Montrans in the News – Female Help Wanted.

Beauties at City Hall, Boston, 1916, Included Donna MontranMontran Monday
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.

My grandmother’s father was John Montran. She used the surname, as a young child and again when she began in show business. The name is uncommon and most of the Montrans I see in the newspapers are her during her vaudeville career. With a constant flow of newly digitized material, I often learn of new articles which contain the Montran name. I pay attention to the finding and try to determine it’s possible relationship to grandma Donna or her father, John Montran. Hopefully, you will find the articles interesting. This week, for Montran Monday I found the following article:

The Philadelphia Inquirer dated March 30, 1916[i]

Philadelphia Inquirer, 30 March 1916, Page 15.

Article transcription:

YOUNG LADY of pleasing personality, Free to travel to advertise magazines, big money and steady position. Inquire Miss Montran, Keystone Circulating Co. 304½ N. Broad St.

How exciting. I know very little about Donna’s life during 1916. In July 1915 she was in Boston and did her biplane stunt and in September she kissed Politicians at a Republican Banquet. It is not again until December 1916 and Donna tries out to be the Miss Boston Beauty for the Preparedness Bazaar that there are any items of her life that I know about.

When my mother was pregnant with me, she traveled from city to city selling magazine subscriptions; could she have gotten the idea of doing that from Donna’s previously working for such a company? If so, it would make sense and be a key bit of information about my mother’s selling magazine subscriptions. I researched the Keystone Circulating Company at length and found many articles about the Philadelphia based company. Only the one article ever mentions “Miss Montran.”

I track 45 different Montran individuals in my database. A look there found that Maude Minnie Winter Montran was probably living in Philadelphia in 1916. In 1910, Maude is living with a family and working as a Christian Science Nurse. By 1920, Maude had moved from Philadelphia to California. Seeing her working as a magazine circulation sales representative in 1916 in Philadelphia is more likely to me that having had Donna move from Boston in 1915 and returning to Boston in 1916.

I learned:

I don’t believe this “Miss Montran” is my Donna Montran. It is much more likely to have been Maude Minnie (Winter) Montran.


[1] Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, PA) March 30, 1916, Page 15, Column 5, FEMALE HELP WANTED, 6th advertisement. Via Genealogy Bank

Double Census Enumeration – William Taylor & Family

Bradley-Hingston Project

By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.Certainly, I’ve looked for individuals in the various census records and have been unable to find them anywhere and I believed they were missed in the Census. Also, I’ve heard that occasionally individuals are counted twice and have seen where a young man left home and was enumerated in one place while he was also enumerated with his parents. But, until now, I had never encountered a case where a family was enumerated twice.

I was surprised to see the inconsistencies between the two census entries, something that reminds me that Census records are often incorrect.

William S. Taylor, Jr. his wife Marie, and his three children, Dorothy, John, and Madeline, were enumerated in both Cape May, NJ, and in Philadelphia, PA. The Pennsylvania enumeration is odd, as the family was initially identified as “head, wife, & children” and then stricken out and had “Boarder” added instead.

Differences in the two entries for the Taylor family in 1900 Censuses.
Name Philadelphia, PA Cape May, NJ
Taylor, Wm S Jr Born Dec 1856 Born Dec 1859
Taylor, Maria P Born Dec 1865 Born Dec 1864
Born Pennsylvania Born Arkansas
Parents b. TN & LA Parents b. KY & KY
Taylor, Dorothy (All the same) (All the same)
Taylor, John (All the same) (All the same)
Taylor, Magdeline (All the same) (All the same)
Polk, John W. (not listed) Age 80
Rabey, Margarette Born Mar 1870 Born Mar 1872
Servant House Keeper
Comparison of two entries
Philadelphia, ED 159, Sheet 3A, Lines 29-34 Avalon, Cape May, Ed 107, Sheet 12A, Lines 1-7

Besides the family structure, it is the servant, Margarette Rabey. Her presence in both entries proves that this is the same family.

The New Jersey entry also shows, living with the family was a “Boarder” John W. Polk, aged 80. Maria’s maiden name was Polk, so it is likely John W. Polk is related to Maria, possibly her father.

So, from the 1900 Census, there is a three-year window when William was born, a one-year window when Maria was born. The 1910 Census indicated that Magdeline’s mother, Maria, was born in Arkansas, which lends a little more credence to the Cape May entries.

It will be fun to learn definitively when William and Maria were born.


