Ancestor Sketch – Marie Louise Polk

Bradley-Hingston Project
Bradley-Taylor-Polk Line
By Don Taylor


Marie Louise Polk was born in Jan 1864 in Arkansas to John Widener Polk and Anna Eliza Kean. She had four siblings[i], Anna, Magdalen, John, and Mary. On 17 January 1887, when she was 23, she married William S Taylor, the son of Jacob H Taylor and Rebecca L Pittman, in a ceremony by J. J. Kennedy at St. Joseph Church in Jackson, Missouri. She died on 18 July 1903 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, at 39 years of age.

Bradley-Hingston Project – Ancestor #BH-11


    • Grandmother: Magdalen Polk Taylor(1890-1970)
    • 1st Great-grandmother: Marie Louisa Polk (1864-1903)
    • 2nd Great-grandfather: John Widener Polk (1820-1902) [ii]
    • 3rd Great-grandfather: Robert Tyler Polk (____-____)

Life Events

Different records record Marie with several first names, Maria, Marie, and Mary. Also, some records indicate her middle name as Louisa and some Louise. I have selected Marie Louise as preferred.


Marie Louise Polk was born in January 1864 in Arkansas. That is shortly after the fall of Little Rock to the Union and before establishing a new Union government. Marie’s father was called “Colonel” in several documents. Also, her siblings were born in several states, suggesting regular moving as might be expected of a military officer. I’ll know more when I research Col. John Widener Polk in further detail.

Children of  and John Widener and Anna Eliza (Kean) Polk

Name Born Where born
Magdalen Tasker c. 1859 Maryland
Anna c. 1861 Missouri
Marie Louise Jan 1864 Arkansas
John c. 1866 Tennessee
Mary c. 1868 Missouri

1870 Census

For the John Polk family, the 1870 Census reflects one of the few times I’ve seen a family enumerated twice in the Census but very different locations.

Independence, Jackson, Missouri Wea, Miami, Kansas
John Polk, Age 52, born in Indiana John Polk, Age 50, born in Kentucky
Anna Polk, age 34, born in Kentucky Anna E Polk, Age 34, born Kentucky
Tascar Polk, age 11, born in Missouri Tascar Polk, age 12, born in Missouri
Anna Polk, age 9, born in Missouri Anna Polk, age 9, born in Missouri
Maria Polk, age 6, Born in Arkansas Maria Polk, age 6, born in Arkansas
John Polk, age 4, born in Tennessee John Polk, age 4, born in Tennessee
Mary Polk, age 2, born in Missouri Mary Polk, age 2, born in Missouri

The enumeration date for the Missouri location was 28 June 1870.
The enumeration date for the Kansas location was 20 June 1870

The differences between the two census locations are minimal. John’s age is two years different, and his birth location shifts between Indiana and Kentucky. The only other difference is that Tascar is a year older, eight days between the two Censuses. I suspect that John provided the information for one of the censuses and Anna provided for the second one.

1880 Census

In 1880, Marie lived with her sister, Madeline, and her husband, A. C. Buell, in Washington DC. The sixteen-year-old is attending school. With them are Mr. Buell’s two children, Rudolph and Augusta, ages 1 and 0, respectively. Also living with the family are two servants. Also of interest is that the Census taker reported that Madeline’s parents were born in LA and KY, while her sister’s parents were reported as being born in LA and MO. This confuses the birth locations of their parents, particularly their father.


Marie Louise Polk married William S Taylor in a ceremony by J. J. Kennedy at St. Joseph Church in Jackson County, Missouri, on 17 January 1887. After their marriage, they located to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Children of William S Taylor and Marie Louise Polk

Name Born Married Died
Dorothy 2 January 1888, P George A Rankin 1977 VA
John Polk July 1889, NY N/A (died at 20) 1909 VA
Magdalen Polk 31 December 1890, NJ Arthur Wilson Bradley 1970 VA

1900 Census

Marie was enumerated in two different Census locations, Philadelphia, PA, and Cape May, NJ.

Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Cape May, Cape May, New Jersey
William Taylor, age 43, born in Dec 1856 in Penn. William Taylor, age 40, born Dec 1859 in PA
Maria Taylor, age 35, Born Jan 1865, Penn. Maria Taylor, age 36, born Jan 1864, Arkansas
Dorothy, age 12, Born Jan 1888, Penn. Dorothy, age 12, born Jan 1888, Pennsylvania
John, age 10, born Jul 1889, New York John, age 10, born Jul 1889, New York
Madaline, age 9, born Dec 1890, New Jersey Madaline, age 9, born Dec 1890, New Jersey

Again, the difference between the two censuses is discrepancies in the ages of William and Maria and where Maria was born. In New Jersey, they have a border, 80-year-old John W. Polk. Marie’s father, John Widener Polk, was born about 1820 in either Indiana, Tennessee, or Kentucky. This census says he was born in Kentucky, so it fits that the “boarder” was really William’s father-in-law.

