Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Donna in Pendleton, OR, at the Oregon Theater - Dec 10, 1919

Donna in Pendleton, OR, at the Oregon Theater - Dec 10, 1919

I’m not sure yet where the Chin Chin group was on December 8th and 9th, but the on December 10th the company played a one night show at the Oregon Theater in Pendleton, Oregon.

Besides the usual advertising there was an "info ad" in the Dec 10, 1919, Eastern Oregonian which called out “Mina Montran.” It said, in part:

“Mina Montran, who is the leading singer, has the part of the Goddess of the Lamp. She is a young woman of attractive personality, handsomely gowned, and with a clear and sweet soprano voice admirably fitted to the requirements of this role. Her two solos, "Violets" and "The Gray Dove" are rendered with much feeling and win the enthusiastic applause of her hearers.”[1]

This is very odd and, so far, the only reference to her with the name “Mina.” We don’t know yet if it was just a typographic error in the paper or if she was trying on a new stage name. Further research will tell. We know that Donna had the part of the Goddess of the Lamp so this name difference was odd.

A "review" the day after the show also called out,

Two solos, "Violets" and "The Gray Dove," were sung by Mina Montran, who as the leading singer, had the part of the Goddess of the Lamp.

This second use of "Mina" indicates to me that it wasn't a typesetting error.  We'll see if we can find Donna and the "Chin Chin" company at another venue in the days preceding or following this venue.

The Oregon Theatre

The 1913-14 Julius Cahn Gus Hill Theatrical Guide reports Pendleton having a population of 5,500 people. The Oregon Theatre was on the second floor and could hold an audience of 684 people, 324 on the main floor with 160 in the balcony and another 200 in the gallery. The stage was a small 25 x 18 feet with a backstage width of 49 feet.

With only a one-night show it is unlikely that the cast stayed in any of the four recommended hotels, Pendleton (the nicest at $2.00/night), St. George, Bowman, or Golden Rule. They would have arrived, set up, did the shoe, packed up, and headed for the next town all in the same day.

Further Research

I have been unable to find out much information regarding the Oregon Theater in Pendleton. I have contacted the Umatilla County Historical Society to see if they can direct me to history regarding the theater.

[1]  East Oregonian, Pendelton, Oregon (oregonnews.uoregon.edu) 1919-12-10 - Page 6 - CHIN CHIN PRESENTS BRILLIANT SPECTACLE. http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn88086023/1919-12-10/ed-1/seq-6/.,

James Dallas Howell (1879-1964)

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 30 – James Dallas Howell (1879-1964)

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, Ancestry.com, http://www.Ancestry.com, 1880; Census Place: Faucetts, Halifax, North Carolina; Roll: 966; Family History Film: 1254966; Page: 627C; Enumeration District: 137; Image: 0720. http://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?db=1880usfedcen&indiv=try&h=19555434.
[2] 1900 United States Federal Census, Ancestry.com, http://www.Ancestry.com, 1900; Census Place: Conocondy, Halifax, North Carolina; Roll: 1199; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 0027; FHL microfilm: 1241199. http://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?db=1900usfedcen&indiv=try&h=57153615.
[3] Web Sites (Various), First Baptist Church of Davis - Pastors. Rev. J. D. Howell - 1909. http://davisfirstbaptist.com/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderfiles/pastors.doc.
[4] North Carolina, Marriages, 1759-1979, Family Search, J. D. Howell & Mary Lillian Hobbs - Accessed 2013-12-07. https://familysearch.org/pal:/mm9.1.1/f847-tqy.
[5] Maryland, Dept. of Health, Death Certificate, James Dallas Howell - Died 18 Dec 1964. Place: Kensington Gardens Sanatorium, Kensington, Montgomery County, Maryland.
[6] Ibid.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Peter M. Howell (1805-c.1865) and Archive.org

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 29 – Peter M. Howell (1805-c.1865)

By – Don Taylor

There are occasions when you fine something totally awesome regarding an ancestor.

Book Cover
Courtesy: Amazon.com
I use a simple name and date of birth search often on several sites, one of them is Archive.Org, a great site for many reasons.  Well a search for “Peter Howell 1805” yielded a book, The Life and Travels of Peter Howell.  OMG – Could it be?  Sure enough, I had found a book about and by Peter Howell my wife's ancestor. I used the PDF version on Archive.Org to glean lots  of information about Peter’s life, I downloaded the Kindle version for my wife so she could read about him in his words.  I also found that there were two print versions available through Amazon. I bought one of each of the versions as gifts.  I learned that not all reprints  are the same.  One of the reprints was good, the other unacceptable. I wrote about my experience with the two versions in a review on Amazon.Com.  Probably one of the greatest  finds in the book was a drawing/illustration of Peter so we can see what he looked like.  A copy of his portrait now adorns our living room “Ancestor Wall.”