Ancestor Sketch – Arthur Wilson Bradley

52 Ancestors – Week 2018-23
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.It is interesting to encounter the event that suggests the rule. Arthur Wilson Bradley’s probate is probably an example of what not to do. On the other hand, it might be a great example of karma reaching out from the grave and making things better for the abused. Family oral history says that Arthur was a mean and abusive man. His wife, Magdalen [i], suffered with him for 27 years.  Then in March of 1937, the two divorced.  The following month Arthur and Rose Taucett took out a marriage license.  I can’t find any evidence that Arthur and Rose married, however, later in 1937 Arthur did marry again, this time to Alice M. Kneipp. Arthur died the following January (1938). Apparently, Arthur didn’t change his will when he remarried. In any event, his first wife, Magdalen became the Executrix for his probate and received $5000 in personal and $3000 in real estate holdings from the estate. Well, good on her, that the abused wife received the estate.  On the other hand, I’ve long heard, if you don’t want the ex to get your stuff, update your will.

Bradley-Hingston 2018 – Ancestor #4

List of Grandparents

  • Grandfather: Arthur Wilson Bradley
  • 1st Great-grandfather: William C. Bradley

Arthur Wilson Bradley (1887-1938)

Arthur Wilson Bradley was born 23 May 1887 in Philadelphia, the fifth child of William C and Emily (Earle) Bradley.

William and Emily Bradley’s known children

Name Birth
William C. Bradley Apr 1873
David C Bradley Mar 1875
Marion Bradley Nov 1877
Walter C Bradley Apr 1879
Arthur Wilson Bradley May 1887

The long, eight-year, gap between Walter and Arthur suggests there may be additional siblings, heretofore unknown.  However, I expect to be able to know more when I research his parent’s lives further.

Thaddeus Stevens School promoted Arthur to Central High School in 1902.

Boys Central High School, Philadelphia, 1904 – Source: Hidden Philadelphia via Wikipedia

He then graduated from Central High School in 1906 with a Bachelor of Arts.


The big news the day Arthur turned 21, on May 23, 1908, was about a big storm that hit the area. Tornado and cloudburst struck Camden, which flooded the streets and tied up traffic. In Philadelphia, the Old Christ Church was struck by lightning, as was the steeple of the Baldwin Memorial Presbyterian Church in West Philadelphia.  On the political scene, Senator Foraker, of Ohio, attacked President (Theodore) Roosevelt for declaring that the “colored soldiers discharged without honor by him [Roosevelt] in connection with the ‘shooting up’ of Brownsville were in the same class with the assassins of Presidents McKinley and Garfield.”[ii] [Good on Senator Foraker.]


On April 4, 1910, the 22-year-old Arthur married 20-year-old Magdalen Polk Taylor. The two had three children.  The young couple had three known children:

Name Birth
Christian Bradley 1911
Miriam Bradley 1912
David Tasker Polk Bradley 1918

Immediately after their marriage they lived with Arthur’s widowed mother, Emily, her spinster sister, Emma, and Arthur’s brother, William. Also, in the household was a 22-year-old Irish immigrant servant. They lived at 4073 Powelton Ave. That address does not appear to exist today. Arthur was working as a Linotype Operator, an occupation he would have for many years.

Image of a linotype machine.
Linotype Machine – h Century by James Penny Boyd, page 590, via Flickr

Sometime before 1915 the couple moved across the Delaware River to Pennsauken Township, New Jersey. The couple moved back to Philadelphia before 1917 and were living on Verree Road when Arthur registered for the draft. His physical description was given as medium height, slender build, gray eyes, and light hair.

On 27 September 1919 eight-year-old Christian was hit by a truck while playing in the street; he died.

The 1920 Census shows the family, living on Verree Road. Residing with Arthur, Madeline, and the two children (Miriam & David) is a 17-year-old maid from Bohemia named Frances Corbel.

Arthur’s mother died in 1927 and in 1928 Arthur sold his mother’s house and property at 57 West Greenwood Avenue in Lansdowne to Elizabeth Bradley Belcher.

The 1930 Census indicates that Arthur gave up linotype operations and moved to the country to work a truck farm. They lived out in Warminster, on Davisville Road. By the way, the word ‘truck’ in “truck farm” does not refer to a truck used for transportation, rather it comes from the old French word troquer, which means “barter” or “exchange.”[iii]

Death & Burial

1937 was an awful year in many ways. First, in March 1937, Arthur and Magdeline divorced. In April, Arthur received a marriage license to marry Rose Taucett. That marriage does not appear to have occurred. However, later in the year he married Alice M Kneipp. Arthur was very sick during the latter part of the year because he died from bladder cancer on 5 January 1938.

