Finding Another Marjorie (my search for The Farmer’s Daughter)

marjoriebeebe2

After I had written this blog I was contacted by Ian Craine from the UK. During my preliminary research I had seen his name at several sites about Marjorie. He had been the one who had provided most of the information that was known about her at that time. He was highly regarded by these sites and I knew he was someone I would like to hear from. When he emailed me we began a collaborative journey to fill in more of her story. It was too much to just add some updates at the end of the blog as I normally do, so consequently what you are going to read is the “new and improved” version.  Enjoy!  – Ray & Ian

I had been helping a friend find her birth parents and we were still waiting on some closer DNA matches, so I scoured the internet for another blog to do. I stumbled upon Marjorie here: Let’s Misbehave.  Like all of my subjects, her true bio was fairly sparse but she grabbed my attention immediately. She was best known for her comedic ability and her movie The Farmer’s Daughter.  I started my usual exploratory searches on her and was pleased to see that she came up as a definite possibility. As time went on, her tree made me jump around a lot. This made writing it as I went impractical so in the end it became necessary to write this one as a timeline. 

Marjorie was born 9 October 1908 in Kansas City, Missouri. Birth (Courtesy of Ian). This means the first place to find her is the 1910 U.S. Census. They show up in it on 15 April in Kansas City at some hotel on West 11th Street. It shows her father, William, as 34 years old and is a watchmaker at a jewelry store. Her mother, Mollie, is 26 and a housewife. It says this is their first marriage and that they have been married for two years. It also shows Mollie as having borne one child, and who is still living. Marjorie is listed as 1 year and 7 months old, which is correct, and that she was born in Missouri. They are at the bottom of the page:  1910 Census.

Her father, William M Beebe, was born 11 May 1877 to William Beebe, also a jeweler, and Louisa Morris. Her mother, Mary Cecilia Breese, was born 11 March 1892 (more about her birth later) in Marshfield, Missouri to Charles D Breese and Mary A Smith. Smith was not her maiden name. She was previously married to a Smith but I was never able to find her maiden name. Marjorie’s mother went by Mollie most of the time so that’s how I’ll refer to her from here on. 

Now, remember that the 1910 Census we just talked about was done on 15 April. The following day was this news story about Marjorie’s father being selected for the jury on a murder trial. This trial was apparently quite big news in the area back then and is a little on the odd side. It’s entertaining reading and even involves a curse put upon those involved. Here’s the jury selection article: Jury News.  Two weeks later both of her parents are in the news about the trial due to Mollie having a serious operation:  Jury News 2.  Here’s another odd story about William and the trial: Jury News 3. The best information on the trial comes from two years later. Full Story.

Marjorie’s parents separated about 1914. She stayed in Kansas City, Missouri and he in Springfield. This was confirmed by his WW1 draft card, done in September 1918. I’ve never seen an entry like this on any draft card. WW1 Draft Card. They eventually divorced but I was never able to find it. I did find Marjorie with her father in Kansas City in the 1920 Census but wasn’t able to find Mollie. 1920 Census. Remember this fact for a little later in the story.

The earliest I can find that Mollie and Marjorie moved to California is 1924. I know that in 1923 Mollie’s mother sold some property to her back in Springfield. Property. But in 1924 and 1925 I found her listed as Mrs M C Beebe at 639 S. Westlake Avenue in Los Angeles. 1924   1925. This time-frame pretty much matches later interviews with Marjorie. Meanwhile, William had run up to Indianapolis, Indiana and on 5 January 1925 had married a Lena Della Phillips. I found them living there through 1929. 

In Los Angeles and exactly two weeks after her 16th birthday, on 23 October 1924, Marjorie married William Wellington Woodring. He was a 21 year old Louisville, Kentucky native and the son of George W and Nancy (Johnston) Woodring. In the first page of the marriage record we discover that Marjorie’s middle name was Eileen. (I had gotten her birth certificate from Ian after publishing this blog). During the rest of my research I never saw her middle name mentioned again. Marriage Page1. 

