Donna in Boise, ID at the Pinney Theatre – Dec 4-7, 1919

Donna’s next stop with the company of Chin Chin was in Boise, Idaho on December 4th to the 7th.  The Idaho Statesman ran many agent supplied articles and advertising for the show.  Articles began in the “What Boise Theatre Managers Say About Coming Attractions” on November 23rd.  It begins with a photo of the Famous Clown Band and continues with a short article.

Photo of the Famous Brown Saxaphone Band
Famous Clown Saxaphone Band

“To Walter Wills and Roy Binder are are entrusted the principal parts, supported by a company of clever comedians and a beautiful chorus, In their songs. “The Chinese Honeymoon,” “Go Gar Sig Gong-Jue” and “Temple Bells,” the two clever comedians, Wills and Binder, make a decided hit and are always recalled again and again. In this charming fantasy with a Chinese atmosphere there are also a score of other songs that are the fascinating, whistling kind, and several unique dances that carry the snappy comedy along delightfully.

 In the November 27th paper we learn that Ethel Lawrence plays, “Violet Bond,” the rich American girl.

Idaho Statesman ad for Chin Chin at Pinnymn ad. The ad reminds us of just how big the show was, particularly for a road show.  At the Pinney Theater, Boise, this was “the biggest show in years.” The show had “two car loads of scenery.” We need to remember in 1919 they were referring to railroad cars.  The company was huge, 65, including 40 girls.  Repeat 40 girls and 35 men back of the scenes. I don’t know if they just couldn’t count or what, because 40 plus 35 is 75 in my world.  We knew there was a circus in the show with a horse that Mademoiselle Fallofski tried to ride. We also learn of a ventriloquist show. A list of some of the songs in the production is also included.

  • Good-bye Girls I’m Through
  • Violet, Violet
  • The Pekin Patrol
  • Love Moon
  • The Chinese Honeymoon
  • Temple Bells
  • Bally Mooney

We are reminded that ticket prices were low, from $.50 to $2.00, there was a whopping 10% war tax added to the ticket sales.

War Tax (aside)

World War I economics were staggering.  Federal Expenditures increased from 1.3 billion in 1916 to almost 16 billion, over 1000%, in two years. (1)  To pay for the war the government enacted many new taxes. I think that calling it a “war tax” was really good. I wish taxes today were as clear. Certainly, we know how much our social security and medicare taxes are, but everything else is sort lost in the general economy.  I wonder if we had a “war tax” today, would we have quite so many wars.

Back to the Show

On page 10 there was an interesting picture of Marie Cavanaugh and Margie Taylor, whom we haven’t see mentioned in advertising before.

Because of the grainy nature of the image I could find, I just can’t tell exactly what they are doing. I have been unable to find a higher quality photo of it elsewhere. It would be interesting to find a better photograph of them in this role.

The text elsewhere on the same page let us know:

“Not for years has there been such a riot of artistically harmonized, faultlessly blended color upon any stage as Charles Dillingham’s production of ‘Chin Chin,” coming to the Pinney four days, December 4, 5, 6 and 7, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

“A flash of burnt orange trailing off into crimson, and we have a tea shop in Pekin. A splendor of apple-green, bronze-green, dull blues and bright blues, and a Chinese Bazaar filled with quaint toys and curious idol images, swings into view. A shimmer of moonlight on porcelain walls and among cherry branches at bloom-time and a place terrace rises slowly into sight. Presto! and we are on the outside of the dressing-tent of a great circus. All flapping canvases and posters of gaudy hue. Presto! and we smell the sawdust. A beam from Aladdin’s ‘lamp’ and all is romance again, the romances of trees and flowers and vistas of a park.

“Nor does the shifting scene contain all there is of color. There are costumes of every primary tint and every pastel shade, flaunting vermillions, lurid yellows, vitreous greens, great splashes of purple, subtle lengths and ripples of pink and azure and violet — an iridescence, a play of pigments that astonishes the eye.