Arthur’s death certificate indicates he was buried at Mount Vernon Cemetery in Philadelphia. I have been unable to find a marker for him. This cemetery is closed, locked up, apparently abandoned, and sadly overgrown. There is a video on Vimeo that shows the state of the cemetery in 2016 – Heartbreaking.

Mt Vernon Cemetery from nilkin67 on Vimeo.

Further Actions / Follow-up

  • Find a copy of the 1906 Central High School, Philadelphia, Penn., yearbook and look for Arthur’s interests and photo.
  • Find Arthur’s burial location and possible stone at Mount Vernon Cemetery.
  • Get copy Arthur’s will from Bucks County.

————–  Disclaimer  ————–


  • 1900 Census (FS), Family Search, 1900 Census – William Bradley – Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. “United States Census, 1900,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 30 May 2018), William Bradley, Philadelphia city Ward 15, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 268, sheet 4.
  • 1910 Census (FS), Family Search, 1910 Census – Emily E Bradley – Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. “United States Census, 1910,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 30 May 2018), Emily E Bradley, Philadelphia Ward 24, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 513, sheet 6A, family 122, NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1982), roll 1398; FHL microfilm 1,375,411. Accessed 29 May 2018.
  • 1915 New Jersey state census, population schedule, Arthur W Bradley – Pennsauken Township, New Jersey. “New Jersey State Census, 1915,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 15 March 2018), Arthur W Bradley, Pennsauken Township, 1 district, Camden, New Jersey, United States; citing sheet #12B, household 282, line #77, New Jersey State Library, Trenton; FHL microfilm 1,465,511.  Accessed 1 Jun 2018
  • 1920 Census (FS), Family Search, Arthur W. Bradley – Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. “United States Census, 1920,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 29 May 2018), Arthur W Bradley, Philadelphia Ward 35, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States; citing  ED 1238, sheet 1A, line 30, family 7, NARA microfilm publication T625 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1992), roll 1637; FHL microfilm 1,821,637. – Accessed 29 May 2018.
  • 1930 Census (FS), Family Search, Arthur W Bradley – Warminster, Bucks, Pennsylvania. “United States Census, 1930,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 30 May 2018), Arthur W Bradley, Warminster, Bucks, Pennsylvania, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 75, sheet 10B, line 82, family 251, NARA microfilm publication T626 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2002), roll 2008; FHL microfilm 2,341,742. Accessed 29 May 2018.
  • Bristol Daily Courier, Bristol, Pennsylvania ( 09 Mar 1937, Tue · Page 4 – Divorce – Anson W. Bradley Magdalen P. T. Bradley.

  • Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Church and Town Records, 1669-2013, Ancestry.Com, Marriage – Arthur Wilson Bradley & Magdalen Polk Taylor. Historical Society of Pennsylvania; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Historic Pennsylvania Church and Town Records; Reel: 242.
  • Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966, Ancestry.Com, Arthur Bradley – Died 5 Jan 1938.
  • Pennsylvania, Wills and Probate Records, 1683-1993, Ancestry.Com, Arthur Wilson Bradley – 1938. Orphans Court Records, 1683-1866; Index, 1683-1958; Author: Pennsylvania. Orphans’ Court (Bucks County); Probate Place: Bucks, Pennsylvania
  • Pennsylvania, Wills and Probate Records, 1683-1993, Ancestry.Com, Arthur Wilson Bradley – Case Number 37383. Wills, 1713-1906; General Index, 1682-1939; Author: Bucks County (Pennsylvania). Register of Wills; Probate Place: Bucks, Pennsylvania.
  • Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1902-05-29, Page 6 – Central High School – 15th Sec.}
  • Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1906-06-15, Page 4 – “HIGH SCHOOL BOYS ARE GIVEN DEGREES” – List of Graduates – Bachelor of Arts—Classical Course—… Arthur Wilson Bradley, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (
  • Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1937-04-03 – Marriage License – Arthur W. Bradley & Rose Taucett.
  • United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 , Family Search, Arthur W Bradley “United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 13 March 2018), Arthur W Bradley, 1917-1918; citing Philadelphia City no 34, Pennsylvania, United States, NARA microfilm publication M1509 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 1,907,756. Accessed 30 May 2018.


[i] Madeline and Magdalen are used interchangeably in various documents. I have settled on using Magdalen because that is the spelling of her name on her tombstone marker.