In the 2nd page we find that Woodring is a chauffeur at a movie studio, which turned out to be Fox, and Marjorie is a cashier at a cafe. This document also confirms the Westlake Avenue address for her mother from the earlier city directories. Marriage Page2I don’t believe they were married very long but I never could find anything concrete about it. However, in the 1926 California Voter list Woodring is living by himself.

Her career took off during the mid 1920s and here is a smattering of items about it. There are plenty more of them out there though:  Sep1927 Ad   1928 Interview   1928 Story   Oct1928 Review   Apr1929 Ad.  She took a trip to Agua Caliente, Mexico in December 1929. When you look at the manifest, notice the name with her, Rosco Arbuckle. If you don’t know who Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle was then check this: Roscoe Bio   Dec1929 Trip.

This brings us up to the 1930 Census. I’ll cover Marjorie’s father first. From 1920 on William had fought me every step of the way. When I finally found him in the 1930 census he was living in Huntington, West Virginia. In truth, I hadn’t yet found that earlier marriage to Della Phillips until after I found this census and saw his new wife on it. His fighting me every step includes this census. The entry of his wife as Bella instead of Della messed me up for a bit. I got that straightened out by following out her sister, Maggie, that was living with them. Once I got a handle on Maggie’s family I found out Bella was actually Della. Then I found their marriage that I mentioned earlier. Also notice that this census was done on 8 April. This is important, too. 1930 Census

I found him again, the very next day, in the 1930 Census in Jackson County, Ohio. He’s a lodger and I thought that maybe he just got caught in the census again during a business trip. Jackson County is actually only two counties away from Huntington, where he was living. 1930 Census Again.  Eventually I discovered why he was in Jackson County. Della had undergone five major operations for cancer in the past three years and never quite recovered from it. She and William had actually been in route to Indianapolis from West Virginia and had ended up having to make an emergency stop in Ohio for her condition. This is why they were in Jackson County, where she ended up dying on May 27th. Here is her obit and death certificate. Obit   Della’s Death.

Back to William, I found a news story from July 1903 that talks about Marjorie’s father (or grandfather) buying a jewelry store in Fort Wayne, Indiana. This might explain how her father later met and married Della in Indianapolis. He would have passed through Indianapolis every time to get there.  6 July 1903. After this, I had zero luck with William. He just disappears. Ian was told by the grandson of one of Marjorie’s first cousins, who’d grown up with her, that William Beebe had been completely airbrushed out of the family history, presumably by Mollie and her next husband. 

For Mollie and Marjorie, they are in the 1930 Census on April 2nd living in an apartment complex at 5846 Carlton Way in Los Angeles. Marjorie is listed as an actress and there is a boarder living there named Robley C Woolverton, who is a clerk. 1930 Census.  

Two weeks later, on April 19th, Mollie and Marjorie sailed out of Los Angeles and went to Honolulu. They arrived on April 25th. 19 April Departure. They then left Hawaii on May 17th and returned to Los Angeles on May 23rd.  May 23rd Arrival.  I found Marjorie returning from another trip to Agua Caliente on 2 September 1930 with Mack Sennett, a producer/director with whom she did a lot of work. For more on Mack: Mack.  Sep 1930 Trip.  Mack was also involved with the career of Vera Steadman, the subject of one of my other blogs.

Marjorie getting back on September 2nd was just in time for her to see her mother get married. Remember that Robley Woolverton from the 1930 Census? Well, Mollie dragged him back to Kansas City, Missouri and married him on September 6th. His full name was Robley Culver Woolverton and he was born in Kansas on 2 February 1899, so he was seven years younger than Mollie. Well, maybe he was… (more later)

Remember earlier when I said to not forget about Marjorie being with her father in the 1920 Census but that I couldn’t find Mollie? Well, Ian got me to looking more into the husbands and in the process I found something interesting. Robley had gotten out of the military in 1919 and had moved back to Kansas City, the same town that Mollie had been living in. Oddly enough, I found Mollie in the 1919 city directory for Kansas City but not in 1920. Robley and his father show up there the in 1920 city directory living at a hotel. Yet I could never find Mollie, Robley or his father in the 1920 Census. Also, I discovered through the Los Angeles city directories and voting lists that Robley had actually been living with Mollie and Marjorie since at least 1924 when they had lived at the 639 Westlake Avenue address. It becomes quite obvious that they had probably gotten together much earlier than thought, maybe even before he went to the war.

