Chin Chin – Oneonta Theater, Oneonta, NY – May 18, 1920

Donna Montran and “Chin Chin” play at the Oneonta Theatre in Oneonta, New York on 18 May 1920

Oneonta Theatre, Oneonta, New York
Vaudeville – Chin Chin
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.It is not clear where Chin Chin played in the days before Oneonta. On May 15 the show played at the Colonial Theater in Pittsfield. May 16th’s and May 17th’s venues are still unknown but the cast made it the 113 miles from Pittsfield to Oneonta.

Preshow Advertising

It seems odd that 10 days before the show there were two letters in the newspaper. The first was from the former manager of the Oneonta Theatre and current manager of the Lyric Theatre in Allentown, PA, where he mentions what a great show “Chin Chin” is and he is making no mistake in booking it. The second letter was from the Oneonta Theatre, presumably manager Ed Moore, wherein he indicated he made an offer to Mr. Dillingham to bring the show to Oneonta. In the letter, he indicates he is waiting for the acceptance of his offer. Meanwhile, there is a standard “Chin Chin” ad on the same page with everything except for the date.

The newspaper on May 12th indicates that Charles A. Goettier, business manager for “Chin Chin” was in Oneonta, and agreements were signed to bring the show to Oneonta.

On May 15th, the newspaper indicated “Chin Chin” would be the last big roadshow for the season. Immediately after “Chin Chin” contractors will work to remove the stage and join the new addition to the current building.

Show Advertising

Finally, “Chin Chin” played on the evening of May 18th without a hitch.


There were no reviews that I have found.

Post Show Info

It is still unclear where “Chin Chin” played the next two days, but the show played the Smith Opera House, Geneva, NY, (130 miles west of Oneonta) three days later, on May 21, 1920.

Oneonta Theatre
47 Chestnut Street, Oneonta, NY

Oneonta Theatre Marquee in 1929. Photo Credit: Uploaded to Cinema Treasures on 7 Feb 1014 by CharmaineZoe

The Oneonta Theatre was designed by architect Leon H. Lempert and was built in 1897 by Oneonta resident Willard E. Yager. It opened on January 31, 1898.  In 1913, a 20×20 screen was added to accommodate silent films.

Specifications for the Oneonta Theatre, Oneonta, NY[i]

Ed. M. Moore, Manager – O. S. Hathaway Owner
Seating Capacity 1,000.

Front to back wall: 35 ft
Between side walls: 60 ft
Between fly girders: 40 ft
To rigging loft: 50 ft

After “Chin Chin” played there on 18 May 1920, the theater continued to prosper. Will Rogers played there in 1927; in 1979 the theater was converted to a two screen “Multiplex.” Stage events stopped there in 1992. The theater has open and closed several times in the past 30 years. The theater is on the National and State Register of Historic Places. Last year (2019) there were plans to renovate Oneonta Theater and presentations indicating the costs of various renovation levels.  However, the latest Google street photo indicates that the theatre is still for sale.


Further Research

All of my newspaper sources for this event were from the Oneonta Star. The Theatrical Guide indicates there as also a “Herald” newspaper.  A look at the US Newspaper Directory (Library of Congress – Chronicling America) indicated that the Oneonta Herald was published from 1884 to 1947. The directory showed that The Oneonta Press and Otsego County Democrat was also being published at that time (1898-1922).  I should look at those if they become available.


The ads and some of the links on this website are “affiliate links.” If you purchase after clicking on them, I will receive a small commission which will help me pay for this site. Please see my Disclaimer Page for more information.


[i]  Julius Cahn—Gus Hill Theatrical Guide and Moving Picture Directory – 1921 – Page 267

Ancestor Sketch – Mercy Gay

By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.Mercy Gay was born into a leading Connecticut family. She married and removed to Vermont where she and her husband were early settlers. When her husband died in 1813, she moved west with family members to western New York where she died at 79 years of age.

