan, and laying in slices of her pudding, warming them into almost their original excellence.  It will keep a long time – in a locked closet or safe.


Manship Wardrobe

On November 13, 2014, in Manship House, by mjones

Museum Division Collection, accession number M1976.16

Charles Henry Manship was born in Maryland, where he was apprenticed to a chair-maker and trained as an ornamental painter.  Attracted to Jackson in the 1830s by opportunities in the building trades,  Manship found work as a skilled artisan on the statehouse, state penitentiary, and governor’s mansion.  Manship opened a shop where he advertised a full line of paints and fine wallpaper as well as his skills as a painter, marbler, grainer, and paperhanger.

In 1857 he built his Gothic Revival “cottage villa” on the outskirts of town.  The furnishings were comfortable, but not pretentious and reflected the taste of the period.  Although most of the furnishings were commercially produced, a few pieces were made by Manship.  Trained by a chair-maker and ornamental painter, Manship possessed the skills to build and grain furniture.  Attributed to Charles Henry Manship, this simple Empire style wardrobe was made of wood native to the area and grained to imitate fine mahogany.  It was used to store clothing and other items.


Red Buckeye

On October 24, 2014, in Manship House, by mjones

Buckeye tree with ripening seeds.

The Manship House grounds are home to several small buckeye trees.  Native to the southeastern United States, aesculus pavia, the red buckeye or firecracker tree, is often planted as a handsome ornamental.  Showy red flower spikes attract hummingbirds and butterflies in the spring.  Smooth brown inedible seeds called buckeyes ripen in the fall.  The seeds of the buckeye were said to bring good luck.

Buckeye seeds.




On October 9, 2014, in Manship House, by mjones

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.