Came across another interview with Marjorie done in December 1930. It’s a little blurry but still readable. 1930 Interview. On 7 February 1931 Marjorie and Mack Sennett had attended a movie at the Orpheus in Los Angeles, the place where all the stars went. They had just left and were out waiting for a cab when there was a huge sewer explosion that they were caught in, though uninjured other than being stunned and having their clothes blackened. Here’s the story in two parts:  Part1  Part2

I found a few trips to Mexico for Marjorie during the early 1930s so I’m not going to post them all here but she was supposedly a big-time partier, so it makes sense. It might also explain the lack of some of her divorce records. The next thing of note was of her possible marriage to a rich oil-man named Onee Lewis. These articles are both from July of 1933:  Marriage Rumor 1   Marriage Rumor 2.  Personally, Ian and I don’t think they ever got married. We’ve never seen a shred of evidence for it.

When Ian first contacted me he told me of another marriage that I hadn’t found. He had an old clipping from an Arizona newspaper that I didn’t have access to with my Newspapers.Com account. In it, she has just married a Silas Shindell on 22 November 1933 in Yuma, Arizona. He is noted in it as a former boxer and now a cafe greeter. Here is the link to the picture of it but can be hard to read. Marriage

At this point I had to find out more on this Silas Shindell. I tried finding the marriage to Silas but there was nothing. Maybe it was done in Agua Caliente. Californians used it and Yuma to circumvent the waiting period that California required at the time (three days) after getting the license. Since I couldn’t find the marriage I concentrated on finding Silas. 

I found a few men named Silas with various versions of the last name but none of them gave me a warm and fuzzy. I then took the “boxer” thing Ian had mentioned and started looking for a a boxer named Sid. This lead me to a Jewish Boxer named Sid Silas. This lead me to the fact that his name was actually Sidney Terris, also known as the Ghetto Ghost. He was a very talented and promising young boxer in the 1920s but who ended up retiring at the ripe old age of 27 after failing a comeback as “Sid Silas”. 

I wasn’t convinced 100% he was the right guy until I found out that he later ended up as a matre d’ at Stampler’s Restaurant in Manhattan. This fit Ian’s findings perfectly. He later followed the large Jewish migration movement to Florida and died there in 1974. His full name was Gelian Sidney Terris. You can find tons of newspaper items about him and he even has a Wiki page.

Even with all of this I still couldn’t see any connection to Marjorie. He was always boxing on the East Coast. However, I finally found a story done during his attempted comeback during the early 1930s and he was boxing in Los Angeles in very early January of 1934. This is only about 6 weeks after the “wedding”. 

As far as Sid Terris, the more I looked into him the less I began to think he was the right guy. Then I found that he was married to someone else and the Army-Navy boxing thing bothered me because he was never in the military as far as I could find. I finally scratched him off and went looking again. 

In the end, it turned out that the newspaper had gotten his name wrong. He was an actor whose name was Seymour Schindel and who normally went by “Cy”. They had assumed “Cy” was short for Silas and they’d also screwed up his surname. He also fit the info in the article. He had been a former champion boxer in the military and was working in a restaurant at the time. For those that don’t remember him by name, he’s probably best know for his work in many Three Stooges films. He would usually play the heavy. Here is a short bio on him on Wikipedia:  Bio. In the process of researching him I found him to be worthy of his own blog and had planned to do so but I recently cancelled that idea. I may still do him in the future though. You never know.

Unable to find any proof of the marriage, I kept digging until I discovered the entire online collection of Yuma marriage applications done in chronological order and they were able to be browsed one by one. Excitedly, I jumped to the set that went from October 1933 to January 1934. These would cover her 22 November marriage date. When I got to Oct 31st it jumped to Dec 14th! The entire preceding six weeks was missing. Considering that she next got married on 2 May 1934, Ian and I both feel that she had this marriage quickly annulled. 

As I just stated, she married again quickly, on 2 May 1934, in Yuma to Clinton Eugene Randall, who was born in Manhattan on 27 November 1903. Marriage Page1   Marriage Page2.  Two months after this marriage, Marjorie applied for and won an annulment from Clinton Randall. She apparently did not like the fact that he had no money. The judge agreed.  Annulment.  