Roberts/Brown – Ancestor #201

List of Grandparents

Mercy Gay (1761-1841)


Mercy was born 16 September 1761 in Sharon, Litchfield County, Connecticut, only 22 years after Sharon Town was incorporated. Mercy was the daughter of John Gay. John Gay is considered to be among the “first settlers of the town,” having purchased the town’s 39th lot from Israel Holley in 1743. She had at four brothers, John, Ebenezer, Fisher, and Perez.[i]


Mercy married Ezra Clugston Sanford on 11 Oct 1786. Mercy was 25 years old and Ezra was two years her junior.  Together, they probably had five children.

    • FNU Daughter 1 – Born between 1787 and 1789. She probably died before 1800
    • Electa Sanford – Born 1790 in Litchfield, CT; Died 1819 in Byron, NY.
    • Ezra Gay Sanford – Born 1792 in Pownal, VT; Died 1855 in Tecumsch, MI.
    • Sally Sanford – Born 1796 in Pownal, VT; Died 1881 in Byron, NY.
    • Lucy Sanford – Born 1799 in Pownal, VT; Died ca. 1870.

Adult Events

  • The 1790 Census shows Ezra Sanford living in Litchfield, Litchfield, Connecticut with 3 females in his household. One of the females in the household must be his wife, Mercy. One of the other females is probably Electa, who was born in 1790 and one is possibly an unknown Sanford daughter probably born between 1787 and 1789.
  • 1792 Move to Pownal. Ezra and Mercy removed from Sharon to Pownal, Vermont in February 1792.
  • The 1800 Census shows the Ezra Sanford household living in Pownal, Bennington County, Vermont. Living in the household is Ezra and two other males as well as 4 females. Ezra, Junior, would have been 8 years old and is apparently the one male under 10. Lucy (age 1), Sarah (age 4), Electa (age 10), and Mercy (age 39) are all accounted for in the Census. Also living in the household is an unknown male, aged between 26 and 45.
  • 1810 Census – I thought I was unable to find the Ezra Sanford household in the 1810 Census. Eventually, I came to the conclusion that the John Samford enumerated in Pownal, Bennington County, Vermont had to be Ezra. Ezra Junior would have been 17 and Ezra would be 47. Mercy and the daughters, all fit the family unit for John Samford. There are no entries for any Samford in any of the previous or subsequent census records, so I’m fairly confident this is Ezra and Mercy.
  • 1813 – Death of Ezra. Ezra died on 22 June 1813 at the age of 50 years, 2 months. Mercy was granted the guardianship of their 14-year-old daughter, Lucy, and “received several parcels of land from the estate of Ezra Sanford.”
  • 1820 Census – Mercy appears to be living with her son-in-law, Dewey Miller in Bergen, Genesee County, New York.
  • In 1820, the town of Byron was incorporated from part of the town of Bergen.
  • 1830 Census – The Mercy Sanford household of Byron, New York, consists of 1 Female, 60 to 70 years old (Mercy) and a young male (from 10 to 15 years old). My suspicion it is likely a grandson, or even a great-grandson helping to take care of the masculine chores of the household.
  • 1840 Census – There isn’t a Mercy Sanford in the 1840 Census. However, there is a Mary Sanford of the correct age whose neighbors are many of the same people as were neighbors to Mercy during the 1830 Census. The neighbors include David Shed, Erastus Hamond, and Stephen Clark. The entry for Mary (Mercy) Sanford household is:
    • 1 Male 10 to 15 – Unknown male.
    • 1 Female 70 to 80 – Mercy (Gay) Sanford

Apparently, Mercy has another young male helping in the household.

  • Mercy (Gay) Sanford died on 1 May 1841 in Byron, Genesee County, New York. She is buried in the North Byron Cemetery.

Events by Location
Life Events of Mercy Gay Sanford

Sharon, Litchfield, Connecticut: Birth – 1761; Marriage – 1786.
Litchfield, Litchfield, Connecticut: Lived 1790.
Pownal, Bennington, Vermont: Lived – 1792; Lived 1800; lived 1810.
Bergen/Byron, Genesee, New York: Lived 1820, 1830, 1840, Death 1841, and Burial, 1841.

————–  Disclaimer  ————–

Continue reading “Ancestor Sketch – Mercy Gay”

Mercy (Gay) Sanford & the Early Censuses

Mercy Sanford and the 1840, 1830, and 1820 Census records.

