Diary of Ann Manigault Taylor


Things can often be rediscovered in a museum, especially one as old as ours. Recently a diary was found in the Archives. This diary belonged to Ann Manigault Taylor, the only daughter of Joseph Manigault, who owned the Joseph Manigault House. In it she describes the background of the Manigault family and includes some little stories about her father. This particular entry was written December 20, 1843, shortly after the passing of her father, Joseph, and she dedicated it as a memorial to her father.

“My Father used to say to the children ‘Once upon a time at Geneva, I hired a horse for a ride_ he was an ill tempered animal, and managed to slip the bit out of his mouth_ I drew him in but he only ran the faster_ At last I perceived he was going headlong down the road to a river, when suddenly he darted into a garden gate that was open, & there continued coursing round & round_ A French Gentleman & Lady were walking in the garden_ they were amused, but every time the horse approached them, the Frenchman took off his hat & made a low bow & I, not to be outdone in politeness returned the salute. When the horse was tired he stopt.’ This story was a favorite with us.”

Diary of Ann Manigault Taylor 1993.70.4_p9 Diary of Ann Manigault Taylor 1993.70.4_p10

After leaving Geneva at age 19, Joseph decided to travel around France and England. Ann writes about what her father does after becoming sick on his trip.

“About this time his health became very bad from a disease which then had no name, but has since been called disspepsy_ He suffered for some time, & his friends in Carolina, supposing the disease to be Consumption never expected to see him back again. While in London he consulted the two most famous physicians in practice_ One recommended port & partridges, the other, toast & water gruel_ He decided to choose for himself, and in following a fancy of the appetite in which light but generous nourishment alternated with the acid of ripe fruit, a reaction of the defective energies wood (sic) commenced, which were submissive ever after to the same regimen. He recovered his health, but never was robust. His constitution demanded care, but he had no illness that laid him on his bed, until years declined_ He was accustomed to say, that gooseberries and cream commenced his cure_ and that it was better to buy fruit, than to pay a doctor’s bill. His children were always indulged with fruit, & lemonade was his own beverage.”

Joseph Manigault was born in 1763 in Charleston, South Carolina. He was a prominent rice planter and merchant in Charleston. Joseph married Charlotte Drayton in 1800 and they had eight children together. Ann Manigault Taylor was their second child born 1803. Joseph Manigault died in 1843 at the age of 80.

Stay tuned for the next installment of the Ann Manigault Taylor diary, when we talk about Joseph as a child and how he treated his children.

by Melanie Wilson,
Chief Interpreter of The Joseph Manigault House
and Heyward-Washington House

The Joseph Manigault House

One of Charleston's most graceful historic structures, the Joseph Manigault House reflects the lifestyle of both a wealthy, rice-planting family and the slaves who also lived there. Many of the rooms have been restored to their original (and often unexpected) color schemes, while a sweeping staircase provides access to the second floor.
See Photos, Learn more and Vist the Joseph Manigault House on our Website