Sadly, his “life and travels” never mentions his parents names. It does mention a sister, but never her name either. The book did give new information about exactly where he lived and when, as well as new information about his children, one of whom we had never heard of before.

Sometimes a simple search on the right website can yield the most amazine finds. Archive.Org is one of those must surch sites that you should include if you don't already do so.

Bio - Peter M. Howell (1805-c.1865)

Peter M. Howell abt 1849
Source: The Life and Travels of Peter Howell
Peter was born 15 Jul 1805 in Charlotte County, Virginia.

In 1807 his family moved to Buckingham County, Virginia. When he was only 12 years old his father died.  His mother remarried sometime between 1819 and 1820.  Also about 1819 his half sister (name unknown) married a man named Holman. About 1821, Peter apprenticed himself to Mr. Holman to learn carpentry. Which he did for about 3-1/2 years.  He relocated with Mr. Holman and his half-sister to Alabama, “not far from the Tennessee River.”  By 1827, Peter returned to Buckingham County and was living with his mother and her new husband mear Farmville (Prince Edward County). 

On June 11th, 1829 Peter married Caroline M. A Pankey in Cumberland County.  

The 1830 census finds the young couple livind in Cumberland County.  Also, about 1830 their first child, a daughter, Lousianna was born.  In 1832 they lived back in Buckingham County near Willis Mountain. They had two more children in the 1830’s, Phillip C in 1833 and Elizabeth in 1836. In 1937 they appear to have been living on his brother’s (Gideon) land at “Deep Bottom.”

Parker's Meeting House built in 1842
Courtesy: Sally's Family Place (Blog)
The 1840’s census finds the family in the Northern District of Buckingham County, Virginia. In 1842 another son, (great-grandfather) Peter Fletcher Howell was born. We know that Peter had business at the Buckingham county courthouse several times in the 1840s.  In 1845 another son, Lorenzo Dibrell Howell was born. During the 1840s, Peter started preaching regularly, walking everywhere in the area.  He preached in long circuits going from town to town and ranging far and wide. That period of his life is the subject of his book.  In January of 1846, he relocated his family to Murfreesboro, North Carolina about a mile from Parker’s Meeting House.  

In 1848, Peter moved to Halifax, North Carolina. In the ensuing years he became the minister of a church there.

Peter is in the 1860 census but not in the 1870 census, so I believe he died sometime in that decade. I have been unable to located death or burial information regarding Peter.

We remember Peter M. Howell, today, on the 209th anniversary of his birth.

Further Actions:
  • Investigate all Howells in Charlotte County in 1800 looking for Peter’s father.
  • Investigate all Howells in Buckingham County in 1810 looking for Peter’s father.
  • Investigate Peter’s siblings’ lives.
  • Determine church Peter became minister of in Halifax.

List of Greats
1.     Peter Fletcher Howell
2.    Peter M. Howell

Monday, July 7, 2014

Annie Deborah Long Hobbs (1846-1913) and WorldCat

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 28 – Annie Deborah Long Hobbs (1846-1913)

When you have a family that lived in one area for a while, it is extremely important to check the Historical Society of that place and see if they published a book on the early or important residents of that place. Through other research, I know that Annie Deborah Long and her husband James Ashley Hobbs had lived in Martin County, North Carolina most of their lives.

World Cat (www.worldcat.org) is one of the best on-line resources there is for finding books and a quick search for “Martin County North Carolina Historical Society” yielded some thousand results. Because I sorted the results by relevance, only the first ten or twenty books are probably going to be of interest. I worked through the books on the first page and found one of them was at my local county library (while I was living in Georgia). I visited the library there and gleaned a ton of information regarding many of the individuals that populated Martin County during the time of my wife’s family was there. “Aunt Hazel” who was actually a 1st cousin of my wife’s father wrote several of the articles. In the book, she highlighted family members who she actually knew. Cool. There was even a photo of my wife’s here-to-unknown great uncle. My process for using WorldCat is really easy.

Created an account on World Cat if you don't have one. It is free and lets you organize all of your book requirements. Then create several folders to help organize your books. I used:
  • “Search the Internet”
  • “Order via Interlibrary Loan”
  • “Visit the Library”

Then, use WorldCat.org to find which books might be relevant. If a title is of interest, select it. I generally give the book a tag that relates to the surname I am researching and then move it to my “Search the Internet” folder. 