[ii] The Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) · Sat, May 23, 1908, Page 1, Via

[iii] Internet:  Online Etymology Dictionary: Truck (n.2) and Truck (v.1)

Donna Darling Collection – Part 29

Globe Theatre
Treasure Chest Thursday
By Don Taylor

Donna Montran – Ill and Injured

The Donna Darling Collection has a page that included four little clippings. None of the four were dated. Elsewhere on that scrapbook page are articles regarding Donna’s playing at the Cosmos Theater in Washington DC in March. (More about that in another post.)

ILL AND INJURED [Transcript]

“Ill and Injured” – Donna Darling Collection

“Dave Kramer (Kramer and Boyle dislocated his knee in stepping out of an automobile. The team were forced to cancel the last half of last week as a result. (April 21)”

“Bill Vidocq. Keith agent, has returned from Lakewood and is back on the fifth floor of the Keith Exchange.

“Illness beset the Donna Montra [sic] and Bathing Girls Revue last week twofold when Juva Marconi dislocated her hip while dancing, causing her confinement in the Lankanau Hospital, Philadelphia. Later in the week Miss Montran, the prima donna of the company, underwent a nose and throat operation in New York.

[Globe Theatre, Philadelphia, May 16]

Illness Strikes Donna

“Donna Montran, who with her Bathing Beauties was forced to cancel some time through the necessity of an operation recently, has fully recovered and opens at the Globe theatre, Philadelphia, for a return engagement, May 16.”

[Ann Troy]

Ann Troy joins

“Ann Troy, dancer, has replaced Juva Marconi in the Donna Montran and her Bathing Beauties act.”

[Donna Takes Summer Off]

Bathing Beauties closes for summer

“Donna Montran closed her Bathing Beauties act last week and will rest up for the summer. She will appear in production next season.”


  1. In April 1920, Donna was still performing with “Chin-Chin” in Maryland.
  2. In March 1921, Donna was performing “Donna Montran and her California Bathing Beauties.”
  3. By April 1922, Donna had changed her stage name to “Donna Darling.”

So, we know that “ILL AND INJURED” must be referring to 1921.

  Birth, Marriage & Death CollectionApril 21 was the last half of the week of April 17 to 23. That means that Juva Marconi must have dislocated her hip sometime around April 17 to 19 and that Donna must have gone to New York for her surgery about 20th or 21st.

In Clipping 2, we learn the Donna and her Bathing Beauties opened at the Globe Theatre, Philadelphia on May 16.

In Clipping 3, we learn that Ann Troy replaced Juva Marconi in the show.

In Clipping 4, we learn that the show closed for the summer. It is unclear when that occurred.

What I learned:

  • Donna and her Bathing Beauties, including Juva Marconi, must have been playing in Philadelphia or somewhere near Philadelphia the week of 17 April 1921. Possibly the Globe Theatre.
  • Donna went to New York for nose and throat surgery about 20 April 1920.
  • Donna and her Bathing Beauties “returned” to the Globe theatre on May 16.
  • Donna and her Bathing Beauties closed sometime after May 16 for the summer.

Consequent to the above, I have updated the Donna Montran Timeline to include the following:

  • April 17, 1921 – Unknown Theater near Philadelphia (Possibly the Globe Theatre).
  • May 16, 1921 – Globe Theatre, Philadelphia, PA – Donna Montran and her Bathing Beauties.
  • Date unknown [May, June, or July 1921] – Donna Closed the Show for the Summer.

Ancestor Bio – Thelma M. Montran Babcock – Poet

Montran Project
52 Ancestors – Week 192
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.Now, I go off on a speculative tangent. It is my assertion that my great grandfather, John Montran who married Ida Mae Barber is the same individual as John Foster Montran, who married Maude Minnie Winter. Both John’s were probably born in France, both lived for a time in Pennsylvania, both were traveling agents, and both died before 1911. Finally, John Montran is a fairly unique name; I have only found two lived contemporary to my grandmother’s birth – John and John Foster. Anyway, I suspect my John and John Foster are the same person. I have searched and have been unable to find any time or place where both can be seen at the same time.  John pops into existence about 1892 and marries my great-grandmother, Ida, has my grandmother, then vanishes. A John Foster Montran married Maude Minnie Winter about 1894 and had two children. Then he vanishes about 1897. Ida remarried in 1897 and Maude claimed to be widowed by the 1900 census. My speculation is that John Foster Montran is my Great Grandfather and that the two John Montran’s are one person.

DNA testing would answer the question clearly if I am able to find a descendant of John Foster Montran and if that descendant agreed to test. With that in mind, I have begun researching the descendants of John Foster Montran to see if I can find a direct descendant. John Foster Montran had two children with Maude Minnie Winter. They are Thelma M. Montran and Ruth Grace Montran.


