Who do you think you are? My research revealed a Vaudeville Star!

Capture
Charles Cartmell & Laura Harris

I love nothing better than rising early on Sunday’s and delving into my genealogical research with a hot cup of coffee in hand.  I often find myself jumping from one familiar line to another.  I wrote out my research objectives for the day and began searching for information on my GREENE lineage.

I had no idea the delightful surprise I would unveil! The Greene/Green lineage is typically stuffy people with lofty accomplishment.  One of the most noted  is  Thomas Greene  (the second proprietary Governor of Maryland. But today the discovery of an entire family of performers has shed some liveliness on the family line.

The research focus of the day was my 2nd great grand Aunt – EMMA GREEN (1858-1910?). EMMA was the daughter of ELIZABETH CLARK (1825-?) and GILES THOME GREEN (1803-1863).  Elizabeth being much younger than her husband found herself a young widower and left to the rearing of EMMA and her brother ANDREW.

EMMA lived and worked in her mother’s hotel in Uniontown, MD  and on February 19, 1880, EMMA married THOMAS HARRIS (1855-1934)  in Carroll County, MD.

EMMA and THOMAS are listed twice in the 1880 census. One listing their residence and place of work at their mother’s hotel in Uniontown. The second entry was in Baltimore, MD but when I looked at the occupation it listed them both as ACTORS!  A husband and wife team well…well…well.  Finally a little bit of fun in the Green family!  woohoo.  This discovery inspired me to dig a little deeper, after all these are the first actors in the family.

By the 1900′s EMMA and THOMAS were still residing in the Baltimore area and their family had been blessed by the addition of four children.  The 1900 census also revealed that two of the children THOMAS, JR. and LAURA are also actors!  So now I am really excited a family of actors!  What a fun Sunday this was turning out to be!  Errands and household chores could wait.  Due to the excitement I abandoned my typical research protocol and turned to the universe for answers…translated that means to google. So my chubby little fingers deftly typed  LAURA HARRIS + THOMAS HARRIS +ACTOR and Bingo.  The very first result returned was a bio from Will Rogers book – “The Papers of Will Rogers from Vaudeville to Broadway.” Here is the excerpt:

 

So now we can add ANOTHER actor to the family, CHARLES CARTMELL, husband of LAURA HARRIS. If you have lost count we are up to five actors in the same family.

The trio appeared on Broadway together in 1903  All three where on stage for the opening night of the musical comedy “Mrs. Delaney of Newport.”

In 1908 CHARLES & LAURA found themselves on Broadway again in GEORGE M. COHAN’s “Fifty Miles to Boston.” One of Cohan’s featured song’s written in the musical was “Harrigan” Click  here to listen to a great recording of the song I found on YouTube.

Words and Lyrics by GEORGE M. COHAN:

H-A- Double R-I
G-A-N spells Harrigan!
Proud of all the Irish that’s in me.
Divil a man can say a word agin me!
Oh, H-A-Double R-I
G-A-N you see!
It’s the name,
That no shame has ever been connected with
It’s a name that a shame never has been connected with
Harrigan, that’s me!

By 1910 the three actors  – THOMAS, CHARLES and LAURA were  residing in Manhattan, NY .  The census confirmed again that all three were still performing.

In 1912 CHARLES would go on New York’s Broadway theatre solo in the musical comedy, “The Sun Dodgers.” He is listed as performing a dance specialty.

The newspaper archives are filled with rich stories and complimentary reviews of “CARTMELL & HARRIS Vaudeville performances. They travelled all of America and Europe delighting audiences with their talents. One of their most famous numbers that all three performed in was a dancing, comedy skit titled “Golfing with Cupid.”

Below is a picture and excert from the review of their skit:

Cartmell & Harris in "Golfing with Cupid"

Click on the link below for the full article.

<a href=”http://www.newspaperarchive.com/FreePdfViewer.aspx?img=71080054&firstvisit=true&terms=Review” >Review of “Golfing with Cupid”</a>

In 1918 they performed opening night in Raymond Hitchcock’s Hitchy-Koo a musical revue with two acts and 14 scenes on Broadway.

The 1930′s found the three actors residing in an actor’s colony in Freeport, Long Island, NY.  Vaudeville actors established the community around 1910 and lived there while not on the road performing.

Another point  of interest is THOMAS HARRIS is now listed in the census as “THOMAS MCSWIGGAN”  Perhaps his birth name was McSwiggan, and his alias of Harris was a stage name. Personally I like it, sounds like a bartender on Grey’s Anatomy.

