Donna in the News – Two New Venues

Donna Montran

By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.This week, I learned of two new venues, specific dates for a previously known show, and one venue confirmed by another newspaper. I made these new discoveries using Genealogy Bank. A Search for Donna Montran found four new articles. One article confirmed a venue I wrote about before—Pacy’s Garden Theatre on September 14-17, 1920. The Baltimore American dated Sep 14, 1920, on page 5 said:

Bathing Girls at Garden.

Nine bathing girls, grouped as “The California Bathing Girls” and headed by Donna Montran are presenting “A Beach Promenade,” a musical comedy, at the Garden Theatre this week. The offering differs from the usual bathing-girl act in that it is not a series of tableaux, but is an ambitious musical comedy offering with six beach scenes and a number of tuneful melodies.

The Bijou – New Haven, Connecticut – 19-22 December 1920.

The Connecticut Labor Press (New Haven, CT) for Dec 18, 1920, said that:

George Walsh in “The Plunger,” and “The Dragon’s Net” will remain for the first half of the week in conjunction with a remarkable bill of all-star vaudeville headed by Donna Montran and her Bathing Beauties.

From the Donna Darling Collection, (DDC-8) I had known that Donna played at the Bijou in New Haven sometime in November or December of 1920. An ad on this page showed it was Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday (19-22 December).

State Theatre – Trenton, New Jersey – 3-5 March 1921

The latter part of Donna’s 1920-1921 Bathing Beauty Show has always been a mystery. I knew she played the Keeney Theatre in Brooklyn at the end of January and that she closed the show in May or June for the summer, but I knew nothing of February, March, April, or May. Thanks to the Trenton Evening Times, dated March 3, 1921, on page 16 I learned that she played the State Theatre, in Trenton, New Jersey in “Tom Rooney’s and Earl Lindsay’s California Bathing Girls.”

Garden Theatre – Baltimore, Maryland – 20 March 1921

The Baltimore Sun ran an advertisement for “The California Bathing Girls with Donna Montran in “A Beach Promenade” on March 20,  1921. This was a return to the Garden Theatre for Donna with the same show six months after her earlier show. Still not sure how many days she was there, but further research should provide the answer.

————–  Disclaimer  ————–

“Chin Chin” at Maryland Theatre, Cumberland, MD, 20 April 1920

We know that Chin Chin played in Coshocton, Ohio, on April 11th. However, we don’t know yet where else the company played between there and Cumberland.

Stage of the Maryland Theater, Cumberland, MD
Stage of the Maryland Theater, Cumberland, MD via

What we do know is from the April 14, 1920, edition of the Cumberland Evening Times – Page 10 – Column 1.

Maryland Theatre

 “Chin Chin” Coming to the Maryland Theatre, Tuesday, April 20

The Production of Charles Dillingham’s “Chin Chin” has rivaled even “Floradora” in its popularity. Walter Wills and Roy Binder are featured members of the organization. They are slim young men, masters of the eccentric dance and comedians of more than ordinary ability.

“Chin Chin is a musical comedy, or extravaganza, or fantasy, whatever it may please one to call it; but it is saturated with the comic spirit and abounds in delightful pantomime.

The notices accorded the company this year prove that the aggregation of players is exceptional and that the production as a whole is a real “Top Notch” Dillingham show, and that even in war times “Chin Chin” has been doing a record business on the road, near army camps and elsewhere.

The book of the play is by Anne Caldwell and R. H. Bernside, Lyrics by Miss Caldwell and James O’Dea, and music by Ivan Caryll, remembered for the melodies of “The Pink Lady” and “The Little Cafe.”

Of its songs, “Violets,” “The Gray Moon,” “Love Moon,” “Good Bye” and “Go Gar Sig Gong Jute” are not likely to be forgotten for some seasons to come. There is also saxaphone music by the renowned Tom Brown’s Clown Sextette. In fact, “Chin Chin” is one of those fortunate shows that is clean and wholesome fun, offending no one.

Maryland Theatre

Drawing - Maryland Theatre, Cumberland, MD c. 1907
Drawing – Maryland Theatre, Cumberland, MD c. 1907

The Maryland Theater was built for about $70,000 based upon plans by John D. Allen, Philadelphia, PA. It opened on 21 November, 1907 with a seating capacity of nearly 1800. It closed on 9 October, 1963 and was demolished in December, 1966.[i]

The 1920 Census indicates that Cumberland was a city of nearly 30,000 people.  The Julius Cahn Theatrical Guide for 1913-1914 indicates that the theatre had a capacity of 1,696, 600 on the main floor, 340 in the balcony, 600 in the gallery, and 56 box seats. The Stage was a large 38×33 feet and the front to back wall was 41 feet.  There were four stage pockets.  For newspapers, besides the “Times,” whose afternoon circulation was 7,179, there was the “News” with a morning circulation of 4,000.[ii]


Further Research

Obtain a subscription to Newspaper Archives and look for additional information about “Chin Chin” playing in the Cumberland Times.

