Evans – Surname Saturday

Origin of Name

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.

Geographical

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

Map showing 1840 Distribution of the Evans Surname
1840 Distribution of the Evans surname in the US. Source: Ancestry.Com

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).

Direct Evans Ancestors

  1. Hugh Eugene Roberts (1926-1997)
  2. Essie Pansy Barnes(1903-1982)
  3.  Marada Mae Lister(1867-1932)
  4. Malinda Evens (c. 1828-c. 1905 ±4)

Known relatives.

My records have identified 94 direct-line descendants of Malinda.

I have two other Evans’ in my family tree; both of them are non-related spouses of other ancestors and have no common ancestor to Malinda.

ENDNOTES


[i] Internet: Forebears – Evans Name Distribution 2014 — http://forebears.io/surnames/evans#meaning

[ii] Ibid.

[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.

“Chin Chin” plays at the Park Theatre in Youngstown, Ohio on 8 April 1920

Vaudeville – Chin Chin

The Search – The Process

Grandmother Donna’s playing at the Park Theatre in Youngstown, Ohio reminds me that not everything is on the Internet.  It is only by luck and happenstance that I learned of “Chin-Chin” being in Youngstown at all.

Last summer, I was researching for “Donna in New Philadelphia, OH, at the Union Theatre – 10 April 1920” and ran across an article via Newspapers.Com, that “Chin-Chin” had also played in Youngstown at the Park Theater. It was really nice to know of another venue for the show.  I was excited to look at that showing later.

I finally had a chance to research the show’s presentation in Youngstown and I couldn’t find much more. After going through my regular sources, Newspapers.Com, Genealogy Bank, and Ancestry.Com, I only had one small ad. Everything I did find came from the Salem News, in Salem, Ohio, about 25 miles away from Youngstown. Nothing from a Youngstown newspaper.

Through the Julius Cahn-Gus Hill Theatrical Guide and Moving Picture Supplement of 1922, under Youngstown, Ohio, I learned there were two newspapers of note in 1922 – The “Vindicator” and the “Telegram.”[i]

The Ancestor Hunt

Next, I needed to see where those newspapers might be available.  My favorite site to look for newspapers is The Ancestor Hunt. I went there and did a quick search for “Ohio.” The first of the responses to the search (that weren’t ads) was Ohio Online Historical Newspapers Summary – Exactly what I was looking for.

A search for Youngstown yielded three items.

McKinley Memorial Library – Youngstown Telegram – The link didn’t appear to work. After a couple minutes, it finally loaded the page. They had a browse by title button, I clicked it and then learned that the only year they have for the Youngstown Telegram was 1918. No help there.

Next, was a link to Google News. There were many issues of the Youngstown Evening Vindicator before May 1893, but nothing from 1920.

Finally, was another link to Google News. There were many issues of the Youngstown Vindicator available there.  Several papers from March, and April 1920 were available, but many others were missing. I looked at the March 27th image. Page 4 was clearly the Amusements page, but there was nothing there about “Chin Chin” that I could discern.  The next paper available on Google News was April 18th, well after the show.

One of the other great features that The Ancestor Hunt pages has is that it typically provides a link to the paid subscription sites so that you can determine which sites might have the newspapers you need. In my case, the Youngstown newspaper search yielded the following:

  • Ancestry.Com – None – (Confirmation that I didn’t miss anything.)
  • Genealogy Bank – Daily News 2011 to current. (Confirmation that I didn’t miss anything.)
  • Newspapers.Com – None (Confirmation that I didn’t miss anything.)
  • NewspaperArchives.Com – None (I am not currently a subscriber.)

Chronicling America

The Library of Congress Chronicling America site is totally awesome. From their homepage, on the top right is a button to [US Newspaper Directory, 1690-Present].  A search for Youngstown newspapers in 1920 yielded 15 results. Two of particular interest were:

The Chronicling America site then will let you know what locations may have the issues you are looking for. According to them,

The Ohio Historical Society has Microfilm for the Telegram from 1901 to 1936.
The Ohio Historical Society has Microfilm for the Vindicator from 1893 to 1936.

So, I am reminded that not everything is on the Internet and that visits are important. Time for a road trip to Ohio.

“Chin Chin” at Park Theatre, Youngstown, OH

Donna and the cast of “Chin Chin” played at the Faurot Opera House in Lima, Ohio on the 6th of April 1920. We don’t know where Donna played on the 7th, but we now know that she did play the Park Theatre in Youngstown, Ohio, on the 8th.  Lima and Youngstown are about 200 miles apart, so I suspect there was another location they stopped along the way.

