Abbreviated Sketch – Chester Fenyvessy

Brown-Montran Research
Montran Line
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.We all have surprise discoveries. Events that you had no idea occurred. That family secret that was never, never, spoken of. One of the most significant surprise discoveries I’ve had in my genealogical research was learning that my grandmother was married before she married Sammy Amsterdam. I was flabbergasted after discovering that Donna (Madonna) married Chester Fenyvessy in 1911. I talked with my mother; she had no idea about the marriage. She thought Donna’s marriage to Sammy was her only marriage. Likewise, I spoke with my Uncle Russ. He had never heard of Donna’s first marriage, either. He believed that Donna’s marriage to Sammy was her only marriage. However, Madonna Montran Holdsworth[i], whose mother was Ida Mae Barber and was from Detroit, Michigan, married Chester Fenyvessy on 1 October 1911.

This marriage fit with the oral history I knew about Donna’s life. I remember she attended the Royal Conservatory (of Music) in Toronto. After Toronto, she went to Rochester, New York. There she found a music store and played piano in their window (for free) to encourage potential piano buyers to see what could be done with the piano. The music store liked the draw, and Donna was able to practice her piano—a win-win for both. She was offered a job working at a nearby movie theater playing the piano for silent films from the exposure she received there. That’s as much as the family oral history went.

Enter Chester Fenyvessy.

Donna was 18 when she married 24-year-old Chester. Chester was the manager of Colonial Theatre in Rochester, NY. In any event, the marriage was short-lived. By 1914 Donna was in California as a Mack Sennett Bathing Beauty and appearing as a dancer in Birth of a Nation. By 1915, Donna had crossed the country again and was in the Boston area.

By 1912, Chester had relocated to West Hoboken, New Jersey, and by 1915, had returned to Troy, New York.

Roberts/Brown – Ancestor #6B

List of Grandparents

    • My 1st step-grandfather: Chester Fenyvessy
    • Donna’s 1st father-in-law: Albert A. Fenyvessy

Chester Fenyvessy (1888-1973)

1888 – Chester was born on 9 August 1888 in Binghamton, New York. He was the second of six children of Albert A and Hermine (Overbauer) Fenyvessy.

Children of Albert and Hermine Fenyvessy (Siblings)

Name Born Married Died
John 16 Dec 1886 Bessie Weber (1917) 26 Dec 1972
Chester 9 Aug 1888 Madonna Montran (1911) Nov 1973
Florence 18 Feb 1892 Benjamin Belinson (1924)
Paul A. 7 Oct 1893 Jane Peck (1931) 26 Mar 1981
Carol M. J. 9 Apr 1899 Mella Rittenhouse 26 Aug 1990
Albert O 19 Feb 1909 Ruth LNU 25 Apr 2008


1910 – Chester is reported living with his parents at 1010 Elmwood Ave in Buffalo and lodging at 10 First in Troy, New York. In the Buffalo City Directory, he was listed as the manager of Novelty Amusement Co.; in the Troy City Directory, he was identified as a theatrical manager at 324 River.

1911 – Chester is managing the Colonial Theatre in Rochester, NY. On 1 October 1911, he married Madonna Montran Holdsworth.

1912 – The 1912 Rochester City Directory indicates Chester “removed to West Hoboken, New Jersey.”

1948 – Chester married Ruth R Hosking in Rochester, New York.

Death/Burial, etc.

1973 – Chester Died on 26 November 1973 in Monroe County, New York. His ashes were buried at Mount Hope Cemetery, Rochester, Monroe County, NY, on 24 January 1974.


