21 March 2015

#FearlessFemales - Day 18 - Special Talent

Yesterday I featured my mother and her days in a musical society, but she wasn't the only fearless female family member who was musically talented.

Today's challenge: March 18 — Shining star: Did you have a female ancestor who had a special talent? Artist, singer, actress, athlete, seamstress, or other? Describe.

Today I'd like to bring mention of Agnes Mullen the sister of my great grandmother.

Agnes (Aggie) was born about 1874 in Monkwearmouth Durham England.

She married Andrew (Andra) McManus in 1897

In the 1901 census Andrew is listed as a Bar Manager and in 1911 a Music Hall Artist. Andrew is listed in many newspaper articles for the Sunderland area as a performer - usually very well received.

The 1911 census also tells us that Agnes and Andrew were living with Agnes' parents at 1 Moran Street Fulwell Durham England.

Oral family history says that Agnes was a Yodeller and Andrew was an unbroken Tenor. As performers, they came in contact with Vesta Tilley - who was a well known vaudeville and music hall artist and who laid the foundation stone of the Sunderland Empire and was the headline opening artist.

Apparently Vesta Tilley gave Agnes a Yorkshire Terrier puppy which she called Vickie.

The life of a Music Hall Artist must have been quite disruptive to family life - there may well have been a lot of travel and a lot of after show partying. For a time it seems that Agnes and Andrew split up. Here is the case for spousal support Agnes took against Andrew from the Sunderland Echo on January 2 1915:

Source: www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

Oral family history also says that Agnes stopped Yodelling because it made her great niece Valerie Dorkin cry.

Agnes passed away in 1950 - here is the announcement from The Sunderland Echo:

Source: www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

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