A truly autumnal day at Gerolstein. Mists and mellow fruitfulness. So, while Wendy is planting daffodils, what better than to light the fire, make a pot of camomile tea, and try to see if I can get the remainder of these Letter H Cartesians finally knocked on the head.
So, who is there?
Well, I've already blogged Ivy HERTZOG
and Henry HALLAM
Clive HERSEE's sad tale is in my Emily Soldene: in search of a singer ...
Emma and John HOWSON are, of course, in my Encyclopaedia of the Musical Theatre
as is Marion HOOD
I have large pieces on Fanny HARRISON and Fanny HOLLAND in my Victorian Vocalists collection ...
That still leaves a bunch of players from the Archive (J Bowden Haswell, Jones Hewson, Alfred S Harrhy, Florence Harcourt, Avon Hastings, Alonzo Hatch, G W Hickling, J W Hooper, Sophia Hummell and maybe Lucile Hill) who look as if they could be worth an investigation. And perhaps Jessie Hoskins, Jessie Hutchinson, Clarence Hunt ... 10am. Here goes ...
J[ohn] Bowden HASWELL (b Dalston 1860; d Chelsea 1897) son of Frederick George Haswell, accountant's clerk, and his wife Marie Harriet née Sniper. His elder brother was born in Geelong, Australia, so mum and dad must have travelled a bit. Maybe it was for father's health. By 1881, Marie is a widow and John is working for an accountant. But about 1887 he joined the Carte companies, with which he played for some eight years (see the G&S archive for details, as always) up till 1895. In that year he went out with a tour of His Excellency, and also (with J A Matthews and Mozart Wilson) staged an amateur Mikado at Cheltenham.
In 1890, he married usherette Mary Walker. He died, at the age of 37, in 1897.
[John] Jones HEWSON (b Swansea 2 September 1874; d Glamorganshire 1902) was another who promised even more, but who went to an early grave. His father, John Hewson, was master of the Swansea workhouse, and the young man was brought up in that city. Whether he was related to the Mr Jones Hewson, baritone, who appeared at the London Colosseum in 1859-61 in Notes of Evening Parties, I know not.
Hewson joined the D'Oyly Carte companies in 1894 and, with one pause, played with them until 1901.
During that time he married actress Brenda Gibson, a member of a well-known theatrical (and Cartesian) family, being a daughter of the former Mrs Robert Brough (ka 'Florence Trevallyan'). Their son, John Lionel Romer Jones Hewson was born at 28 Clovelly Rd, Ealing, 12 April 1901.
However, Hewson was suffering from tuberculosis, and later that year the family headed for Australia. In her native land, it was Brenda who got the press, and Hewson's health was watched by the papers until the couple returned to Britain. The southern air, however, had not worked its cure, and Hewson died, at age 28, back home in Wales (NB NOT in Australia, as is widely reported) while his wife was in India with the Brough company.
Another pair of old Cartesians who played with Australia's Brough and Boucicault company were Florence HARCOURT [JONES, Florence Susannah] (b Moore Place, Lambeth 8 August 1860; d Victoria, Australia 12 September 1923) and her husband Edgar Babington MANNING (b Llanewerth, Monmouth 15 April 1855; d 30 Stanley Street, Black Rock, Australia October 1934). Yes, a Cartesian marriage that well and truly endured.
Florence was the daughter of a London lighterman, John Roberts Jones and his wife Maria née Gillard, and she seems to have begun he career with the Carte companies in 1881. She married Edgar Manning in 1884 (26 July 1884), so I doubt that it is she playing with one of Mike Leavitt's all-girlie leg-troupes in America, the following year. If it were, she didn't stay long: the couple are advertising from London 46 West Square, St George's Road by March 1886. And then, in September of that year, they sailed for Australia to join the Brough company. Florence made her first Australian appearance in December in Little Fra Diavolo. And they stayed, and they played ... with J C Williamson, Charles Arnold (Gladys in Hans the Boatman), Grattan Riggs, John F Sheridan et al ...
and they became well-known members of the Australian theatre. Florence gave birth to Dorothy Florence Manning (b 7 Rosebank Terrace, Hawthorn 1 February 1891, Mrs Harry Graham), and after a fine career, ultimately retired from the stage, while Edgar continued, as a manager, almost to his death in 1934.
Of Edgar, there is little to say that hasn't been recounted fluently in the press. He was the third son of William Woodward Manning, a solicitor from Diss, and his wife Emily Octavia née Batt. Like Florence, he appears to have begun as a performer with Carte (and star batsman of the company cricket team) in 1881 with, from early on, a bent for directing and managing which, as you can read in this interview, was fully assuaged.