The Philadelphia enumeration indicates that the entire family were boarders, someplace on Chestnut Street in Philadelphia. Living with them was a 30-year-old Servant, Margaret Raby.

Death/Burial, etc.

Marie Louise (Polk) Taylor died on 18 July 1903; she was 39 years old. She was interred at Westminster Cemetery[iii] (Bala Cynwyd Community) in Lower Merion, Montgomery County, PA.

Events by Location

  • Arkansas        1864 (Birth)
  • District of Columbia, Washington – 1880
  • Kansas, Miami, Wea  – 1870[iv]
  • Missouri, Jackson, Independence – 1870, 1887 (Marriage)
  • New Jersey, Cape May, Cape May – 1900[v]
  • Pennsylvania, Montgomery, Lower Merion – 1903 (Burial)
  • Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Philadelphia – 1900, 1903 (Death)

Further Research

In 1880, Marie was living with her brother-in-law A. C. Buell in Washington, DC. Mr. Buell is a journalist. Research to see if he is a celebrity or otherwise famous.

In 1880, Marie attended school in Washington DC; research into what school she attended.


  • 1870 Census, NARA, 1870 – John Polk – Independence, Jackson, Missouri. “United States Census, 1870”, database with images, FamilySearch ( : 29 May 2021), John Polk, 1870.
  • 1870 Census, NARA, 1870 – John W Polk – Wea, Miami, Kansa. “United States Census, 1870”, database with images, FamilySearch ( : 28 May 2021), John W Polk, 1870.
  • 1880 Census, NARA, 1880 – A C Buell – Washington, DC. “United States Census, 1880,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 19 February 2021), A C Buell, Washington, Washington, District of Columbia, United States; citing enumeration district ED 24, sheet 28A, NARA microfilm publication T9 (Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), FHL microfilm 1,254,122.
  • 1900 Census, 1900 Census – William S Tayler, Jr – New Jersey, Cape May, Middletownship, Angelsea borough, Wildwood borough, Avalon Borough. “United States Census, 1900,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 23 August 2018), William S Tayler Jr., Middle Township Angelsea borough, Wildwood borough, Avalon Borough, Rio Grande Village, Cape May, New Jersey, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 107, sheet 12A, family 308, NARA microfilm publication T623 (Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration, 1972.); FHL microfilm 1,240,960.
  • 1900 Census, 1900 Census – William S Taylor, et al. – Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 1900; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 9, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Page: 3; Enumeration District: 0159; FHL microfilm: 1241455.
  • Find a Grave Memorial, Find a Grave, Magdalen T. Bradley (1890-1970). Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed 25 August 2018), memorial page for Magdalen T. Bradley (31 December 1890–24 November 1970), Find A Grave Memorial no. 182390190, citing Lawnview Cemetery, Rockledge, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, USA ; Maintained by DAO (contributor 47943782).
  • Find a Grave Memorial, Find a Grave, Marie Polk Taylor – Memorial 94300773. Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed 29 October 2021), memorial page for Marie Polk Taylor (1863–1903), Find a Grave Memorial ID 94300773, citing Westminster Cemetery, Bala Cynwyd, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, USA ; Maintained by Shiva (contributor 47163650).
  • Jackson County, Missouri, US Marriage Records, 1826-2014, Jackson County, MO – Official Website, William Taylor & Marie Polk – 17 January 1887.
  • 1887-01-23 – Page 9 – Taylor-Polk (Marriage)., Kansas City Times, Kansas City, Missouri, online images (
  • Missouri, US, Marriage Records, 1805-2002 (Maine State Archives), Ancestry.Com, Marriage – William S Taylor & Marie Louise Polk. Missouri State Archives; Jefferson City, MO, USA; Missouri Marriage Records [Microfilm].
  • Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. – 1903-07-21, Page 7 – Maria Louisa Polk Taylor – Death. Newspapers.Com.,
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Death Certificates Index, 1803-1915 (Philadelphia City Archives), Ancestry.Com, Marie Polk Taylor – Died 18 July 1903. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., Death Certificates Index, 1803-1915 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011.
  • Virginia, Death Certificates, 1912-1987, Various, Virginia, U.S., Death Records, 1912-2014 for Dorothy Rankin. 1977 > 13000-13499 – State File Number 77-913324 (Image 325 of 500).
  • Virginia, Death Records, 1912-2014 (Richmond, Virginia, Virginia Department of Health), Ancestry.Com, Magdalen T. Bradley.


[i] I have confirmed four siblings. Several other researchers indicate she had many more siblings, however, I have not confirmed them. I expect I will when I research Maria’s parents John Widener and Anna (Kean) Polk.