Census Sunday
By Don Taylor

Following widows in early America can often be difficult, Mercy (Gay) Sanford was widowed when her husband, Ezra Clugston Sanford, died 22 June 1813 in Pownal, Bennington County, Vermont.[i] Mercy died in Byron, Genesee, New York sometime in 1841.[ii] So, the question arises, what happened to Mercy between 1813 and 1841? When did she locate to Byron?

Typically, you start with what you know, and go back in time. However, in the case of Mercy, I needed to start with what I knew and go forward in time. First, I looked at the three census records in question.  Miraculously, I found Mercy in the 1830 Census.


1830 – Byron, Genesee County, New York

The Mercy Sanford household consists of 1 Female, 60 to 70 years old and 1 male from 10 to 15 years old.

Mercy was born in 1761, so she would have been 69 in 1830. Living with her is a young male; my suspicion a grandson, or even a great-grandson.[iii]

1820 – Not with Lucy. 

After Ezra died in 1813, Mercy was given guardianship of her daughter Lucy.[iv] Lucy married Levi Case in 1817. My first thought was that Mercy might have been living with her daughter Lucy and her husband Levi during the 1820 Census. No Such Luck.

The 1820 Census record for Levi Case is:

Levi Cass 1 – – 1 – – 1 – 1 – – – 

1 Male  Under 10   Apparently Levi A. (Jr.)
2 Males 16 to 26   One must be Levi. The other is unknown.

1 female under 10 apparently is Mercy G.
1 female from 16 to 26 years of age must be Lucy.

So, it is apparent that Mercy didn’t locate to New York with Lucy and Levi.

1820 – Not with Electa. 

Mercy’s daughter, Electa, died in 1819, so Mercy couldn’t be living with her in 1920.

1820 – Bergen, Genesee County, New York. 

After Electa died, her husband, Dewey Miller, married Electa’s sister Sally. Could Mercy be living with them during the 1820 Census? Yes.[v] The 1820 Census entry for Dewey Miller is:

Dewey Miller  3 – – – 1 – 1 – – 2 1  

3 males under age 10. One is likely Aaron, one is likely Albert, the third one is unclear.
1 male between 26 and 45 is clearly Dewey.


1 female under age 10 appears to be daughter Lucy.
2 females 26 to 45. One must be Sally and the other is an unknown female.
1 female over 45 appears to be Mercy.

Dewey was born in 1787, so he’d be 33 during the 1820 Census.
Sally was born in 1790, so she’d be 30 during the 1820 Census.
Mercy was born in 1861, so she’d be 59 during the 1820 Census.

The marriage of Dewey to Electa, her death, the marriage of Dewey to Sally, and the 1820 census lend themselves to a speculative narrative that Electa got sick. Mercy located to help take care of Electa. Upon Electa’s death, Dewey married Sally, and Mercy was still with the household during the 1820 Census.

1840 – Byron, Genesee County, New York

There doesn’t appear to be a Mercy Sanford in the 1840 Census. However there is a Mary Sanford of the correct age whose neighbors are many of the same people as were neighbors to Mercy during the 1830 Census.[vi] The neighbors include David Shed, Erastus Hamond, and Stephen Clark.  The entry for Mary (Mercy) is:

Mary Sanford – – 1 – – – – – – – – – – –  |  – – – – – – – – 1 – – –

1 Male 10 to 15 – Unknown male.
1 Female 70 to 80 – Mercy (Gay) Sanford


Mercy and Ezra Sanford were married on 11 Oct 1876. His records for the 1790, 1800, and 1810 censuses are the records for Mercy. These three additional census records follow Mercy for the years after Ezra’s death until Mercy’s death.


[i] Find a Grave, Find a Grave, Ezra Sanford (1763-1813) – Memorial# 43640146. Died 22 Jun 1813.

[ii] “Thomas Sanford, the emigrant to New England; ancestry, life,and descendants, 1632-4,” Carlton E.  Sanford, Charles Arthur Hoppin (1911), Page 226 – Sketch 711 – Ezra Sanford.; PDF, Archive.Org (

[iii] 1830 Census (FS), Family Search, 1830 Census – Byron, Genesee, New York – Page 368 – Mercy Sanford. “United States Census, 1830,” database with images, FamilySearch ( 29 July 2017), Mercy Sanford, Byron, Genesee, New York, United States; citing 368, NARA microfilm publication M19, (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 90; FHL microfilm 17,150.

