Saturday, September 14, 2013

Larry Stoutenburgh the Pocket Billiard Pro

When I was surfing the Internet for Stoutenburg ancestors, I periodically came across newspaper articles about Larry Stoutenburgh, a billiard professional. Many of the articles were about his attempt to become the billiards champion and would refer to him as Larry Stoutenburgh of Buffalo, New York.

In 1917, there was a match between Larry, the challenger, and Frank Taberski of Schenectady, defending champion. Taberski was able to defend his title in this match, but only by a narrow margin.

I found a World War II old man's registration on April 27, 1942 of Larry M. Stoutenburgh living in Manhattan, proprietor of a billiard parlor on 225 West 57th Street. He was born December 11, 1888 in New York State. The registration card named the person who would always know is address as Mrs. Mae Stoutenburgh.

She died at her home in Manhattan in 1947 at the age of 54 years. Her obituary in The New-York Times identified her as Mrs. Mae Alameda George Stoutenburgh, a former soprano with the Strauss Opera Company. It also indicated that she and Larry performed together in vaudeville; she as a singer and he as a trick shot billiard performer.

I was able to learn that Mae Alameda George was her stage name. She was born Mary Almeda George in Stouffville near Toronto, Ontario on June 4, 1887. Her family lived in the Toronto area until about 1906 when they were living in Winnipeg, Canada. By 1911, the family had settled in Vancouver where her parents remained.

Larry Stoutenburgh and his wife, Georgie, were living in Manhattan in 1940. According the the census, they were living at the same address on April 1, 1935. Georgie was born in English Canada and was 45 years old, implying that she was born about 1895. That makes her around 8 years younger than the date recorded in a York County birth register.

I found Mae George in the 1920 US Census single and living in Manhattan. She was 26 years old, 7 years younger than her actual age. I also found a 30-year-old Laurence Stoutenburgh who was single, a proprietor of a billiards parlor living in White Plains, New York. So it would seem that they did not marry until after January, 1920. The earliest newspaper article in which I found mention of the two of them performing together was in a Bridgeport, Connecticut newspaper of 1924.

In the January 23, 1919 issue of the Trenton Evening News is an article that states Larry Stoutenburgh had been living in Trenton, New Jersey for the past six months. In 1917 when he was attempting to become the billiards champion he was said to be of Buffalo. I found him in the Buffalo city directories of 1916 and 1917 as proprietor of a billiards room.

The earliest record I found of Larry Stoutenburgh was in an Orleans, New York newspaper of 1915. He was in the town to play in a billiards match. The paper did not mention where he was from.

It would seem that Larry M. Stoutenburgh moved around quite a bit between 1915 and 1920. He settled at Manhattan after the 1926 city directory was printed and before the 1931 residential directory was printed. I have not found a record of his death. He was living in Manhattan in 1948 but was not listed in the 1959 telephone directory. 

The next step is to figure out who Larry Stoutenburgh's parents are. In the mean time, I came across a video of Larry performing. It was filmed about 1924 and is subtitled. The video can be viewed here. {As of March 11, 2015 when I tested the link, the video was removed. I hope that someone besides myself was able to see it before it disappeared.}

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