"Chin Chin" - Park Theater - Youngstown, OH,
Ad – “Chin Chin” Salem News, Salem, OH; 3 Apr 1920

On April 3rd, The Salem News ran a short article about “Scenes of Arabian Nights in ‘Chin Chin’”

The article mentions that the show will be “one night only.” However, an advertisement for the Park Theatre indicates [erroneously] that it will show “2 Days Only.” It was only there for two shows, not two days. “Chin Chin” played at the Victoria Theatre in Steubenville the following night (April 9th).

Park Theatre

According to the Julius Cahn-Gus Hill Theatrical Guide and Moving Picture Supplement (1922), Youngstown was a city of 132,358 (a number directly from the 1920 Census data).[ii] The Park Theatre was a large theater, with a seating capacity of 1,527 and did plays, pictures, legitimate and burlesque. The stage was 36 x 36 feet.[iii]

History of the Park Theatre

Park Theater, Youngstown. OH
Park Theater, Youngstown. OH

The Park Theater was opened in 1901 at 23 S. Champion Street. By 1914 it was operating as a mixed venue having added moving pictures. In 1920, when Donna played there, it was still a mixed venue showing both live shows and moving pictures. In 1948 the theater was purchased by the people of the Grand across the street and converted to a burlesque house. By the 1950’s, it was running X-rated movies.[iv] It finally closed in the 1960’s.[v]

Today, the site is the location of the Youngstown campus of the Eastern Gateway Community College.

Nearby Info

Nearby hotels suggested by 1922 Julius Cahn-Gus Hill guide included the Tod House, Colonial Hotel, Salon Hotel, and the Vanier Hotel. The railroads serving the city were the B. & O. and the Erie, Penn.

Further Research

  • Visit the Ohio Historical Society and review their microfilm for the Youngstown Vindicator and the Youngstown Telegram for April 8th, 1920 plus 14 days before and two days after for information, articles, advertisements, and reviews of “Chin-Chin.” Note: Mahoning Valley Info Forums indicated that the Main Branch of the Youngstown Library also has the Vindicator microfilm. Need to confirm before going.

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Endnotes:

Update: Union Opera Theater – New Philadelphia, Ohio

I heard back from the wonderful people at Tuscarawas County Historical Society. Their responses helped my determine exactly where the Union Opera Theater was located, when it closed, and when it was demolished.  (Refer: Donna in New Philadelphia, OH, at the Union Theater – 10 April 1920.) Thank you, Tuscarawas County Historical Society!

Image of Union Opera House.
Union Opera House,
New Philadelphia, Ohio
The Daily Times, May 24, 1957; Page 1

The Union Opera House was located “at [the] rear of Hotel Reeves Building” on Ashwood Lane.  The city directory of 1921 indicates that the Hotel Reeves was at 133-135 North Broadway[i], behind the Tuscarawas County Courthouse.

In 1893, the Sharp Opera House burned and the city was without an entertainment venue until the Union Opera House company was organized and the theater built adjacent to the Sherman House (later the Reeves Hotel.)

The Union Opera House opened on December 9, 1897, with “Pudd’nhead Wilson” with Edwin Mayo in the leading role.

The Union Opera House had a capacity of 1,057 – 502 on the main floor, 230 in the balcony, 300 in the gallery, and 24 in box seats. The US Census indicates that the population of New Philadelphia, OH was 10,718, so the venue could hold nearly 10% of the population of the city. However, the city of Dover is adjacent to New Philadelphia and contributed another 8,000 to the population.

The opera house continued with a mix of live shows until 1925 when it changed over to movies only.

The Union Opera House closed on 26 May 1957. The final bill included Rock Hudson’s movie “Never Say Goodby” and Richard Widmark’s film, “Backlash.”[ii]

In July 1957, the Reeves Realty Co. announced that the Union Opera House would be razed for the installation of an outdoor parking lot for patrons of the Reeves Hotel.

Specifications for the Union Opera House:[iii]

  • Proscenium opening: 32×22 ft
  • Front to back wall: 42 ft
  • Between side walls: 66 ft
  • Apron 5 ft
  • Between fly girders: 43 ft
  • To rigging loft: 40 ft
  • To fly gallery: 23 ft
  • 11 Dressing rooms

Further Research

According to the Julius Cahn Theatrical Guide, there were four newspapers associated New Philadelphia at the time; the “Times,” “Tribune,” the “Democrat,” and the “Reporter” (at Canal Dover). I have been unable to find copies of those papers. Find sources for the three papers and see if they have any articles regarding the show.

Endnotes

[i] Ancestry.Com – U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 – New Philadelphia, Ohio, City Directory, 1921, pages 136 and 219.

