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Floye E. Maupin, musician during the silent movie era



In the mid to late 1890s, Edward Drescher operated a dry goods and carpet store at 217-221 Broadway. This photo, from Steve Chou’s collection, is believed to have been taken during that era. The left side of this double building, which was located along the alley dividing the 200 block of Broadway, later served as space for The Famous, circa 1907-1910; and after that, the building was remodeled to contain The Majestic Theater. In 1914, Mrs. Floye E. Maupin was pianist for The Majestic, which featured vaudeville acts and silent movies.


MARY LOU MONTGOMERY


Floye E. Maupin was a key “note" in a musical chord consisting of Hannibal during her tenancy here from circa 1903. She and her husband, George, moved to Hannibal from Pike and Lincoln counties in Missouri  - and continued to live primarily in Hannibal until the era of the great stock market crash in 1929.


In all that time, she was a contributing member of the musical community of Hannibal and its environs, ranging from church musician at the First Presbyterian Church, to wedding accompanist, to musician associated with silent films and vaudeville.


Her husband, George Robert Maupin, was a talented musician in his own right, serving as a bass player for J.H. Herring’s orchestra in 1924. But he didn’t earn his living from his musical talent alone - he was a long-time manager/salesman for the Parks Music House, sometimes on the road selling pianos and organs to people in the outlying area.


So what brought these two musicians to Hannibal?


Miss Floe McDonald was married to George Robert Maupin in June 1900. She was 19, and he was seven years older.


She was the daughter of James M. McDonald, and Sarah Stone McDonald (1843-1910). Mrs. McDonald, at the time of her daughter’s marriage, was a widow living near her extended family at Hurricane, Lincoln, Mo.


George R. Maupin was the son of William A. and Mary E. Maupin, who made their home in Louisiana, Mo.


Parks Music House

The Parks Music House, where George R. Maupin worked, originated in 1867, early located in Louisiana, Mo. The company expanded to Hannibal by 1903. Edgar Andrew Parks (1872-1961) managed the company following  the death of his father, Edgar Alonzo Parks, in 1898.


The business association between E.A. Parks and George R. Maupin likely began while both were young men in Louisiana, Mo.


The Maupins

After their marriage, the young couple first settled in Louisiana, Mo., before venturing north of Hannibal by 1903. George Maupin at first went to work as a machinist, and the young couple made their home at 418 Jefferson on Hannibal’s South Side. By 1905, George was working for the Parks Music House, a three-story building located at 305 Broadway.


The Ralls County Times announced in its April 27, 1906 edition that Mr. Maupin sold a nice piano to John Bale, for use by Miss Nora Bale.


Success in his career enabled the Maupins to move to Hubbard Street, near St. Mary’s Avenue, by 1907. Living nearby were A.D. Stowell, principal at Hannibal’s South School, and William L. Pound, an engineer for the Burlington Railroad. (Both of these men were profiled in this column during 2023.)


After a brief residency in Galveston, Texas, where Floye Maupin’s mother died in 1910, the Maupins returned to Hannibal, where in 1914 George and Floye Maupin were working as musicians at the Majestic Theater, 217 Broadway, accompanying vaudeville acts and silent films.


The Majestic Theater opened in Hannibal circa 1911. Proprietors Claude R. Cary and Frank K. McDonald likely made renovations to the building vacated in 1910 by “The Famous,” operated by Louis Rubinstein.


Cary came to Hannibal from Hutchinson, Kan., where he, along with his father, Silas B. Cary, operated the Midland Hotel. In 1909, the elder Cary (a druggist) purchased a hotel in Marshall, Mo.


The new Hannibal theater was located in a long, two-story, brick, narrow building located on the west side of the alley dividing the 200 block of Broadway. The stage was at the rear of the building, located to the south. (The building was destroyed by fire in 1969.)


The theater proprietor in 1914 was Frank K. McDonald, a possible relative of Mrs. Maupin. Other employees were Albert Alward, musician; Thomas A. Robbins, operator; and Mrs. Virginia Whittaker, ticket seller.


The theater advertised in the Ralls County Record newspaper in February 1914 that it offered 3 reels of pictures and 2 acts of vaudeville “every day and Sunday.”


‘Perils of Pauline’

The year 1914 was a notable one for theaters. That was the year the serial “Perils of Pauline,” was first released. Pauline, played by Pearl White, was featured in as many as 20 short films, each involving her rescue from some peril.

Merchants were asked to sponsor tickets to give away to their customers, allowing theater goers a reduced or free admission.

Most certainly one of the Hannibal theaters featured this series in 1914:

Gem Theatre, 1206 Broadway, operated by John S. Kaylor;

Park Opera House, Fifth, on the southwest corner of Center, managed by Thomas A. Rigler;

Star Theatre, 212-214 S. Main, John B. Price, proprietor;

The Goodwin, 205 N. Main;

The Majestic, 217 Broadway; and/or

Eales Theater, 713 Union.