“The vibrations of sound, too, are no less vivid. The tinkle of bells, the blare of horns, the fanfare of trumpets, the bravura of the orchestra, the melody of the singing voice.  Sounds musical and sound unmusical, rhythmic sounds and sounds that confuse the ear, sounds sweet, dulcet, silver-toned symphonies, and sounds harsh, croaking, discordant — the who marching, waltzing, syncopating as such sound will, a musical babel of humor and delight — such is ‘Chin Chin.’”

“Chin Chin” dancers at the American Legion

The Idaho Statesman has an interesting article on page 8 of the December 2nd paper. We knew from other papers that the Chin Chin group played in Twin Falls, Idaho on December 1st.  We don’t know where the company was on December 2nd. But, on December 3rd, part of the show was 20 miles west of Boise in Nampa, ID.  The Joseph Murray Post of the American Legion, which was 70 members strong, put on a smoker (boxing match) that also included, “vaudeville from the Orpheum circuit, and dancing by the girls playing in Chin Chin.”  We don’t know if Donna was with that group, but I would like to think she supported the Legion and their promotional activities.  Another article, this time published on December 5th, indicated that the program was a success with approximately 200 returned soldiers, sailors and marines attending.

Tech Rules

 The newspaper had a very interesting release on December 4th.

“In the chorus of “Chin Chin,” to be seen at the Pinney on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, there are 30 girls. More than two-thirds of these girls have never been seen either here or in New York.

“By an arrangement that was made with a talking machine Company, out of town applicants for positions in the chorus who were unable to go to New York, where the engagements were made, had their voices recorded on disk records at the various agencies, and the same were sent to Manager Charles Dillingham for consideration. All of the applicants wrote that they were anxious to begin their stage career under his direction.

“The competition lasted for two months, and those selected were given contracts and were notified to be ready for rehearsal.

“By this means Charles Dillingham believes that he has secured a unique chorus, well chosen for voice and beauty, the engagements being unprejudiced by any personal reasons.

Review mentions Donna

A very positive review published on December 5th regarding of “Chin Chin” says that,

“The conventional leads of the show were eclipsed by the specialities. Donna Montran, the good fairy who appears when Aladdin’s lamp is rubbed, has the best voice in the company.”  

Way to go Donna!

Society Pages

There is an interesting note in the Society pages on December 14th.  Under “Burley” it mentions that:

“Mrs. C. A. Sunderlin has been much entertained during the last two weeks. Mr. and Mrs. S. Grover Rich have a dinner, followed by a box party for ‘Chin Chin,’ Tuesday [which would be 12/9/1919], in honor of the Sunderlins.”

From that note, it appears that “Chin Chin” may have played in Burley on the 9th.  I was able to find the Burley newspapers from that period are available via interlibrary loan.  I’ve ordered it and will see what it show.  This is important because I am not finding the Chin Chin show anywhere until into February 1920.

The Pinney Theater

Photo of the Pinney Theatre
Photo courtesy of Boise State

In 1892, James A. Pinney build the Columbia Theatre. In 1908 the Pinney theater was built on the same site. It was an ornate theatre designed for stage. In the 1920s it began the shift to primarily movies. On February 20th, 1940 they hosted the world premiere of “Northwest Passage” which was filmed at McCall, Idaho, which is about 100 miles north of Boise.

 

The Pinney was demolished in 1969 and is a parking lot today.

Today — 809 W Jefferson St., Boise, Idaho

For further research:

  • Did “Chin Chin” play in Burley on December 9th, 1919?

On order:

  • Burley Herald, Cassia County, 1919:8:2-1959:9:24
  • Burley Bulletin, Cassia County,  1911:1:13-1959:12:23

 

Sources:

Idaho Statesman (Boise, ID)  November 23, 1919  –  Page 6 – via  Genealogy Bank
Studio Space – Article: The Six Brown Brothers: A brief history – by Dr. Bruce Vermazen
Idaho Statesman (Boise, ID)  November 25, 1919  –  Page 4 – via  Genealogy Bank
Idaho Statesman (Boise, ID)  November 27, 1919  –  Page 4 – via  Genealogy Bank