[ii] The Daily Times (New Philadelphia, OH); Friday, May 24, 1957, Page 1, “To Close Historic Union Opera House Here Sunday” via Newspapers.com.

[iii] The Julius Cahn – Gus Hill Theatrical Guide (1913-1914) – Page 525 – New Philadelphia.

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Donna Montran and “Chin Chin” play at the Grand Opera House in Canton, Ohio on 1 April 1920

 Donna Montran – Vaudeville

I have long known that “Chin Chin” played on 20 March 1920 at the Laird Opera House – in Greenville, PA and that they played at the Sandusky Theatre in Sandusky, OH on April 5th, but the 16 days between was a mystery until I searched Genealogy Bank. I now have one more date and location for Donna’s vaudeville career — The Grand Opera House in Canton, Ohio.

The first advertising I see for “Chin Chin” appears to have been on March 26th where there was a small notice of booking and a small advertisement for the show.

The Sunday, March 28th edition of the Sunday Repository, has ads and articles on several pages. On page 31 is there is an article:

Musical Melange With Dancing And Comedy Head Theater Bill

That includes a photo of “Tom Brown’s Clown Saxaphone Band” and a short paragraph which reads;

“Chin Chin,” in which Cantonians saw Doyne and Dixon several years ago, probably is like no other stage production ever conceived. It is just as coherent as its name and it is full of surprises for the beholder. One unusual stage feature follows another rapidly, while pretty girls and catchy music are plentifully interspersed.

That paragraph is followed up with a major article (7 paragraphs) elsewhere on the page titled: “CHIN CHIN” WILL SHOW AT GRAND.” The article doesn’t provide any new information but does highlight many of the acts and songs. There is also a substantial ad on page 45.

Over the ensuing days there were several other short articles and advertisements; however, after the show ran, an article after the show (April 2) had a great write-up. Under the headline,
LARGE AUDIENCE SEES MUSICAL COMEDY AT GRAND THURSDAY
“Chin Chin” Is Presented Here For Second Time—Comedians, Clown Band And Chorus Score Principal Hits of Big Production

The fourth and last paragraph of the article reads, “The best dance of the evening was presented by Wills and Irene McKay, a diminutive lass, whom Wills was able to whirl about as he pleased. Wills’ next best number was an imitation of a famous pianist. Donna Montran made a beautiful “goddess of the lamp. Starr Dunham did some fair work as a dancer. The chorus was provided with various costumes of unique design.”[i]

Donna was a beautiful woman.

Grand Opera House, Canton, Ohio

The Grand Opera House opened on 30 October 1890. Oscar Cobb, who designed more than 300 opera houses, designed the Grand.[ii]

Grand Opera House, Canton, Ohio Source: www.garrisonhouseephemera.com
Grand Opera House
Canton, Ohio

Different sources provide different Seating capacities from 1,000 to $1,400 over the years. I use 1,218 as my preferred capacity: Floor, 550; Balcony, 320; Gallery, 300; Boxes, 48.[iii] It had a 36×28 foot stage.

In 1920, the Thomas Waltenbaugh managed the Grand Opera House. The Grand had already begun showing movies by 1920. The week that “Chin Chin” played at the theater, the silent film, “Mary’s Ankle” starring Douglas MacLean and Doris May showed every other day that week. It appears that by April of 1920, the theater was still trying to bring in high-class live shows, but when they couldn’t, they showed silent films. Like so many of the grand theaters of the time, the Grand began a slow decline as it showed movies and presented burlesque shows. Bethel Tabernacle bought the Grand Opera House in 1946.

 

What Donna and the “Chin Chin” case would have seen – a full house.
Grand Opera House, Canton, Ohio
Source: The Internet – Joseph N. Rubin Productions
[Personal Note:  I was originally going to subscribe to Newspaper Archives and see what more I could find about Donna and her career. I had all kinds of problems. I had an account with them several years ago and tried to login with my old account. It told me I couldn’t log in so I requested a password reset.  I reset my password then tried to log in again. Again no luck.  Then I tried to just subscribe. It said I couldn’t use the email address that I had before. So, I tried calling them.  On hold…. On hold…. On hold…. Then I was told to leave a message, I did letting them know that I wanted to renew my subscription.  Never got a call back.  Tried calling again. On hold… On hold… Finally, I gave up.  I can only imagine how frustrated I’d be if I were trying to cancel a subscription and received the same lack of service.  Anyway, I decided to renew my long expired account with Genealogy Bank.  Worked like a charm.  I then took a look and found “Chin Chin” playing at the Grand Opera House in Canton, Ohio on 1 April 1920.]