Three months later, on 17 October 1935, she ended up getting married in Houston, Texas to Carlos Smith Noelle. Marriage record is in two parts: Part1  Part2.  I had actually found her marriage to the husband after Carlos first. On it she was listed as divorced and used the name as Marjorie Beebe Noelle, so I knew Carlos was out there somewhere. Some of my exploratory searches had mentioned a Carl Noelle but they never had any information on any of the husbands.

In any case,  while researching Carl I came across his grave at Find-A-Grave and it has to be one of the best maintained and researched grave sites I’ve seen. It was missing this marriage though so I contacted her (Lori) and gave her all the info I had on him. She turned out to be his granddaughter and rather than tell you about Carl you’re much better off visiting the grave posting here:  Carlos’ Grave

Although Marjorie’s Hollywood career pretty much ended by the late 1930’s here’s a positive review of her from September 1938: 1938 Review.  

Marjorie’s mother and step-father, the following year, had a daughter named Diane Carole Woolverton. I had a problem with it though because although Mollie’s birth year is supposedly 1892, I believe she was born about 1884. In the 1910 Census she was 26 years old. Generally, a woman’s age in the census when they are younger tend to be more or less accurate. As the years go on though you might start seeing people (especially women) fudge the ages a bit, and sometimes quite a bit. If I am correct, Mollie was a little long in the tooth to be bearing children. I’m betting that Diane was adopted but as yet have no proof. Ian and I also felt that she was possibly Marjorie’s daughter. Ian had talked to various family members that thought the same thing. Some of them even thought that she might be the daughter of a maid and had been adopted by Mollie. 

Since I’m on Mollie, I’ll finish her off and then the rest of our main players before I get back to Marjorie. Mollie and Robley lived in Los Angeles until she passed away on 17 October 1955. Oddly enough, her obit lists Marjorie as Beebe, not Anderson. This was Marjorie’s married name when her mother died. Mollie’s Obit. Coincidentally, Mollie and Marjorie both ended up using the same undertaker, though decades apart.

Robley Woolverton remarried in Las Vegas in 1958 to Marie Elizabeth Beckmann and they eventually moved to San Luis Obispo County in California, where he passed away on 3 October 1974. He and Mollie’s daughter, Diane, married William J Harper on 17 April 1956 in Van Nuys. For some reason that I was never able to discover, she died 8 years later on 27 September 1964 in Los Angeles. 

As for Marjorie’s former husbands, William Woodring stayed in Los Angeles, where he died on 23 April 1968. Clinton Randall married a few times over his life and ended up dying in Deschutes County, Oregon on 15 April 1975. In case you didn’t visit Carl Noelle’s grave site (and if you didn’t, you should), he died 30 October 1978 in Hollywood. 

At the very end of 1939 it was announced in the news that Marjorie was filing for divorce from Carl Noelle: Intent to Divorce.  She may have intended to but apparently it was at least two more years before it was done. This item comes from a story done on 5 September 1942:  Divorce.  Carl joined the Navy the following month. 

After getting back to checking into Carlos, I found several California voting records for him. For 1936 I found him and Marjorie living at 1765 N. Gower Street in Los Angeles and in 1938 they were both at 5425 Santa Monica Blvd. In 1940 though, Carlos is alone and living at 1127 N. Valley Street in Burbank, the same address that Marjorie and her next husband lived at later. So apparently she got the house in the divorce. Three months after Marjorie’s January 1940 announcement of her intent to divorce Carlos, he was in the 1940 Census living at the Chesterfield Hotel. 1936 Vote  1938 Vote  1940 Vote.

I was never able to find her in the 1940 Census but this was now World War Two and Marjorie did her part. Sometime between the 1940 Census and 1944 she started working at an aircraft plant. I suspect it was Lockheed. I say this for two reasons. When she married her next husband their marriage document shows both of their occupations as aircraft precision production and both of their addresses as in Burbank. By this time Lockheed had been in Burbank for quite some time and were now producing numerous aircraft, including the famed B-17 bombers and the P-38 Lightnings. 