 In Palmyra, the series premiered on Feb. 11, 1915, at the Franklin Theatre.


After moving back to Hannibal, George Maupin continued his position with the Parks Music House, where, in 1920, he employed his youngest sister, Iona Maupin, to work as a department manager. (In March 1926, Mary Iona Maupin was married to Harris Quinn Maupin, and they moved to California.)


Wedding music

Mrs. George (Floye) Maupin was the organist for the October 1922 marriage of Miss Helen Louise Shepherd and Mr. Thomas E. Feaster. The ceremony took place at the First Presbyterian Church of Hannibal. Thomas Bleigh of Philadelphia, Mo., was best man.

Mrs. Maupin played Chopin’s “Nocturne” and Gliere’s “Romance,” on the church organ. More than 150 guests attended the ceremony.

(Note: Mrs. Feaster was the daughter of Earlbert and Louisa Shepherd, who were featured in this column during 2023.)


Cantata

The First Presbyterian Church, 120 N. Sixth, hosted the cantata “The Resurrection Story” on April 18, 1924. The event was under the musical direction of Mrs. Maupin. “The musical numbers in this cantata are splendid and all who attend are assured that it will be one of the best entertainments of the season,” reported the Ralls County Record on April 11, 1924.


Fabuis event

The Palmyra Spectator reported in its March 13, 1929 edition: "One of the most pleasing programs to have been presented in this section was given last Saturday night at the Fabius Community house, by the Bates trio, consisting of the Misses Lorene and Irene Bates, violist, and cellist, Mrs. George Maupin, pianist, and Paul Logan Coffey, tenor.”


Move to California

By the time the census was collected in 1930, George R. and Floye Maupin were settled into their new home at 3027 S. Harvard Blvd., Los Angeles.

George Maupin went to work as an order clerk for bank supplies.

He died in Los Angeles on Dec. 31, 1949.

In 1950, Floye Maupin was living at 1111 West 56th St., with her cousins, Albert H. and Lena McDonald, who had moved to California by 1920, from Hurricane, Lincoln County, Missouri.

Floye Ethel McDonald Maupin died Oct. 24, 1952, in Los Angeles.

Mr. and Mrs. Maupin are believed to have been childless.


The star of ‘Perils of Pauline’ was Pearl White, shown in an illustration from the St. Louis Post Dispatch Feb. 28, 1915. newspapers.com




This postcard, contributed by Robert Spaun, represents Hannibal's Main Street looking north. At left you can see a sign in the shape of a star, identifying the Star Theatre. The address of the Star Theater in 1914 was 215 S. Main.




The Parks Music House was located in a three-story building at 305 Broadway. Photo postcard contributed by Robert Spaun.



The Park Theatre was located on the southwest corner of Center Street. Directly to the left of this large theater was the home Mrs. Ann McCooey and her adult children.



The Palmyra Spectator, on Feb. 3, 1915, listed the merchants participating in a ticket giveaway for the premiere of “The Perils of Pauline”. newspapers.com



Marion County, Mo., theaters, as published in the Palmyra Spectator, Oct. 31, 1917. newspapers.com




This photo, of the 300 block of Broadway, was taken by Esley Hamilton for the Hannibal Register of Historic Places. The second building from left, (the building that is shorter than the other buildings) served as the site for the Parks Music Company beginning circa 1903. Advertisements boasted that they displayed musical inventory on all three floors.




The building at 217 Broadway, which at times housed The Famous and the Majestic Theater, was destroyed by fire in January 1969. Note in the foreground, the Hannibal Fire Department was still using the 1936 General as a backup engine. Hannibal Courier-Post photo, from the Hannibal Fire Department’s scrapbook.



Misses Irene and Lorene Bates were scheduled to perform for the GBA celebration in Palmyra in February 1935. They were members of the Hannibal String Ensemble. Marion County Standard, Feb. 20, 1935. Floye E. Maupin provided the piano accompaniment for the Bates twins, when they performed at the Fabius Community House, March 1929. newspapers.com



Mary Lou Montgomery retired as editor of the Hannibal (Mo.) Courier-Post in 2014. She researches and writes narrative-style stories about the people who served as building blocks for this region’s foundation. Books available on Amazon.com by this author include but are not limited to: "The Notorious Madam Shaw," "Pioneers in Medicine from Northeast Missouri," "The Historic Murphy House, Hannibal, Mo., Circa 1870,” “Hannibal’s ‘West End,’ and the newest book, “Oakwood: West of Hannibal.” Montgomery can be reached at Montgomery.editor@yahoo.com Her collective works can be found at www.maryloumontgomery.com

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