Donna 100 Years ago – Palace Theatre, Cincinnati, Ohio.

September 4-9, 1922
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.“Donna 100 years ago” reviews my grandmother’s vaudeville life. Madonna Montran, aka “Donna Montran” & “Donna Darling,” had an exciting career during the 1920s. A definite headliner, she crisscrossed the country with her many shows.

The Cincinnati Enquirer · 3 Sep 1922 – Page 61.

Donna performed in the Keith Vaudeville Circuit. She had just finished a week in Louisville, Kentucky, and arrived in Cincinnati, Ohio, to play six days at the Palace Theater from the 4th to the 9th.

The Cincinnati Enquirer Friday, September 1st, 1922, issue, Page 5, in their “Cincinnati Theaters and Parks” feature, included three paragraphs about what would be showing at the Palace Theatre. The article included, “Donna Darling of musical comedy fame, assisted by Murray Walker and Jack Finney, in a Melange of song and dance, styled “As You Like It;” The Sunday paper also promoted the show with “Donna Darling in ‘As You Like It,’ a musical playlet in which the former musical comedy favorite is assisted with Murray Walker and Jack Finney.” There was also an ad on the same page that listed seven vaudeville shows and one photoplay starting Monday. The playbill included:

The Cincinnati Post 4 Sep 1922. Page 6?
    • Burke Morgan & DeForest Wooley
    • Burke, Larry & Clifford
    • Donna Darling
    • Naie & Rizzo
    • Harry Bussey
    • Nadje & Co.
    • Don Lanning
    • Photoplay: “The Top of New York” with May McAvoy

Donna always wanted to be the headliner, and sure enough, the Monday paper put her as the first show in subsequent advertisements. The Tuesday paper wrote that the show was “worthy of headline honors.”

One hundred years ago, Donna played in the vaudeville act “As You Like It” at the Palace Theater in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Palace Theater

Palace Theatre, 1924.

The Palace Theater opened on December 6th, 1919, as a B. F. Keith vaudeville house, across the street from the world-famous Cincinnatian Hotel. By the time Donna played there in 1922, the theatre was a mixed theater playing vaudeville and photoplays. An eight-piece orchestra, led by William Heege provided music during the silent films and as needed for the vaudeville shows. The theater converted to all movies in 1928. It was renamed the RKO Palace Theater. It was renamed TKO International 70 in 1964 and closed in 1976. It reopened as the International Music House in 1978. It closed again in 1982 when it was demolished.

Specifications for the Palace Theatre[i]

  • Seating Capacity: 2,619.
  • Stage Dimensions: 70’ wide x 60’ high and 35’ deep.

Today, the location includes the high-rise office, “Center at 600 Vine[ii],[iii].

Endnotes

[i]  The Julius Cahn-Gus Hill Theatrical Guide and Moving Picture Directory, Volume XX (1921), Page 74 – Palace Theatre. https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo.31924063709764&view=1up&seq=118&q1=Cincinnati%20Palace

[ii] Cinema Treasures – International Music House – http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/1048

[iii] Google – https://www.google.com/search?q=16+Sixth+Street+E%2C+Cincinnati%2C+OH+45202

Donna Darling – Strand Theatre, Dayton, Ohio – 28-30 Aug 1922.

Donna 100 Years Ago
“As You Like It”
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.“Donna 100 years ago” reviews my grandmother’s vaudeville life. Madonna Montran, aka “Donna Montran” & “Donna Darling,” had an exciting career during the 1920s. A definite headliner, she crisscrossed the country with her many shows.


Donna took a break from June 7th until about July 10th, 1922, to have her tonsils removed and take a vacation. I suspect it took a couple of months for her throat to heal because I haven’t found any venues from then until this show at B. F. Keith’s Strand Theatre in Dayton, Ohio.

She arrived in Dayton to play three days at the Strand Theatre from August 28th to the 30th, 1922.

Preshow Advertising

An article in the Dayton Herald, on August 26th, 1922, Page 5, foretold her show arrival;

MINSTRELSY NUMBER HEADS FIRST KEITH BILL ON VODEVILLE

Russell’s Minstrels Open Monday; Jean Sothern Coming Thursday.

Russell’s Minstrels scheduled as headline attraction for the first half of the week at the Keith -Strand carries patrons back to the days when minstrelsy was “the thing” and the offering with its spicy, speedy, jazzing feast of syncopation will bring much applause and much cheer to the heart.