Idaho Statesman (Boise, ID)  November 30, 1919  –  Page 2 – via  Genealogy Bank

Economic History Association http://eh.net/  U.S. Economy in World War I 
Idaho Statesman (Boise, ID)  November 30, 1919  –  Page 10 – via  Genealogy Bank
Idaho Statesman (Boise, ID)  December 2, 1919  –  Page 8 – via  Genealogy Bank
Idaho Statesman (Boise, ID)  December 4, 1919  –  Page 2 – via  Genealogy Bank
Idaho Statesman (Boise, ID)  December 5, 1919  –  Pages 5 & 7 – via  Genealogy Bank
Idaho Statesman (Boise, ID)  December 14, 1919  –  Page 8 – via  Genealogy Bank
Boise State – City Office and the HistorianGalleriesJames A. Pinney – Page 7
Cinema Treasures – Pinney Theatre
Google Maps

It is not all on Ancestry.Com – The Browns in North Dakota

It is not all on Ancestry.Com – The Browns in North Dakota
Because of the chasm caused by the missing 1890 census, I had lost track of Henry & Marion (Sanford) Brown (my 2nd great grandparents).  Henry and Marion lived in Selene, Michigan in 1882, when Ada was born but nothing else.  Certainly Marion was alive in 1884 when she gave birth to their youngest child, Edward in Dakota Territory. But I couldn’t find any direct evidence of Henry after the 1880 census, although I sort of assumed that Edward was his child.  If Henry made it to Dakota Territory or if Marion was there alone with some of her other family members, Sanfords, in the Dakota Territory was still a question. 
Ancestry.Com has a database, North Dakota, Compiled Census Index, 1870-1890, which I thought would help.  The index should be just the thing I needed to figure out what happened to Henry and Marion.  It is a “collection contains the following indexes: 1870 Federal Census Index; 1885 Federal Census Index; 1890 Veterans Schedules.”  Nothing.  Lots of other Browns but nothing showing my Henry, Marion, or their kids and particularly Edward who was born there.  Being an index, there is nothing to browse, so I figured maybe the index pages exist elsewhere. 
One of my favorite sites for information is the Family Search wiki.  A quick search there for “North Dakota Census” brings up a list of “Online North Dakota indexes and images.”
Which told me that besides Ancestry.Com there is somewhere else (Misc.) that has an index. Click that link and I was at the Library, North Dakota State University and their Search the Dakota Territory 1885 Census Index page. A search for Henry Brown, yielded 17 Henry’s but not a one from Michigan.  Next, a search for Marion Brown.  There she was, right name, right age, right place of birth. It sure looked like her. Clicking on her name brings you to the Census Records Page she is on.  Sure enough there she is apparently with her husband “W. H. Brown”, and her 11 children. Henry was a laborer and the family lived in Jamestown, Dakota Territory, in 1885.  So the whole family did make it to North Dakota. 
Screen shot of Dakota Territory 1885 Census Index with W. H. Brown family
I went back to the Ancestry.Com and searched again.  No Browns in Stutsman county; none in Wells County nor Kidder County either. I think that there is a problem with the database on Ancestry.  It should either have all the counties or identify that database is incomplete. I submitted feedback to Ancestry that the database was incomplete.  I’ll report here if I hear anything back.   
The 1885 Territorial census gave me new information.  Henry Brown was also known as “W. H. Brown” – a clue that may help me find him in other places.  The whole family did move to Dakota Territory sometime between 1880 and 1884. In 1885 they lived in Jamestown, Stutsman County, North Dakota. I know the family is spread out over North Dakota, Minnesota, and Montana in 1900. 