Later, I go through my “Search the Internet” folder and search for the book title. Sometime the book is available on-line. Sometimes, an index for the book is available on line. The index can really help you know if the book is one you want to see or not. I add notes regarding my searches directly to the item in my folder. These notes may be either public or private. You choose.

If the book is not available on the Internet and seems to be one I still would like to see/read, I move the book to the “Order via Interlibrary Loan” folder. I then use my local library’s inter-library loan system to order the book. Again, I make a note when I ordered it. Some libraries will let you order directly from World Cat after you have logged in via their website or proxy. Others require you fill out a local form.  Interlibrary loan is great, I've been amazed at some of the books I’ve been able to read using it. 

Finally, if the book isn’t available via Inter-library loan (not circulating), I move the information about the book and libraries it is at to my “Visit the Library” folder. I then use Evernote to capture the information about the book and libraries and put it into a folder "Library Visits". What is cool about that is that if I visit say the New York Public Library, the Library of Congress, or Allen County Public Library, I can just search for that library in Evernote and it brings up a list of all the books at that library that I am interested in and what I was looking for.

Bio - Annie Deborah Long Hobbs (1846-1913)

Annie was born July 7th, 1846, the oldest daughter of Samuel Aquilla Long and Martha Ann Bryan Long. In 1860, I’m sure she was a typical 14 year-old of the day; she attended school[1] and otherwise things were normal until the Civil War. Her older brother, Joe, enlisted in 1862 and her father joined up in 1863. 

Stories about the war survived. In one story, related by Sara Long Johnson, "The Yankee soldiers plundered the entire house, taking every feather bed to the yard where they cut them open and had great fun yelling, “it’s snowing, it's snowing. They cut the feet off the chickens, geese, and young pigs leaving them in great misery. As soon as they left the animals were salvaged as much as possible."[2]  I can only imagine the terror and fear that a young 17 year-old Annie had as the Yankees plundered her home. 

In another story, also related by Sara Long Johnson, when the war was over, Annie's brother, Joe, was making the long trek home. After receiving much hospitality from another Long family, they placed a gold piece in his hand. He expressed his gratitude an told them that his sister [Ann Debora Long] was to be married in a short time and he would give it to her for a wedding present.[3]

And yes, shortly after the war, Annie Deborah Long married James Ashley Hobbs on 16 May 1866. A respectable 15 months later, she gave birth to her first child, a boy, Charles Leon Hobbs. She and James Ashley would have nine children in total.

Martin County Courthouse abt 1885
Courtesy www.carolana.com
She kept house and maintained a close relationship with her friends at the Primitive Baptist Church in Hamilton. In 1898, her husband was elected to be Clerk of Court for Martin County and the family moved to Williamston. In the new home she still kept house and maintained a close relationship with her new friends at the Primitive Baptist Church in Williamston.

According to Hazel Armstrong Valentine, "Debbie Hobbs was a petite little woman whose life revolved around her home and family. She was conservative by nature, frugal in her habits and very generous with her friends."[4]

Annie’s grandson, Frank Alton Armstrong, Jr., became the celebrated WW II Colonel that the movie 12 O’clock High was patterned after. Her granddaughter Hazel’s husband, Itimous T. Valentine, Sr., was a famous judge, eventually becoming an associate judge in the North Carolina Supreme Court.
Annie died on 17 May 1913 in Williamson, N.C.[5]

I am yet to find where she is buried.

Further Actions:
Find where is Annie buried?
Determine the location of their homestead from tax rolls.

List of Greats
1.    Annie Deborah Long
2.     Samuel Aquilla Long
3.     John Long
4.     Aquilla Long

[1] 1860 Census, District 9, Martin, North Carolina; Roll: M653_905; Page: 443; Image: 291; Family History Library Film: 803905. Enumerated 26 Sep 1860; Accessed 8 Apr 2014. http://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?db=1860usfedcenancestry&indiv=try&h=41411573.
[2] Hughes, S. J. N., & Martin County Historical Society (N.C.), Martin County Heritage (Williamston, NC, Martin County Historical Society, 1980), Article # 579 - The Samuel Long Family. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/7138421.
[3] Ibid.
[4] Ibid.
[5] Hughes, S. J. N., & Martin County Historical Society (N.C.), Martin County Heritage (Williamston, NC, Martin County Historical Society, 1980), Article # 418 - James Ashley Hobbs. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/7138421.