Donna Darling the musical comedy favorite assisted by Murray Walker and Jack Finney in “As You Like It” will star in this little “cocktail” in which the ingredients and tasty and completely satisfying. Miss Darling and her clever co-workers are all excellent songsters.

The following day, the Dayton Daily News, August 27th, 1922, on Page 17, wrote:

Donna Darling, the musical comedy favorite, whose voice is as charming as her personality and her adaptability equivalent to the most favored star, will be assisted by Murray Walker and Jack Finney and the trio will present melody of that is of particular interest and influence….

Ad – The Dayton Herald – 29 August 1922.

On the 29th, the day after the show began, the Dayton Herald reported (on page 12):

Donna Darling and Murray Walker present a little skit replete with song and dance which has many brief moments of excellence. Especially noteworthy in this act is the singing of Miss Darling and the dancing of Walker.

And finally, on the 30th, the last day of the show, the Dayton Daily News reported;

“Donna Darling, who is blonde and beautiful, has a great deal of talent. She is assisted in her act by Murray Walker, another excellent dancer.”

B. F. Keith’s Strand Theatre

Dayton’s RKO Strand Theatre – Photo Courtesy Gary Smith via Cinema Treasures.org

The Theatre opened in 1904 as the National Theatre. It became the Lyceum Theatre in 1913 and changed its name to the B. F. Keith Theatre the following year. A fire damaged the Theatre in 1916, and it reopened as the Strand Theatre later in 1916 and showed movies only.[i] Sometime between then and 1922, the Theatre began showing Vaudeville shows again. It was destroyed by fire in 1943 and never rebuilt. Today, the Convention Center sits on the site.

The 1921 Julius Chan—Gus Hill Theatrical Guide and Moving Picture Directory lists B. F. Keith’s as a 1,841-seat capacity theatre that plays both Vaudeville and Pictures, managed by James L. Weed. As you might guess, it is part of the Keith’s Theatre Circuit.

Today the site appears to be a street underpass under the railroad tracks near the Dayton Convention Center.


Endnotes

[i] Internet: Cinema Treasures dot org – “RKO Strand Theatre” 214 Maine Street, Dayton, Ohio. http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/33385

Walter’s in the 1820 Census – Part 1

Darling-Swayze-Walker Line
Census Sunday
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.I had one follow-up task after my “Walter’s in the 1830 Census” research. I wanted to Investigate  Elizabeth Walter’s marriages and determine when she married Charles Stockard and James Gurley to know if the woman I found in James Gurley’s household was likely Elizabeth.

Elizabeth Walters married Charles Stockard on 24 June 1815 in Rockingham County, Virginia.[i] I also learned that Charles died on 24 November 1820 and was buried in the Ottervein United Methodist Church Cemetery, Perry County, Ohio. The 1820 Census was taken on 7 August 1820, so I’d expect Elizabeth to be with Charles. Finding her with 2nd husband in the 1830 Census makes perfect sense. Children of Elizabeth born before August 1821 are likely Charles’. According to Charles’ will, he had two children. They are presumed to be with Elizabeth.

With that task out of the way, I can focus on the Walter’s in Fairfield County during the 1820 Census. Fairfield became a county with the creation of Ohio as a state in 1803. The county lost area in creating several other counties between 1804 and 1818. Then it remained stable in size until 1850, when Hocking County was enlarged.[ii]

Expectation

Public Domain, Link

The date for the 1820 census was 7 August. So I would expect to find:

  • James and Margaret Ann (Swann) Walter were married.
    • James was 68
    • Margaret was 60.

Children

  • Martin was 41
  • Nancy was about 32 and likely married to FNU Lewis.
  • Elkanah was 31 and married to Rachael Decker (age 30). They have two boys (Harvy & James).
  • Catherine was 26 and married to David Swayze. They have two girls.
  • Elizabeth was 23 and married to Charles Stockard. They had two children.
  • James C. was 20. He may or may not be married to Polly LNU.
  • John was about 16.

Several Walker family members made it to Ohio before the 1820 Census.


1820 Censuses

Elkanah Walters – Richland, Fairfield County, Ohio.

Elkanah appeared as “Elkana” in 1820 with no surname. It was indexed as “Elkana Warner” because the entry did not have his surname entered, and the transcriber used the surname above his entry.

The household consists of four people

  • 1 Male          16-26         I believe this to be an entry error. Elkanah might be 31.
  • 1 Female      26-46       This should be Rebecca, age 30.
  • 2 Males        <10             This should be Harvy, Age 2
    This should be James, Age 4 mos.

