Chin Chin – Bennington Opera House – 13 May 1920

Donna Montran and “Chin Chin” play at the Bennington Opera House, Bennington, Vermont, on 13 May 1920

Vaudeville
Chin Chin

We know “Chin Chin” played in Paterson New Jersey on May 7th and 8th. However, we don’t know where the show played during the four-day gap before they played at the Bennington Opera House.

Pre-show Advertising

Pre-show advertising began with a standard “TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC” announcement signed by J.B. Harte that the show would be at the Opera House Thursday, 13 May, for one night only. Along with the display ad was a brief text note that read:

“CHIN CHIN” COMING

Melodious Chinese Fantasy Coming Next Week.

Manager of the Bennington Opera house announces Charles Dilling’s only company presenting that wonderful spectacle “Chin Chin” as his attraction for Thursday night, on May 13.

This play appeared first at the Globe Theatre in New York for two solid years, and has since proven a big sensation to the playgoers in every town where this popular play was presented. In the leading roles will be seen Walter Wills and Roy Binder, who came to us with the stamp of approval won in such productions as “The Wizard of Ox,” “The Red Mill,” “Hitchy Koo,” etc., etc.

The ensuing newspapers contained regular “Chin Chin” displays ads and a few short show descriptions, such this ad the day of the show:

Bennington Evening Banner – May 13, 1920, Page 2, Column 1 & 2. Courtesy Chronicaling America

“CHIN CHIN” TONIGHT

Chinese in Name Only—Full of Fun and Harmony

There appears to be no doubt that Charles Dillingham’s stupendous production of “Chin Chin,” with Walter Wills and Roy Binder in the lead, will duplicate its record of absolute capacity audiences at the Opera House this evening.

Though the title of “Chin Chin” suggests a Chinese setting, it appears that the scenes are not laid anywhere near the Celestial Land.

There is no leading lady in this organization. Although a number of beautiful women, principals and otherwise, songbirds and actresses are in the cast, it appears the she who is to enjoy the place of honor as the first favorite is left to the choice of the public.

Tom Brown of the Six Brown Brothers’ famous Saxophone clown band composed “The Moaning Saxophone Rag,” which is one of the hits of the play.

Post Show Info

I haven’t discovered where the show played the next night, but the night after, 15 May, it played at the Empire Theatre in North Adams, Massachusetts.

Bennington Opera House,
Bennington, Vermont

Bennington Opera House – The entrance was under the tower section to the right of the telephone pole.

The Bennington Opera House was built by Henry Putnam and opened with a production of Macbeth on December 10, 1892. On May 31, 1915, the venue opened with moving pictures – Two reels of William Submarine Pictures and the “seven-reel” film “The Black Box.”

A fire destroyed the theatre on February 10, 1959.

Continue reading “Chin Chin – Bennington Opera House – 13 May 1920”

Ancestor Sketch – Mercy Gay

Brown-Sanford-Gay
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.Mercy Gay was born into a leading Connecticut family. She married and removed to Vermont where she and her husband were early settlers. When her husband died in 1813, she moved west with family members to western New York where she died at 79 years of age.

Roberts/Brown – Ancestor #201

List of Grandparents

Mercy Gay (1761-1841)

Birth

Mercy was born 16 September 1761 in Sharon, Litchfield County, Connecticut, only 22 years after Sharon Town was incorporated. Mercy was the daughter of John Gay. John Gay is considered to be among the “first settlers of the town,” having purchased the town’s 39th lot from Israel Holley in 1743. She had at four brothers, John, Ebenezer, Fisher, and Perez.[i]

Marriage

Mercy married Ezra Clugston Sanford on 11 Oct 1786. Mercy was 25 years old and Ezra was two years her junior.  Together, they probably had five children.

    • FNU Daughter 1 – Born between 1787 and 1789. She probably died before 1800
    • Electa Sanford – Born 1790 in Litchfield, CT; Died 1819 in Byron, NY.
    • Ezra Gay Sanford – Born 1792 in Pownal, VT; Died 1855 in Tecumsch, MI.
    • Sally Sanford – Born 1796 in Pownal, VT; Died 1881 in Byron, NY.
    • Lucy Sanford – Born 1799 in Pownal, VT; Died ca. 1870.

