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Manning Interview

From letters and conversations with Mary Cate, friend of Miss Rebecca Manning of Salem, MA

Courtesy of David Gavenda, NPS

David Gavenda, National Park Service, Salem National Historic Site
David Gavenda, National Park Service, Salem National Historic Site (photography by Lou Procopio)
The Manning family of Salem Mass., attended the Tabernacle Church for several generations. I [Mary Cate] give below a little of their genealogy.

Richard Manning 1755-1813. Blacksmith. (Established
Married Miriam Lord, 1776. (Salem & Boston Stage Co.
3d child, Elizabeth Clarke (1780) who married Capt.
Nathaniel Hawthorne. son was the author, Nathaniel
5th child was Robert
Robert Manning , 1784-1842. Broker & pomologist. Married
Rebecca Dodge Burnham, 1824. Home at 33 Dearborn St.
1. Maria 1826-1917. Unmarried.
2. Robert 1827-1902. Unmarried. Pomologist. First
Secretary of Massachusetts Horticultural Society.
3. Richard Clarke 1830-1904. Coal Dealer. Married
Sarah Elisabeth Yeaton (widow of Oliver H. Gould) 1865.
One sons, Richard Clarke 1867-1959, Professor of Latin
and Spanish. He married Gertrude Devol 1912, no children.
4. Rebecca, 1834-1933. Unmarried.

The second Richard C. Manning , told his cousin, Cyril Hartley of Danvers and also Mary R. Cate of Salem that during his boyhood the "Missionary Settee' was in his father's garden at 81 Lafayette St., Salem. Presumably it came into his father's hands at the time the second Tabernacle Church (dedicated in 1854) was being built. By 1890 the Manning family was boarding at 17 North Street; it may well be at that time that the settee was returned to the Tabernacle Church. A number of us remember that it was in the Junior Sunday School room in the teens and twenties.

The red-upholstered rocking chair in the minister's room at Tabernacle Church was for many years in the home of Robert Manning on Dearborn St. and was given to the church after the death of Rebecca in 1933. It was made from the wood of the church dedicated in 1777.

In her later years, Maria Manning told Mrs. Frederick Cate that one lovely spring day when she was a little girl, she met the Rev. Samuel M. Worcester on the street. "Isn't it a beautiful day, Dr. Worcester?" she piped. "A beautiful day to worship the Lord" gruffly replied Mr. Worcester.

She also told Mrs. Cate that she had never attended any church but Tabernacle; she had grown to wish that she had visited others.

Miss Rebecca Manning

The Iveses used to have a New Year's pie, and I think I was usually invited. They had a large family of cousins, but they did not have all of them -- just their own family. They would put all the presents in one big pie and then each would draw in turn and see who the present was for.

My brothers went to the public schools. Richard went to Latin School for a short time. Robert went to the high school and got prizes. They had the graduation in the Lyceum Hall, and I went -- I was about seven. I remember how proud I was.

Do you remember Lyceum Hall? It was the hall where George William Curtis said you had to speak upstairs; the platform was in front, and the seats went up in tiers, high up. They used to have the Lyceum Lectures there every week. It was quite the thing to go to then. Men like Emerson and Wendell Phillips and George William Curtis used to lecture. I went to special lectures as a little girl -- or when there was an extra ticket - and all the time later. We Lyceum goers used to think there was nobody like George William Curtis. He talked on all sorts of subjects during the war on matters connected with it. He was a great admirer of Lincoln before it was fashionable to admire him.

None of my family fought in the war. Richard was drafted, but he hired a substitute. Richard belonged to a Union Club. They went out to meet the soldiers when they returned -- they must have been three-monthers. One of them said, "See what a lot of decoys they have sent out to toll us in."

Lizzie Ropes was one of my pupils then; I had a number of pupils who came here to say their lessons to me. Lizize was the youngest. I took her over to sea the three-monthers come in and on the way home I said to her, "Now, Lizzie, I want you to remember that these men have been fighting for you." "For me?" said Lizzie, very much surprised. "Yes, they have been fighting for you and for all of us." The next day she said to me, "I asked my father about the soldiers and he said you were right; they had been fighting for me."

Ships were gone two years or more when they went to India and those countries but I never saw one come in. Perhaps I might have I had lived over in town. Those that we saw come up the river were coasters. Once when I was about eighteen, Captain Bertram asked a party of twenty or thirty to start out with one of his ships and come back with the pilot boat. I think we all went -- I know I went, and my brothers. Captain Bertram helped all the ladies down from the ship to the pilot; the next day, when he wanted his wife to rub his lane arm, she refused to; told him to get some of the ladies he had helped out of the ship. The pilot landed us at Naugus Head, and they had a repast for us there. I remember it rained and Captain Bertram held an umbrella over the fried potatoes.

As Told By Miss Rebecca Manning to Miss Mary R. Cate

The house which used to be next to this was the one my father built for Hawthorne's mother. It was finished in 1828 and they lived there for two or three years. The upper chamber nearest this house now -- it was then toward the corner of the street -- was Hawthorne's study as long as they lived there. When the Ives lived in the house afterward they still called it the study. If I went in and asked where Mary Ellen was, they might say "She is up in the study."