I love finding obituaries, and I was hoping that the obit of THOMAS HARRIS would answer all of my questions.  However it only created more!  Now I find out that his wife, EMMA GREEN was also an actress and prior her death they also performed together. So if you are still counting we are now up to six actors in the same family.

In addition to that fact the obit lists her name as EMMA MURRAY – who the heck is that?  Her maiden name was GREEN.  Ok – I will just chalk this up to another stage name.  This story is now is now frustrating me. Two steps forward and one step back.

From the best that I can tell with my preliminary research THOMAS MCGUIGAN was born on February 3, 1855 in Philadelphia, PA the son of a saloon-keeper.  At the age of seven he joined a minstrel troupe as a young boy he tap-danced for Abraham Lincoln. In 1875 he made his first appearance at Fox’s Theatre in Philadelphia. In 1876 he formed a team with JACK  MCNEIL.

In 1879 both Harris & McNeil joined “The Three Arnold Brothers”,  while performing with the minstrel troupe the two would dissolve their partnership.  At that point THOMAS began performing with his wife EMMA.  The playbills listed them as “The Harrises.” They performed together until 1889 when Thomas took a stock engagement at the Odeon Theatre in Baltimore.  He remained there 10 years performing one season with his son Tommy and daughter Laura calling themselves “The Three Harrrises.”  He then worked for four years with his daughter and son-in law under the bill of “Harris and Cartmell.” He had an illustrious career and continued performing almost to the end of his days.  He was also lovingly called the “Colonel” and the Mark Twain of Vaudeville.   Thomas Harris aka McSwiggan aka McGuigan passed away in Freeport, Long Island New York in 1934.

Below is the obituary for Thomas Harris:

Charles Cartmell, husband to Laura Harris passed away a few year later.

Below is the obituary of Charles Cartmell:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While I don’t have all of the pieces of the puzzle in place.  I have discovered something about my family that I never knew.  It certainly brightened my day and I hope it brightened yours as well.  You just never know what you discover.

 

Wendel Bollman (1814-1884)

Harpers-Ferry-Bollman-Bridge

General James C. Clarke named one of his sons “Wendell Bollman Clarke”.  Since I could find no family correlation to the name I began to research the name in hopes of finding a connection.  James C. Clarke was one of the most notable railway men in the nation.  James C. Clarke had an illustrious railroad career rising to the ranks of President of the Illinois Central Railroad and Mobile and Ohio Roads. His other accomplishments are too vast to list can can also be viewed on my blog. So the first logical place to begin searching for Wendel Bollman  was in railroad history.  My hunch proved correct.

I was delighted to find so much documentation on him.  Here is what I found out about Wendell Clarke’s  name sake.  The original Wendel Bollman (1814-1884) was born January 21, 1814 in Baltimore, MD.  Wendel’s father died when he was 11 years. It is ironic that both Wendel and James lost their fathers at an early age andWest Virginia B. & O. Bridge forced to find work to support themselves and their families. Both would find themselves working for the B & O Railroad. Wendel was only 14 years of age when he started working as a carpenter laying wooden railroad tracks. Wendel worked various positions rising eventually to Master of the Road – he was a self-taught builder and engineer. Bridge at Savage MillThe first Bollman Truss was built in the 1850′s over the Little Patuxent in  Savage, Maryland. It was the first bridge built entirely of iron in America. The nearby elementary school “Bollman Bridge Elementary” was named for him.  Bollman rebuilt the Harper’s Ferry Bridge in West Virginia in 1851.  This would become one of his most famous bridges and rebuilt many time using his system throughout the civil war due to enemy fire. Unfortunately the bridge was washed away in a flood in the 1930′s.

In 1852 Bollman was awarded a patent for his iron suspension truss design called the Bollman Truss.” He transformed bridge building from an art to a science. Bollman is  heralded as the first successful iron bridge builder in America.

Circa 1855 Wendel Bollman left the B & O Railroad and together with James Clarke and J. H. Tegmeyer would form the W. Bollman Company in Baltimore, MD located in Canton on Clinton Street & Second Avenue. The company was one of the first to design, fabricate and erect bridges. Baltimore County Circuit Court records (Libor GHC 25 Folio 55) reveals that J.H. Tegmeyer on August 30, 1859 leased the Canton Company of Baltimore with a 99 year lease renewable forever for manufacturing iron bridges or similar manufactured items for at least two years. It is a natural assumption that this is where they opened their business.  The company faced trouble and ceased to exist circa 1862. On January 8, 1863 Tegmeyer and Clarke executed a deed (Libor GES 216 Libor 539) agreeing to sell the factory to Bollman.  Baltimore was  facing trouble with wartime conditions in the city which contributed the company’s demise.