Adult Events

  • The 1790 Census shows Ezra Sanford living in Litchfield, Litchfield, Connecticut with 3 females in his household. One of the females in the household must be his wife, Mercy. One of the other females is probably Electa, who was born in 1790 and one is possibly an unknown Sanford daughter probably born between 1787 and 1789.
  • 1792 Move to Pownal. Ezra and Mercy removed from Sharon to Pownal, Vermont in February 1792.
  • The 1800 Census shows the Ezra Sanford household living in Pownal, Bennington County, Vermont. Living in the household is Ezra and two other males as well as 4 females. Ezra, Junior, would have been 8 years old and is apparently the one male under 10. Lucy (age 1), Sarah (age 4), Electa (age 10), and Mercy (age 39) are all accounted for in the Census. Also living in the household is an unknown male, aged between 26 and 45.
  • 1810 Census – I thought I was unable to find the Ezra Sanford household in the 1810 Census. Eventually, I came to the conclusion that the John Samford enumerated in Pownal, Bennington County, Vermont had to be Ezra. Ezra Junior would have been 17 and Ezra would be 47. Mercy and the daughters, all fit the family unit for John Samford. There are no entries for any Samford in any of the previous or subsequent census records, so I’m fairly confident this is Ezra and Mercy.
  • 1813 – Death of Ezra. Ezra died on 22 June 1813 at the age of 50 years, 2 months. Mercy was granted the guardianship of their 14-year-old daughter, Lucy, and “received several parcels of land from the estate of Ezra Sanford.”
  • 1820 Census – Mercy appears to be living with her son-in-law, Dewey Miller in Bergen, Genesee County, New York.
  • In 1820, the town of Byron was incorporated from part of the town of Bergen.
  • 1830 Census – The Mercy Sanford household of Byron, New York, consists of 1 Female, 60 to 70 years old (Mercy) and a young male (from 10 to 15 years old). My suspicion it is likely a grandson, or even a great-grandson helping to take care of the masculine chores of the household.
  • 1840 Census – There isn’t a Mercy Sanford in the 1840 Census. However, there is a Mary Sanford of the correct age whose neighbors are many of the same people as were neighbors to Mercy during the 1830 Census. The neighbors include David Shed, Erastus Hamond, and Stephen Clark. The entry for Mary (Mercy) Sanford household is:
    • 1 Male 10 to 15 – Unknown male.
    • 1 Female 70 to 80 – Mercy (Gay) Sanford

Apparently, Mercy has another young male helping in the household.

  • Mercy (Gay) Sanford died on 1 May 1841 in Byron, Genesee County, New York. She is buried in the North Byron Cemetery.

Events by Location
Life Events of Mercy Gay Sanford
(1761-1841)

Sharon, Litchfield, Connecticut: Birth – 1761; Marriage – 1786.
Litchfield, Litchfield, Connecticut: Lived 1790.
Pownal, Bennington, Vermont: Lived – 1792; Lived 1800; lived 1810.
Bergen/Byron, Genesee, New York: Lived 1820, 1830, 1840, Death 1841, and Burial, 1841.

————–  Disclaimer  ————–

Continue reading “Ancestor Sketch – Mercy Gay”

Ezra Sanford – Probate – Inventory – 2

Transcription Tuesday
Brown/Sanford
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.This week, for “Transcription Tuesday,” I am looking at the second part of the Inventory Papers of the Probate of Ezra Clugston Sanford (1763-1813)[i]. The Papers are images 10, 11, 12, and 13 of the 19 images contained in the probate file. Ezra and Mercy (Gay) Sanford are my 5th great-grandparents and are among my few known New England ancestors.


Image 397 – Inventory of estate (title)

Inventory of the estate of Ezra Sanford of Pawnal – Rec? Aug 2nd 1813Recorded Book, 5th Pages 354.526 by I. E. Robinson Reg.

Image 398 – Inventory of estate (description)

At a probate court held on Aug 2nd 1813.

The forgoing inventory was ???  approved & ordered to be recorded by Jonah Wright, P. Judge.

Image 400 – Inventory of estate (Page 1)

Page 1st

An Inventory of the estate of Ezra Sanford Late of Pownal Deceased taken the 12th day of July 1813. [ii]

1 – 48 Acres Land 2682
1 Cow called Hill Clean 15
1 ?yned Black Cow 17
1 Brindet Cow 16
1 Yellow Cow 17
1 ??end Cow 15
3 Two year old ?teass 30
2 Two year old heffers? 20
5 One year old ??? 27.50
5 ???? 15
1 Mare 25
2 Young horses 30
40 Sheap [sic] 40
5 goats 90 / 1 old lone 36/ 21
1 Waggon 30
1 Wood shed 75
PLUS 25 Lines of additional personal property[iii]
Carry over to page 2nd $3-176-12

Image 399 – Inventory of estate (Page 2)

Broat over from Page 1st $3-176-12
PLUS 37 Lines Of additional personal property[iv]
Pownal July the 12th 1813 $3-383-42

We your commissioners certify the above and forgoing is a true inventory of the estate of Ezra Sanford late of Pownal deceased sworn unto us by the Administrators of said estate attest

Obidiah Dunham   —  } Commissioners
Isaac Kimbill — }

Facts I learned

I learned that Ezra was pretty well to do. Although he only had 49 acres of land, he had five cows, 3 horses, 40 sheep, and lots of personal property, altogether totaling to over $3,300.