Find a source for the Cumberland News and see if they have any articles regarding the show.


[i] Internet: Cinema Treasurers – Maryland Theater in Cumberland, MD –

[ii] The Julius Cahn – Gus Hill – Theatrical Guide 1913-1914: Page 290 – Cumberland, MD, via Google Books


Donna at Pacy’s Garden Theatre – September 14-17, 1920

Donna in Baltimore, MD, at Pacy’s Garden Theatre – September 13-17, 1920

We know that Donna played at Henderson’s Theater on Coney Island On September 6th through the 13th. She then came to Pacy’s Garden Theatre in Baltimore, Maryland.

Advertising for the California Bathing Girls shows up in both “The Sun”(Baltimore) and the “Baltimore American” newspapers. The ads are very plain. “The  Sun also ran a short mention on September 14th, in their “Amusements Of The Week” about attractions which open the previous night.[i] It read


The “California Bathing Girls,” a group of eight from filmland, feature the bill in a costume and song sketch, “A Beach Promenade.” Other acts are….

We know the show moves on to Washington D.C., and the Cosmos Theater the following week.

Pacy’s Garden Theater

Not much is known about Pacy’s Garden Theater. Although the theater opened in 1912, it is not listed in The Julius Cahn Theatrical Guide 1913-1914. The Yearbook of Motion Pictures – 1926 indicates that the theater seated 600. Cinema Treasures indicate that the theater closed in 1960 and was demolished.[ii] Today it is a parking lot.

Across the street from Pacy’s Garden Theatre was the Cross Street Market, which had a lunch counter. The market never closed until after the last show at the Garden Theater let out. After the last show, people crossed the street for milkshakes and hot dogs. The Market closed in 1990.[iii]

———- DISCLAIMER ———-


[i] The Sun (Baltimore, Maryland – September 14, 1920,1920-09-14 – Page 8 – Garden ad.
[ii] Cinema Treasures: Garden Theatre .
[iii] The Baltimore Sun, 24 September 1990, “Chrisikos clan bids a sweet farewell to Cross Street

Charles F. Schlotterbeck

Where did the name “Frederick” come from?

Sometimes it is the simple things that can be questionable. For example, Charles Fred. Schlotterbeck’s name. On Ancestry.Com there are 2 trees which indicate his name as Charles F. Schlotterbeck. Almost every document I’ve found regarding Charles indicates his middle initial but nothing more. There are 8 member trees which indicate his middle name is Frederick. So, I wondered, where did they get “Frederick” from. One source I’ve encountered, a Christening index, indicates his middle name as “Fred.”; however, it is a leap to say it is “Frederick” from just that. It could just as easily be Fredric or Fredrick. It could be Friduric, Friedrich, or even just plain old Fred and the period in the index was just an interpretation of an errant dot. I’ve emailed a couple of the folks to see what the source for “Frederick” is. I also ordered the microfilm from Family Search to view the original document the index was made from for myself. Possibly, the film will help as well. In any event, I’m sticking with “Fred.” until I see an original source that indicates something else. Even that is tentative until I actually see that original document and not just the index.

SC-04 – Charles Fred. Schlotterbeck (1870-1927)

Charles F. Schlotterbeck
Photo from Mark LeFevre
via Find a Grave

Charles Fred. Schlotterbeck was born 25 Feb 1870, in Hagerstown, Washington county, Maryland, the sixth of eight children of John Jacob and Katherina Bertha (Schmidt) Schlotterbeck. Two of his siblings, Louisa and Emma died before he was born. There is some confusion regarding Charles’ birthdate. His christening index indicates he was born on 23 Feb 1869, however the 1870 Census, taken in June 1870 clearly indicates his age as 3/12 and that he was born in February. So, I am confident that the 1870 year is correct. The 23rd or 25th day might still be in question, again, I’m very interested to double-check the christening record’s original and see if it may have been misinterpreted.

Charles father was a farmer and his mother was keeping house according to the 1870 Census. His two brothers, William and Daniel, and his sister Bettie were living in the same household.

Two more brothers, George & John, were born before the 1880 Census at which time his father was still farming and his two oldest brothers were working on the farm. Charles and his three youngest siblings were attending school. 

Charles moved to Martinsburg, West Virginia and met Wilhelmina Fredericka Rumple. They were married at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Martinsburg at a 2 pm ceremony on 24 Oct 1893. 

