Chin Chin at Chatterton Opera House, Bloomington, IL – 1 Nov 1919

Chin Chin
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.Donna joined the “Chin-Chin” show on 30 October 1919 and found no let up. Travel, show, then travel again to the next venue. It was a non-stop different town every night.

On Oct 30, 1919, Donna joined the “Chin Chin” cast. She  played one night there, then traveled the 50 miles to Urbana, IL. One night there at the Illinois Theatre. Then traveled 100 miles to Bloomington, IL, and performed at the Chatterton Opera House, again for one night, November 1st, 1919. So her time with “Chin Chin” went.

Preshow Advertising

The Pantagraph (Bloomington, IL) is the first newspaper I’ve found that advertised that Chin Chin was coming to Bloomington’s Chatterton Opera House. It was a return engagement of the “Gigantic Musical Fantasy.” It was also advertised in “The Vidette,” the weekly student-published paper of the Illinois State Normal University.

Image courtesy of the Milner Library, The Vidette Digital Archive.

Also, in the Vidette was:

“Chin Chin”

Such entertainments as are presented to us by artists like Walter Wills and Roy Binder have more of the spirit of the early Italian pantomime with the addition of music and the modern ballet. Sometimes they resemble the origin of Spanish comedy which was generally in sharp outlines as of skeletons in quick movement as of marionettes. Though the comic spirit pervades every part of such works of which “Chin Chin,” coming to the Chatterton on Saturday, Nov. 1st, is a notable example they cannot be said to be strictly comedy “Chin Chin” is billed as a fantasy, but more strict definition might be applied by using the word extravaganza, which is a combination of comic incidents leavened by dancing in music with a rough and ready element of satire pervading the whole..

One article about the show provided some genealogical information regarding star Walter Wills.

The Pantagraph (Bloomington, Illinois) – 30 Oct 1919, Thu – Page 12, Column 2 “With Chin Chin Company.” Via

With Chin Chin Company.

Walter Wills, a nephew of the late George Wills, the well known retired musical comedy artist, is with the Chin Chin Company, which appears at the Chatterton Saturday night. The young make is well known in Bloomington and has visited his uncle and aunt, Mr. and Mrs. George Wills, at their home, 409 East Front street, on several occasions. He is the son of the late John D. Willis, of Wills, Henshaw and Tenbroeck fame. The son is an eccentric dancer and comedian and is said to possess talent equal to his father and uncle. He will be the guest of his aunt, Mrs. George Wills, on Saturday and Sunday.


In a rare after the show review, the Pantagraph published, on the “Theaters” page, two days after the show the following

“Chin Chin” Does Well.

A large audience enjoyed an acceptable presentation of the well known musical comedy “Chin Chin” Saturday night at the Chatterton. Altho several seasons old, “Chin Chin” continues a favorite, especially with the children, and the Saturday night production was all that was expected. The piece was presented by a large company which sang acceptably the song numbers and worked industriously to put over a pleasing performance, although the comedy was not up to the standard of former companies. The saxophone sextet was an appreciated feature of the evening.

Chatterton Theatre[i]

Chatterton Opera House, BLOOMINGTON, ILL – Courtesy Gerald a. DeLuc, via Cinema Treasures

The Chatterton Theatre opened on April 7, 1910; it replaced the Grand Opera House, which fire destroyed. According to the 1921 theatrical guide, H. D. Merritt managed the 1,300 capacity theatre. Other statistics for the theatre included the following:

Proscenium opening: 34×32 ft
Front to back wall: 37 ft
Between side walls: 68 ft
Between fly girders: 50 ft
To rigging loft: 60 ft
To fly gallery: 24 ft
14 Dressing rooms

Nearby info hotels included Illinois, Hills, Commercial, Metropole, Berry, Phoenix. Railroads included the “Big 4” and Lake Erie & Western, Chicago & Alton, and the Illinois Central. Newspapers: Besides the Pantagraph, for which I have found several articles, there was also the “Bulletin,” an evening paper five days a week.

In 1923, the theater was renamed the Illini Theater. It closed in 1933. The building became part of the MARC Center. By 2011, the building operated as a comedy club for a few years and closed again in July 2014. The building became the Abundant Life in Christ Church and stands today.[ii]


[i] The Julius Cahn-Gus Hill Theatrical Guide and Moving Picture Directory, Vol 20, 1921. Page 149.

[ii] Ibid.