John Montran Project 2017 – John’s Daughter Thelma

Great-grandfather: John Foster Montran (Potential)

His Wife: Maude Minnie Winter

Daughter: Thelma M. Montran
Daughter: Ruth Grace Montran

His Wife: Ida Mae Barber (My great-grandmother)

Daughter: Madonna Mae Montran (My grandmother)

Thelma M. Montran Babcock (1895-1974)

Generally, I like to use the census closest to the birth of the individual to identify the birth year. However, in the case of Thelma, the 1900 census indicates that she was six years old, and was born in June 1894. However, every other record I can find about Thelma, census records, newspaper articles, and Social Security records all indicate or support that she was born on 23 June 1895 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to John Foster and Maude Minnie (Winter) Montran.

The 1900 census finds Thelma, and her younger sister Ruth, living in Waterloo, New York, with her aunt, Jerusha; uncle, Penrose Brown; and their grandmother, Maryann Winter. Their mother was living 50 miles away in Rochester, New York working as a live-in nurse.

The 1910 census finds the two girls living with Jerusha and Penrose, but were identified as adopted daughters. They lived in Shamokin, Pennsylvania and their mother lived 120 miles away in Philadelphia.


About 1915, Thelma married Minor Howard Babcock and moved to Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan where their first child, Olga Ruth, was born in February 1916 and the family appears in the 1916 Canadian Census.

Children of Minor Howard and Thelma M (Montran) Babcock

  Birth Death
Olga Ruth Babcock Feb 1916 (in Canada) 4 May 2001
Montran Benson Babcock 11 June 1922 June 1972


The 1920 census finds Thelma had moved back to the United States and was living with her husband and daughter in San Francisco.

The 1930 census finds Thelma living at 534 W. Nectarine St. in Inglewood, California. Minor is an accountant and their two children are with them. Also, in the household is Thelma’s mother, Maude Montran.

In 1935 the family is still living on Nectarine Street, however, Thelma is running a Confectioner business at 211 E. Queen. Her daughter, Olga, is working as a clerk for her.

The 1940 census indicates that Thelma and Minor had become divorced. Thelma was working as the proprietor of a guest house with many lodgers. With her are her two children, Olga and Montran.


A 1944 newspaper article indicated that Thelma was “widely known as a poet,” she owned a 20-acre apple-tree ranch near Lake Gregory and owned a hotel in the San Bernardino Mountains.


Thelma died on 7 May 1974 in Los Angeles County, California.  I have not determined Thelma’s final resting place.


Family Tree Maker 2017 indicates that Thelma is the “daughter of my Great-Grandfather.” By my reckoning, she is my grandmother’s half-sister, thus my grand-aunt. Thelma’s children would be my mother’s 1st cousins and my 1st cousins once removed. Finally, Olga and Monty’s children would be my 2nd cousins. A DNA test of any of them would prove conclusively if my speculation that John Montran and John Foster Montran are the same person. If you are a descendant of Thelma Montran Babcock, I would love to hear from you.  We might be cousins.


1900 Census (FS), Family Search, Penrose Brown – Waterloo, Seneca, New York.

1910 Census, Other, Penrose Brown – Shamokin, Northumberland, Pennsylvania;. Family Search.

1916 Canada Census, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, , Other, 1916 Canada Census. Year: 1916; Census Place: Saskatchewan, Moose Jaw, 17I; Roll: T-21931;.

1920 Census (FS), Family Search, Miner [Minor] H Babcock – San Francisco, San Francisco, California.

1930 Census (NARA), Ancestry.Com, Minor Babcock – Inglewood, Los Angeles, CA [Maude Montran].

1940 Census, Ancestry.Com, 1940 – Thelma (Montran) Babcock – Inglewood, Los Angeles, California; Roll:.

California Death Index, 1940-1997, Family Search, Thelma M Pretz (Montran/Babcock).

California, County Marriages, 1850-1952, Family Search, James R Hinds & Olga R Babcock.

Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles, CA, ), Newspapers.Com, 1944-12-30, Page 4 – Thelma Montran Babcock.

U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995, Ancestry.Com, Inglewood, California, City Directory, 1935 – Page 30 – Babcock.

U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995, Ancestry.Com, Inglewood, Hawthorne and Lennox, City Directory, 1933 – Page 35 – Babcock.

United States Social Security Death Index, Family Search, SSDI – Thelma Pretz (Montran/Babcock).