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NOTE:  The Cambridge Dictionary defines “transcribe” as to “make a complete written record of spoken or written words.” My transcriptions are seldom perfect but I do my best to convert handwritten documents into typed words for my genealogical purposes.  If you see anything that I have incorrect, please let me know your thoughts via the Contact Form at the bottom of the page.


Endnotes

[i] Author: Vermont. Probate Court (Bennington District); Probate Place: Bennington, Vermont – Ancestry.com. Vermont, Wills and Probate Records, 1749-1999 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015.

[ii] The original document is handwritten with lines linking the individual items to the value. Rather then using lines like the originally, I’ve created a table to better display the information. I have also truncated the table to include his land and livestock leaving his personal property off.

[iii] Ibid.

[iv] Ibid.

Ezra Sanford in the Early Censuses

Brown-Sanford
Census Sunday
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.One essential action in researching an ancestor is to find that individual in all of the census records during their lifetime.  Ezra Clugston Sanford was a frustration for me.  He died on 22 Jun 1813, in Pownal, Bennington County, Vermont, so he should be in the 1810 census.  Search as I would, I couldn’t find him. Finally, I used a FAN (Friends, Acquaintances, and Neighbors) search technique and found something quite interesting.

1800 Census

Looking for Ezra in the 1800 Census was a success[i].  I found:

1800 Census – Ezra Sanford – Pownal, Bennington, Vermont

Ezra is the 7th entry down from the top.

Ezra Sanford in the 1800 Census

Ezra Sanford || 1 – – 2 – || 2 1 – 1 –

1800 Males in Household

  • Under 10     = 1       Ezra (Junior) would have been 8.
  • Age 26-45 = 2       Ezra (Senior) should be 47.
  •                                     Unknown male.

1800 Females in Household

  • Under 10     2       Lucy would have been 1
    Sally/Sarah should have been 4.
  • 10-16            1        Electa would have been 10.
  • 26-45           1       Mercy would be 39.

So, the 1800 Census shows all of the children of Ezra and Mercy that I would expect. It does suggest Ezra is two years younger than he probably is, but I’ll accept that. Finally, an unknown male was living with Ezra and Mercy in 1800.

1790 Census

Ezra and Mercy married in 1786. I would expect the Ezra Sanford Household of 1790 to consist of:

1 (or 2) Free white male(s) age 16 and up and two white females.

Ezra was born in Newtown, Fairfield County, Connecticut, but he married Mercy in Sharon, Litchfield County, Connecticut. Finally, the couple lived in Pownal, Bennington County, Vermont in 1800, so I would expect Ezra and Mercy to most likely be in one of those three locations in 1790.

A search for Ezra on Family Search yielded three results for the 1790 Census.

Ezra – Litchfield, Litchfield, Connecticut – 1 – 0 – 3.

Litchfield and Sharon are about 25 miles apart so, and this is possibly them.

Ezra – Redding, Fairfield, Connecticut – 2 – 1 – 3.

Reading and Newtown are about 11 miles apart. Likewise, this is a possible location.

Ezra – Warwick, Orange, New York – 3 – 1 – 7.

Warwick, New York is about 85 miles from Sharon and Newtown and over 150 miles from Pownal.  Also, their having a household with seven females would make this a very complex household.  Based upon the location and household makeup, I’m sure the Warwick Ezra is not mine.

Which is my Ezra – The one living in Litchfield or the one living in Reading?  To clarify, I went to the 1800 Census and looked there for Ezra. (Mine was in Pownal, VT) It shows an Ezra Sanford living in Redding, Fairfield County, Connecticut, in 1800, so my Ezra must be the one living in Litchfield, Connecticut in 1790[ii].

Ezra Sanford in the 1790 Census

Ezra – Litchfield, Litchfield, Connecticut

Ezra Sanford   1  || 0  3.

  • Free white male 16 or older = 1 – Ezra.
  • Free white females = 3           Mercy
  •                                                 Electa (probably born in 1790)
  •                                                 Unknown daughter (probably born 1787-1789)

1810 Census

I returned to searching for Ezra in the 1810 Census.

A search for “Ezra” in Bennington County yielded 11 results. None of them had a surname beginning with San…. or ending in …ford.

A search for “Sanford” in Bennington County yields six results. Four were in Sandgate, and two were in Dorset township. I found it interesting that NONE of the findings included anyone in Pownal. I then browsed the 1810 Census records on Ancestry.Com. There, various townships were listed, but Pownal was not one of them. I manually reviewed all of the pages of a group under, “Township not listed.” I was not successful finding anyone resembling “Ezra Sanford.”