Chin-Chin in the News – Kankakee, IL

Date: 2 Nov 1919 – Kankakee, IL, Majestic Theatre

By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.[My grandmother was a vaudeville star and I am following her career, trying to learn of her many performances. In October 1919, she joined the cast of the Charles Dillingham production of “Chin-Chin” “Chin-Chin” played in the US and Canada until June 1920. I recently researched “Chin-Chin” playing at the Chatterton Opera House in Bloomington, IL. As I searched, I came across a small mention of the show playing somewhere I didn’t have a record for.]

This week’s entry is from The St. Anne Record (St. Anne, Illinois), dated November 6, 1919, via the Illinois Digital Newspaper Collections.

 Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Sprimont Russell Dumontell and Ruth Paradis drove to Kankakee last Sunday and saw Chin Chin at the Majestic. 

November 6th, 1919, was a Thursday, so “last Sunday” would have been 2 November. The venue fits nicely between November 1st, at the Chatterton Opera house, and Streator, at the Plumb theater. Cinema Treasures confirms that the Majestic Theater operated in Kankakee from 1915 to 1957.

New Venue Added: 

Nov 2, 1919 – Kankakee, IL – Majestic Theater “Chin-Chin”

Ethel Wight Collection – Part 63

Howard, Hughes, Huston, Littlefield, & West

Photo Friday
Ethel Wight Collection
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.This week, for Photo Friday, I identify the people in five more envelopes from the Ethel Wight Studio Collection[i]. The envelopes contain the names who paid for the photos, not necessarily of the individual portrayed in the image. As such, it is vital to analyze the pictures and information to identify the individual therein.[ii] Ultimately, my goal is to reunite the photos with family members who may have never seen the image.

Madeline Howard, circa 1937

This negative envelope says, “Miss Madeline Howard, ME Gen Hospital #1042.”

Madeline Howard, circa 1937

Why I believe this to be the individual.

  • The 1937 Portland City Directory lists Madeline Howard as a student nurse at 22 Arsenal (Maine General Hospital).
  • The 1938 Portland City Directory lists Madeline B Howard as a nurse living at 218 Park Ave, Apt 6.
  • The 1939 Portland City Directory lists Madeline B Howard as a nurse who married Ally A Accidio. The Maine Marriage Index, 1892-1996 identified that Madeline B Howard married Ally A Accdo on 18 May 1938.
  • The 1940 US Census lists Ally A Accido and his wife Madeline living at 90 Grafton Street. Madeline is 24 years old and lived in rural Penobscot County, Maine. Her occupation is a Trained Nurse who is nursing in private practice.

This is a photo of Madeline B Howard circa 1937 when she graduated from nursing school.

Ancestry has 18 public trees that refer to Madeline Borden Howard, born 22 October 1915 in Bucksport, Hancock County, Maine. Family Search has a profile for Madeline Borden Howard, L5NK-NP9. So, I  have uploaded two photos of her to profile Family Search Memories. 

Earnest Winslow Huston, circa 1935.

This negative envelope says, “Mr. E. W. Houston, Head Quarters Battery, Fort Preble #280.”

Why I believe this to be the individual.

  • Fort Preble was a military fort in South Portland. It was built in 1808 and was active until 1950, when it deactivated. It may be that Mr. E. W. Houston was not in Portland; instead, he lived in South Portland. Based upon the photo ID number (#280), the photo was likely taken about 1935.
  • The 1935 Portland City Directory lists Ernest W Huston, who was in the US Army and resided at 26 Portland in South Portland. The directory also notes that Portland Street ran from 213 Front Street to the Harbor (Spear’s Wharf) in South Portland, less than a mile from Fort Preble.
  • The 1936 Portland City Directory lists Ernest W Huston as a driver (from Bridgewater, Mass.) residing at 26 Portland in South Portland
  • In 1937, Ernest was employed at 17 Cross; no home address was provided.
  • In 1938, Earnest W. Huston was a driver at 241 Commercial and residing at 70 Forest Ave.
  • In 1939, Ernest W. Huston and his wife Sally J resided at 24 Briggs in Portland.
  • The 1940 US Census lists Ernest and his wife, Sally, living at 24 Briggs Street. The 28-year-old Ernest was living in Puerto Rico during the 1935 Census.

I’m sure this photo is of Ernest W. Huston about 1935 when he got out of the US Army, and he was about 23 years old.