  • 1910 Census (FS), Family Search, 1910 – New York, Rensselaer, Troy, ED 46, Sheet 21A, Line 17 – Chester Fenyvessy. “United States Census, 1910,” database with images, FamilySearch ( accessed 9 May 2022), Chester Feenynessy in the household of John Russell, Troy Ward 3, Rensselaer, New York, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 46, sheet 21A, family 34, NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1982), roll 1070; FHL microfilm 1,375,083.
  • 1920 Census, 1920 – New York, Monroe, Rochester, ED 254, Sheet 16A – Lines 42-48 – Albert A Fenyvessy, Head. “United States Census, 1920”, database with images, FamilySearch (2 February 2021), Albert A Finyvessy, 1920. – Accessed 8 May 2022.
  • com, U.S., City Directories, 1822-1995 (Provo, UT, USA, Operations, Inc., 2011),, Buffalo, New York, 1910, Page 447 – Fenyvessy.
  • com, U.S., City Directories, 1822-1995 (Provo, UT, USA, Operations, Inc., 2011),, Rochester, New York, 1911, Page 342 – Chester Fenyvessy.
  • com, U.S., City Directories, 1822-1995 (Provo, UT, USA, Operations, Inc., 2011),, Rochester, New York, 1912, Page 350 – Chester Fenyvessy.
  • com, U.S., City Directories, 1822-1995 (Provo, UT, USA, Operations, Inc., 2011),, Troy, New York, 1910, Page 211 – Mgr 324 River bds 10 First.
  • New York, U.S., State Census, 1905, Ancestry, NY, Erie, Buffalo, Ward 24, ED 3, Page 11, Lines 11-17 – Albert A Fenyoessy [Fenyvessy] Head. New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1905; Election District: E.D. 03; City: Buffalo Ward 24; County: Erie; Page: 11.
  • New York, U.S., State Census, 1915, Ancestry, NY, Rensselaer, Troy, Ward 3, AD 01, Page 6, Line 16 – Chester Fenyvessy. New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1915; Election District: 03; Assembly District: 01; City: Troy Ward 02; County: Rensselaer; Page: 06.
  • Ontario, Canada Marriages, 1801-1928, Ancestry, Fort Erie, Welland County, Ontario, Canada – Marriages – Chester Fenyvessey & Madonna Montran Holdsworth – 1 Oct 1911. Archives of Ontario MS932_155.


[i] Joseph A Holdsworth was Ida’s 2nd (or 3rd) husband. She married him on 16 August 1904 in Essex, Ontario, Canada.

Donna in the News – Binghamton Theater, Binghamton, New York

“Apple Blossoms” – 16, 17, & 18 November 1922

 Vaudeville, Donna Darling & Boys
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.“Donna in the News” is my reporting of newly found newspapers articles and advertisements regarding my grandmother, Madonna Montran (aka Donna Montran and aka Donna Darling). I am always excited when I find a new venue for my grandmother’s exciting show business career of the 1910s and 1920s. 

Binghamton Press and Sun-Bulletin – Nov 16, 1922 – via

This week I found an article from the Press and Sun-Bulletin (Binghamton, NY) newspaper dated 17 November 1922 via

The other acts on the bill the last half of the week include Donna Darling and company, with Murray Walker, assisted by Jack Finney and Nellye Du Barry, in “Apple Blossoms,” a super song reuse and dazzling dance fantasy….

Because of those newly available online articles, I was able to add another date and venue to Donna’s vaudeville career.

  • November 16, 17, 18, 1922 – Binghamton, New York – Binghamton Theater – “Apple Blossoms”

The Will of Charles Stockard – 23 November 1920

Amanuensis[i] Monday
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.Charles Stockard was the first husband of 4th great aunt Elizabeth Rebekah (Walter) Stockard (later Gurley).  His will was made 23 November 1820 and was filed with the court on 8 January 1821. (Which presumes he had already died.) It mentions his wife, Elizabeth, and his two children, Margaret and William.  Witnesses are James Planno, David Swazzo, and Elkena Walters. Elkena is Elizabeth’s brother. David Swazzo is likely David Swayze, Elizabeth’s brother-in-law. James Planno is unknown (for now). The two children were also unknown before and are tentatively attributed to Elizabeth.

<<PAGE 70>> (lower half)

— name of God amen I Charles Stockard being wea- — —— –
——sound and perfect mind and memory do make and———-
——– last will add testament in manner and form follow—–
————First I give and bequeath unto my beloved wife Elizabeth
—– kard all my ready money and all the money that is due me
——-different persons living in the State of Virginia which in in Chrise
—–ttles hands for collection and all my goods and Chatties of what kind
and nature soever for her to purchase a comfortable farm and to have
and to held the same until my two Children Margaret and William
Stockard arrives of the age of twenty one years then the land
equally divided between them after my dearly beloved wife Elizabeth Stockards proper dower is set off to her and it is my desire for her to
raise the two Children and give them good schooling and in case
of the decease of my Children then my beloved wife to have the
whole farm whom I appoint my sole Executrix of this my last
will and testament by me made in witness whereof I have hereunto
set my hand and seal this 23rd day of November in the year of our
Lord one thousand and eight hundred and twenty

Charles X Stockard

Signed sealed puolished and declared by the
above named Charles stockard to be his last
will and testament in presence of us who have
hereunto subscribed our names as witnesses
in presence of the Testator.
James Planno, David Swazzo, Elkena Walters

<<PAGE 71>>

Fairfield County Ohio ss at a special Court of Common pleas Holden
at Lancaster in and for the county aforesaid on the 8th day of January 1821 the foregoing last will and Testament of Charles Stockard is preduced and proven by Elkena Waters and David Swazzo two of the Subscribing witnesses and ordered to be recorded and that the letters testementary thereof be a ____ to the Executrix therein named

Atteste Hugh Boyle, Clk. F.C.

