Item #5 of the Donna Darling Collection is a photograph. Actually, it is two photographs of Donna with a stringed instrument that I consider one item. One of the images was torn badly. The other had some sticky gunk on it. One had writing and printing on the back; the other one did not. For the image below, I set the color to black and white then auto-set the contrast and brightness. Finally, I brought the sepia up and saved it as a web-sized image. I did not touch it up.
The back of the picture was stamped, “DONNA DARLING & SAMMY CLARK” as well as (in smaller block print, it is stamped “THE PRINCESS AND THE KING.” Handwritten on the back is “Donna Darling Revue with Sammy Clark.” The front of one of the photos says “DAVIES – PORTLAND, ORE.” This one does not. So between the two photos, I have two stories.
The photo shows Donna playing what appears to be a six-string prima balalaika. The prima balalaika is a Russian instrument. That fits with Donna’s costume of what looks to me as a “shabby sheik” Eastern European looking outfit. (Hopefully, someone will comment and provide me with exactly what kind of clothing she is wearing.)
I had seen this image before. It was in several newspaper articles during late 1926 associated with “The Donna Darling Revue with Sammy Clark.” In 1925, Donna was still performing “Donna Darling and Girls,” So, I am sure this photo was taken in 1926 sometime before the picture was used in advertising in Helena, Montana in November 1926.
The University of Oregon, UO Libraries, Knight Library, 2nd floor North, has several photographic collections.
Among those collections is one containing photographs of George W. Davis, who operated the Davies Studio from 1901 until 1925.
I should see if my sister, one of her kids, or my cousin who lives in Oregon, might be interested in stopping at the library and see if they have any photographs from 1926 showing Donna or Sammy in their collection.
I sometimes tell the story that, “I am the oldest Taylor in my generations, that there are no Taylor’s older than me related to me.” (I need to tell the story of how I got the surname Taylor on this blog sometime.) Anyway, that was true until I learned that my third great-grandmother was named Fanny Taylor. So, I did have an ancestor surnamed Taylor, but I didn’t inherit her surname. I did, however, inherit her mitochondrial DNA. Recently, I was very pleased to learn that my sister’s daughter had a little girl who will carry on Fanny’s mitochondrial DNA. She is the only female of the next generation, that I know of, who can carry on the mtDNA. However, Fanny had five other daughters that I haven’t had a chance to follow. If you, or someone you know, carry Fanny Taylor Blackhurst’s mtDNA, I would love to hear from you via the comment form below.
Roberts-Brown 2017 – Ancestor #63
List of Grandparents
Grand Parent: Madonna Mae Montran
1st Great: Ida Mae Barber
2nd Great: Sarah H. Blackhurst
3rd Great: Fanny Taylor
Fanny (Taylor) Blackhurst (1806-1889)
I don’t have a clue about when Fanny was born nor who her parents were. She was indeed born sometime between 1800 and 1811. Her marker indicates she was born in 1806 and that is consistent with the 1870 and 1880 censuses. However, in the 1860 Census she is reported to be 59 years old, suggesting a birth in 1800 or 1801. Similarly, the 1841 English Census indicates that Fanny was only 30 years old, suggesting a birth year in 1810 or 1811. In any event, she was born in England, and both of her parents were born in England also. I have a lot more research to do regarding Fanny’s life on the other side of the pond.[i],[ii],[iii]
Fanny married Stephen Blackhurst on the day after Christmas, 1825 in Rotherham, Yorkshire, England.
Fannie and Stephen probably had eight children. I am not convinced that “Eleazer” was not Louise with a nickname applied. If that is the case, then they only had seven children and the entire family came to America.
Children of Stephen and Fannie Taylor Blackhurst
19 Oct 1829
Kingston upon Hull,
17 Feb 1905
Sheridan, Calhoun, Michigan
21 Oct 1831
14 Feb 1915
20 Dec 1833
14 Feb 1900
Springport, Jackson, Michigan
William Stephen Blackhurst
13 May 1835
10 Mar 1914
Avalon, Livingston, Missouri
14 Aug 1840
17 Mar 1927
Albion, Calhoun, Michigan
Phoebe Anna Blackhurst
15 May 1842
17 Aug 1929
Chicago, Cook, Illinois
Sarah H Blackhurst
29 Dec 1847
08 Aug 1928
Detroit, Wayne, Michigan
The family was still in England in 1847, as evidenced by Sarah’s birth in Yorkshire. In 1849 or 1850, the family immigrated to the United States, and they settled in Auburn, Cayuga County, New York. The New York Census of 1855 asked respondents to indicate how long they had been in the US and it confirms that the Blackhursts had been here for five years. [iv]
Sometime between 1855 and 1860 the Stephen and Fanny moved to Sheridan Township, Calhoun County, Michigan. Stephen was farming, Fanny keeping house, and William, Louisa, and Sarah were in Sheridan with them.[v]
Fanny’s husband, Stephen, died on the day before Christmas, 1869 – two days before their 44th wedding anniversary.[vi] The 1870 Census finds Fanny as the head of the household with daughters Louisa and Bessy living with her along with their children and Bessy’s husband, Isaac.[vii]
In the 1880 census, Fanny’s son-in-law, Isaac Earl, is the head of the household along with Bessie and their daughter Mary Flora. This Census tells us that Fanny’s parents were born in England. [viii]
Fannie Taylor Blackhurst died in 1889 at the age of 83. She was buried at Riverside Cemetery, in Albion, Calhoun County, Michigan.[ix]
Further Actions / Follow-up
Renew research regarding Fanny’s time in England before her immigration to the United States.