Ancestry has 13 public trees that refer to Ernest Winslow Huston, born 4 October 1911 in South Portland, Maine. Family Search has a profile for Ernest Winslow Huston, LB19-CC3; I have uploaded his two photos to his Family Search Memories. 

Confirmed to by Ernest Huston by a grandson.

Marjorie Minola West, circa 1935

This negative envelope says, “Mrs. Katherine Hunter, 80 Cumberland Ave #433.”

Marjorie Minola West, circa 1935

Why I believe this to be the individual.

  • The 1935 Portland City Directory lists Charles H Hunter, an electrician living at 80 Cumberland.
  • The 1936 Portland City Directory available at Ancestry is missing pages 454 to 456. So I am unable to confirm Charles or Katherine in that directory.
  • The 1937 Portland City Directory lists Charles H Hunter living at 45 Smith.
  • The 1938 and 1939 Portland City Directories list Katherine M Hunter living at 45 Smith Charles but is not listed as Charles’ wife, suggesting a different relationship. Also living at 45 Smith are William H and William J. Hunter, Jr.
  • The 1940 Portland City Directory lists Charles, living at 335 Congress. William and William, Jr. are residing at 165 Cumberland.
  • The 1940 Census lists William Hunter, Jr. as the head of household with his father, sister Kaytlene, and niece Marjorie M West living with him. Marjorie is seven years old.
  • Social Security Applications and Claims identify Marjorie Minola West, whose father is Raymond C. West and whose mother is Elizabeth M. Hunter. Marjorie was born on 4 April 1933 in Portland.

Continued research did not find any references to Elizabeth M. (Hunter) West after the birth of Marjorie. So, I suspect Elizabeth died before Katherine took Marjorie to have her picture taken about 1935. In any event, I believe this is a photo of Marjorie Minola West.

Ancestry has four public trees that refer to Marjorie Minola West. Family Search does not appear to have a profile for Marjorie. So, I have added her photo to Dead Fred. 

Josephine (née Melaugh), Dorothy, and Avery Hughes, circa 1936.

This negative envelope says, “Mrs. Avery Hughes, 49 Mayo St #699, #700.”

This set of films includes a woman with two children, a boy about six, and a girl around 4. There is one additional image of the younger child.

Why I believe this to be the individual.

  • Josephine (née Melaugh), Dorothy, and Avery Hughes, circa 1936.

    The 1934 Portland City Directory indicates that Josephine E Melaugh married Avery E Hughes during the previous year.

  • The 1935 Portland City Directory lists Mrs. Josephine E Hughes living at 49 Mayo.
  • The 1939 Portland City Directory lists Mrs. Josephine Hughes living at 39 Cotton.
  • The 1940 Census lists Avery Hughes and his sister, Dorothy Hughes, living with their stepfather, Carl Belyea, and his wife, Mary Belyea. Avery is eight, and Dorothy is 6.
  • Ancestry Family Trees indicate that Dorothy Jane Hughes was born 7 January 1934 to Avery Ellis and Josephine (Ely) Hughes. Josephine’s parents were John & Cora Melaugh.
Dorothy Jane Hughes, Circa 1936

I am confident this is a photo of Josephine with her two children, Avery and Jane, about 1936.

Josephine Melaugh appears in 27 public trees on Ancestry. She also has a family Search profile, G77V-HWH. Dorothy Jane Hughes appears in six Ancestry Trees. Avery E. Hughes appears in only one Ancestry Family Tree, and in that tree, a marriage record was misread to identify his place of birth incorrectly. Neither Avery nor Dorothy appear to have profiles on Family Search. I have uploaded one photo of Josephine with the two children to Josephine’s Family History Memories. I have uploaded one photo of Dorothy by herself to Dead Fred.

Confirmed to be Josephine (née Melaugh) & Dorothy Hughes by a granddaughter of Josephine.

Robert Allen [Littlefield] (adopted) Howard, circa 1933.

This negative envelope says, “Ms. Geo S Howard, 22 Cedar St #172.”

Robert Allen [Littlefield] (adopted) Howard, circa 1933.
Why I believe this to be the individual.