Don’t Forget Books – Sanford & Parsons in Wells county, North Dakota

Don’t Forget Books

When researching ancestors, particularly ones that settled a particular location early in that location’s history don’t forget to look for key books regarding the location.  
I’ve tried using Google Books first and OCLC’s WorldCat second, but, have found that WorldCat provides fewer false positives in the searches.  
First, I do a search on OCLC’s World Cat. As an example, I searched for: {“Wells County” “North Dakota”}  which yielded 257 potential candidate books. In this particular search the first two entries, Atlas of Wells County, and Soil Survey: Wells County weren’t of interest to me at this time.  The third entry certainly piqued my interest, The history of Wells County, North Dakota, and its pioneers : with a sketch of North Dakota history and the oregin [sic] of the place names.
I then highlight the title, copy the name and switch windows to books.google.com.  Generally, the book is listed on the first page of the google books search. I look at the book there, in particular look to see if an ebook is available.  I’m looking for the beautiful “  EBOOK – FREE  ” block.  If it is there, fantastic. In the search box below the book’s title I enter my desired search criteria, (typically a surname) and look to see if the book has anything I am looking for.  
If it is not there, I prefer to see the book myself and not rely upon others to do a lookup for me; so, at this I switch back to WorldCat and get the information I need to order the book/material via interlibrary loan.
Generally, in a couple weeks the book is at my local library where I can closely review the material for information pertinent to my research.  
In the case of The History of Wells County, North Dakota, and it pioneers… I received the book in a few weeks and reviewed it closely.  there was a nice seven paragraph biography of A. C. Sanford (Almond Sanford). The biography mentions his mother and father (my 3rd great-grandparents), a brother, and sister settled the area with him, at the same time.  Almond’s sister married William Wright. William Wright is covered in another biography in the book.  I also learned that A.C. had three cousins, Webster, Winfield, and Chas. E., who also settled the area at the same time. Elsewhere in the book, I learned that his uncle, Charles A. Sanford, was a major donor to the University at Jamestown, ND. So much so that a hall was named for him. (Sanford Hall). 
I was able to glean 11 source citations and a few dozen facts regarding the Sanfords and the Parsons that settled Wells County, North Dakota in the early 1880s from the book including this regarding my 3rd Great grandfather William Sanford: 

“Wm. Sanford and his sons, A. C. and George P. Sanford, located on Section 6 in northwestern Sykeston township in 1883.  Wm. Sanford was the father of Mrs. Wm. Wright of Cathay, and a brother of C. A. Sanford of Courtney, donor of Sanford Dormitory at Jamestown College.”
I am certain I will find more information in the three books I still have on request regarding Wells County, N.D., via interlibrary loan.  Hopefully, I will learn exactly how Webster, Winfield, and Charles E are related.

Edward McAllister Summary

Edward McAllister Summary

The investigation into Ted McAllister’s life has been an interesting process.  I started out with very little information, Ted was married, his wife died, later he moved to Savannah where he had “bedded a married woman and was killed by her jealous husband.” 
Further stories said that Ted’s brother-in-law went down to Georgia  to take care of business and have his body returned to Pennsylvania for burial.  The question was, it this all true.
The answer is, yes, mostly.  We learned a lot more about Ted and his life and I learned a lot more about genealogical research.
First, Ted’s name was Edward Lamb McAllister. 
He married Violet Yellig about 1906. They had three sons, Edward, Albert, & Paul. Violet died in 1910. 
Sometime before 1918, Ted married Therisa Bauckmann.  They moved from Pittsburgh to Georgia sometime between 1920 and 1924.  Therisa died in November of 1924 of a cerebral hemorrhage. There is no mention of Ted’s children in Georgia in any of the documents in Georgia. In 1930 the two youngest boys were living with their grandfather, so I suspect they were with family when Ted died. We don’t know if they were in Pennsylvania before of after Therisa’s death.
Mrs. Bell indicated that they had “lived with Ted for about a month,” which provided the opportunity for Ted and Lillian to get to know each other while Lillian’s husband was at work. 
Animosity built between William Bell and Ted over a debt; that Bell said “if [McAllister] ties up my money I’ll kill him.”
Mr. M. H. Bagwell testified that William Bell made statements to the effect that “if McAllister broke up his home he would kill him.”
Wm. and Ted worked at the same place, on different shifts, So Ted would know Bells whereabouts. 
Ted was, in fact, murdered in his kitchen, stuck in the back of the head with a hatchet multiple times.
Ted’s youngest brother, Joseph, went to Georgia for the arrangements.  Joseph didn’t know that Ted was murdered until he got to Georgia, only that Ted died. 
Joseph swore the Arrest warrant for William Bell so he probably had knowledge of the investigation so that he could provide the information to the family.
William Bell seems to have had plenty of motive, however, the police couldn’t tie the hatchet or any other physical evidence to the crime. 
Ted was buried in an unmarked grave in “Strangers Ground” Laurel Grove Cemetery.