Alfred S[idney] HARRHY (b London 1856) did something with the Carte Co. He's seemingly with them in Leeds in 1881 and in Plymouth in 1. He describes himself as 'musician'. So he may have been a chorister. He's still 'musician' in 1909. He's clearer on the family front: parents Edwin and Mary Hannah née Williams (m 1856 hmmm), wife (1) Elizabeth Ayres, 6 children (2) 1912, Margaret Ellen S Johnstone, at least one child ... he and Margaret are in Westmoreland Street, Westminster in 1927, which seems to have been the year of his death ... daughter Violet (Mrs Sydney Whiting, property master, music-hall painter) was a 'music-hall usherette' ...
Avon HASTINGS (b Carnarvon c1869) was clearly not thus born. But he appeared as such with the Carte, between 1894-8 in America and Britain. After his Carte years, he toured in The Geisha (1899, Katana) and The Prince of Borneo (Kromeski) and in the 1901 census I find him, under his stage name, in a hospital at Holborn 'aged 32'. I fear he may not have come out, for I never hear of him again ..
G[eorge] W[illiam] HICKLING [HICKLING, William George] (b Cotgrave, Notts 1860; d Cotgrave 3 October 1906) was the fifth child of cottager George Hickling of Cotgrave and his wife Ann née Smart, and the member of an evidently artistic family. I see Mr, Master and Miss Hickling singing in a local concert in 1880 and papa is a judge in a musical competiton at Cropwell Butler in 1883. Papa would become a local celebrity as 'Rusticus' writer and poet. George jr (he was at least George III, the Hicklings had been in Cotsgrave for a while) had been a pupil teacher at Cotsgrave, was now an assistant schoolmaster in Chertsey and a singing pupil of one Mr J T Stone. In 1882 (6 May) he married Hester Maria Benham, in 1885 he turned professional singer with Carte, in 1890 he toured to South America with Edwin Cleary's troupe, and in 1891 he is back in Hammersmith 'singer' with Hester 'costume maker' and children Hester Gladys (b Kensington 1884; d 1954) and Alfred William Thomas (b 14 October 1887 d 10 March 1980). Apparently he and Hester split. In 1901 George, still 'professional singer' is claiming to be married to an Ethel, and father of her 5-months-old child, George. Golly, George IV. In 1911, Hester is in Cardiff with daughter Gladys, 'widow', landlady to a couple of actors... She was indeed a widow. George III had gone home to Cotgrave to die. The local paper noted the fact ... because he was the son of 'Rusticus'.
J[ames] W[illiam] HOOPER (b 25 April 1865; d after 1939) was a real, working actor. A juvenile, a comedian, an older character man, plays, musicals, pantomimes and, eventually, films .. one job after another, for forty years.
He was born in Oxfordshire to a Canterbury 'cook and confectioner' James William Hooper and his wife, Scotswoman Christina Frances née Irvine, and brought up in Cheetham. I see him first venturing in the theatre in 1887, in Liverpool, in a fifth-rate company yclept 'the Trouadour Burlesque Company' playing A Fish Out of Water, Arcadia, Amy Robsart and Aladdin. His 'bass singing' was one of the saving graces of the performance. He appeared in a marginally less embarrassing 'Scotch spectacle' The Gathering of the Clans (1889), but got into stride in 1891, playing first wth Muldoon's Picnic (the Doctor), then for Fred Wright in Dashing Prince Hal and Jack and the Beanstalk (Demon Hategood). In 1892-3 he went on the road as Friar Tuck in de Koven's Maid Marian and in 1894 joined Carte's organisation for the American trip with Utopia (Ltd), in the role of Scaphio.
He followed this up with a whole series of engagements in musical pieces of all kinds -- the copycat Dorcas (1895, Jawkins), the comic opera His Excellency (1895, Mats Munck), the merrymusical comedy The Gay Parisienne (1896, Major Fossdyke), the virtual variety show A Trip to Chinatown in which he played the lead comic role of Ben Gay off and on for four years, the drama Stirring Times (1897, Absalom Levi the Jew), the once French musical comedy The Telephone Girl (1897, Sylvester Bartram). He was Abanazar in a Dublin Aladdin (1897) in which one George Grey (later George Graves) was Widow Twankey.