Catherine Ann Dent Walter, wife of David Swayze – Richland, Fairfield County, Ohio 7 August 1820

The Swayze family of 1820 should consist of David, age 24, and Catherine, age 26, plus two children, both girls, Elizabeth, age 2 & Emily age seven months. It is unclear where they lived. They were in New Salem, Fairfield County, Ohio, in 1822 and in Virginia about 1818. So it is unclear when they removed to Ohio.

One David Sweazy Family consisted of the following:

  • Males – Under 10:       1          Unknown Male
  • Males – 16 thru 25:     1          David Swayze, Age 24
  • Males – 26 thru 44:     1         Unknown Male
  • Females – Under 10:   1          Elizabeth, age 2Emily Missing
  • Females – 16 thru 25:  2       Catherine (Walter) Swayze, Age 26?
                                                            Unknown Female.

It is possible that Emily was enumerated mistakenly as a male. And that siblings or boarders were living with David and Elizabeth making up the two unknown people (maybe a sibling and spouse). However, I am not confident that David and Elizabeth were in Fairfield County, Ohio, in 1820. Because of the inconsistencies and uncertainty, I cannot accept this as my 3rd great-grandparents and family. It could be a different, heretofore unknown, David Swayze.

David Swayze, Sr.

David’s father, David Swayze, and his mother, Alice, moved to Fairfield County, Ohio, about 1805.

Their family should consist of David (age 58) Alice (51), and their children: Mary (age 26), David (24), Jane (23), Sarah (21), Evan (18), Elizabeth (16), Edith (13), Daniel (10), and William (6).

The 1820 Census lists two David Swayze families in Fairfield County, Ohio.

One David Sweazy Family consists of the following:

  • Males – Under 10:       2         William (6) and Daniel (10)
  • Males – 16 thru 25:     1          Evan (18)
  • Males – 26 thru 44:     3        Three unknown males were born (1776-1794)
  • Males – 45 and over:   1        David (58)
  • Females – 10 thru 15:  3        Edith (13), Elizabeth (16), Unknown
  • Females – 26 thru 44:  1       Alice (51)

Sarah, Jane, and Mary are old enough to have married, thus expected to be elsewhere.

David and Alice were married on 20 January 1792 in Cecil, Maryland, so the three males are unlikely to be children of Alice.

Other Walkers

I found no evidence that James and Margaret Ann (Swann) Walker had located in Fairfield County before the 1820 Census.

Neither I have found Martin, Nancy (& FNU Lewis), Elizabeth (and Charles Stockard), or John in Fairfield County in the 1820 Census.

Conclusion – The Walter family in 1820

I successfully found two of James and Margaret’s children in the 1820 Census in Fairfield County, Ohio

  • Elkanah Walters Family – Richland township.
  • Catherine Ann Dent Walter, wife of David Swayze in Richland Township.
  • Also, I discovered David Swayze’s father, David, in Richland Township.

I did not find James or Margaret in either the 1820 Censuses nor did finding their children in those records help find any additional information regarding them.


Follow-up

Continue Researching James and Margaret (Swann) Walker.

Sources

  • 1820 Census, 1820 Census – Ohio, Fairfield, Richland – David Sweazy [Jr.] – (Image 2 of 3, first page, 3rd name). 1820 US Census; Census Place: Richland, Fairfield, Ohio; Page: 188; NARA Roll: M33_87; Image: 140.
  • 1820 Census, 1820 Census – Ohio, Fairfield, Richland – David Sweazy [Sr.] – (Image 3 of 3, second page, 4th name). 1820 US Census; Census Place: Richland, Fairfield, Ohio; Page:    Richland, Fairfield, Ohio; Page: 189; NARA Roll: M33_87; Image: 140. https://www.ancestry.com/sharing/28330642?h=a50c67.

Endnotes

[i] John Walter Wayland, Virginia Valley records (Shenandoah Publishing House, , 1930), Ancestry, Rockingham Supplement – Page 28. Marriages in Rockingham County.

[ii] Internet: The Newberry – Digital Newberry – Atlas of Historical County Boundaries – Ohio: Individual County Chronologieshttps://newberry.org/ accessed 1 May 2022.

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

his
Charles X Stockard
mark

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

Parents

    • James            Location Unknown
    • Margaret        Died in 1826

Children

    • 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. 

Follow-up

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.


Sources

    • 1830 Census – Ohio, Fairfield, Walnut – Page 198 – David Swayze -. “United States Census, 1830,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XH5L-GYL : 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 (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XH5L-5N4 : 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 (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XH5L-LMF : 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.