  • The Portland City Directories lists George S Howard and his wife Lillian residing at 22 Cedar, Apt 4.
  • The 1940 US Census lists George and Lillian Howard living at 25 South Street. With them are their three sons, Kenneth, Clarence, and George Jr.; the youngest was 16-year-old son, George Jr., clearly too old to be the child in this photo. However, the Census also indicates that Robert Littlefield, a six-year-old adopted son, lived in the household.
  • Ancestry Family Trees indicate that Robert Allen [Littlefield] Howard was born on 7 July 1933.

This photo appears to be of Robert about 1933.

Ancestry has eight public trees that refer to Robert Allen [Littlefield] Howard. Family Search does not appear to have a profile for Robert Allen [Littlefield] Howard, so I have added his photo to Dead Fred. 


  • I fully identified all seven Three of them have Family Search profiles, so I uploaded their images to their Family Search Memories
  • I identified three individuals who did not have Family Search profiles but did appear in Ancestry trees, so I posted their images to Dead Fred.
  • One photograph was of a person without a Family Search profile; however, his mother was also in the photo; I uploaded his image to his mother’s profile on Fam mmily Search.

For all the Ethel Wight Collection analyses, please see here.

Final Note

If any of these photos are of your family member, I would love to hear your reaction. Especially if this photo is of a loved one for whom you hadn’t seen this photograph before.


[i] The Wight Studio was in Portland, Maine. Many thanks to Ethel Wight’s family for access to and permission to use the collection of their great aunt.

[ii] These images were converted to positives using a lightbox, a Nikon camera and computer software.

Ancestor Sketch – Betsy Kinsey Binford

Howell Research
Howell-Pankey-Binford Line
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.[Following women during colonial times is always tricky, and Betsy Kinsey (Binford) Pankey is no exception. Seldom are women mentioned except in the context of another family member. What I have learned about Betsy was found in various wills and Quaker records.]

Betsy Kinsey Binford was born in 1739 in Henrico, Virginia, the daughter of Elizabeth and Thomas. She married Samuel Pankey in 1759 in Henrico county. They had five children during their marriage. She died as a young mother in 1770 in Goochland, Virginia, at the age of 31.

Betsy is found in 399 Ancestry Public Trees and is Family Search profile LZN1-15V.

Howell/Darling Ancestor #69

List of Grandparents

    • 4th Great-Grandmother: Betsy Kinsey Binford (1739-c. 1771)
    • 5th Great-grandfather: Thomas Binford (____-1754)*
    • 6th Great-grandfather: James Binford (____-____)*
    • 7th Great-grandfather: Anthony Binford (____-____)*

(I have not researched the Ancestors marked with an asterisk “*”; thus, they are speculative/tentative.)

Betsy Kinsey Binford (1739-c. 1771)


Betsy was born about 1739 in Henrico County, Virginia Colony. She was the fifth child of Thomas and Elizabeth (Kinsey) Binford. In various records, Betsy is referred to as Betsey and Bettie. Likewise, her middle name (and her mother’s maiden name) is spelled Kinsey and Kinsie in various records.

Children of Thomas and Elizabeth Binford (Siblings)

Name Born Married Died
James 1722 Margaret Mosby – 1745 1781
Priscilla 1724 Benjamin Watkins – 1754 1793
Thomas 1726 Judith Ladd – 1753 1815
John 1728 Susanna Ellyson – 1784 1790
William 1732 Mary Peebles – 1756 Bet 1791-1815
Betsy 1739 Samuel Pankey – 1759 Bet 1770-1772
Mary 1741 Joseph Ladd – 1767 1775
Sarah 1743 Amos Ladd – 1763 1814

In 1752 she was mentioned to receive ¼ of her father’s estate upon her mother’s death, Elizabeth. Her father died before August 1754, when she would have been about 15.


Betsey married Samuel Pankey in 1759 in Henrico County. She was 20, and he was 21. She did not receive permission from her mother to marry outside of her Quaker Faith and was disowned at a Quaker Meeting in August 1762. Her brother Thomas aided her in helping her to get to a priest for the marriage. He was found guilty but wasn’t punished by his Monthly Meeting “due to his youth.”

Children of Samuel and Betsy Kinsey Pankey

Name Born Married Died
Marion 1761 Sheldrake Broaddus – 1777 1831
Philip 1763 Ann Brown – 1788 1819
Thomas Armstrong c. 1765 Martha Cannon – 1785 1829
Judith Elizabeth c. 1767 Joseph Sallee – 1795 1818
Elizabeth c. 1770 George Walton – 1796 1616

Death/Burial, etc.