After a quick burst of musical-hall at the Foresters, Mile End, he toured as Casca in Great Caesar, appeared as Mr Turpin in a vanity production His Satanic Majesty at Southend and played for Milton Bode in pantomime (Stickiton Al Kipper in Beauty and the Beast). In 1901, he returned to Ben Gay, for another tour, in 1902 played Joshua Cagney in a tour of the Drury Lane melodrama The Great Millionaire ... Latterly he gave the provinces his version of the star comedy roles of such as The Girl from Kay's (Hoggenheimer) and The Quaker Girl, and, as late as 1923, I see him heading a tour of Kissing Time. My last sighting of him on stage is as Norman Figgis in The Love Race ... in 1931.
Evidently, he also took part in moving pictures, and I have the family historians to thank for these ...
However, I do not thank them for killing him off in Cheltenham 1934. If he died then, who is the 'retired actor', James W Hooper, 'married' but living alone, in Mitcham in 1939? The Cheltenham JWH left his L37 2s to a James Edwin Hooper, hotel porter.
Hooper married in 1904, Ethel Marie Octavia Brookes (b 16 July 1877; d 1956), by whom he had four children. Leslie William, Edward James, Doris Ethel and Christina. No hotel porter. Ethel and Christina are in that 1939 census too ... but I haven't followed them up. I'll keep chasing James. I like James.
Sophia [Louise] HUMMELL (b Elmira, Pa 19 January 1860; d New York 22 December 1914), daughter of German Elmira hotelier, Gottlieb Hummell and his Swiss wife, Catherine, played in the New York musical theatre from 1880 up to 1885 and her marriage. Richard Norton (The American Musical Theatre) lists The Grim Goblin, Bocaccio (1880), Olivette (1881), Le Coeur et la Main, Satanella, The Merry Duchess (1883), Wanted a Partner, Patience (Lady Saphir), Love in ye Days of Charles II, Zehn Mädchen und kein Mann with Kelly and Leon (1884), Harrigan's Are You Insured?, Na-non (Ni-non) and Another Mikado (Second Ward) at Koster and Bials (1885). David Stone's Archive adds Billee Taylor (1881), Claude Duval, Les Manteaux Noirs, Patience (1882)... Miss Hummell was evidently an eminently employable lass. However, at her marriage to silk merchant Charles Kálmán put an end to her stage career.
We stay in America for Alonzo HATCH. Thirty years I have put off properly tracking down Mr Hatch. I got on a wrong piste, associating him with Lisette Ellani (eig Ellen Hatch) of Boston, brickwalled and said bah! But tonight I got determined. And, yes! Of course, once I was there ... a host of family historians has been there before me ... so I can, confirmedly, say ... Alonzo [Hazelton] HATCH (b Winfield, Herkimer co, NY 4 February 1846; d Long Island College Hospital 13 December 1909), son of Jerome Loomis Hatch, farmer, and his wife Pamelia née Keith, brought up latterly in Chicago where he took his first steps as a singer. So, is this the place for the whole, rather sad, tale of Alonzo? Why not. But I shall summarize ... because in his thirties our man dashed from one company and show to another and back and round about, one part of the country to another, seemingly weekly ...
Alonzo started his life as a bookkeeper in Chicago. With a little time out in the army. But he sang. I spot him in 1872, with other local artists, supporting Gustavus Geary in concert ...
Ambition rose, and in October of that year Mr Hatch sailed for Europe, 'to study in Milan'. He evidently did so, but, curiously, none of the usual stories of vocal 'successes' floated back to the newspapers. Although I notice a large piece about how striving Americans were ripped off by Milanese music teachers and theatres and runing the 'market' by paying for appearances. The disease would quickly spread beyond Milan. Alonzo doesn't seem to have succumbed. Or maybe he wasn't good enough. Because, right at the start is the time to say it: he was young, handsome, had a pretty tenor voice ... but that voice was oh so small. Years later, San Antonio would judge 'a sweet cultured tenor voice and a good stage presence. In a parlour he would be a great success but ..' and later, a Scaramento journalist would repeat 'Alonzo Hatch has a sweet tenor voice but it is so extremely thin and so airily light that it requires painful attention to hear it at all'.
He arrived back in Chicago in early 1876, and took up where he had left off. Of course, his repertoire now featured operatic arias, but he clearly knew his limits: 'Spirto gentil', 'M'appari' and his favourite 'Bella siccome un' angelo'. Soon, he made a gentle foray into stage work. Basso E S Payson set up an 'opera company' of four singers and a piano ...
Its pretensions were modest, but Clarkville, Tenn was having nothing of Alonzo: 'First tenors unfortunately are a very expensive luxury -- in mercy, we will say no more of Mr Hatch'. Pulaski bit back 'he has been criticised too severely .. an excellent singer'. The divergence of opinion would continue all his career.