34 East North Street (Today)
Hagerstown, MD
Was the Schlotterbeck home in 1920
Photo via Google Maps

Their first child, John Frederick was born ten months later on 24 Aug 1894 in Martinsburg. At the time, Charles was a Saloon keeper. John was the first of eleven children the couple would have.

Their second child, Catherine Anna Schlotterbeck, was also born in West Virginia sometime in 1895-1896.

Their third child, Lillian Marie was born in Maryland in 1897 or 1898, so it appears that the young family moved to Hagerstown by then. 

Charles moved to Martinsburg, West Virginia and met Wilhelmina Fredericka Rumple. They were married at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Martinsburg at a 2 pm ceremony on 24 Oct 1893.

Their first child, John Frederick was born ten months later on 24 Aug 1894 in Martinsburg. At the time, Charles was a Saloon keeper. John was the first of eleven children the couple would have.

Their second child, Catherine Anna Schlotterbeck, was also born in West Virginia sometime in 1895-1896. 

Their third child, Lillian Marie was born in Maryland in 1897 or 1898, so it appears that the young family moved to Hagerstown by then.

On 14 Sep 1899, Charles and his five living siblings attended a birthday party, in Hagerstown, celebrating his father’s 68th birthday.

The 1900 census finds Charles owning a home at 412 North John St Lane(?). rural Washington County. He is working as a baker. With him is his wife, Minnie, of seven years and four of their children, Frederick, Catharine, Lillian, and Rhinehart.

The 1910 census corrects the address where they were living to 412 North Johnathan Street, a location that is a vacant lot today. Charles still owns the home. With Charles is his wife, this time spelled “Relanins” however, she and Charles had been married for 16 years at this point. Another four children are living in the home, Carl J, “Relanina,” Herbert M, and the baby, Robert J only 11 months old. Charles’s occupation is the proprietor of a bakery.
Marker for Charles &
Whilhelmina Schlotterbeck
Photo posted by Sanebee
Via Find a Grave
The 1920 census shows that Charles and family had moved to 34 East North Street. John Frederick & Catherine had moved out by then and “Relania” (Wilhamina) died in 1910, leaving eight children at home. Living with them was Charles’ brother, George. Charles was working as a baker, this time at a pretzel factory.

The 1922 Hagerstown city directory indicates that Charles moved again, this time to 31 E Lee. Also living at 31 E Lee was his son, Herbert M (also a baker) Lillian M., Rinehart V., and Wilhelmina (John’s wife). I also expect that his minor children would have been living there also making for a very full house.

Charles Fred. Schlotterbeck’s wife, Wilhelmina, died on 6 Apr 1925. Charles followed her two years later dying on 24 Oct 1927. The two are buried at Rose Hill Cemetery, Hagerstown, Washington county, Maryland. 

Never accept other people’s work without performing an analysis of where they got their information from. If their citations to match their facts, try to determine how they arrived at the fact in question.
Consider a fact as “tentative” if its source is an index, then seek out the document that the index was created from.


Review Christening Document for Charles Fred. Schlotterbeck – Maryland Births and Christenings, 1650-1995 – GS Film number: 859283, Reference ID: p.368.


Ancestry.Com Census Records – 1870 US Federal Census – Hagerstown, Washington, Maryland; Roll: M593_596; Page: 84A; Image: 174., U.S. City Directories — Hagerstown, Maryland – 1922 – Pgs 644-645.

Family Search – 1880 US Federal Census – John Schloterbeck, Hagerstown, Washington, Maryland, United States; enumeration district 146, sheet 68C.
Family Search – 1900 US Federal Census – Chas H Schlotterbeck, Hagerstown city Ward 5 (east part), Washington, Maryland, United States; sheet 10A, family 212.
Family Search – 1910 US Federal Census – Chas F Schlotterbeck, Hagerstown Ward 5, Washington, Maryland, United States; enumeration district (ED) 149, sheet 7B, family 159.
Family Search – 1920 US Federal Census – Charles F Schlotterbeck, Hagerstown Ward 4, Washington, Maryland, United States; sheet 4A, family 77.
Family Search – Maryland Births and Christenings, 1650-1995, Charles Fred. Schlotterbeck, 23 Feb 1869; citing ; FHL microfilm 859283. 
Family Search – West Virginia Births, 1853-1930, Slanterback, 24 Aug 1894.
Family Search – West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, Charles F. Schlotterbeck & Wilhelmina F. Rumple, 24 Oct 1893.
Find-a-Grave – Memorial #42279195 – Charles F Schlotterbeck.
Newspapers.Com –  The Herald and Torch Light (Hagerstown, MD) – 