Sometimes you just don’t know what you don’t know. If I were to guess, I would have guessed that “Evans” was a patronymic name. That is to say, it was derived from a personal name such as “son of Evan.” And I’d be right. What I wouldn’t have known is that it is a Welsh name.
Today, the Evans name is the fifth most common name in Wales with one in 77 people having the surname.[i] Here in the United States, one in 47 people have the surname; worldwide there are about 795,000 people with the surname.[ii]
My Earliest Ancestors
My earliest known Evans ancestor is my 2nd great-grandmother, Malinda Evans. Malinda was born about 1828 in Ohio. According to Ancestry.Com, the 1840 Census reported there were 440 families in Ohio with the Evans surname. I haven’t had a chance to investigate Malinda’s life in depth yet, but she is number 4 on my Roberts-Barnes research list.
Malinda Evans (1828-c.1905) married Nimrod Lister (1824-?) in 1859.[iii] They had eight children, including my great-grandmother, Maranda (1867-1932).
[iii] Wolfe, Thomas J., History of Sullivan County, Indiana, A, Files (Personal), Pages 234-236. A history of Sullivan County, Indiana, closing of the first century’s history of the county, and showing the growth of its people, institutions, industries and wealth. New York: The Lewis Pub. Co.
My grandmother, Donna, was a good cook. My mom says that Donna didn’t let her into the kitchen much and Donna never taught my mother how to cook. Consequently, I am sad to say, my mom is one of the worst cooks I’ve ever known. She cooked a turkey once and didn’t remove the giblets bag before cooking.
However, Donna was a good cook and generally cooked “comfort food.” I remember eating a lot of “hot dish” as a kid. Even if it wasn’t in a casserole bowl, the meat, vegetables, and starch were all cooked together into a single dish – Things like chicken & dumplings, Hungarian goulash, and, of course, chili-rice. No recipes were passed down that I know of. However, the recently found Donna Darling collection had one handwritten recipe for her chili rice.
I forgot that she used tomato juice often when cooking. She cooked rice and elbow macaroni in a mix of tomatoes and tomato juice often. I hadn’t heard of the “Mexene chili powder” used in this recipe until I looked it up and found that it is a brand name and is still available.
I think it is interesting that her recipe calls for a tablespoon of fat. They must have had really lean hamburger in those days. Anyway here is Donna’s recipe:
Grandma Donna’s Chili Rice
1 Tablespoon fat
¾ cup chopped celery
1 cup “ onions
1 cup “ gr peppers
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 can tomatoes
¾ cup rice
Mexene chili powder
1 can tomato juice
No directions were with the note, but I think it is just a put it all together and cook until the rice is eatable. I guess use the Mexene Chili Powder to your personal taste.
Anyway, I’m going to have to make up some of Grandma Donna’s Chili Rice and see if taste memories kick in.
Please, if you makes some, I’d love to see a picture of your finished product and your comments about it.
Frederick W. Blanchard had one of the most difficult lives I have ever researched — Orphaned young, possibly left standing at the altar, a widower by the age of 19, and dead by automobile accident when he was only 51. Thanks to Digital Maine, I pieced together parts of his life that I might never have been able to decipher before, particularly the death of his mother and brother in other towns and places. Digital Maine is one of the best resources available online for researchers of Maine ancestors and is among my favorite websites. Try it if you haven’t done so before.
Blanchard 2017 Project
List of Grandparents
Grand Parent: Edward Everett Blanchard (1900-1971)
1st Great: Frederick W. Blanchard (1866-1917)
2nd Great: Albion Blanchard (1834-1868)
3rd Great: Cyrus Blanchard (c. 1791-?)
Ancestor #8 – Frederick W. Blanchard (1866-1917)
Frederick W. Blanchard was born in Cumberland, Cumberland County, Maine, on 16 February 1866, the third child of Albion and Mary S. (Washburn) Blanchard. His older brother, Charles A. F. Blanchard was born on 1 January 1858 and his older sister, Sarah, was born on 4 November 1861.
1868 – A Very Bad Year and a Rough Childhood.
It is not clear what occurred to the family, be it fire or disease, but on 7 September 1868, Sarah died at the age of six. Two days later he died at the age of 34.