[ii] I have not researched the ancestors of Maria Louise Polk and any date here about them is speculative.

[iii] I have requested a photo of her marker/memorial via Find-a-Grave.

[iv] Marie was enumerated in both Kansas and Missouri during the 1870 Census.

[v] Marie was enumerated in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania during the 1900 Census.

Donna 100 Years ago – 10 August 1921

Asbury Park, New Jersey
by Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.“Donna 100 years ago” is my reporting of events relating to my grandmother, Madonna Montran (aka Donna Montran and Donna Darling) 100 years ago. Hers was the exciting world of 1920s vaudeville. She crisscrossed the country several times with her many shows.

In the 10 August 1921 edition, the New York Clipper, Page 15, top of column 3, gave a short and straightforward mention of Donna. 

Donna Montran in the vaudeville act, “As You Like It,” by Hockey and Green, opens at Asbury Park this week; direction of Lee Stewart.

 The first mention of “As You Like It” I have found was when she played at the State Theatre in Beacon, New York, from 30 June to 2 July.

Ashbury Park is a small coastal town on the Jersey shore, about 25 miles, as the crow flies, south of New York City (about 50 miles driving). At the time, there were five theaters, Lyric, St. James, Reade’s Savoy, Shubert, and Reade’s Rialto. The “Asbury Park Press was the newspaper at the time.

A review of the Asbury Park Press, August 1921[i], failed to yield any results for “Montran,” “As You Like It,” “Stewart,” or “Hockey.” The Lyric Theater mentioned they had “2 Other Big Acts – 7 acts in all.” The other theaters (Realto, Main Street, Saint James, and Savoy) all seem to have mentioned all of the shows at those theaters. Consequently, I suspect she was one of the unmentioned shows at the Lyric.

One hundred years ago, Donna played in her vaudeville act, “As you Like It” in Asbury Park, New Jersey, probably at the Lyric Theatre.

Future Actions

  • Learn more about Hockey & Green, the writers of “As You Like It.”
  • Who was Lee Stewart?


[i] Thanks to Newspapers.Com.

Montrans in the News – O’Briens Sworn Into Service

Montran Monday
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.

This week for Montran Monday[i], I found the following article:

This week’s entry is from the Evening Eagle (Wichita, Kansas) dated 11 September 1953[ii].

Page 15

Witicha Evening Eagle, Sep 11, 1953, Pg 15


Lieut. Alerbert C. Montran swears in twin brothers Ed and Johnny O’Brien, both of the Pittsburgh Pirates, at the army induction center a Newark, N. J. The O’Briens made basketball headlines last winter with the University of Seattle. During the past few months they’ve been with the Pittsburgh Pirates.—(UP Telephoto.)

I learned:

I had not heard of an Alerbert C. Montran previously.  So, there might be an error in the name. That idea aside I learned four (possible) facts:

    1. There was an Alerbert C. Montran.
    2. He was a Lieutenant in the Army.
    3. He was stationed in or near Newark, N. J. in 1953.

Future Actions

Search further for Lt. Alerbert C. Montran.


[i] Montran Monday – 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 my grandmother during her early vaudeville career. However, with the 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 a possible relationship of any Montrans to Donna’s father, John Montran.

[ii] The Evening Eagle (Wichita, Kansas) dated 11 September 1953, Page 15. Via Newspapers.Com. accessed 23 April 2021.

Donna Darling Collection – Part 80

The South Broad Theatre 

Treasure Chest Thursday
By Don Taylor

For this week’s Treasure Chest Thursday, I’m looking at a clipping from the Donna Darling Collection.

Clipping discovered to be from the Trenton Evening Times dated January 9, 1922.


Delightful screen and vaudeville entertainment will be provided at the South Broad Theatre for three days beginning today when the James Oliver Curwood drama, “Kazan” and a series of new acts will be presented, together with comedy films and other events.

Of course, there is a delightful man and woman romance in this refreshing Curwood story, but its greatest power lies in the parallel drawn between human and animal life, and without a remarkable dog to interpret the role of “Kazan” the production could not have been made. But such a remarkable dog was found, and Director Bertram Bracken was enabled to accomplish the so-called “impossible.” The result is declared to be one of the finest photoplays of the North country.

The new vaudeville will be headed by Doona Montram [sic] and Her Boys in a musical comedy review, called “As You Like,” supported by Thomas Doray and Edna Sarlini in “by Heck,” the Novilions, a comedy acrobatic team, and John and Dave Mills, musical comedy duo.

Tomorrow night will be “Ye Olde Country Store” night, when 25 presents will be given away free to members of the audience.  

