Donna in Winnipeg, MB, Canada, at the Walker Theatre – January 19-24, 1920

Graph by Danny Blair
University of Winnipeg

Chin Chin plays the Walker Theatre, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, January 19-24,
1920


I still don’t know where Donna and the “Chin Chin” company was before they arrived in Winnipeg. The show was in Calgary, January 8th to the 10th, but where they were the 11th to the 18th is not known yet. What I do know is that it was bitter cold that week in Winnipeg.  Lows in the minus 30s; highs in the minus 20s.  Bitter Cold. It didn’t reach zero the entire month. 

The first advertisement I could find for “Chin Chin” coming to Winnipeg was the Manitoba Morning Free Press dated 1 January 1920 in a short note – “Coming to the Walker”

Manitoba Morning Free Press
January 1, 1920
Courtesy: Ancestry.Com

COMING TO WALKER

– – – – – – – – – – – – –
Chinese Atmosphere Surrounds
“Chin Chin”

Melodious, artistic and diverting is “Chin Chin,” scheduled for the Walker theatre soon. To Walter Wills and Roy Binder are entrusted the principal parts, supported by a company of clever comedians and a beautiful chorus. In their songs, “The Chinese Honeymoon,” “Go Gar 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.


Both the Manitoba Morning Free Press and the The Winnipeg Tribune began running advertisements for the show on January 10th. On the 10th there was also a short blurb in the Winnipeg Tribune about the show.

Unfortunately, Ancestry.Com does not appear to have any copies of the Manitoba Morning Free Press for the week of 17 to 22 January, 1920 and Newspapers.Com does not have issues of The Winnipeg Tribune for the same period either. I have been unsuccessful finding other sources for these newspapers, so it is unlikely, I will be able to find reviews of the show.  Neither paper of the 23rd or 24th indicate anything other than small ads that typically run during the tail end of a run.

Theater

The Walker Theatre

The Walker Theatre was a pretty incredible theatre. It was built in 1906 at the cost of $250,000. It was huge. It seated 1,798 people and had a 80 foot wide stage. The stage was 40 feet deep and 70 feet high. As such it was designed for extravaganza’s like “Chin Chin” and its 60 plus individuals.

The building was initially intended to be part of a large block but only the theater was built. Consequently, the entrance juts out oddly and the theater external walls are quite blank and plain.

The building was used for live performances until it closed in 1933. It was taken over by the city for taxes in 1936. In 1944 it was sold, renovated for motion pictures, renamed the Odeon Theatre, and reopened in 1945. It operated as the premier single-screen theater in downtown Winipeg for many years.

In 1990, it was purchased by the Walker Theatre Performing Arts Group who restored the building’s original architectural features and reopened the theater for live performances in March, 1991. The theatre was also designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1991. In 2002, the theater was renamed the Burton Cummings Theatre for the Performing Arts.

Burton Cummings Theatre in Winnipeg, Manitoba.jpg
Burton Cummings Theatre in Winnipeg, Manitoba
by Ccyyrree – Own work.
Licensed under CC0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Today the theater has been restored to its former glory.  It is a venue for live performances, primarily musical. For example, in March 1015 Celtic Thunder will play there. Check them out on their website.

Further Research
Continue my research regarding where the “Chin Chin” show & company was the week before and the two weeks after Winnipeg.

Sources:

Ancestry.Com – Manitoba Morning Free Press (Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada)
Newspapers.Com – The Winnipeg Tribune
Historical Canada – http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/walker-theatre/
Burton Cumings Theatre for the Performing Arts – http://www.burtoncummingstheatre.ca/venue/
Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burton_Cummings_Theatre

DNA, the X Chromosome & Minerva Tolliver Manning

For many years, I have been hearing the stories that my 3rd Great Grandmother, Minerva Tolliver Manning was “Full-Blooded Cherokee.” I’ve never believed it and have written about the possibility of Minerva being Native American a few times before. Please see:


Ever being the skeptic, I considered that my grandmother had really gotten pregnant from a different man other than whom she said was the father. She was apparently estranged from her husband at the time of her pregnancy and anything is possible. (She never suggested that her husband was the father.) If the man she always said was the father actually was, then my mother’s half-sister will show the same genetic information on their X-chromosome.

My half-aunt was tested and sure enough, they are half sisters, which we expected. What is really cool is that for a person’s 22 chromosomes they are a mix of each of their parents, however, for the 23rd chromosome, the XX, a girl receives one X from their mother and one X from their father. The mother’s X is a blend of her parents but the father’s contribution is passed on with little to no change. That means that if two girls share the same father then one of the X chromosomes is identical between the two girls. My mother and my half-aunt share one X exactly, so we know, beyond any doubt, they share the same father.