Mary, Charles, and Frederick were destitute without Albion. Where the town paid Albion for his support, now the Town of Cumberland supported Albion’s widow and his two living children. Two-year-old Frederick went to live with his uncle, Charles H. W. Blanchard and the Overseer of the Poor of the Town of Cumberland paid for his board until 1875 (Age 9).
His brother Charles also went to Uncle Charles’ in 1868 but wasn’t there during the 1870 Census. In 1872, he was at D. Pittee’s where he worked for board. In the fall of 1872, he left Pittee’s and joined his mother in Saco, Maine. In 1873, Charles went to live with William M. & Samuel Merrill, again to work for board. Charles died on 16 February 1887 at the age of 29.
Mary was on the Cumberland pauper rolls from 1868 until 1873. The Cumberland Overseers of the Poor paid $64.31 for the board of Mary Blanchard at David Libby’s. In 1871, she was at the Yarmouth Almshouse. From January until mid-April she lived at A. M. Libby’s in Windham, Cumberland County, Maine when she “left for parts unknown.” In 1872 she located to Saco, York County, Maine where her son, Charles, joined her. Mary died on 2 May 1873 in Saco, Maine.
The 1880 Census finds young 14-year-old Frederick still living with his Aunt and Uncle Miranda and Charles Blanchard. However, the Cumberland Pauper Book is no longer showing Frederick as a recipient of support.
1885 – Another Bad Year
1885 started out wonderful. On 21 Jan 1885, Frederick filed an intent to marry (took out a marriage license) Ida V. Libby. It doesn’t appear that they ever actually married; the license was never returned. We may never know why they didn’t marry. However, five months later, on 21 June 1885, he married Laura C. A. Jensen. Five and a half months later, on 8 Dec 1885, Laura died of consumption.
1886 – A new life with a new wife.
Not to be kept down for long, 12 months later, on 14 December 1886, Frederick married Minnie M Bodge. Frederick and Minnie would have eleven children; all were born in Maine.
Gracie C Blanchard
Harry F Blanchard
03 Jan 1892
26 May 1969
Charles A Blanchard
Edward Everett Blanchard
Lizzie M Blanchard
07 Sep 1902
Sadie B Blanchard
21 Feb 1903
18 Apr 1920
Willis H Blanchard
Bet. 1 Jan-15 Apr 1907
Alanson S Blanchard
Unknown 1 Blanchard*
Unknown 2 Blanchard*
Unknown 3 Blanchard*
*The 1900 Census indicates that Minnie had six children, three of whom were still living. The three living would be Gracie, Henry, and Charles A. The other three are unknown.
Frederick’s occupation reveals itself in the 1894 Portland City Directory which shows him as a plasterer at 466 Portland. He would be a plasterer in the Census records and the City Directories his entire adult life.
In 1895 and 1896, Frederick is listed as a plasterer at 30 Chestnut in Woodfords. I have looked and can’t seem to find a 30 Chestnut in Woodfords (Deering). There is a Chestnut in Portland and one in South Portland, but I’m not finding on in Woodfords (Deering). Maybe a street had its name changed.
The 1900 Census reports Frederick and Minnie living on Front Street in South Portland. He lived in several other locations in South Portland including 131 Stanford.[i]
Frederick W. Blanchard died in Maine General Hospital from injuries resulting from an automobile accident at age 51 years, 4 months, 29 days.
He is buried in Forest City Cemetery in South Portland.
His wife, Minnie, died 31 years later, on 10 Feb 1948. She was buried with Frederick at Forest City Cemetery.
Frederick was born in Cumberland; he lived in Woodfords (Deering, now Portland), Portland, and South Portland all within 15 miles.
1870 Census (Ancestry)
Charles H. Blanchard – Cumberland, Cumberland, Maine, Page 8, Line 33.
1880 Census (Ancestry
Charles H Blanchard – Cumberland, Cumberland, Maine – District 29, Page 6, Line 32
1900 Census (Ancestry)
Frederick Blanchard – South Portland, Cumberland, Maine – District 79, Line 43.
1910 Census (Ancestry)
Frederic W. Blanchard – South Portland, Cumberland, Maine – Ward 2, District 103, Sheet 2B, Line 80, Family 42. 131 Sanford Street.
Cumberland Pauper Book – Digital Maine
Town of Cumberland, Maine, Cumberland Pauper Book – [Results of Blanchard search.] http://digitalmaine.com/cgi/viewcontent.cgi? article=1001&context=prince_memorial_library_books.
Deed – Private
Don’s Private Files: Deed – Minnie Blanchard, Executrix, sold property on Free Street – 1918.pdf. Ref: Blanchard, Frederick W
Find a Grave – Find a Grave
Fred [Frederick] W Blanchard (1865 – 1917) – Find A Grave Memorial #142749158. https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi? page=gr&GRid=142749158&ref=acom.