Nina CHURCHMAN

Nina CHURCHMAN

Female 1838 - 1921  (82 years)

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  • Name Nina CHURCHMAN  [1
    Born 26 Mar 1838  Dubuque, Dubuque, IA Find all individuals with events at this location  [2
    Gender Female 
    Birth 26 Mar 1844  Dubuque, Dubuque, IA Find all individuals with events at this location  [3
    • It's hard to guess the real year Nina was born, she always records March 26 but the year changes. Her autobiography does say March 26 but no year, indeed there are no dates at all in the book. I have selected 1844 as most correct, 1838 is before her parents are married and 1844 is two years after the birth of her brother.

      1869 passport application, age 23, born March 26, 1844
      1900 Federal census, age 47, born March 1853.
      1910 Federal census, age 65, ca 1845
      1920 Federal census, age 66, ca 1854
      Obituary, 1921, March 26, 1838.
    Misc 31 May 1867  New York, New York, NY Find all individuals with events at this location  [3
    • On this date Nina applies for a US passport, Marcus attests that the facts she gives are true to the best of his knowledge.
    Misc 09 Jun 1867  New York, New York, NY Find all individuals with events at this location  [4, 5
    • Miss Lecowe (sic), San Francisco, Cal. is listed as a passenger of the steamer "Quaker City" upon it's departure from New York.

      In Chapter 1 of "The Innocents Abroad" Mark Twain envisions a wonderful excursion. "They were to sail for months over the breezy Atlantic and the sunny Mediterranean; they were to scamper about the decks by day, filling the ship with shouts and laughter — or read novels and poetry in the shade of the smokestacks, or watch for the jelly-fish and the nautilus over the side, and the shark, the whale, and other strange monsters of the deep; and at night they were to dance in the open air, on the upper deck, in the midst of a ballroom that stretched from horizon to horizon, and was domed by the bending heavens and lighted by no meaner lamps than the stars and the magnificent moon — dance, and promenade, and smoke, and sing, and make love, and search the skies for constellations that never associate with the “Big Dipper” they were so tired of; and they were to see the ships of twenty navies — the customs and costumes of twenty curious peoples — the great cities of half a world — they were to hob-nob with nobility and hold friendly converse with kings and princes, grand moguls, and the anointed lords of mighty empires! "

      Chapter 1
    Misc 20 Nov 1867  New York, New York, NY Find all individuals with events at this location  [4, 5
    • The "Quaker City" arrived back in New York having sailed from Bermuda.

      Mrs. Nina D. Larrowe, San Francisco is listed as a passenger upon the ships arrival in St. George, Bermuda.

      The itinerary of the five month trip can be found here. Scroll down to read the list

      Mark Twain's letter to the editor of "The Herald" reprinted in "The Innocents Abroad" indicates that perhaps the excursion wasn't as wonderful as he had envisioned. "The pleasure ship was a synagogue, and the pleasure trip was a funeral excursion without a corpse. (There is nothing exhilarating about a funeral excursion without a corpse.) A free, hearty laugh was a sound that was not heard oftener than once in seven days about those decks or in those cabins, and when it was heard it met with precious little sympathy."

      Chapter 61
    Misc 1876  [6, 7
    • Mrs. Nina Larowe travelled giving "dramatic recitals in costume" and later dramatic readings and dance instruction. The first ads I see are in about 1876.
    Ad for Entertainment
    Ad for Entertainment
    Reno Gazette-Journal (Reno, Nevada) · 01 Jun 1876, Thu · Page 3
    Review
    Review
    Reno Gazette-Journal (Reno, Nevada) · 07 Jun 1876, Wed · Page 3
    Review
    Review
    Tombstone Daily Epitaph (Tombstone, Arizona) · 04 Mar 1886, Thu · Page 3
    Misc Between 1883 and 1885  San Francisco, San Francisco, CA Find all individuals with events at this location  [6, 8
    • Perhaps the dramatic recitals proved too much and Nina got a "real job." She got a patronage job at the U.S. Mint in San Francisco, on the basis of her father's political conections. Initially she made canvas sacks for silver dollars for 8c a sack. Later, after a personal friend was appointed head of the mint she was promoted to filing gold blanks down to proper weight to be stamped for coins. When a Democratic administration came in to power all the Republican patronage employees were fired.
    Misc 1907  [6, 9
    • After her stint working at the US Mint, Nina appears to have resumed her acting career. In later years she takes up instructing dance.