[iv] Vermont; Wills and Probate Records, 1749-1999, Ancestry.Com, Probate – Ezra Sanford (1753-1813) – Page 03 (00390). Guardianship Papers – Assigning Mercy Sanford as guardian for Lucy Sanford, 5 July 1813.

[v] 1820 Census (FS), Family Search, 1820 Census – Bergan, Genesee, New York – Page 43 – Dewey Miller. “United States Census, 1820,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 15 February 2020), Dewey Miller, Bergen, Genesee, New York, United States; citing p. 43, NARA microfilm publication M33, (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 72; FHL microfilm 193,727.

[vi] 1840 Census (NARA), 1840 Census – Bergan, Genesee, New York, Page 267 – Mary [Mercy] Sanford. “United States Census, 1840,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 15 August 2017), Mary Sanford, Byron, Genesee, New York, United States; citing p. 267, NARA microfilm publication M704, (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 286; FHL microfilm 17,188.

Ancestor Sketch – Arvid Frithiof Carlin

Bradley-Hingston Project
Ancestor Y-06

Carlin Line
By Don Taylor

Arvid Frithiof Carlin(1876-1959)
Updated 30 Jan 2020[1]

Arvid was born Arvid Frithiof Karlsson-Karlin[1] in Värmskog, Värmland, Sweden on 27 November 1876.[1] From his naturalization papers, it was unclear where in Sweden he was born. In my original post I asked for help in deciphering that location. A genealogy  friend, whose skill in Swedish immigration I highly respect, provided that it was Degerbyn. She also provided a source for his Karlsson part of his surname.

Värmskog is a tiny village (2000 population of 65 people) in Värmland (a historical province), which is about 180 miles west of Stockholm (about 40 miles from Norway).


Nothing is known about Arvid’s childhood. When he was 23, he immigrated to the United State. On 8 September 1900, he left Southampton, England aboard the SS New York. The trip took 8 days having him arrive in New York (Ellis Island), on 16 September 1900.

SS New York – before 1903 – Source: Wikipedia.

Initially built as the SS City of New York in 1888, the ship saw service as the USS Harvard during the Spanish-American War. After her wartime service, she was renamed the SS New York and returned to civilian service in January 1899.

Arvid was living in the tenements at 228 East 20th when he entered an “Intent to become a US Citizen” in 1903.

In 1909, Arvid was living at 156 East 39th Street. It also was probably a tenement. Today that location appears to be a three-story walk-up that was built in 1920.  Arvid was a tailor.

Following the American Dream, in February 1912 he filed his first patent request for a new type of clothes hanger.  Between 1912 and 1954, Arvid was granted 18 patents for a variety of items including toys and toilet paper holders.  Also, in March 1912, Arvid submitted his petition for naturalization and in June took the oath as a citizen.


In 1915, Arvid married Pauline Van Damm in New Jersey. Certificate 05445 applies.

Arvid and Paulene had three children. They are:

·               Name ·               Born
·               Walpole ·               Apr 1917 – New York
·               Virginia Pauline ·               1924 – New York
·               Vivian ·               July 1928 – New York

In 1918, Arvid registered for the Draft. From his registration card we learn that he and Pauline were living at 2174 Amsterdam Ave. The apartment where they lived was built in 1900 and is still standing.

2174 Amsterdam Ave. New York City – Photo courtesy Google Maps.

He at that time, he worked for Jas H. Yell as a tailor in the Garment District. His work was about a mile and a half away at the corner of West 39th Street and 5th Avenue. Today, at that location is a Payless Shoe Store.

Arvid was of medium height, medium build, had blue eyes and light brown hair.

In 1920, Arne (Arvid) and Pauline were still living at 2174 Amsterdam and Arvid was still working as a tailor.

Sometime between 1920 and 1923, Arvid and Pauline moved away from Midtown Manhattan about 18 miles to Mamaroneck, about 5 miles from Connecticut.