Finally, I looked at the names in the 1800 census that were near Ezra. They included people like Obadiah Dunham (who we’ll see named in Ezra’s probate actions) and Israel Osborn. I was able to find them enumerated in Peru, Bennington County, Vermont. Peru?  Peru is a town at the opposite corner of Bennington County from Pownal could this really be?

<<Insert Peru/Pownal Image>>

Pownal misidentified as Peru on Ancestry.Com

Then I noticed that although the search and Ancestry  Page designation indicated it was Peru, the top of the actual page indicated it was Pownal. Very near in the 1810 Census record for Obadiah Dunham is an entry for “John Samford.”[iii]

John Samford – 1 – – 1 || – 2 1 – 1

This looks like “John Sanford” to me.

My view of the name indicated that “Sanford” was just as likely, if not more likely, as “Samford.” So, I wondered, could this be Ezra? The household consisted of the following:

    • Male 10-16     Ezra (Junior) would be 17 ???
    • Male >45         Ezra (Senior) would be 47
    • Female 10-16  Lucy would be 11
    • Female 10-16  Sally/Sarah would be 14
    • Female 16-26  Electa would be 20
    • Female >45     Mercy would be 49

So, the location and family unit for Ezra Sanford appears to fit John Samford/Sanford. John does not show up in Bennington County, Vermont, in either the 1800 nor the 1820 Censuses, so I believe that “John Sanford” in the 1810 Census is Ezra Sanford. I don’t know if Ezra’s full name was “John Ezra Sanford” or “Ezra John Sanford” or if the census enumerator just got his name wrong, but I am fairly certain that John is Ezra, and that the location of Pownal is correct. Thanks to looking into Ezra’s neighbors, I was successful finding who I believe to be Ezra.

My goal to find Ezra Sanford in all of the census records during his life is successful.  Another good day.

Continue reading “Ezra Sanford in the Early Censuses”

Estate of Ezra Sanford – Inventory Papers

Transcription Tuesday
Brown/Sanford
by Don Taylor

This week, for “Transcription Tuesday,” I am continuing my review of the Probate of Ezra Clugston Sanford (1763-1813)[i]. The first section of the Inventory Papers are images 4, 5, and 6 of the 19 images contained in the probate file.

Image 4 (391 – Cover)

Estate of Ezra Sanford – Inventory Papers (front)

Ezra Sanford
Commission to
O. Dunham to appraise.

Image 5 (392 – Cover – left side)

Estate of Ezra Sanford – Inventory Papers – Front Page Notes

Bennington County fs Pownal 10th July 1813 Personally appeared Obadiah Dunham before me and was duly sworn to the faithful performance of his duty as directed in the within commission before me.

Samuel Wright, Justice of Peace

Bennington County fs Pownal 10th July 1813

Isaac Kimbell was sworn to the faithful discharge as his duty as a commissioner on the estate of Ezra Sanford estate, late of Pownal deceased, according to the ?? Commission. 

Before Me —- Obadiah Dunham Justice Peace

Image 6 (393 – a standard printed form with blanks filled in*)

Estate of Ezra Sanford – Inventory Papers – Appraisers assigned to do inventory.

To Obadiah Dunham & Isaac Kimbill of Pownal in the district of Bennington good and sufficient freeholders.

GREETING.

By virtue of the authority vested in me, by the laws of this state, I do hereby appoint you the said Obadiah & Isaac commissioners to appraise the estate both real and personal of Ezra Sanford late of Pownal deceased, and you are hereby directed and empowered to apprize the same according to its true and just value in cash, according to your best judgment, and to make a true Inventory thereof under oath of your fidelity therein, and the same return into the registry of the court of probate for the district of Bennington together with this commission under your hands, and a true copy of said inventory to give to the administratrix of such estate on or before the first Monday of August 1813.

Dated at 5th this day of July 1813

Josiah Wright PROBATE JUDGE

Attest, B Edwards

Register. Protem.

Facts I learned

I learned that Obadiah Dunham and Isaac Kimbill were likely family, friends, or neighbors of Ezra Sanford. I had seen Obadiah’s name before, but it was clearer and more readable in this document then it was in previous documents.

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NOTE:  The Cambridge Dictionary defines “transcribe” as to “make a complete written record of spoken or written words.” My transcriptions are seldom perfect but I do my best to convert handwritten documents into typed words for my genealogical purposes.  If you see anything that I have incorrect, please let me know your thoughts via the Contact Form at the bottom of the page.

* Handwritten entries are in bold.


Endnotes

[i] Author: Vermont. Probate Court (Bennington District); Probate Place: Bennington, Vermont – Ancestry. Vermont, Wills and Probate Records, 1749-1999 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.Com  Operations, Inc., 2015.