Donna and the Balalaika – 1926

Donna Darling Collection – Part 5

Treasure Chest Thursday

By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.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.

Photo of Donna Darling with Balalaika
Donna Darling with Balalaika – Donna Donna Revue: Princess and the King – 1926

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.

Newspaper photo of Donna (Montran) Darline.
Source: The Independent Record (Helena, MT)  28 Nov 1926, Page 6.

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.

FOLLOWUP

The University of Oregon, UO Libraries, Knight Library, 2nd floor North, has several photographic collections.

See: https://library.uoregon.edu/speccoll/photo/abstracts.html

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.

Grandma Donna’s Chili Rice

Donna Darling Collection – Part 4

Treasure Chest Thursday

By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.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

  • Handwritten Recipe of Donna's Chili Rice
    Recipe – Grandma Donna’s Chili-Rice

    2# Hamburger

  • 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
  • Kidney beans

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.

William Freeman – Patriot

Sometimes I’m reminded that when I’m away from home, I need to be extra careful to document my work so as to be able to cite my sources properly.  Sadly I can’t do that with today’s treasure.

Back in March of 2013, I went to the Family History Center in Powder Springs, GA.  While there I found some fascinating things and I failed to document where I got them. One of the most interesting items was a letter to Mrs. E. B. Freeman, in response to a letter from her. I don’t know if the reply came from NARA, the War Department, or where but was signed by A. D. Hiller, Assistant to Administrator.  Anyway, it provides details about William Freeman, a Revolutionary War patriot, his service and his family. As such it is a treasure to have found.  I only wish I had properly documented my source for the document.


WASHINGTON               October 5, 1931

Mrs. E. B. Freeman
826 Bellevue Avenue
Dublin, Georgia

Dear Madam:

Reference is made to your letter of September 19th, relative to William Freeman, a soldier of the Revolution.

The data furnished herein are obtained from papers on file in the Revolutionary War pension claim, W. 10042, based on the military service of William Freeman.

He was born October 26, 1759, in Bertie County, North Carolina.

While a resident of Bertie or Martin Co., he enlisted and served as private with the North Carolina troops as follows: in 1776, three months in Captain Andrew Oliver’s Company in Colonel Hogun’s Regiment; from July 20, 1778, nine months in Captain Child’s Company in Colonel Hart’s Regiment; in 1781, three months in Captain Taylor’s Company in Colonel Eaton’s Regiment and was in the battles of Guilford and Camden.

He was allowed pension on his application executed July 23, 1832, at which time he was a resident of Burke County, North Carolina.

He died January 27 or 28, 1838, in Greene County, Missouri, where he had moved in 1835.

While a resident of Martin County, North Carolina, William Freeman married in that county about 1786 Mary Bryan, the daughter of Robert Bryan.

Said Mary died November 5, 1845.

————— Page 2 ———————

In 1850 reference was made to the following children of William and Mary Freeman:

Reddick Freeman, aged about fifty-six years and a resident of Caldwell County, North Carolina.

John Freeman, aged fifty-four years.

Larry, aged about fifty-two years and resident of Owen County, Indiana

Lemuel H. Freeman, Aged forty-nine years.

Elizabeth and James (Twins) aged about forty-seven years; she was wife of Isaac Smith and a resident of Caldwell County, North Carolina, and he, James Freeman, was resident of Owen County, Indiana.

Nancy, aged about forty-five years and the wife of Greene Austin.

Frances, aged about forty-one years and the wife of Jacob Painter.

Rachel, the daughter of William and Mary Freeman, married John Austin and they had a daughter, Asenath.

        Very truly yours,

A. D. Hiller

                             Assistant to Administrator


William Freeman was the son-in-law of my wife’s fifth-great-grandfather Robert Bryan. (Husband of my wife’s fourth-great-grand-aunt.)

Ancestry Hints and Timothy Munsell

Darling Research
Treasure Chest Thursday

Email saying I have 7 new hints on Darling-HuberI love those Ancestry hints.  I received another message that I had hints in my Darling-Huber research. This time regarding my wife’s 4th great-grandfather, Timothy Munsell.  Because it was a direct ancestor, I jumped at the chance to investigate and see what they had. (See Three approaches to Ancestry Hints for why.)

1790 Census

Because of the 1790 Census,

1790 Census Timothy Munsell - 1 3-2
1790 Census
Timothy Munsell

Timothy Munsell  – 1  3  2

Free White Persons – Males – 16 and over: 1
Free White Persons – Males – Under 16:  3
Free White Persons – Females: 2

I was fairly sure that:

The one male 16 and over was clearly Timothy.

I was fairly certain the two females identified were his wife, Eleshiba, and his 10-year-old daughter Sally Ann.

That left three males under 16 (born between 1773 and 1790) that I didn’t know who they were. I had entered them into my system as sundry relations, “unknown” with a note they were possibly sons of Timothy Munsell.

Timothy and Eleshiba had another son that I knew about, William, but he was born in January of 1770 and thus would have been 20 during 1790 census. I just figured he wasn’t at home any longer.

Ancestry Hint

The Ancestry Hint brought me to “Connecticut Town Birth Records, pre-1870 (Barbour Collection) – Lyme Vital Records 1667-1852” – Pages 172 and 173 provided names and birthdates for the children:

All entries are per Vol 1, Page 150 – Items bolded were new bits of information for me.

Anna, d. Timothy & Elishaba, b. Sept 7, 1775; d. June 18, 1777
James, s. Timothy & Elishabe, b. June 28, 1773
John Andross, s. Timothy & Elishaba, b. July 9, 1781
Sally Ann, d. Timothy & Elishabe, b. Oct 23, 1784
Timothy, s. Timothy & Elishabe, b. Apr/ 16, 1778
William, s. Timothy & Elishaba. b. Jan 24, 1770, at New London

So, I learned the names and birthdates of the three previously unknown children and confirmed they were the children of Timothy and Elishabe. I also learned of a sixth child, Anna, that died when only two years old.

One more thing, I also learned that Timothy’s parents were John and Mary (I knew his father was John before this). And now know he was born Nov. 24, 1745. (Before, I had he was born “before 1752.”

Timothy, s. John & Mary, b. Nov. 24, 1745            L-6      156

Treasure Chest This Ancestry hint provided new information; it confirmed other information regarding a direct ancestor, and it identified two new ancestors. That is what I cal a real genealogical Treasure Chest.

Follow-up Actions

Get copies of registration pages and not rely upon printed transcription in the book.

———- DISCLAIMER ———-

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