Donna Darling Collection – Part 42

Treasure Chest Thursday
By Don Taylor

For this week’s Treasure Chest Tuesday, I’m looking at a clipping from the Donna Darling Collection.

 

THE GIRL WITH A MILLION
DOLLAR PERSONALITY

DONNA MONTRAN

PRIMA DONNA
“CALIFORNIA BATHING GIRLS”

Now at HENDERSON’S Coney Island Variety, July 30.

“Donna Montran has an undeniable million dollar smile, oodles of personality and an elastic voice that hits the high registers smoothly and effectively – would make ideal musical comedy stuff.

Abel.

Key features:

  • The venue is Henderson’s, Coney Island.
  • The show is the “California Bathing Girls.
  • The Date of the clipping is July 30, 1920.

Analysis

This is a very confusing clipping. It clearly indicates she was playing in Coney Island on July 30th. However, other articles indicate she was playing at Moss’ Broadway at 41st at the same time. Additionally, other sources indicate Donna played at Henderson’s Theatre from September 6-13.

So, I believe this write-up was wrong. Rather than being about a particular show, the article was intended to promote Donna for the personality she had and not advertise a specific show she was headlining.

Donna in the News – “Chin Chin” plays the La Crosse Theatre, Feb. 10, 1920

This week from the La Crosse Tribune (La Crosse, WI) newspapers dated February 4th through the 10th, 1920.

I’ve long known that Donna and the cast of “Chin Chin” played at the Metropolitan Opera House in Minneapolis from February 1st through the 7th, and played in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin on February 11th.   However, it would be unlikely that the should would go three days without a show. Thanks to Newspapers.Com[i], I learned this week that “Chin Chin” also played at the La Crosse Theatre, in La Crosse, Wisconsin on February 10th.

The troupe’s February itinerary began:

I’m still wondering if “Chin Chin” played somewhere on the 9th. Probably.  Time will tell.


“Donna in the News” is my report of newly discovered newspapers articles and advertising regarding my grandmother, Madonna Montran (aka Donna Montran and aka Donna Darling). I am always excited when I find a new venue of my grandmother’s exciting show business career of the 1910s and 1920s.


Endnotes

[i] The La Crosse Tribune (La Crosse, WI) dated 4 February 1920, Page 4, Column 5, et al. Accessed via Newspapers.Com on 10 Jan 2019.

Minerva Mannin’s Parents?

It has been a while since I’ve written about my Brown Line. I’ve been spending a lot of time researching one of my most confounding ancestors, my 3rd great-grandmother, Minerva Ann Tolliver. I’m alone in my thoughts about her parents.  Family Search’s Family Tree indicates her parents are Elijah Toliver and Martha Mannin[i]. Likewise, when I check the hints on Ancestry, there are 10 Ancestry Member Trees suggested.  All 10 of them indicate her parents were Elijah Toliver and Martha Mannin. My tree seems to be the only one that indicates Minerva’s father was Tulion Tolliver. That always concerns me.  It is like marching and saying “everyone is out of step except for me.”  In reality, it is much more likely that I am out of step.

So, I’ve been going through all my records and making sure I’ve gleaned every fact about Minerva and her parents out of them. Sadly, the only record I’ve found indicated that Minerva’s father was Tulion Mannin. I have seen speculation by some researchers that Minerva’s mother was Martha Mannin [nee unknown]. That Martha had Minerva in 1821 and then remarried Elijah Toliver in 1825[ii]. Minerva then used the surname of Toliver as that was common during that period.

A second theory suggested on the Internet is that Minerva was full-blooded Native American. If so, her parents would not have been included in any census records because Indians living in the general population were not enumerated until 1860. If Minerva were native, a mitochondrial DNA test of one of her mitochondrial descendants should answer that question.

Probably the biggest problem I have is that I’m not confident that Minerva’s death record citing her father’s name being Tulion is accurate. Whoever provided the information didn’t report who her mother was, which suggests they didn’t know Minera’s ancestry very well. Additionally, though she died in in 1902 at the age of 82, there is another entry on the page indicating she was born in 1823. An 1823 birthyear is inconsistent with all other documents regarding her birth. So, if her year of birth is incorrect, then any other birth information on the document is suspect.