Person
Name
% contribution atDNA
% cont. of X Chromosome
Individual
Mom & Half Aunt
100%
100%
Father
Clifford/Dick
50%
100%
Grandmother
Mary Manning
25%
50%
Great-grandfather
John W. Manning
12.5%
50%
2nd Great-Grandmother
Minerva Tolliver
6.25%
25%
3rd Great-Grandfather
Tulion Tolliver
3.125%
12.5%
As you can see from
the above table, a person’s 2rd Great-Grandmother provides four
times the contribution to an X chromosome than to the normal atDNA
contribution. If Minerva was full-blooded Cherokee as family history says then,
alternating sex through generations, her 2nd great-granddaughters should
have about 25% Native American contribution. Not there.  According the test results from 23 & Me,
their identical X-chromosome shows no Native American contributions.  
What is very interesting is that although both my mom and my
aunt are over 99% European, there is a .2% Sub-Saharan contribution overall and
it is on the X chromosome.  Looking at
only the shared X chromosome it appears to be between 4% and 6% of the X contribution.
That would be in keeping with a 4th or 5th Great-Grandparent’s
contribution.  If Minerva were ¼ to 1/8th
Sub-Saharan African, she would have had about the right percentage to “pass” as Native
American.  From the DNA evidence that
appears to me to be much more likely of a scenario than for Minerva to have
been Cherokee.
My Mom’s X results
My Aunt’s X results



 

Future Activity
As the saying goes, a mother knows her own children, but fathers can be a surprise. As such, I’m confident that Clifford/Dick was Mary’s child. I am also confident that Enoch and Minerva believed that Mary (and her sister Phoebe) were their granddaughters. Mary and Phoebe were orphaned and Enoch and Minerva raised them for a while.

Although reasonable and likely, there is always a possibility that someone else jumped into the mix. I know next to nothing about Mary’s parents, John William Manning and Eliza Jane Fannin. It is always possible that John William Manning wasn’t Mary’s father. Mary had a half brother, Robert, but we are not certain if he was John’s child or Eliza’s child who took on the surname of Manning. In either event, I don’t believe that line will provide much in the way of proof. Rather, Minerva had five daughters, Nancy Ann, Sarah Jane, Mary Ermaline, Grisella, and Prudence Manning. Their female descendants will have the mtDNA that would show Native American ancestry if Minerva were, in fact, Cherokee.

I’ll continue research for the descendants of Minerva and see if any of them are interested in testing, but as things sit currently, I am confident that Minerva was not Native American.

Letter of Delores Sarah Brown Pribbenow dated Letter – 4 April 2005.

Amanuensis Monday 

Transcript of Letter from Delores Brown Pribbenow

I find Facebook to be one of the absolute best resources I’ve ever used for research. A few months ago I was able to “friend” a first cousin once removed. “BLZ’s” mother, Delores, and my grandfather were siblings. As such, she is a contemporary with my mother. She also lived near my grandfather and great grandmother for many years and had her own stories. She also has some of the old records and writings of her mother, Delores, and her grandmother (my great-grandmother) Mary Brown. I wrote Delores in 2001 and received a wonderful letter that I’ve incorporated into my research long ago. I found out from BLZ that her mother wrote another letter, this time for her children, in 2005; of which, my cousin scanned and sent me a copy. This 2005 letter included many new (to me) tidbits of information regarding family. I admit I have a difficult time using old handwritten documents so I transcribed it for my use.

There are many new tidbits of information.  One of the best was my grandfather’s middle name.  He changed his name from Clifford D. Brown to Richard Earl Durand to Richard Earl Brown.  I have never found a document which included his “D.” middle name.  Delores’ letter is the first place I’ve ever seen a middle name for him — Durwood.  Durwood fits as it was his father’s middle name. There is also mention of a great grand uncle, Robert Manning, that I had never heard of before.  I knew that a Robert J Manning lived with Enoch, Minerva, Mary, and Phoebe as shown in th 1885 Minnesota Census but I never knew the relationship. So, it appears that all three children were living with their grandparents in 1885.  I learned the occupations of several great uncles and the surname of the man Adia/Ada married. All-in-all a very helpful letter.

If you are able to connect with a cousin, start with sharing photos or stories, eventually, you may find the cousin has fresh documents you haven’t seen before. Cousins can be great resource to enhance your understand and knowledge of your family.