All of Hawthorne's biographers speak of how depressed his mother was after his father's death and of how she went nowhere. I asked Elizabeth Hawthorne about it once and she said, "Why, my mother stayed home and looked after her family like other women." When I remember her, later, she was in ill health, so of course went about little. In some diary I read an account of a journey she took to Mount Vernon or Mont Vernon in New Hampshire. Of course our people traveled a good deal for their time because they could go in the coaches or have a horse and carriage when they wished; my father and grandfather and uncles ran the stage coach office.

Once when I was a very little girl Hawthorne came here for Thanksgiving. They said that I climbed up into his lap and that he was pleased with me, as a young man sometimes is pleased with a little child. After he was married he never came to the house. When he lived over on Chestnut Street I used to go over to play with Una, who was two or three, and Julian who was a baby. I was about ten. I used to take Lizzie with me -- Do you remember my doll? Mrs. Hawthorne made her for me and when Sophie saw her children and me playing with Lizzie, she painted the blank face. I remember she said she was going to give her "languishing eyes."

One afternoon I had stayed until late with the children. It was Training Day, so Mrs. Hawthorne as not willing that I should walk hone alone and she asked Mr. Hawthorne to walk home with me. I do not remember that he said a word all the way over. I did not expect him to say anything as I remember it. At the house before ours he left us.

Hawthorne's father was a sea captain, and his grandfather, but the romance of the sea did not appeal to him. He never seemed to have any idea of going to sea. I do not believe his mother would have considered t for a minute.

We used to have beans one Saturday night and salt fish the next. We had to heat the brick over to cook beans. I remember once when I was coming up from Ipswich on the train some men got in who were talking about things in Beverly; one declared that you had to raise so many bushels of beans there to be a deacon. It does seem as if beans were a part of New England's religion.

Toward the last we had a turkey at Christmas, but not earlier. Sometimes we had a goose. We did not notice Christmas much, though I got so I hung up my stocking a few times. We had our presents at New Year's. The Iveses had their presents at Christmas -- they went to St. Peters. I asked Mother why they had their presents at Christmas and she told me it was because they were Christmas folk. They made cranberry pie at Christmas and always sent us cranberry tarts, Mother would send then turnovers at Thanksgiving -- apple, I think.

There is no cellar under the kitchen, and as long as we had no stoves it was bitter cold there on winter days. All the food used to freeze on the table, and at Thanksgiving time Mother had to put the turkey on the hearth to warm it enough to dress it. She had to clean it there. Then we ran a spit through the turkey and found holes in the spit to run the skewers through. so the turkey would turn with the spit. We cooked the turkey in a tin oven; someone had to stay close by the fire and turn it all of the time. They spelled me, but I did that most of the time. We did not have a stove until I was eight years old; then we used to take it down for summer because it made the kitchen too hot, and we never put it up until after Thanksgiving because we thought we had to cook the turkey in the tin oven.

I started school when I was three years old. Do you remember the house at the corner, with a barn, both back from the street? Two young ladies kept school there, and that was where I was sent. My sister and Richard were sent when they were two years old. There was a big cradle in which they laid the little ones when they went to sleep. I remember how angry Maria was once because the teacher tapped Richard on the head with a thimble to punish hime. The school was in a chamber in the second story of the barn, with broad stairs leading up to it. At the end of recess we used to trudge up those stairs together, shouting " Recess's over! Recess's over!" I suppose that the chamber was a finished room and that they could heat it somehow, but I can't remember. I know I went to school only in the summer there and at first when I went to Miss Ropes's school on Federal Street. My brother used to teach me at home in winter. Miss Ropes's school was on Federal Street near Federal Street Court. I went there when I was seven. They planned to have me stay with Aunt Dyke so I could go to school in winter, but I was so homesick that they gave it up at the end of a week.

While I was calling on Miss Rebecca yesterday, the door bell rang and I went to answer it for her. It was the census taker, inquiring if Rebecca Manning lived there. "Yes, she lies here and has lived here for more than ninety-one year," said I. Then I went back to her, thinking of ninety-one years in one house -- 1834 to 1925 -- lived by an alert mind: from the administration of Jackson to the day of Calvin Coolidge; from the day of fireplace heat to the day of the furnace; from the day when the housewife cooked on the hearth to the day of the gas stove and electricity; from whale oil to electric lights; from the horse through the bicycle to the automobile and the airplane; ninety-one years of rapid changes.

It was one hundred and one years ago next month -- the 21st of December, 1824 -- that Father and Mother were married and came to live here. They were married in Ipswich and had to drive up with horses. My Aunt Dyke sent over her hired girl, Sally Herrick, to start a fire in the fireplace in this room -- it must have been the only fire in the house that night. The parlor was not finished for some years; I can remember when my father used it for a fruit room.

Father had put down the carpet in this room, but he had not had time to cut it out around the hearth, so Sally Herrick spread her bundle handkerchief on the carpet there to keep the sparks from burning it. I know Mother said the first thing she did the next day was to cut out the carpet around the hearth.

Family of Richard C. Manning, Sr.: at 81 Lafayette St. (garden extended to water) from'76 to about'89., Then all boarded at 17 North St., until they moved to Essex St.

In 1890-91 Richard Jr. was teaching in Worcester. Then he became a student again. In '95-'96 he was an instructor at Harvard. Later a professor at Hobart College. then at Gambier where he spent the rest of his life.

Page citation: http://www.hawthorneinsalem.org/page/10134/

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