The 1930 Census found Arvid, Paulina, Walpole, Virginia, and Vivian at 43 Keeler. A separate household at the same address was the Gustave Melesk household consisting of Gustave, his wife Helena, and daughters Bertha and Helen.  Gustave owned the house valued at $8000, Arvid rented from him for $35.00 per month.

1110 Keeler Ave. Mamaroneck, NY – Photo courtesy Google Maps

The 1940 Census confused me for a while. It indicates they were living in the household of Gustave Malesk at 1110 Keeley. A review of the neighbors indicated that in both the 1930 Census and the 1940 Census the Waters family lived on one side of the Malesks and the Doyle family lived on the other side. As such, I’m sure the street went through a renumbering sometime between 1930 and 1940.  A bit more confusing, 16-year-old Virginia was the person the census taker spoke with. She reported that Pauline was the sister of Gustave and her father was the Brother-in-law of Gustave. This seemed very odd. In the 1930 Census, I learned that Gustave and his wife Helen have been born in Poland, this Census, Gustave, and Helen were reported as being born in Germany. Additionally, the census taker entered Walpole, Virginia, and Vivian as being the children of Gustave. Ignoring the relationships of the kids, if Pauline is Gustave’s sister, then Pauline’s maiden name is likely to have been Melesk.  That Gustave was born in Poland/Germany and Pauline born in Holland suggests that the Melesks migrated west to Holland sometime between 1887 and 1897. Something about these relationships doesn’t seem quite right. I will look more closely into the relationships when I research Pauline.


Marker – Arvid Carlin – Photo by Ellen Bruster via Find-a-Grave.

Arvid died on 2 July 1959 in the Bronx, New York. He was buried in the Greenwood Union Cemetery, Section South, Lot 007e, Grave 9, in Rye, Westchester County, New York. He was survived by his wife, Pauline, and his three children, Walpole, Virginia, and Vivian.

Events by Location

  • England, Hampshire, Southampton       – Ship’s port of embarkation to the United States.
  • New Jersey                                                         – Marriage.
  • New York, Bronx                                             – Death.
  • New York, New York, Manhattan            – Immigration Arrival, Residence 1909,  1912, 1916, 1918, & 1920.
  • New York, Westchester, Mamaroneck  – Residences, 1930, 1935, and 1940.
  • New York, Westchester, Rye                     – Burial.
  • Sweden (Possibly Segerbyn)                     – Birth.

Further Actions / Follow-up

  • Get a copy of the marriage certificate for Arvid Frithiof Carlin and Pauline van Damm who were married in New Jersey in 1915. Certificate #05445.

————–  Disclaimer  ————–


[1] Thanks to my friend, Lois Knight, I learned that Arvid’s “Emigration Location” was Degerbyn.

Also note: Lois’ information confirmed that his surname was Karlin when he lived in Sweden. However, I use “Carlin” as that was the spelling used later in his life and is the name “carved into stone” on his grave marker.