Since I just brought up the marriage, Marjorie and Carl Willis Anderson were married on 28 June 1944 in Sherman Oaks, California. Marriage Part1  Marriage Part2.  Carl was born on 13 February 1897 in Hinsdale, Illinois to Charles and Julia Anderson. Throughout his and Marjorie’s life together he worked in a warehouse until sometime while in his 50s he became a gardener. As I said earlier, she and Carl lived in the home she had gotten in the divorce from Carl Noelle. This was a modest little home just down the road from Warner Brothers Studios. Here it is today:  1127 Valley St

After doing the re-write of this blog I found out that more San Diego city directories had become available online and I ended up re-doing the next few paragraphs. First off, it turned out that she and Carl had two residences later. She in San Diego and he in Los Angeles. According to Ian they were always together though. I was able to confirm his information because up through 1962 at least, she and Carl were listed at the same N. Valley Street address in Burbank in the California voter lists.

This second address appears to have started about 1950 because she first appears there in San Diego then living at 1429 Brookes Avenue. At this time she is a clerk at the Naval Air Station. 1950 Dir. After this either the directory is missing or she is until 1960.

As I just said, I started finding her again in the San Diego city directories in 1960 living at the Driftwood Apartments at 4074 Central Avenue. She continued living there up through 1971. Starting in 1968 she is listed as the manager of the apartments and remains so for the rest of her time living there.  1960  1961  1962  1964  1965  1966  1968  1970  1971. 

She disappears from 1972 through 1978 but reappears in 1979 at 5219 Clairemont Blvd in San Diego. This turned out to be the Brookdale Senior Living Facility. 1979 Dir. However, just the following year I found her in the city directory again in San Diego at a little apartment at 4079 Euclid Avenue in San Diego. 1980 Dir  Euclid Ave.  

Carl had been living the whole time at their old 1127 N Valley Street address in Burbank, at least through 1970. This was the last year Burbank’s directories were available. He ended up dying in Los Angeles on 3 November 1981.

Marjorie finally passed away on 9 May 1983. Neither Ian nor I ever found an obit for either of them so, sadly, her death went completely unnoticed. Ian had discovered that Carl “Andy” Anderson had gone blind and couldn’t handle it and Marjorie had later developed breast cancer. She remained a heavy smoker till the end and even burnt herself trying to light up in the hospital while on oxygen.

Ian had a copy of her death certificate and sent it to me. It shows that a George Armstrong was the informant and her executor. It also shows that George and Marjorie were both sharing the same address (141 Boleroridge Place, Escondido, California) when she was admitted to the hospital. I tried to find some connection between this Armstrong fellow and Marjorie through the city directories but was unable to do so. So who was he? Marjorie Death  (Courtesy of Ian)

Any diaries she might have kept are lost and there’s nothing much left either in the Mack Sennett Collection at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Beverly Hills. She and Mack were very close for a time and he really valued her talents as an actress. He was having talkie shorts written and named for her through the early 1930s. Marjorie was hugely important in the history of American slapstick. She was the principal actress in the sound era of the King of Comedy himself, the impresario and godfather of slapstick.

When I began researching Marjorie I had vaguely heard of her. After the research and viewing some of her work I realized how gifted she was as an actress, especially as a comedienne. I really have to wonder how far she could have gone during the 40s and 50s, especially with television, if she had had the chance. Would she have been another Lucille Ball? Personally I feel she was as good or even better. 

When I do blogs on actors and actresses I don’t normally delve into their movie careers as there are numerous sites that do that already. However, in this case I have an expert on board (Ian) that can do it for me. A few years ago he did some guest postings for the Let’s Misbehave website that I mentioned at the beginning of the blog. Marjorie’s story wouldn’t be complete without Ian’s articles. Here they are: Ian Post 1   Ian Post 2   Ian Post 3 

After completing the blog I added her to Find-A-Grave:  Marjorie Grave.  While I was at it, I went ahead and added them for the rest of our players in this blog.

For my other research blogs:  HOME

Thanks for stopping by! -Ray

Comments are welcome and encouraged. You’ll find them here near the bottom or a link to them near the top. Also feel free to share, like or follow this or any of my blogs.