Below is a copy of the letter and my transcript. There are a couple of words I can’t quite make out, so, anyone who wants to help please feel free to comment. I have also highlighted new tidbits of information.

— — — — — — (Page 1) — — — — — — 

April 4th, 2005
Delores Pribbenow Letter
Page 1 Dated April 4, 2005
Source: BLZ

I, Delores Sarah Pribbenow, being of sound mind do write this truth for my children to refer to:

I was born the 11/7/1917 to Arthur Durwood Brown and Mary Elizabeth Manning. Mary was born 1876 April 17, lived to be 107. She died on mothers Day. Born 1876 in Kernsville, Kentucky, maiden name Manning. Art was born in Lansing Michigan, they had twelve children raised 10 to adulthood. Two died as infants (Dorothy & Martin) of measles. Children are as follows: Clyde Leroy B. Clarence Andrew B, Victoria Cocialia, Cora Elsie, Clifford (Dick) Durwood, Edward, Louis B., Arthur Eugene B. Charles W B. Delores Sarah, Nettie Mae Viola, the youngest. My mom passed away in Bethany Home in Brainerd. My father passed away in Walker Minn. in hospital, I remember it well. My momn& I camped on the campgrounds at Leach Lake to be near him at his last moment. He died in the night time during a terrific storm. Power was all out. So we didn’t hear until morning when we went to see him, we transported his body by train to Sylvan depot and he was buried in Sylvan or Gull River Cemetery. My Dad, Arthur had surgery in Brainerd for Gall Stones and appendicitis, never recovered his health. Doctored in Rochester, Mayo Clinic, and other doctors ended up in Walker. No help. I’m sure it was cancer he had yellow jaundice and lot of pain with chills, he kept is appendix and gall

[———– Next sheet (Page 2) ————-]

Delores Pribbenow Letter
Page 2 – Source: BLZ

bladder & stones in a glass jar until his death. My memories of him are seeing him sitting in a chair braced up against a tree with a straw hat on and smoking a corn cob pipe. Also walking with hands clasp behind his back – while viewing his crops in the field. We raised cucumbers for the Heinz pickle company acres and acres of them. Back breaking job to get them ready to sell. We lived many miles from towns had to transport by team & wagon at least twenty miles one way. My mother had one sister Phoebie and a half brother Robert Manning.

My dad had many Sisters and Brothers, ???? I remember them

Uncle William 
   “  Clyde
   “  Clifford – Wife Lou Lou 
   “  Edward – farmer wife Dora 
   “  Fred was a barber – wife Anna 
   “  Charlie – A cook – Minnie his wife 
Aunt – Ada – husband Ben Mayers – a lawyer owned an island in Gull Lake also a gold mine
   “  Bertha
   “  Minnie 

In the old days they had a child every 9 months it seemed up to a dozen and they continued to rename the child after the aunts and uncles – making it very confusing. I had many uncles and cousins I never ever met.

[———– Next sheet (Page 3) ————-]

Delores Pribbenow Letter
Page 2 – Source: BLZ

My Mothers Sister Phoebe Brown, Richmond. Sisters married Brothers, my uncle Clyde Brown, my dads brother married my mothers sister Phoebe. They had two children, Stella Brown Barnet, Henry Brown – They were my double cousins. Then Uncle Clyde was crushed between to box cars on the M N I rail road he was a brake men, Phoebe later remarried to William Richmond they had Billie, Mahala, Norman, George Herbert Jim Gilbert uncle Will R. died and Phoebe remarried to Milo Upton.

Uncle Bob Mannings wife was Martha – She died in the State of Washington they had sons named Grant & Herbert, that I new

Uncle Ed Brown died of cancer – had button put in this throat talked there that also my Brother Ed had the same thing many years later – Cancer has taken all of my family – I am the only one left.

Donna in Vancouver, BC, Canada, at the Avenue Theater –December 25-27, 1919

Chin Chin Ad – Dec 20, 1919, Page 10
Vancouver (BC) Daily World
Source: Newspapers.Com

I haven’t found where Donna was before the showing at the Avenue Theater on Christmas Day, 1919. The “Chin Chin” company was in Pendleton, Oregon, on December 10th. I am sure that the company continued west, probably played in and around Portland, then headed north. They probably played in Seattle area before continuing on to Vancouver, British Columbia.

Advertising appears to have begun with a short article on the 13th of December letting people know that the show was commencing on Christmas Day – No holiday rest for the “Chin Chin” cast. The article points to the show’s success at the Globe Theatre in New York for two years and by the box office receipts during its road tour. There is also reference to the composer, Ivan Caryll, the writers, and the leading roles played by Walter Wills and Roy Binder.[1]

On December 20th, there was a long article explaining the show and many of its highlights. Also on the 20th was the first of many standard “Chin Chin” ads. Articles and ads continue on the 23rd.