“Kazan,” written by James Oliver Curwood, was released in October 1921. Additionally, the two other clippings on the same page in Donna’s album related to the Stroud Theatre, Stroudsburg, PA, where she played on November 24th and 25th. See DCC-76

Donna didn’t begin using Darling until 1922, so this clipping is clearly from 1921.

Searching for “Thomas Doray” I found an article at Genealogy Bank that spoke of the delightful vaudeville card composed of Donna Montram [sic] and Her Boys in a musical comedy revue, called “As You Like.” Supported by Thomas Doray and Edna Sarlin, in “By Heck….” It was in the January 11, 1922, Trenton Evening Times.

Key features:

  • The venue is the Broad Theatre in Trenton, New Jersey.
  • The show is the “Donna Montran and Her Boys in “As You Like [It]”
  • Also, on the bill:
    • Thomas Doray and Edna Sarlini in “by Heck,”
    • Novilions, an acrobatic comedy team,
    • John and Dave Mills, a musical comedy duo.
  • The movie showing was the James Oliver Curwood story, “Kazan,” staring Jane Novak


I added a new venue for Donna’s vaudeville career:

  • January 9-11, 1922 – Trenton, NJ – South Broad Theatre – “Donna Montram [sic] and Her Boys in “As You Like” – DDC-80.

Donna at the State Street Theatre in Trenton, NJ

100 Years Ago – March 3rd, 1921

We know Donna played in Amsterdam, NY, in early February but have no shows for her from then until she played at the State Street Theatre in Trenton, New Jersey, from March 3rd through the 5th. The Trenton Evening Times published two brief writeups. The first one, March 3rd, under Theatres and Movies, read:

Trenton Evening Times, 3 March 1921, Page 16 (via  Genealogy Bank)


The last half of Banner wee opens today at the State Street Theatre with a complete change of program, embracing six star vaudeville acts and the famous Roscoe (Fatty) Arbuckle in Brewster’s Millions.”

Manager Wahn has also booked Tom Rooney’s and Earl Lindsay’s California Bathing Girls, an attraction of high character, including the noted Donna Montran. “Fatty” Arbuckle in the role….

The California Bathing Girls is a miniature musical comedy, “A Beach Promenade,” and is replete with brilliant songs and appealing musical numbers. There is fun aplenty and a fashion show of 1921 bathing costumes, including the one-piece suits in vogue at the prominent winter resorts. Other vaudeville star acts are….

Interestingly, the article cites Tom Rooney[i] and Earl Linsay as owning the show “their California Bathing Girls.”  I’m sure Donna didn’t like that much. That might be why it was changed in the second listing. which read:


Trenton Evening Times, 4 March 1921, Page 22 (via  Genealogy Bank)

The last half of Banner Week at the State Street Theatre opened yesterday with capacity crowds. The show in its entirety is a round of riotous laughter, in which the noted Rosco (“Fatty”) Arbuckle is presented in “Brewster’s Millions,” six all-star vaudeville acts and comedy films….

The California Bathing Girls proved a combination of beauty and 1921 bathing suit style show, reflecting those to be worn this season at the popular bathing resorts. The American girl, in a snappy one-piece suit, made a distinct hit. Blair & Crystal appeared….

The other shows on the bill included:

    • Martin Goodwin in “The Union Man”
    • Josephine Lenhardt, diminutive comedienne
    • Harry and Ruth Sullivan in “The Love Nest”
    • Blair Crystal comedy skit
    • Comedy Martinetti in “The Silent Fool.”

The movie playing that week was the 1921 edition of “Brewster’s Millions.” (Not to be confused with 1914, 1935, 1945, or 1985 versions of the film – Or the future “Brewster’s Billions” currently in development.)

State Street Theater, Trenton, New Jersey

The State Street Theatre (Public Domain)
The State Street Theatre (via Cinema Treasures)

The State Street Theatre in Trenton, New Jersey, opened on December 9th, 1903.[ii]

Julius Cahn’s Official Theatrical Guide for 1910-1911 reports that the seating capacity was 2,025. Interestingly the Guide for 1913-1914 indicated that vaudeville and movies played at the theatre but that the theater management ignored repeated requests for corrected details. And the guide for 1921 did not include the theatre.

The theater closed in the early 1950s.[iii]

Specifications for the State Street Theatre[iv]

Seating Capacity: 2,025

Proscenium opening: 39 ft
Footlights to back wall: 40 ft
Between side walls: 75 ft
Between fly girders: 58 ft
To rigging loft: 70 ft
To fly gallery: 25 ft
10 Dressing rooms


[i] Thomas Valentine Rooney was Donna’s second (known) husband. They were married on 24 November 1915.
[ii] “RKO State Theatre In Trenton, NJ – Cinema Treasures”. 2021. Cinematreasures.Org.
[iii] ibid.
[iv] The Julius Cahn’s Official Theatrical Guide for 1910-1911