      Attached are some articles, including one, from 1907, in which "Mrs. Nina Larowe, dressed in the costume of a squaw, striking Sacajawean poses in front of the country store." I am reminded of Eulalie Mackecknie Shinn of Music Man fame.

      Even more disturbing than a white woman dressed as a squaw and striking Sacajawean poses are the upcoming events at the exhibition. "A pickaninny show is the attraction this afternoon. The visiting crowds are experiencing the joy of passing on the most beautiful negro baby in town." And "next week Chinese babies....the first Chinese baby show ever attempted"
    Sacajawean Review
    Sacajawean Review
    The Oregon Daily Journal (Portland, Oregon) · 06 Sep 1907, Fri · Page 4
    Misc 1911  2272 NW Kearney St., Portland, Cumberland, ME Find all individuals with events at this location  [10
    • Built in 1911 the "Nina Larowe building" is part of the historic "Alphabet Historic District."

      It was first built by the German Savings and Loan Society to use as a meeting hall. Nina bought it to use as a dance studio. Before she died it was converted to "The Nob Hill" theater.

      A local tour group gives walking tours of the area and a story is told that her building was the sight of the largest alcohol raid in Portland history. The raid was after her death.
    Misc 04 Feb 1912  Portland, Multnomah, OR Find all individuals with events at this location  [11
    • In 1912 the danciing teachers sought to ban certain dances as they were dangerous to morals.

      "Dancing instructors who own their own halls and the owners of leading halls rented for society functions say with one voice: "Turkey Trot" shall not be danced tonight. And while they are about it they have put the ban on the "Texas Tommy," "Grizzly Bear" and "Bunny Hug."

      Regarding the "Turkey Trot" Mrs. Larowe said, "It's like a turkey on a hot plate, constantly lifting its feet so that they won't get burned. When danced in the extreme heads are held very close together - too close together, I should say."
    Dancing Teachers Ban
    Dancing Teachers Ban
    Oregonian - Feb 4, 1912, (Portland Oregon) page 5
    Misc 1917  Portland, Multnomah, OR Find all individuals with events at this location  [8
    • In about 1917 Nina privately published an account of her life. She titled it, "An Account of My Life's Journey So Far: Its Adversity; Its Sunshine and Its Clouds"

      The book was privately printed and undated. It was apparently published and sold to raise funds for the Oregon National Guard unit which was either preparing for or engaged in the First World War.

      "Individual chapters of this document can be found in the back files of "The Oregonian" where they were originally published. The fact that they were printed there suggests that the paper has higher literary standards now than it did then. Most of the sentences in Nina Larowe's work are difficult and many of the paragraphs simply defy comprehension."
    The Neighbor article
    The Neighbor article
    The Neighbor (Portland Oregon) August 1984, page 11.
    The Neighbor article
    The Neighbor article
    The Neighbor (Portland Oregon) August 1984, page 11.
    Died 16 Mar 1921  Portland, Multnomah, OR Find all individuals with events at this location  [12
    • Nina's death was reported in newspapers throughout the country. Most if not all mentioned her Mark Twain/Innocence Abroad connection and many of those reported her unhappiness with the book and its author.
    Obituary 17 Mar 1921  Portland, Multnomah, OR Find all individuals with events at this location  [13
    Obituary
    Obituary
    Oregonian -Mar 17, 1921, (Portland Oregon) page 11
    Will
    • Upon her death she bequeathed a large part of her estate to the Oregon Humane society, her instructions that the "benefits derived go to the relief of suffering dumb animals.