His next venture was to Jamaica, in a troupelet including Gus Hall, he sang at Philadelphia's Fairmount Park and Brooklyn's Mozart Park with 'the black Malibran' and in early 1878 took part in a series of 25-cent concerts at the very ungrand Grand Opera House, New York. He sang his standard arias, Abt's 'Goodnight' and duetted Don Pasquale and Il Trovatore with 'Lisette Ellani from La Scala'. Miss Hatch from Boston. Then with 'Estelle Buzzetti' from goodness knows where. But he was sensible enough to leave 'Celeste Aida' to Alfred Wilkie. He got a job with a proper if modest opera company soon after. William Carleton would do much better later. For the moment, he produced Il Trovatore, in which he sang Luna, with Alonzo and the Black Malibran as Manrico and Leonora! I spot Alonzo at Charlestown with 'Lisette Ellani' at Baltimore with Addie Randall, at the Grand Opera House with no less a prima donna than di Murska, in Cincinnati singing Faust with the local amateurs ...
And then came HMS Pinafore. If Alonzo was ever going to be suited by a role, it was Ralph Rackstraw
and it duly became the staple of the next years of his career. I lose count of the number of companies with which he played the role, from the best --with folk such as Tom Whiffen and Blanche Galton, Max Maretzek -- to scratch companies in tiny towns. Ralph Rackstraw launched Alonzo on a career as a comic opera leading tenor ... he was Don Lamberto in The Royal Middy with Catherine Lewis, played a season at San Francisco's Bush Theatre where Carnival in Rome (Bryk), Pinafore, Les Cloches de Corneville (Grenicheux), Nisida (Montiel), Billee Taylor, Patience e tutti quanti were given, he toured with Emilie Melville, played Patience on both coasts, sang for Haverly and for Grau (The Merry War, La Mascotte) and even visited Toronto to play in a local musical which combined the characters and songs of Pinafore, Pirates and Patience with a local libretto. Another short-lived venture was The Missing Link in which he returned to Chicago as a star. It played two nights before the 'managers' did a bunk.
Back at the Grand Opera House he played The Pirates of Penzance ('decidedly effeminate and weak') with Madeleine Lucette and Fred Clifton, joined Blanche Corelli in a fated season at the Cosmopolitan, zoomed back to Chicago in The Merry War, rejoined Carleton for a spell, ang Le Pont es Soupirs with Selina Dolaro and spent the summer of 1885 at Uhrig's Cave, St Louis (Fra Diavolo, La Fille de Madame Angot, The Mikado) in the season in which Alice May, 'Gilbert and Sullivan's first prima donna', breathed her last. And on he trouped ... Asbury Park, St Paul, Hoboken ... The Mikado, Olivette ...
I suppose a schedule like that had to take its toll. It was in September 1886, at Salt Lake City, on a Lotta tour (Nitouche, Musette), when the bird got out of the cage. Alonzo went on a bender, turned up with 'swollen eyes, unshaven face, stained clothing' and the indignant local scribe reported that his friends had been talking about having him institutionalised. This was clearly not the first time ...
He took a break from the theatre, and went on your with Ovide Musin's concert party, but he returned. He toured with Grau, took a turn at minstrelsy, supported Vernon Jarbeau, played La Mascotte with 'the Andrews Opera Company' and, finally, put out his own touring company. Watertown, Wis was outraged at the pitiful level of the entertainment, but Red Cloud, Nebraska thought it 'one of the best we have seen'. The troupe managed to stay afloat through Kirksville, Montana (Les Manteaux noirs) and Manitowoc (Fra Diavolo), but didn't turn up at Crystal Falls, Mich. And so, Alonzo went back to working for others: Alba Heywood, the Shaw comic opera company, Dora Wiley with her 'operatic comedy' Vera, Frank Sanger with his farce comedy, Voodoo ..
In 1892, he had another shot at management. The Alonzo Hatch Opera Company (quickly elided into the Alonzo Hatch Entertainers) had a neat way of advance advertising. They got the local press to publish their best notices (real or not) as news items. Columbus was given adoring quotes from Des Moines, Dubuque and Duluth, and when a burgh named Bartenback acclaimed Alonzo as 'the greatest tenor that has ever stepped on the Bartenback stage', the local critic saw, in traditonal fashion, saw his words reprinted far and wide.
He was seen with something called the California Opera Co (1894), and he took a turn at Tony Pastor's with his new act ..
The show held good for some nine years until they were burned out at Rockaway Beach and lost their equipment. That seems to have done for Alonzo. In 1907 he was in a Veterans' Home, in 1908 he was arrested as a drunk
in 1909 he was arrested again, this time for begging. And by the end of the year he was dead ...