[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.”

Walter’s in the 1830 Census

Census Sunday
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.Following families in the early census records is always tricky and following a woman through census records before 1840 is especially difficult. Margaret Ann (Swann) Walter is challenging. So, if I could follow her children in the censuses, I might see her in one of their households.

Margaret died in New Salem, Fairfield County, Ohio, in 1826. The date she came to Ohio is still unknown. I have not been successful in finding her husband, James Walter, in the 1830 Census, even though he died in Rushville, Ohio, in 1838. Even though she had already passed, I wanted to begin with the 1830 Census and see what I could find for her children.

Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Elkanah Walters – Richland, Fairfield County, Ohio

The 1830 US Census lists 14 heads of household with the surname Walter, Walters, Watter, or Waller.

    • 1    Male      5-10      James        (age 9) b. 1820
    • 1    Males    10-15    Harvy         (age 12) b. 1818
    • 1    Male      20-30    UNKNOWN MALE – (born 1800-1810)
    • 1    Male      40-50    Elkanah     (age 49)
    • 1    Female  <5           Margrate   (age 1) b. 1829
    • 2    Female  5-10      Adaline      (age 5) b. 1824
    •                                         Caroline     (age 7) b. 1822
    • 1    Female  30-40    Rachel       (age 40) b. 1890

Elkanah and Rachel (Decker) are believed to have married on 6 November 1814. If the unknown male was born in 1810, Rachel would have been 20 but was born before they were married. On the other hand, if the unidentified male was born closer to 1800, he would have been 10 to 15 years younger than Elkanah. An age that fits either of Elkanah’s younger brothers (James or John). I suspect this is either James or John. As I believe John was enumerated (see below), I suspect this is James. James C. Walters does appear in the 1840 Census in Liberty, Fairfield County, Ohio. 

Catherine (Walters) Swayze – Catherine married David Swayze in 1817.

In 1830, David Swayze appeared in the census for Walnut Township, Fairfield County, Ohio, page 198, 4th from bottom.

    • 1    Male     30-40    David         (Age 34 b. 1796)
    • 1    Female < 5           S.B.            (age 2    b. 1828)*
    • 2    Females 10-15   Emily         (Age 10 b. 1820)
    •                                         Elizabeth   (age 12 b. 1818)
    • 1    Female  30-40    Rachel       (age 40 b. 1890)

* Note: Daughter Margaretta was born about 1821 and died on 18 October 1823. There are two other children, Angeline and William, who I believe were born between 1824 and 1826 and died before 1830.

John Walter – Berne, Fairfield County, Ohio – Page 139, Line 2 above from bottom.

    • 1    Male     20-29      John          (over 25 b. bef. 1804)
    • 2    Females < 5         FNU-D1     (under 5 (1825-1830)
    •                                         FNU-D2     (under 5 (1825-1830)
    • 1    Female  20-29    Belinda      (Unknown age)

Fits criteria expected for John Walter (bef. 1804-____), son of James and Margaret (Swann) Walter.

Nancy (Walters) Lewis.

Nancy was born in 1788 and would be about 42 years old in 1830 and likely married to FNU Lewis. There were seven Lewis households enumerated in Fairfield County during the 1830 Census.

    • William – 9 in the household – No females over 29.
    • Thomas – 3 in the household – No females over 20.
    • James – 4 in the household – No females over 20.
    • Juda – 6 in the household – Colored.
    • Daniel – 2 in the household – Colored.
    • Thomas H – 6 in the household – 1 female 30-39
    • John – 7 in the household  – 1 female 30-39

So, Nancy either lived outside of Fairfield County, Ohio, had her age reported incorrectly, or died before 1830. More research is needed.

Elizabeth Rebekah (Walters) Gurley.

Elizabeth was born in 1788 and would be about 42 years old in 1830, and possibly married to either Charles Stockard or James Gurley (I don’t know which was first.) Charles Stockard doesn’t appear in Fairfield County during the 1830 Census. James Gurley appears in the 1830 Census. His household has seven people, including a female 30 to 39 years old that could be Elizabeth. I need to do more research to determine Elizabeth’s marriages and children to know if this is Elizabeth (née Walter) or a different James Gurley or a different wife of his.