  • 1920 Census (FS), Family Search, Arne Carlin – Manhattan Assembly District 23, New York, New York. “United States Census, 1920,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 22 January 2020), Walford Carlin in household of Arne Carlin, Manhattan Assembly District 23, New York, New York, United States; citing ED 1494, sheet 14A, line 42, family 317, NARA microfilm publication T625 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1992), roll 1226; FHL microfilm 1,821,226.
  • 1930 Census (FS), Family Search, Arvid F Carlin – Mamaroneck, Westchester, New York. “United States Census, 1930,” database with images, FamilySearch ( VGF : accessed 20 January 2020), Arvid F Carlin, Mamaroneck, Westchester, New York, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 174, sheet 26A, line 21, family 652, NARA microfilm publication T626 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2002), roll 1661; FHL microfilm 2,341,395.
  • 1940 Census (FS), Family Search, Gustane Melesk (Head) Arvid Carlin Brother-in-law – Mamaroneck, Rye Town, Westchester, New York. “United States Census, 1940,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 28 July 2019), Vivian Carlin in household of Gustane Melesk, Mamaroneck, Rye Town, Westchester, New York, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 60-105A, sheet 1A, line 17, family 3, Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940, NARA digital publication T627. Records of the Bureau of the Census, 1790 – 2007, RG 29. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2012, roll 2805.
  • Find a Grave Memorial, Find a Grave, Arvid Carlin – Memorial 172514188. Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed 22 January 2020), memorial page for Arvid Carlin (unknown–2 Jul 1959), Find A Grave Memorial no. 172514188, citing Greenwood Union Cemetery, Rye, Westchester County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Ellen Brewster (contributor 47921251).
  • New York City directory, New York Public Library Digital Collections, 1919-10 – Page 222 – Carlin, Arvid F. Irma and Paul Milstein Division of United States History, Local History and Genealogy, The New York Public Library. “New York City directory” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed January 22, 2020.
  • New York Passenger Arrival Lists (Ellis Island), 1892-1924, Family Search, Arvid Karlin – 1900. Database with images, dated 20 August 2019, accessed 20 Jan 2020.
  • New York, Southern District, U.S District Court Naturalization Records, 1824-1946, Family Search, Arvid Frithiof Carlin. FamilySearch ( : 14 August 2019), Arvid Frithiof Carlin, 1912.
  • S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 , Various, Arvid Frithoif Carlin – 12 Sep 1918. Registration State: New York; Registration County: New York; Roll: 1786807; Draft Board: 148.

Donna Darling Collection – Part 59

Donna Montran – Vaudeville
Treasure Chest Thursday
By Don Taylor

For this week’s Treasure Chest Tuesday, I’m looking at three clippings from the Donna Darling Collection, all relating to the State Theatre, Beacon, New York.



D. W. Griffith’s “The Love Flower,” which opened at the State Theatre last night for three days, lives up to the Griffith standard. It was thoroughly enjoyed by all.

A rattling good vaudeville bill wins the appreciation of all.
Dolly Montran, the singing comedienne, with a million dollar personality, gives the patrons a treat in song offerings She more than pleases.

“The Girlie Review,” introducing….


With the article was an advertisement for Beacon’s State Theatre. The show “Dolly Montrose” is number 6 on the bill. Also, my grandmother highlighted the item. Beneath that is another ad showing the motion picture “The Love Flower” and Dolly Montran, a Singing Comedienne. The prima donna with a million-dollar personality. My grandmother also highlighted that clipping.


The last clipping was a short one:

Donna Montran played Bacon [sic], New York, last week, and is appearing at Red Bank, N. J., and Stroudsburg, PA., this week, breaking on her new single, “As You Like It,” written by Hockey and Green.

The good news is I had seen the short clip before. It ran in The New York Clipper, dated 6 July 1921, on – page 15, column 3. From other documents, I knew that Donna was “breaking in” the new single in 1921.

Key features:

  • The venue is the State Theatre. It is “Beacon’s Pride – Theatre Beautiful.”
  • The show is the “Dolly Montran” A singing comedienne. The prima donna with a million-dollar personality.
  • Also on the bill:
    • David Wark [D.W.] Griffith’s picture, “The Love Flower.”
    • “The Girlie Review” – Vaudeville’s greatest dancing novelty
    • Hall and Fenton – A corking skit
    • Robertio – Novelty contortionist


Interestingly, the theatre program called her “Dolly Montrose,” and the theatre’s advertising called her Dolly Montran.  I have not seen her going by the name of “Dolly” before. I suspect that “Montrose” was a typo, but I should look at that closer.

July 3rd was a Sunday and playbills of the period typically ran Monday through Wednesday and Thursday through Sunday, so those shows were probably the dates for Red Bank, NJ, and the Stroudsburg, PA, shows.


I was able to update my previous schedule with the following:

  • June 30 – July 2, 1921 – Beacon, New York, State Theatre, “As You Like It” with Donna Montran.
  • July 4-6, 1921 – Red Bank, New Jersey, _____ Theatre, Donna Montran (probable)
  • July 7-9, 1921 – Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, _____ Theatre, Donna Montran (probable)


Search for any other examples of “Dolly Montrose” or “Dolly Montran” during 1921.


Donna Darling Collection – SCAN0080 – Don Taylor’s Private Collection.