      Her estate was valued at $39,229.12 , the main portion of the estate was her building, valued at $25,000, at the corner of 23rd and Kearney Streets. The property and theater were kept in trust for 10 years with proceeds going to the Humane Society. In 1932 the building was turned over completely to the Humane Society and as of 1984 they still owned it.
    Nina Larowe estate
    Nina Larowe estate
    "The Oregon Daily Journal" (Portland, Oregon) April 14, 1921, page 3
    Reference Number 116.2.3a 
    Person ID I17689  mm
    Last Modified 10 Aug 2018 

    Father James CHURCHMAN,   b. 01 Mar 1811, Chester, Delaware, PA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1869, NV Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 57 years) 
    Mother Samantha MIREE,   b. 19 Nov 1813,   d. 28 Jan 1880, Virginia City, Storey, NV Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 66 years) 
    Married 13 May 1841  Dubuque, Dubuque, IA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID F6470  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Marcus Dwight LARROWE,   b. 05 May 1828, Cohocton, Steuben, NY Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 05 Feb 1896, Palace Hotel, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 67 years) 
    Married 16 Aug 1864  Lander Co., NV Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 8
    • In her autobiography Nina does not elaborate on her marriage except to say he died young. "He enters her story making visits to her parents house, visits which increase in frequency, and, in her words, "ended as most such visits do, in a trip to the hymeneal altar."

      Note: Marcus died in 1896 at the age of 68.

      Note: When Marcus was enumerated in the 1850 census at Ripon, WI it included a Mrs. M.D. Larrowe, age 36 (ie: 1838), born in Vermont. There is no record of Marcus having a wife prior to marrying Nina in 1864. Nina always lied about her age but I can find no record of her ever being east of Iowa during this time period. So, Mrs M.D. Larrowe remains a mystery.
    Last Modified 10 Aug 2018 
    Family ID F6465  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Photos
    Nina Churchman Larowe
    Nina Churchman Larowe

    Histories
    Nina Churchman Larowe
    Nina Churchman Larowe
    After parting ways with her husband, Nina spent the next 50 years making her own way in the world. At the time of her death (1921) her estate was valued at 500,000, most of which she donated to the Oregon Humane Society for the "relief of suffering dumb animals.

  • Sources 
    1. [S449] Nevada, Marriage Index, 1860-1987, (Nevada County Court Houses, 1982 - 1996, Ancestry Date, 2004).

    2. [S1270] Various Newspaper Accounts, Oregonian -Mar 17, 1921, (Portland Oregon) page 11.

    3. [S617] U.S. Passport Applications, National Archives and Records Administration, (The Generations Network, Inc, Provo, UT, Ancestry Date, 2007).

    4. [S1268] The Innocents Abroad, Mark Twain, (Harper & Brothers, New York and London, 1869).

    5. [S1267] Mark Twain Project, http://www.marktwainproject.org/xtf/view?docId=letters/MTDP00307.xml;style=letter.

    6. [S1269] Marcus Larrowe Tree, Compiler: Demarest, Marc, (2001).

    7. [S1270] Various Newspaper Accounts, Reno Gazette-Journal (Reno, Nevada) · 01 Jun 1876, Thu · Page 3
      Reno Gazette-Journal (Reno, Nevada) · 07 Jun 1876, Wed · Page 3
      Tombstone Daily Epitaph (Tombstone, Arizona) · 04 Mar 1886, Thu · Page 3.

    8. [S1270] Various Newspaper Accounts, The Neighbor (Portland Oregon) August 1984, page 11.

    9. [S1270] Various Newspaper Accounts, The Oregon Daily Journal (Portland, Oregon) · 06 Sep 1907, Fri · Page 4.

    10. [S1272] Various Web Sites, http://buildingoregon.org/catalog/oregondigital:df67j897d, Retrieved 8/5/2018.

    11. [S1270] Various Newspaper Accounts, Oregonian - Feb 4, 1912, (Portland Oregon) page 5.

    12. [S441] OR Death Index, Oregon State Archives and Records Center, Compiler: MyFamily.com, Inc, (2000, Ancestry Date, 2000).

    13. [S1270] Various Newspaper Accounts, Oregonian - Feb 4, 1912, (Portland Oregon) page 5Oregonian -Mar 17, 1921, (Portland Oregon) page 11.

    14. [S1270] Various Newspaper Accounts, "The Oregon Daily Journal" (Portland, Oregon) April 14, 1921, page 3.