Conclusion – The Walter family in 1830


    • James            Location Unknown
    • Margaret        Died in 1826


    • Martin             Location Unknown
    • Nancy              Location Unknown
    • Elkanah          and his family were in Richland Twp, Fairfield County, Ohio
    • Catherine       Married to David Swayze – Walnut Twp, Fairfield County, Ohio
    • Elizabeth        Probably married to James Gurley; lived in Fairfield County, Ohio
    • James C.          Probably living with Elkanah.
    • John                  and family – Berne Twp, Fairfield County, Ohio. 


Determine Elizabeth’s marriages and children to know if this is Elizabeth (née Walter) or if it is a different James Gurley or a different wife of his.

Next I’ll continue looking for the Walters in the 1820 Census, particularly James, Margaret, Martin, and Nancy.


    • 1830 Census – Ohio, Fairfield, Walnut – Page 198 – David Swayze -. “United States Census, 1830,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 20 February 2021), David Swayze, Walnut, Fairfield, Ohio, United States; citing 198, NARA microfilm publication M19, (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 130; FHL microfilm 337,941.
    • 1830 Census – Elkanah Walters – Rushville, Fairfield, Ohio. “United States Census, 1830,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 19 August 2017), Elkanah Walters, Richland, Fairfield, Ohio, United States; citing 259, NARA microfilm publication M19, (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 130; FHL microfilm 337,941.
    • 1830 Census – Ohio, Fairfield, Berne, page 139 (2nd line from the bottom) – John Walter. “United States Census, 1830,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 20 February 2021), John Walter, Bern, Fairfield, Ohio, United States; citing 139, NARA microfilm publication M19, (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 130; FHL microfilm 337,941.


Fugate – Surname Saturday

Brown-Mannin-Fugate Line
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.Ancestry indicates that Fugate is most probably a variant of Fugett. Fugett is perhaps an adaption of Fuget, a topographic name from Fuge, a regional term for fougère ‘fern.’ Neither Forebears nor Genealogy Bank have a meaning for the name either.


According to Forebears, nearly 98% of the World’s Fugates live in the United States. In the United States, the largest incidence and percentage of the population is in Kentucky. The state where my most recent Fugate ancestors lived.

Direct Fugate Ancestors

    • 4th Great-grandmother:  105.  Rachel Fugate (1803-1870)
    • 5th Great-grandfather:    210.  Reuben Fugate (c1783-1833)*[i]
    • 6th Great-grandfather:    420.  Josiah Fugate (1740-1823)*
    • 7th Great-grandfather:    840  Randolph Fugate (1715-1776)*
    • 8th Great-grandfather:    1680.  Josias Fugate (___-c. 1757)*
    • 9th Great-grandfather:   3360.  Peter Fugate (1650-c. 1695)*
    • 10th Great-grandfather: 6720.  James Fugate (1630-1651)*


1840 – In 1840, Rachel had already married Meridith Mannin and had that surname. Her father, Reuben, died in Ralls, Missouri, in 1833; her grandparents had passed also. So, none of my Fugate ancestors were Fugates in 1840.

1650-1675 – Peter Fugate was born in France c. 1650. He died in Maryland sometime after 1695. He married Frances Mould about 1675 in Mosquito Creek, Baltimore County (now Harford County), Province of Maryland. Peter was my Immigrant Ancestor on this line.


2014 – Snapshot in Time (Forebears)

Today, Fugates are mainly in the midsection of the United States, with nearly a third of them living in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Indiana.

Direct Descendants

I have 1187 known descendants of James Fugate in my tree; 111 Mannin/Mannings, 69 Browns, 60 Bryants, 48 Fugates, 43 Barnetts, 28 Horns; 22 Richmonds; 21 Osts, 20 Taylors, and many other surnames. One thousand eighty-six of those descendants are known descendants of Rachel Fugate. I have previously written about 4 of them:

Ancestor Photographs

Richard Earl Brown

Mary Elizabeth (Manning) Brown

Photo of Enoch Mannin
Enoch Mannin
Grandpa Brown Great-Grandma Brown 3rd Great-Grandpa

Famous Fugates

The Fugates of Kentucky, commonly known as the “Blue Fugates,” are notable for having been carriers of a genetic trait that led to the blood disorder methemoglobinemia, which causes the appearance of blue-tinged skin.[ii]

The Blue People – by Walt Spitzmiller[iii] via 
I have not found any relationship between my Fugate ancestors and the “Blue Fugates.”



[i] I have not had the opportunity to personally research these individuals. As such, their names and dates are tentative and/or speculative.

[ii] Internet Source: Wikipedia: “Blue Fugates.”

[iii] Internet Source: Facts and History “The Fugate Family.”