Advertisment 1857

Advertisement

Circa 1865 Bollman would form a new company  – Patapsco Bridge and Iron Works.  The advertisment below touted the fact that they where the only establishment in Baltimore to manufacture its own bridges.   In addition to building bridges Bollman is also credited as being one of the architects for City Hall in Baltimore.   In 1873 he supplied the iron castings for the splendid dome on City Hall. he worked at the company until his death in 1884 at which time the company was dissolved.

Wendell Bollman Clarke  born September 27, 1859 in Baltimore, MD. He was affectionately called Wennie.  An 1886  Frederick newspaper article stated “Wendell has a rather delicate constitution”.  The article further states, “He is a good, faithful business man and a general favorite especially with children.  He mends their toys, teaches them to ride the bicycle, and entertains them with his inexhaustible fund of stories.  Almost every evening he can be seen on the seated on the front steps of his father’s handsome residence with a crown of youngsters around him.  There is not a child among them that does not love him to distraction.  Such a son is always the joy of the household”.

Wendell Bollman Clarke died on March 21, 1920 and is buried with his family at Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Frederick, MD.

Resources:

"Gen. Clarke and His Boys." The News [Frederick, MD.] 10 July 1886: 4. Newspaperarchive. Web. 16
     Sept. 2009. <http://newspaperarchive.com>.
Smith, William Prescott. The Book of the Great Railway Celebrations of 1857, Embracing a Full 
     Account of the Opening of the Ohio & Mississippi, And the Marietta & Cincinnati Railroads, And 
     the Northenwestern Virginia Branch of Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. New York, New York: Appleton
& Co., 1858. N. pag. Google. Web. 16 Sept. 2009. <http://books.google.com/
books?id=KsdHAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA120&dq=William+Prescott+Scott+-+the+book+of+the+great+railway#v=onepage&q=
     &f=false>.
Howard, George Washington. The monumental city, its past history and present resources. 1-2 vols.
     N.p.: J.D. Ehlers & Co., 1873. N. pag. Google. Web. 16 Sept. 2009. <http://books.google.com/
     books?id=k9ERAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=Howard,+George+Washington+(1873),+%22The+Monumental+City
,+Its+Past+History+and+Present+Resources&source=gbs_book_other_versions_r&cad=9#v=onepage&q=&f=false>
Griggs, Frank, Jr. "A self-Taught Engineer." Structuremag. NCSEA, Feb. 2006. Web. 16 Sept. 2009.
     http://www.structuremag.org/Archives/2006-2/D-GA-Bollman-Feb-06.pdf.
Wikipedia contributors. "Wendel Bollman." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. N.p., 11 Aug. 2009. Web.
16 Sept. 2009. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wendel_Bollman>.

Photo's from Library of Congress Website - Historic Engineering  Record, Library of Congress Compiled after 1968 [online image] http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/hhh.wv0291
Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, Bollman Bridge, Spanning Potomac River at Harpers Ferry, Harpers Ferry, Jefferson County, WV

Part III – Grandma was Penniless

This is my third and final post in the series, “Grandma was Penniless…”

1859

Honorable Richard J. Bowie

You know that I would have gotten my deed in two or three weeks when you came to the office begged of me to let let you get me a chancery deed.  You told me it should cost me nothing.  You said if I wished to sell I would find very few that would buy it at a Sheriff sale and I told you I would never sell.  I wanted it for my home.  You then said I will make the Trustees answerable for all the property Francis Simpson put into his hands I then said you may file a bill.  You said I will get your deed the first court.  Court after court passes and I never got a deed.  Had I thought for one moment I had all the property safe under the sheriff sale except a note of five hundred dollars that Forest had to collect the the heirs of George Wolfe.  You told me not to employ another counsel that you would attend to my business properly.  I stated my case to Sandy Magruder from Annapolis he said that I take Bowie to be an honest young man and he is your counsel.  I don’t see any need for you employing another.  For fourteen years you made me believe that Doctor Gustavus Warfield and the Trustee robed me of my land.  I called on you twice a year to know if there was any way by which I could get my property.  You said Warfield and the Trustee has so fixed the business that nothing can be done in the case.  I then asked could I not get some of the money I had paid them on the land.  You said no they have so fixed the business that I could get nothing.  You showed great sorrow for me.  You thought they were the worst of robbers.  I asked if Mrs. Ann Williams could not get her money as Francis Simpson was owing her twelve or thirteen thousand dollars at the time he appointed Trustee.  Knowing that if she got hers she would pay me what she owed me.  You only gave her two hundred dollars and I got two hundred dollars from you looking into my business since the year 1852. I knew that you and you alone where my robber.  I wanted you and Price and Hobbs’ Counsel to tell them that they had no interest or right to my land and to allow me to moderate rent for it.  That you would not do. If you do not pay me interest in the two hundred dollars that you had the use of for twenty three or twenty four years and give me entire satisfaction with regard to my business, I will publish your conduct.  Do not think that your position as it regads to Office has any influence with me for I esteem men according to their merit.  If you would cultivate justice and with an honest heart say I will give Mrs. Gardiner her land that I took from her and allow her moderate rent and pay her the interest in the year 1859 after having had the use of it for 23 or 24 years.  With this conclusion you would feel more happiness that you now feel.  You must feel unhappy when you think how you persuaded me to let you get me a chancery deed.  I am your friend and I wish you to believe in God for he sees and judges our actions,  You will please answer this and let me know what you will do in the business.  I will expect to hear from you soon.  Until then I remain.

