Ferdinand Manussi von Montesole
Ferdinand Manussi was born on the 9th of June 1839 in Vienna as son of the city official Ferdinand Karl Manussi (1809-1887) and his first wife Anna Maria born Laporta (1815-1860). The kaiserliche Rat and Truchseß Ferdinand Karl Manussi was a well known Viennese philanthropist, especially engaged in the care of the blind as president of the Blinden-Versorgungs- und Beschäftigungsanstalt at Wien-Josefstadt. He was married twice and had 12 children, 7 of them were boys and all of them chose a military or civil-officials' career, some of them both! Besides the care of blind people and the fathering of children he also spent his time in writing several patriotic poems which were often published in local magazines and other publications. On the 15th of June 1870 he was elevated to the nobility and on the 26th of December 1886 took the predicate "Montesole". This new noble name "Manussi Edler von Montesole" was transferred to all his children.
His eldest son Ferdinand Manussi entered military service with infantry regiment number 15 at Tarnopol where he soon received his promotion to Unterlieutenant 2nd class in 1859. It was a well known fact that the pay of young officers at this time was very poor and the only amusement at boring garrisons like Tarnopol was playing cards with comrades, but also well known was the fact that such gambling soon could bring young officers into serious trouble and this was exactly what happened to Ferdinand Manussi - in 1862 he was forced to quit his military career caused by "not suitable" debts. Ferdinand Manussi now attempted to build a new career writing articles for several newspapers and magazines but he was not as successful as he desired, so he was rather happy when his younger brother Karl informed him about the possibilities of the Mexican Volunteer Corps.
In 1864 both brothers, Ferdinand and Karl Manussi, joined the Mexican Volunteer Corps. Unlike his brother Karl, who was an active officer at this time, Ferdinand joined the Jäger-unit first as an non commissioned aspirant officer receiving his promotion to Unterlieutenant 2nd class on the 7th of November 1865. Nearly nothing is known about his Mexican engagements, he received the Bronze Military Merit Medal as a NCO and the knight's cross of the Order of our beloved Madonna of Guadalupe as an officer. Like his brother Karl he returned to Austria in April 1867 but his military ambitions were finished for ever.
Ferdinand Manussi now started to work as an author for the "Neuen Fremden-Blatt" and the "Illustrierten Wiener Extrablatt", for both papers he mainly worked as theatre critic. Beside these regular jobs he translated comedies from foreign languages and tried to write some of his own, like "Hundert Culebras" (1888) and "Herz-Bub" (1895) and "Alles halb umsonst" (1899), with averag success for several different comedy theatres. Since the late 1880s he also wrote for the humorous magazines "Kikeriki" and "Figaro" and finally getting a job as a permanent editor of the semi-official "Wiener Zeitung" in 1902. During the years he often used the pseudonym "Fritz Mai" for his theatre plays and humoristic short-stories. Besides this he was, similar to his brother Karl, active with the charitable branch of the Teutonic Order, the so-called Marianer, which allowed him to wear the Marianer cross of the Teutonic Order. It seems noticeable that so many survivors of the Mexican Adventure wrote their memoirs but a professional writer like Ferdinand Manussi never did!
On the 31st of January 1903 Ferdinand Manussi married the 30 years younger Thekla (born Mayer) at Vienna, but the marriage did not produce any children. On the 1st of December 1908 Ferdinand Manussi Edler von Montesole died in Vienna.
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