Moynahan Surnames

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Texas Guinan - "Give The Little Girl A Great Big Hand"

Sometimes when I do genealogical research online I find myself taking wild tangents that are quite fun!

I have researched the Colorado Moynahans before and never come across a story about a John J. Moynahan (an artist/cartoonist) who married one of the most scandalous and notorious women of the early twentieth century, Mary Louise Cecilia "Texas" Guinan (January 12, 1884 – November 5, 1933). "The robust entertainer sent the phrases "Hello, Sucker" and "Give The Little Girl A Great Big Hand", virtually around the world."

Texas Guinan

Source: Movie Card: Kromo Gravure Leading Moving Picture Stars

Source: "Texas Guinan in She The Wolf" by Merit Film Corporation
Internet Archive. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons 

Guinan was one of seven siblings born in Waco, Texas, to Irish-Canadian immigrants Michael and Bessie (née Duffy) Guinan. She attended parochial school at the Loretta Convent in Waco. When she was 16 years old, her family moved to Denver, Colorado, where she was in amateur stage productions and played the organ in church.

Guinan married John Moynahan, a cartoonist for the Rocky Mountain News, on December 2, 1904. The union was childless. Moynahan's career took them to Chicago, where Guinan studied music before divorcing him and starting her career as a professional singer. She toured regional vaudeville with some success, but became known less for her singing than for her entertaining "Wild West"-related patter.

Source: Colorado Marriages 1858-1939 G Page 1117

Source: The Prescott Evening Courier: 21 Nov 1933
Some accounts say that Texas met her first husband, newspaper cartoonist for Rocky Mountain News John J. Moynahan, at the home of her cousin, Katie Hoban, in Idaho Springs, Colorado. Here's a completely different account that has John Moynahan rescuing her from a marriage she did not want:
Source: The Sunday Morning Star - May 22, 1927

John Moynahan was described as quiet and Texas as noisy and there is no doubt that the marriage was brief, but this is the only reference to the marriage being unhappy.

Texas preferred to forget all of her three husbands except "Jack" Moynahan, who she would occassionally speak about.

Source: St Petersburg Tines: 6 Nov 1933
I did locate information that when Texas moved to New York, John J. Moynahan (who was living in Chicago) was worried about her and would send her money.

Source: Texas Guinan blogpost

Texas Guinan 1938 from Texas Guinan blog spot

Prohibition Years, The 300 Club Manhattan

Much has been written about Texas Guinan's incredible life in films and in Manhattan.

Source: Crew Magazine: Happy Birthday Texas - 1928

She was one of the first female emcees. Upon the introduction of Prohibition, she opened a speakeasy called the 300 Club at 151 W. 54th Street in New York City (1920). The club became famous for its troupe of 40 scantily clad fan dancers and for Guinan's distinctive aplomb, which made her a celebrity. Arrested several times for serving alcohol and providing entertainment, she always claimed that the patrons had brought the liquor in with them, and the club was so small that the girls had to dance close to the customers. Guinan maintained that she had never sold an alcoholic drink in her life.[2] (Source: Wikipedia)

(From TexasGuinanBlog)

Source: St Petersburg Tines: 6 Nov 1933

Texas Funeral - Manhattan 
1933Twelve thousand turned out for a final viewing.
Show business buddies filled Frank Campbell's Funeral Chapel in New York with flowers.
Movie cameras recorded it all.

She was survived by both of her parents. Her mother died at age 101 in 1959 and her father was 79 years old at his death in 1935. Her family donated a tabernacle in her name to St. Patrick's Church in Vancouver in recognition of Father Louis Forget's attentions during her last hours. When the original church was demolished in 2004, the tabernacle was preserved for the new church built on the site. Guinan is interred in the Calvary Cemetery, Queens, New York. (Source: Wikipedia)


 Incendiary Blonde 1945 

starring Betty Hutton

(90% Fiction and 10% Fact)

The movie "Incendiary Blonde" starring Betty Hutton was based on the life of Texas Guinan but as you can see from the newsclipping below, it was 90% fiction and 10% fact! Still, I loved the few clips that I could find online. She was remembered and portrayed as quite the character!

Source: Milwaikee Journal 14 November 1943

Source: Getty Images

But What About John J. Moynahan (1876-1939) ?

I was shocked to read that he made it to New York City (where Texas was) in the 1920s! I wonder? Did they know of each other? Did they meet?

After he and Texas parted ways in 1907 he remained single until at 58 years og age, two years after Texas died (1933), in 1935 he married widow Lydia Maude (Searle) Wurderman.



This cartoon, from the archives of the Scituate Historical Society, was drawn, it is believed, by Jack Moynahan, cartoonist for the Rocky Mountain News.

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