Yours Respectfully,

Henrietta Gardiner

New London, Frederick County, Maryland

Chronicling America

chroniclingamerica

newspaper_searchThe Library of Congress features an online site titled “Chronicling America“.  Chronicling America is sponsored jointly by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress.

The website allows you to search newspapers  from 1880 to 1910 from the following states: California, District of Columbia, Florida, Kentucky, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York, Texas, Utah, and Virginia.  It has an effective search engine, zooming capabilities and print options.

 The site also gives you the option of searching newspapers  published in the United States from 1690 to the present. You can browse by title, or select several different search options.  The search results will also give you holding locations of the documents.  I applaud the Library of Congress for offering this valuable, free, on-line tool.  The website can be accessed  by clicking the link http://www.loc.gov/chroniclingamerica/index.html.newspaper2

I have found many invaluable articles and photographs to add to my family collection.  I hope you will utilize this site.  Happy Hunting.

Brickwalls from Followers

Help our fellow genealogists and researchers with their brickwalls.  If you can help them out please do so.  Good deeds and random acts of kindness never go unnoticed.  Let us know is you were able to help someone, or where helped.

Sharon Crisafulli – @Crisafulli

 BRICKWALLS

1. Looking for family of Clara Siegelin Roeschlein born 9-17-1879 ;died 10-03-1911 parents Benjamin & Margaret, Clay, Indiana; married W. Herb She was raised in Clay, Indiana where she and husband Wm. Herbert Roeschlein lived. She died 3 years after they married. 1 child; Helen M. @debbieloveslife.

 2. End of the paper trail in Clifton, Mesa, Colorado 1910 Census for William O. PARMENTER and wife, Harriet Matilda HILL. @valeehill

3.  Looking for death records of Catherine Gardiner-Simpson died in Maryland 26 Mar 1878. @Crisafulli

4. Ok, My g-g-grandfather, William Sweetland, died before my g-grandmother was born. I’m on ancestry.com and can’t track him to his place of birth. Know death city and aprox time: Pitts 1834, can’t find birth. @KatyDidsCards

5. Puckett -3 Puckett men in Tazewell VA marry 3 Corel sisters in 1839-1842 WHERE did they come from? !?! @hawksdomain.

6.Looking for where my family came from  immigrating to US from either Ireland or England 1861 – 1910 in Preston, West Virginia and 1920′s & 1903′s in Garrett County, MD @lynj65

I was blind…but now I see.

gem

gem1

Genealogical gems…we all know them when we find them and proudly display them in our family tree!  For years I have been researching our family.  I know the ancestors and descendants…that is the easy part, but what I cherish are the finds that actually tell you about the person.  Obituaries can be hit or miss, but boy did we hit the jackpot on this one!

From the New Market Journal – January 12, 1863

(Typed as it appeared) Obituary of Francis Simpson

Departed this life on December 25, 1862, in New London, Frederick County, Md., after a lingering illness FRANCIS SIMPSON, age seventy-one, nine months and eighteen days.

Brother Simpson, the son of Basil and Sarah Worthington Simpson, was born in Johnsville, Frederick County, MD.  He had the misfortune at an early age of seventeen years to lose his eye-sight.  His eyes naturally weak from childhood, were greatly injured as was supposed by efforts made when a school boy was made to gaze long at the sun, and though surgical relief was sought, ultimate total blindness was the result.  His father, removing to  Elkridge in the vicinity of Savage Factory, soon there after died, the subject of this brief memoir the possessor of a handsome patrimony.  But alas! with him the loss of sight was the precursor of the loss of worldly wealth, which was to him the greater misfortune, as a young and comparatively helpless family was thus left wholly to his own necessarily inefficient exertions, for support.

