There is nothing in Census records which suggests anything but white
ancestry for Jack.
In 1880, his grandfather, J(ohn) M. Teagarden (then aged 30, W) and his wife
Beatress (sic: 21, W) were on a farm in Houston County, in the Piney Woods
of east TX. They had twin children aged 1, Charley (Jack's father) and
Fannie (who seems to have died young).
John had been born in Louisiana to a father born in Virginia and mother from
Ohio. Beatress and her parents were all from Alabama. By 1900, the family
was in Wilbarger County, near Wichita Falls.
Skip to 1910, and Charles W. Teagarden (31) and his wife Helen (20) were in
Vernon, Wilbarger County, with Jack (4) and Charles' brother Will (23).
Helen is shown as having been born in Texas to a father from Germany and
mother from Pennsylvania. Both men were shown as "ginner, Cotton gin".
By 1920, Helen was a 29-year-old widow, occupation "Teacher, music" living
with her 4 children at Chappell, Deuel County, Nebraska - Weldon L (Jack),
14; Norma, 8; Charles, 6; and Clois, 4.
Neither Jack nor his wife Addie appear to be in the SSDI, but Clois is shown
as born 16 December 1915 and to have died during June 1969.
I visited Norma Louise Teagarden (later, Friedlander) when she was living in
San Francisco in 1995 or 1996. She was a refined old lady by then, but
there was much good jazz played at her birthday party, including a number
which featured 5 trombonists playing at the same time. Norma was born 28
April 1911 and died on 5 June 1996. I didn't detect any Indian blood in her
features - she looked rather Teutonic.
Norma's death entry shows her mother's name as Gienger, but in the 1900
Census it is shown as Giengar. The family was living in Wichita County, TX.
Helen was born in January 1889, to Henry Giengar (50 - born in Germany, as
were his parents) and his wife Tillie (40 - born Pennsylvania, as were her
----- Original Message -----
From: "Howard Rye" <howard@...>
Sent: Friday, October 27, 2006 5:42 PM
Subject: Re: [RedHotJazz] Re: Jack Teagarden
> on 26/10/06 21:52, Martin at martin@... wrote:
>> Re: the Teagarden origins
>> I'm quoting from Richard Sudhalter's tome, Lost Chords:
>> "The Teagarden family was of German extraction, and (contrary to various
>> journalistic efforts to explain young Weldon's affinity for the blues)
>> without any admixture of either black or American Indian blood."
> I suspect Teagarden himself was the source of this myth by way of his
> accounts of attending Indian pow-wows in Oklahoma in his teens and feeling
> great affinity for the music.
> Loathe as I am to acquit journalists of anything, I doubt they originated
> this one. Of course I can't find one when I need it, but I am sure I have
> read accounts by musician contemporaries describing him as an Indian.
> He seems to have crossed the color line with relative freedom and without
> much subterfuge. There is ample evidence that native American ancestry
> (Indian or Hawaiian) facilitated doing this without loss of caste amongst
> white associates and it may have suited him to let this rumor run!
> Howard Rye, 20 Coppermill Lane, London, England, E17 7HB
> Tel/FAX: +44 20 8521 1098
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