Endnotes

[i] “Repository” (Newspaper) (Canton, Ohio) – 2 April 1920 – Page 14 via Genealogy Bank. Emphasis mine.
[ii] Web: Joseph N. Rubin Productions – Grand Opera House – https://sites.google.com/site/josephnrubin/grandoperahouse – Accessed 3 September 2016.
[iii] The Cahn-Leighton Official Theatrical Guide 1913-1914 – Page 510 – via Google.

 

Donna in New Philadelphia, OH, at the Union Theatre – 10 April, 1920

Vaudeville

It had been a busy week. We now know “Chin Chin” played at the Park Theatre in Youngstown on Thursday[i] and the Victoria Theatre in Steubenville on Friday. It was back to the train and headed west about an hour to New Philadelphia for a one-night show at the Union Opera House on Saturday, April 10th.

The Daily Times 3 April 1920
The Daily Times
3 April 1920 Source: Newspapers.com

The initial notice for the show appeared in The Daily Times (New Philadelphia) on April 3, 1920, which was the Saturday before the Saturday show. The Daily Times was the major newspaper of the area with a circulation of 2,575 per the Julius Cahn Theatrical Guide of 1914. Advertising during the subsequent days let folks know many of the particulars of the show, including two car loads of scenery, seven sets, indoor circus, and, of course, the Clown Saxophone Band would be there. Besides the stars, Walter Wills and Roy Binder, Ethel Lawrence and George Usher are mentioned in articles.

1920-04-08-TheDailyTimes-Page5
The Daily Times (New Philadelphia, OH) April 8, 1920, Page 5 Source: Newspapers.com

On April 8th, the Daily Times did run a photo showing 16 of “Chin Chinners.”  I don’t see Donna in this group, but with 65 women in the show that is understandable.

The show itself appears to have gone off without a hitch. According to the “Daily Times” of April 12th, the show had the “biggest crowd of the season.” However, across the street, three men robbed the Union Restaurant at gunpoint during the show. I’ll bet that disrupted theatregoers from having a bite after the show.  Three gunmen — $19.00 taken. They apparently didn’t know what they were doing as they left $40 in silver in the cash register and just took the folding money.

Union Opera Theater – New Philadelphia, OH

(This article was updated.  See: Update – Union Opera Theater – New Philadelphia, OH.)

The Hotel Reeves (New Philadelphia, OH)
Crop of card00072_fr.
Source: Card Cow

I have not been successful determining the exact location of the Union Opera House. Some articles indicate that it was “near the courthouse.” A review of the 1921 City Directory for New Philadelphia indicates that it was “at rear of Hotel Reeves Building.” That same directory indicates that the Hotel Reeves was at 133-135 North Broadway[ii], which seems to be where the county courthouse is.

The Union Opera House had a capacity of 1,057 – 502 on the main floor, 230 in the balcony, 300 in the gallery, and 24 in box seats. The US Census indicates that the population of New Philadelphia, OH was 10,718,[iii] so the venue could hold nearly 10% of the population of the city. However, the city of Dover is adjacent to New Philadelphia and contributed another 8,000 to the population.

The Union Opera House was probably built in 1863[iv].

The Union Opera House was destroyed by fire in November 1893. Rebuild date is not known.

The Union Opera House operated until at least 1940.[v]

Specifications for the Union Opera House[vi]

  • Proscenium opening: 32×22 ft
  • Front to back wall: 42 ft
  • Between side walls: 66 ft
  • Apron 5 ft
  • Between fly girders: 43 ft
  • To rigging loft: 40 ft
  • To fly gallery: 23 ft
  • 11 Dressing rooms

Further Research

I have contacted the Tuscarawas Historical Society regarding information about the Union Opera House (Theatre) regarding the history and the disposition of the theatre.

According to the Julius Cahn Theatrical Guide, there were four newspapers associated New Philadelphia at the time; the “Times,” “Tribune,” the “Democrat,” and the “Reporter” (at Canal Dover). I have been unable to find copies of those papers. Find sources for the three papers and see if they have any articles regarding the show.

Endnotes

[i] I just learned of this performance this week
[ii] Ancestry.Com – U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 – New Philadelphia, Ohio, City Directory, 1921, pages 136 and 219.
[iv] Web: Cinema Treasurers, Quaker Cinema, Comments, Comment by Joe Vogel on January 5, 2010, See http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/6619
[v] Web: Times-Reporter Article posted March 16, 2014, “Local History: Night spots aplenty in the late 1930s” by Jon Baker, TimesReporter.com staff writer. http://www.timesreporter.com/article/20140316/News/140319340
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