Finally, I’m not convinced that Minerva was Native American (see DNA, X-chromosome & Minerva Tolliver).

Until I discover documents which clearly indicate Minerva’s parentage or learn of mitochondrial DNA test results think that Minerva’s parentage is a brick wall.

 

If you have documentation regarding Minerva Ann (Tolliver) Mannin parentage or if you are a mitochondrial descendant of Minerva, I would really like to hear from you. In the meantime, I consider this issue to be a “brick wall.”


ENDNOTES

[i] https://www.familysearch.org/tree/person/details/9NYL-FB7

[ii] Kentucky, County Marriages, 1797-1954, Family Search, Elijah Tolliver & Martha Marvin [Mannin] – 12 Sep 1825. “Kentucky, County Marriages, 1797­1954,” database with
images, FamilySearch, Elijah Toliver and Martha Marvin, 12 Sep 1825; citing Marriage, Morgan, Kentucky, United States, district clerk, court clerk, county clerk and register offices from various counties; FHL microfilm 839,918. https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:F4MV-DQT?from=lynx1UIV8&treeref=K81Q-DR5.

Donna Darling Collection – Part 41

Treasure Chest Thursday
By Don Taylor

For this week’s Treasure Chest Thursday, I’m looking at another clipping from the Donna Darling Collection. The original was just a fragment of a page, but there was just enough to learn all the particulars of the show.

Cropped, edited, and resized from the Donna Darling Collection.

Donna went by “Donna Montran” until the summer of 1921 and her Bathing Beauties show, “A Beach Promenade began in July 1920 and ended the summer of 1921. The Ad indicates that her show was commencing November 1st for three days.  Additionally, “The Leopard Woman” was released in October 1920, so it is certain that 1920 was the year. The location was Pottsville and the theater was the Hippodrome.

Her show was “The Big Show of the Season Including 10 of California’s Selected Peaches with Donna Montran and her Bathing Beauties in “A Beach Promenade.”  She was the headliner above Monarch Comedy Four, Una Clayton & Co. Martini, and a silent film.

This show location fits perfectly in her schedule. Fifty miles south of her show in Wilkes-Barre on October 25th through the 30th. Then three days in Pottsville (November 1st through 3rd) then on to Reading, 35 miles south, for another three days.

Conclusion

1920-11-01 – Hippodrome, Pottsville, Pennsylvania – “Donna Montran and her Bathing Beauties in ‘A Beach Promenade’” added to the list of venues for Donna’s career.

Donna in the News – “Chin Chin” is Well Liked… in Saskatoon

“Donna in the News” is my reporting of newly found newspapers articles and advertising regarding my grandmother, Madonna Montran (aka Donna Montran and aka Donna Darling). I am always excited when I find a new venue for my grandmothers exciting show business career of the 1910s and 1920s.

This week two articles from two newspapers in Saskatoon.

  • Saskatoon Daily Star (Saskatoon, Canada) dated January 13, 1920.
  • Star Phoenix (Saskatoon, Canada) dated January 13, 1920.

“Chin Chin” in Saskatoon – January 1920

I have long known that Donna and the cast of “Chin Chin” played in Calgary on January 8th through the 10th and in Regina on January 15th through the 17th.  I suspected that the show played in Saskatoon, SK, in between the two shows but had no evidence of it. Sure enough, newly digitized newspaper pages at Newspapers.Com showed two callouts for Donna among some 18 articles and advertisements for “Chin Chin” playing in Saskatoon on January 12, 13, and 14.

On January 13th, the Daily Star wrote, “Outstand among the other principals were Donna Montran as the goddess of the lamp, Neva Larry….”

Also, on January 13th, the Star Phoenix wrote, “Donna Montran has a nice voice and puts two very pretty songs across to advantage. Star Dunham.…”

New information added to the Madonna Montran career list:

Jan 12-14, 1920 – Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada – Empire Theatre (Newspapers.com)