Thus the dishonesty of false friends and a severe attack of illness had the effect for several years to impair his mind.  He joined the Methodist Episcopal Church about the 30th year of his age.  His religious life was also, at times, chequered by occasional periods of coldness, despondency and gloom.  It is probable when wholly himself, he never entirely lost his confidence in the personally availing efficacy of the Redeemer’s blood.  Though often from blindness and other reasons, deprived of the privilege of going to the house of God, yet is is doubtless his desire to be a child of God.  He ever delighted in family worship, and signing the praises of God aloud was especially the solace and comfort of the last twelve months of his life.  His last words were, “my trust is in Jesus.”

His funeral was largely attended at Central Chapelcentral-church11, when a discourse was preached by the writer from the words:

“And I will bring the blind by the way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not know; I will make the darkness light before them, and crokoed things straight.  These things will I do unto them and not forsake them.”  (Isaiah, 42d chapter, 16th verse)

May all of his friends and family meet him in heaven. 

How is that for an obit!!  Rest in Peace Francis Simpson.

francissimpson

Hit a Brickwall? Twitter it!

brickwall

brickwall

Even the most skilled genealogist hits a brick wall in their research. That aloof, evasive relative that managed to dodge the census takers, avoid immigration records and seemingly was never buried upon their demise. 

I have been using Twitter to try to assist people with their ” .”  I follow the hashtag #genealogy, and when one of my fellow researchers shares their frustration of hittin’ the wall, I offer to help.  Yes, sometimes all it takes is a fresh set of eyes on old, old data.  So the next time you have hit the wall, ask for help.

When using Twitter be sure to use the the hashtags, #genealogy and #brickwall.  Hopefully someone will assist you.  If you receive a random act of kindness be sure to pass it on.  If you are not using Twitter feel free to post your brick wall or road block on this blog.

 With that said, I have a brick wall that I need help on.  I have researched every avenue possible that I can think us using standard genealogical research protocol.

 Here is the background on my brick wall:

William Gardiner was born in Ireland @ 1796 he arrived in America between 1819 and 1823.  I have census records& naturalization records to substantiate birth year and year that he became a citizen.  I have not been able to locate immigration record and family stories state that he was a stow-away.  Would love to know where he came from in Ireland.

The Day I Found my Grandmother

Central Church Cemetery

central-cemetery-gate2New Market, Maryland is an area rich with lore and history.  In the late 1700′s it emerged as a popular trade route.  It is estimated that over three million people traveled through New Market from 1820-1850.  Today it has been deemed the Antiques Capital of Maryland. Charming Main Street is lined with homes from the Federal period, many of them are antique stores filled with treasures. As you meander the back alley’s and narrow cobble walk ways you almost transcend in time. 

 

Four years ago, I was fortunate enough to move to New Market.  On moving day – we drove past  the Central Church Cemetery –  about a mile from my home.  Dad reminded me that we had relatives buried there one of which included my G-G-G-G Grandmother.    

 

 After driving by the cemetery on a daily basis for two months, I decided to take advantage of the sunny winter day and go grave hunting. 

 My quest was to find Henrietta Gardiner my G-G-G-G Grandmother.  I had my teenage girls in tow, who were already complaining…mind you were were just entering the cemetery gate.  Caitlin said, “How are we going to find her?”  I turned to her, placed my index finger to my lips asking her to shh. 

 

Always looking for humor I said… “Be quiet, they are sleeping.”

   

I methodically worked my way through the cemetery row by row.  My girls opted a more “free-style” search which was more or less just random running.  Caitlin was the first to spot it and called me over…there she was… my G-G-G-G Grandmother. 

 

 Henrietta Simpson Gardiner born 1790 in Maryland.  The daughter of Basil Simpson and Sarah Worthington.  In 1823 Henrietta married William Gardiner in Rockville, Maryland.  William Gardiner according to family lore stowed away on ship setting sail from Ireland arriving in America @1819.  Henrietta Simpson Gardiner is buried beneath the same monument of her brother Francis Simpson, and her sister, Elizabeth Simpson  Clarke.  As we made our way around the monument our mouths dropped open as we read the words on the front of the monument. 

 it reads:

“Open the Gate gently they are not dead but sleeping.” 

Open the Gate

Total coincidence, divine intervention or a clue from my dear Grandmother.  You be the judge. What it was I don’t know or really care. I was thankful to find the grave and think of her everyday as I drive by my heritage, right here in New Market, MD.