Conclusion:

Yes, in all likelihood Ted did bed another man’s wife and was murdered for it. And no, Harold didn’t go down to take care of business and ship the body back. Brother Joseph went down and had the body interred in Georgia.  Harold may have gone with, but clearly Ted was the principal person involved (signed warrant and death certificate).

Followup:

What happened to Edward Lamb McAllister’s children?
The Chatham County Sheriff’s Office responded to a letter from me indicating that the The Chatham County Police Department was dissolved in 2004. They also indicated that jurisdiction was transferred to the Savannah/Chatham Metropolitan Police Department.  I wrote the Savannah/Chatham Metropolitan Police Department requesting more information from them on August 12, 2013 and am yet to receive a response of any kind from them. 

What I learned:

I learned a lot about using Georgia’s Virtual Vault.  It is a really great resource.

I learned how to order microfilm using interlibrary loan using WorldCat and my local library.


The bloody hatchet
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Donna plays at the Lavering Theatre – Twin Falls, Idaho – Dec. 1st, 1919


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Donna plays at the Lavering Theatre – Twin Falls, Idaho – Dec. 1st, 1919

I was unable to find any evidence of Chin Chin playing between November 27th (Thanksgiving) and November 30th.  On December 1st, Donna and the Chin Chin cast played in Twin Falls, Idaho. 
Twin Falls News, Page 2
Source: Genealogy Bank

On November 25th, 1919, one of the oddest advertisements I have seen regarding the  show ran in the Twin Falls News. It was an announcement “TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC” regarding the show.  I did not see any “articles” (really press releases) regarding the show running.  

On November 29th there was a large display ad, which included a photo of Walter Wills and Roy Binder in the paper for the show. On the Nov. 30th and on Dec. 1st there were regular sized ads. The non-paid announcement the paper made was on December 1st under “Amusements” 

LAVERING–”Chin Chin”, Charles Dillingham’s musical comedy.

That’s it.  No hype, no review following the show.  Very odd, it almost seems that the paper didn’t care about either the show or the theatre. I think the theatre’s history sheds some light on the mystery.

Lavering Theatre, Twin Falls, ID

Stage – Lavering Theatre
Courtesy Blacker Furniture 

E. C. Lavering built a furniture store in Twin Falls in 1908. Six years later, in 1914, he built an “Opera House” next door to his store. The theater appears to have had a very small stage (see photo) and had little room. (Imagine a curtain call on that stage with a cast of 65.) I’m sure the size, the lack of newspaper hype for its shows, and, probably, the facility itself all contributed to the theatre’s downfall. In 1922, it switched to moving pictures only.  
1922 was still the era of silent films, short “talkies” didn’t begin until 1923 and the first feature film didn’t release until 1927 (The Jazz Singer).  
Lavering Theatre
Courtesy Blacker Furniture

The theater lasted for only three more years. When it was sold in 1925 the new owners intended to level the floor and remodel it.  In 1927 it reopened as a skating rink that was next door to “Danceland.” That business must not have done well either, because in 1928 it and the “Danceland” were remodeled to become a Packard dealership.  It remained a car dealership for over thirty years. In 1959 it was remodeled again to make Blacker Appliance and Furniture and Appliance store, which stands today.  Oddly enough, this is the only building I know of that Donna played in that is still standing. It has been joined to another building, has had an addition made to the side, and appears to have had the two-story stage area in the back removed, but the basic structure is still standing, 99 years later.

Sources: 
Twin Falls News (Twin Falls, ID)  November 25, 1919  –  Page 2 – via  Genealogy Bank
Twin Falls News (Twin Falls, ID)  November 29, 1919  –  Page 2 – via  Genealogy Bank
Twin Falls News (Twin Falls, ID) December 1, 1919  –  Pages 2 & 4 –  via  Genealogy Bank
Cinema Treasures – Lavering Theatre
Flickr.com – Magic Valley