Manship House Museum
The Manship House Museum interprets the daily life of a 19th-century Mississippi family through the house the family lived in for so many years. Charles Henry Manship, mayor of Jackson during the Civil War, was an ornamental painter. In 1857, at the age of 45, he built his Gothic Revival “cottage villa,” a home in striking contrast to the Greek Revival mansions for which the South was famed.
The Manship House Museum is currently closed.
Charles Henry Manship, Civil War mayor of Jackson, was born in Maryland, where he apprenticed to a chairmaker and trained as an ornamental painter. Attracted to Jackson in the 1830s by its building boom, he advertised his services as a painter and found work on the construction of the State House, now known as the Old Capitol. Soon he opened a shop of his own, where he sold paints and fine wallpaper.
Charles Manship started as a city clerk, then postmaster, and he sat on the board of local charitable organizations. As mayor, Manship surrendered the town of Jackson to General William Sherman on July 16, 1863. His house served briefly as the headquarters of Confederate General John S. Adams. A small cottage constructed by Manship’s grandson in 1923 has been restored for use as the Visitor’s Center.
During Manship’s long career as an ornamental painter, he also held several public offices; in 1857, at the age of 45, he built his Gothic Revival “cottage villa,” a home in striking contrast to the Greek Revival mansions for which the South was famed.
The unpretentious but spacious house was built to accommodate Charles and Adaline Daley Manship’s large family of fifteen children. Ten of those children lived to celebrate their parents’ golden wedding anniversary at the Manship House in 1888.
The Manship House was built on a four-acre lot in a sparsely settled area of Jackson when it was a city of about 3,000. Although the city has grown up around the house, it stands in its original setting of native trees and shrubs, some of which may have been planted by Manship himself.
One of the few examples of Gothic-Revival residential architecture in Mississippi, the Manship House was inspired by a design in A. J. Downing’s Architecture of Country Houses, a popular 19th-century pattern book in which an almost identical house is pictured. Manship adapted the plan to a southern climate by adding floor-to-ceiling windows and a central hall for ventilation.
The restoration of the Manship House by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History is based on archaeological, architectural, and historical research. Excavations on the site determined structural details, and photographs, diaries, letters, contemporary newspapers, and recollections of family members supplied information on interior details.
The house is painted its original olive drab and cream colors, discovered under many coats of paint, and the original shingled roof has been authentically reproduced. Inside are a parlor, a sitting room, a dining room, three bedrooms, and—a convenience unusual to the region—a bathing room.
Examples of Charles Henry Manship’s decorative painting and wood graining survive in the house, including the dining room which appears to be paneled in oak, an effect Manship achieved by graining from floor to ceiling. Some furniture and objects are original to the house. They and the rest of the furnishings—all of which are currently in storage and available for viewing by appointment only—are representative of a middle-class southern home in 1888, the year to which the house has been restored.