Oct 19, 1893 · Page 6 – Approaching Nuptial.
Newspapers.Com – The Mail (Hagerstown, MD) 22 Sep 1899 · Page 14 – A Festal Occasion. 
————-  DISCLAIMER  ————-

James Dallas Howell (1879-1964)

Research Howell/Hobbs

By – Don Taylor

Sometimes uncovering the life of an individual is a grind. Just keep searching and you will find more and more about an ancestor’s life. James Dallas Howell is such an individual. He was a minister in rural North Carolina and changed churches frequently. Consequently, there are church records and newspaper articles that mention him. Finding those records and deterring the movements in his life is a daunting task. I wish I could find a book or other documents in which all the Baptist ministers are listed and which church they are ministering to. There probably is such a book or set of documents, but I just haven’t found it yet.  


Bio – James Dallas Howell (1879-1964)

James Dallas Howell
Courtesy: Debby Ziegler via Flikr
James Dallas Howell was born on 2 September 1879, the fifth of seven children Peter F. (and Susan R Vincent) Howell. He was probably born in Faucett Township in Halifax County, North Carolina.
We find James in the 1880 Census as a one year old, although he should have been only 8 months old during that census.[1] This is consistent with the 1900 Census where he is reported to be 21 years old with a birthdate of September 1979. Considering an enumeration date of 12 June 1900, he should have only been 20 at this previous birthday.[2]
We don’t know anything of James’ childhood. The 1880 Census indicates he has four older siblings, Anna Lee, John D., Augusta E., and Martha F. Howell. The 1900 Census also indicates he has two younger brothers, D. B. Howell and G. C. Howell. The family is well enough off, in 1900, to have a black servant and a black laborer living with them.
First Baptist Church of Davis
By 1909, James Dallas Howell had begun his ministry and served at the First Baptist Church of Davis. [3]
1910 was a really busy time for James. In March his mother died; also, in March, he became the pastor at the Roanoke Island Baptist Church in Nags Head, NC. When the 1910 Census was taken on 20 April, he was a boarder, living at the widow Forbes’ [Forles] home with her son, & her daughter. This must have been a short-lived arrangement because he married Mary Lillian Hobbs on 27 April.[4]
I am still researching James’s ministry. The following list includes other known ministry periods:
·      1911, July – Rev. J. D. Howell let a workshop at the Camden & Currituck union with the church in Manteo.

Clarkson Baptist Church today

1915-1917 – He was pastor at Clarkton (NC) Baptist Church.

·      1917, March – He was pastor at church in Warsaw, NC.
·      1918 – Minister at Sharon Baptist Church, Beaulaville, NC.
·      1920 – Minister in Plymouth, NC.
·      1928-1931 – Pastor at Ansonville (NC) Baptist Church.
·      1932-1933 – Pastor at Gethsemane Baptist Church, Whitakers, NC.
A respectable 20 months after James and Mary were married their first son, James Dallas Howell, Jr. was born. Two years later by another son Ashley was born and three years after that a third son, Frank was born. In 1918, a fourth son, Clarence was born. Finally, in 1925, a daughter, Mary Elizabeth was born.
The family moved often as James Dallas Howell, Sr., followed his ministry as pastor and minister at Baptist churches throughout eastern North Carolina.
In his latter years, he and his wife Mary moved north and lived with their son Ashley and his family in the Washington, D.C. area. Mary died sometime between March and December of 1964. James Dallas Howell died on 18 Dec 1964 at the Kensington Gardens Sanatorium, Kensington, MD, of Bronchio-pneumonia due to cerebral encephalopathy, due to senility and acteriosclorsis.[5]
He is buried at Cedar Hill Cemetery, Suitland, Maryland.[6]
Further Actions:
·      Do further research on his ministry
o   Visit churches he pastored
·      Get a photo of his marker.


[1] 1880 Census,,, 1880; Census Place: Faucetts, Halifax, North Carolina; Roll: 966; Family History Film: 1254966; Page: 627C; Enumeration District: 137; Image: 0720.
[2] 1900 United States Federal Census,,, 1900; Census Place: Conocondy, Halifax, North Carolina; Roll: 1199; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 0027; FHL microfilm: 1241199.
[3] Web Sites (Various), First Baptist Church of Davis – Pastors. Rev. J. D. Howell – 1909.
[4] North Carolina, Marriages, 1759-1979, Family Search, J. D. Howell & Mary Lillian Hobbs – Accessed 2013-12-07.
[5] Maryland, Dept. of Health, Death Certificate, James Dallas Howell – Died 18 Dec 1964. Place: Kensington Gardens Sanatorium, Kensington, Montgomery County, Maryland.
[6] Ibid.