Betsey died between 1770 and 1772 in Manakin Town, Goochland County[i], Virginia Colony.

Events by Location

  • Virginia Colony, Henrico County –  Birth 1739 until 1759 (Marriage).
  • Virginia Colony, Goochland County, Manakin Town – 1759 until c. 1771 (Death).


    • Mary L. Bruner, Binford Family Genealogy ( Greenfield, Ind., Wm. Mitchell Printing Co., 1925), Archive.Org, Page 19.
    • William Wade Hinshaw, Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy (Baltimore, MD, Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., Orig 1950, Reprint 1973, 1993), Ancestry, Page 159 – 1762, 8, 7. Betty Kinsey Binford
    • Edmund West, Compiler, “Family Data Collection” – Individual Records, Ancestry, Samuel Pankey – No Image. Birth year: 1738; Birth city: Manakin Town; Birth state: VA.
    • Edmund West, comp., “Family Data Collection” – Marriages (Provo, UT, USA, Operations Inc, 2001), Ancestry, Samuel Pankey – Betsey Kinsey Binford – 1759.
    • George Edward Pankey, John Pankey of Manakin Town, Virginia, and His Descendants: Descendants and Connections of His Son Stephen Pankey, Sr., of Lucy’s Springs, Chesterfield County, Virginia (Lousiana: Ruston, 1969), Page 48 – 4. Samuel Pankey. Personal Library.
    • George Edward Pankey, John Pankey of Manakin Town, Virginia, and His Descendants: Descendants and Connections of His Son Stephen Pankey, Sr., of Lucy’s Springs, Chesterfield County, Virginia (Lousiana: Ruston, 1969), Page 51 – 4. Samuel Pankey (Continued). Personal Library.
    • US, Quaker Meeting Records, 1681-1935, Ancestry, Betty Kinsey Binford – Pages 70 & 71 – 7 Oct 1762.
    • Virginia Births and Christenings, 1584-1917, Family Search, Philip Pankie – 29 May 1763. Virginia Births and Christenings, 1584-1917″, database, FamilySearch ( : 28 January 2020.


[i] Goochland County was founded in 1728 as the first county formed from Henrico Shire.

The Quakers Disowned Betsey Kinsey Binford

Amanuensis[i] Monday
Howell-Pankey-Binford Line
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.Researching 18th Century women is often difficult. Learning that 4th great-grandmother, Betsey “Betty” (Binford) Pankey, was disowned by her religion because she married outside her Faith puts other events into context, such as why she was ignored in several wills of her family.

Document Image

U.S., Quaker Meeting Records, 1681-1935, Ancestry, Betty Kinsey Binford – Pages 70 & 71 – 7 Oct 1762.


[Page 70 – bottom]

Whereas Betty Kinney Binford Daughter of Thomas & Elizabeth Binford of Henrico was educated in the profession of us the people called Quakers and did sometimes frequent our Religious Meetings, but for want of a faithful adherence to the dictates of that Divine Principle which was sufficient to have preserved her in a due observance of the known Rules of our Society hath been prevailed on to suffer self to be joined in marriage by a Priest to a man of a different Persuasion in matter of Faith

[page change to the top of page 71]

Without the consent of her parent & contrary to the advice of Friends.

We do therefore hereby disown the said Betty to be of our Society until she come to witness that Godly sorrow that worketh true repentance which that the Lord may mercifully grant her is our sincere desire.

Signed by order & on behalf of our monthly meeting
held in Henrico County the 7th of the 0th mo. 1762      } Robert Pleasants teth

Dolly Jordan                               Elizabeth Elmore
Mary Ellyson                               Jane Ellyson
Judith Ladd                                Mildred Kinsey
Elizabeth Crine                            Urnela Pleasants
Morning Crine


Betsey’s brother, Thomas, married Judith Ladd, and her brother, John, married Susanna Ellyson, likely a relative of Mary and Jane Ellyson. Likewise, Betsey’s sister Sarah married Amos Ladd. So, it appears that although Betsey married outside of the Quaker community and was disowned, her siblings married within the Society.


I was surprised to learn that Quakers would disown a person for marrying outside of the Society.


[i] John Newmark started the “Amanuensis Monday” category in 2009 on his Blog,  Transylvanian Dutch  and many bloggers have followed suit using the tag. Google provides the following meaning for amanuensis: “A literary or artistic assistant, in particular one who takes dictation or copies manuscripts.”