He was survived by his wife Amy Louise née Wells (1864-1933), his two singing sons (I see Alonzo jr on the radio in 1926) and a daughter.
Jessie HOSKINS (b Putney 1859) I can tell you very little about. She was born in Putney in 1859, the fourth daughter of William Hoskins (1818-1870, painter and baker) and Jane Ann née Linton. In 1881, she can be seen on the Carte tour, in Devon, in digs with Jessie Hutchinson and Lydia Harper. In 1891 she is still describing herself as 'actress'. Youngest sister Rhoda Agnes is still in Putney, a mangler, in 1901, but Jessie is nowhere to be seen ...
Of Jessie HUTCHINSON the Archive knows more than I, and Lydia HARPER? Was she really a member of the company? 47 years of age. But the census man has put her as ditto (I think) under the two Jessies. She was Lydia née Camplin (b 6 July 1833) the wife of Abeizer Harper, insurance man, mother of five, and I see her in 1911 with her clergyman son in Leicester.
Clarence HUNT (b London c1859) had a very short acquaintance with the Savoy and a very long career in the theatre, and he eludes me in documentation most irritatingly. He appears in the 1881 census of Hastings as Clarence Hunt 'musician' 22, and it that of 1891 in Northumberland 'operatic singer' 30, but refuses to show in 1901 and 1911. A week before the 1911 census he was a witness at the Old Bailey and gave his address as 4 Bedford Street, Walworth. So I walked down to Walworth. No 4 was half inhabited by a large family, and the other half by the wife of Charles Warner Taylor and their baby. No sixty-year old theatrical ... There was a Clarence W Hunt, musician, who ended up in the workhouse, but he was in West Ham when our man was in Northumberland ... so, I gave up.
So, the career?
My first sighting of our young tenor is in 1875: 'Clarence Hunt, tenor, for concerts, dinners, 104 Great Dover Street, Borough, SE'. I see him on good old Southend Pier in 1880, in 1884 I see him touring as the Prince of Palermo in a Bocaccio company, and in 1886 on the bill at the Oxford Music Hall. Later that year, he moved into the West End to play in Indiana at the Avenue Theatre, and when Sims Reeves came in to play some matinees of The Beggar's Opera, he was Jemmy Twitcher. The Avenue management sent him to America to help stage John McCaull's production of Indiana, after which he played Pomponio in La Béarnaise on tour, featured in Albert Gilbert's 'specular cantata' Abdallah, returned to the Avenue in the operetta Crotchets and Quavers, and joined the Carl Rosa Light Opera company. With them, he played on the road as Petit Pierre in Paul Jones and Nicholas, the scribe in Marjorie between 1889-91. I am pretty sure he had a directorial hand somewhere in those pieces, for the Prince of Wales Theatre had him direct Willie Edouin's play Our Flat during that time.
He moved on to play Risotto in The Mountebanks tour, then came back to London to play the Mayor of Hamelin in The Piper for Hamelin, and Sandford in Sandford and Merton at the Comedy Theatre. At some stage during that engagement, he depped for Walter Passmore in Utopia (Ltd) at the Savoy.
I spot him arraging and composing music for the halls, for the Elephant and Castle panto and the Moore and Burgess Minstrels (unless that were the other Clarence), but he was now involved with the Prince of Wales Theatre where he directed Gentleman Joe, La Poupée, Biarritz and supporting pieces. He toured briefly as Cicero in Great Caesar, and appeared with Fred Storey in Rip van Winkle, then, with the outbreak of (the Boer) War took to the stage at the Alhambra singing Robert Martin's 'Murphy of the Irish Fusiliers' in a scena The Soldiers of the Queen, a song of his own in The Handy Man and suplied the lyrics to George Byng for The Gay City. He appeared as Mr Lightweight an 'English Tourist in loud habillements' 'a small man with an ample wife ... he is always losing something or somebody, not omitting his wife, which is gross carelessness'.
In 1901, he directed the huge hit The Chinese Honeymoon
after which he seems to have become less visible, turning out the odd song with Byng, directing occasionally, and in 1908 he became stage director at the Alhambra, 28 March 1911, having left the Alhambra in January, he went to the Old Bailey and ....
A Clarence Hunt turned up in Rochester, NY as director of the stock company, a Clarence Hunt was seen in 1912 New York arranging a music hall show ... is it he? Who knows. Any more than we know his birth and death dates ... under whatever name.
Well, I'll keep on trying ... perhaps I'll try Great Dover Street ... but my eyes are closing. The logfire is sooooooo hyper-warm ...
Look forward to extra findings!