The show began on the 25th and the newspaper the following day calls out Donna by name. “Donna Montran, as the “Goddess of the Lamp,” is a lovely singer and sings sweetly, as does Ethel Lawrence as “Violet Bond.” The reviewer went on to slam the other singers saying that the “producers had put looks before voices.”[2]

Theater
The Avenue Theatre opened on April 10, 1911 at the northwestern corner of Main and Georgia. The seating capacity was just over 1,200[3]. George B. Howard managed it. In 1914, it was taken over by Klaw and Erlanger (Theatrical Syndicate) as a theatre for touring companies such as “Chin Chin.”[4]

Neither the Julius Cahn Gus Hill Theatrical Guide (1913-1914) nor the 1922 Supplement include any Vancouver, BC, theatres. I did find another guide from the 1930s that mentioned the Avenue Theatre, but it indicated that the theatre hadn’t supplied any information regarding itself.

Herbert Lloyd’s “Vaudeville Trails Thru the West” (1919) does include Vancouver, BC, theatres. The Columbia, Orpheum, and Pantages’ Theatres are covered in detail, but nothing about the Avenue.

Avenue Theatre [Main and Georgia Streets]Photograph by Walter E. Frost
Source: City of Vancouver Archives

The theatre fell into disuse about 1930 and was demolished about 1936[5], It was only a 25 year-old building.

Today the location is part of the “Golden Gate Center.”

Endnotes

[1] Vancouver Daily World (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada) · Sat, Dec 13, 1919 · Page 8. Newspapers.Com
[2] Vancouver Daily World (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada) · Fri, Dec 26, 1919 · Page 11 – Newspapers.Com
[3] Article: “The Organization of Professional Theatre in Vancouver, 1886-1914” by ROBERT B. TODD – Source: University of British Columbia Library, Open Journal Systems – http://ojs.library.ubc.ca/index.php/bcstudies/article/viewFile/1035/1073
[4] Ibid.
[5] Vancouver As It Was: A Photo-Historical Journey – ELECTRIC VAUDEVILLE – https://vanasitwas.wordpress.com/2014/08/09/electric-vaudeville/.

100 Years ago – Clifford D. Brown (AKA Richard Earl Brown) (AKA Richard Earl Durand)

Arthur Durwood Brown Family abt 1912
Clifford (Dick) is 3rd from left in suspenders.
Source: Personal Photo Collection

In 1914, 11-year-old Clifford was living with his parents, Arthur Durwood and Mary Elizabeth Manning Brown in Merkel Township, Kidder County, North Dakota. It was a large family of 10 children (at that time). (An 11th child, whose name and sex we do not know, had been born and died before 1900.) His father worked as a laborer on a farm and the family rented their home. His youngest brother, Charles William Brown was born the previous July.

Neighbors to the Browns included a Russian family headed by John Merkel. Living with John was his wife and six kids plus Edd and Dertha Merkel Brown. Dertha was John Merkel’s daughter and Edd was Arthur Durwood Brown’s youngest brother. Near them was another John Merkel, presumably a son of John. The 1910 Census indicated 111 families in the township, many more than exist today. The 2010 Census indicated only 21 housing units in the township and a steady decline in population over the previous several censuses. It is clear though that the Brown family lived in a tight community of family.

Photo by by JBTHEMILKER
Source: Panoramio | Google Maps

The 1910 Census also indicates that Clifford was attending school. It is unclear where the three Brown children, Victoria, Cora, & Clifford, went to school. It was more than 30 miles to Fessenden or to Steele so the children must have gone somewhere closer. The published by Geo. A. Ogle and Co. in 1912 shows that there was “School Land” about three miles south of the land the Browns were working. I’ve looked for evidence that a school was ever built there and I have been unable to find any. I think it likely that the children attended the school in Robinson about 8 miles away. The public school building from 1916 is still standing and it is likely that the tree attended that school.

  
Historically, October, 1914, was a very important time.  Although the Brown family was isolated in the
North Dakota plains, they most assuredly knew the great war was beginning. Archduke
Franz Ferdinand and his wife were assassinated in Sarajevo on June 28th. Those
two shots sent the world into the chaos known as The Great War (World War I).  In July, Austria-Hungary declared war on
Serbia. In October of 1914 the perpetrators of the attempted bombing
assassination and the successful shooting assassination of the Archduke were sentenced.