Kingsland Manor Artifacts: McGinnity Family

This 1700s Colonial Is Steeped in History and Here Are Some Items You Should See When You Visit

Virtual Tour, Page Four

Bus McGinnity, Katherine Agnes McGinnity

The McGinnity period of ownership of the Kingsland Manor is certainly colorful. Daniel (1869 – 1929) and Katherine (1875 – 1942), purchased the Kingsland Manor in 1910. “Diamond” Dan McGinnity moved into the Kingsland Manor with his wife, Katherine Agnes, and son, Bernard Charles “Bus” in October 1910.

Diamond Dan was a boxing promoter and trainer and used the grounds to train his boxers. Dan abandoned Katherine Agnes in 1918, yet he maintained ownership of the Kingsland Manor until his death in Chicago on Christmas Eve 1929.

Bernard Charles McGinnity was probably born in New York City, NY in 1899. Bus was a larger than life character who left his mark on the place – primarily with the remnants of a Speakeasy! Ironically, after Bus’s death, Katherine ran the Kingsland Manor as a hospital for patients recovering from alcoholism until 1939 when she lost the property in a sheriff’s sale.

Katherine Agnes McGinnity with Bernard Charles "Bus" McGinnity

In 1927, Bus opened a speakeasy in the basement of the Manor under the Ballroom. He ran the speakeasy there until 1933 when Prohibition was repealed and moved his liquor establishment into the ballroom getting a “Club” license from the State of New Jersey. He called his club “The Colonial Club” and decorated the walls of the ballroom with silhouettes of colonial figures. Over the fireplace he painted a large picture of President George Washington.

Bus McGinnity Ballroom Art Work

In 1928, Bus married Lulu Hartman, a beauty queen from Long Island. Together they had a daughter, Lorraine Beverly, who was born that same year. Unfortunately, Bus met a tragic end on December 22, 1936, when his body was discovered at a nearby barn by a Clifton Police Officer.

Here is a partial list of McGinnity artifacts in our collection.

Besides the painting of George Washington on the wall of the Ballroom, Bus did a chalk rendition of George that was donated to the Trust by Mr. George Harris Jr. in January 1975. To the best of our knowledge, George was not related to Christopher John Harris who was married to Winifred Kingsland Carryl. The rendition is described as a: “Caricature of George Washington; painting 19-1/2” x 27-1/2”; wooden frame; 25-1/2” x 33-1/2” – overall.” The frame is original to the painting. Bus reused a frame he found. On one edge of the frame are the words, “Egyptienne Luxury Cigarettes”. We display this picture during our February open house in honor of President’s Day.

George Washington portrait by Bus McGinnity

George Washington painting by Bus McGinnity, signature

George Washington painting in Egyptienne Luxury Cigarettes frame

A silver hip flask and a framed picture belonging to Bus were donated by Mrs. Edwin Foote in November 1976. The flask is 4-1/2” wide, 6-3/4” high, 1” deep and engraved with the initials “BMG”. The hip flask is displayed in a glass case in our Museum Room.

Bus McGinnity Silver Hip Flask, Initials “BMG”

The picture is mounted in a gold frame 7-3/4” long by 6-3/4” tall and 1-5/8” wide and has a plate attached with the words, “Real Troubles”. The back of the picture has writing in Bus McGinnity’s own hand that says, “Boys I went to school with at P.S. #146. Property of McGinnity. Orphan’s Home, 155 St. and Amsterdam Ave., New York City. Sept. 7, 1901”. It may provide some clues to Bus’s origin or it could just be another McGinnity joke. The “Real Troubles” picture is in our Child’s Bedroom.

Real Troubles, painting by Bus McGinnity

Real Troubles, obverse, painting by Bus McGinnity

Mrs. Edwin Foote also donated books belonging to Bus in August 1977. They were “Ye Towne Gossip” by K.C.B, Kenneth C. Beaton and “The Saloon in the Home or A Garland of Rum Blossoms,” compiled by Ridgely Hunt & George S. Chappell with Many Lavish Engravings by John Held Jr.

Ye Towne Gossip, Garland of Rumblossoms, book collection, Bus McGinnity

“Saloon in the Home” was a gift to Bus from someone named “Vangie” in 1931. The inscription opposite the title page says: “Here’s to the best guy in the World --. May your joy be as deep as the ocean, and your sorrow as light as its foam. ‘Vangie’. p.s. Long live ‘The Old Nutley Club’.” The books are displayed in our Museum.

Saloon in the Home or Garland of Rumblossoms by Ridgely Hunt, George S. Chapell

Bus was a student in the Nutley school system and graduated from high school in 1919. In 1921, Bus became a constable in the 3rd Ward of Nutley. The official document appointing Bernard Charles McGinnity as Constable in the 3rdWard of Nutley is in an oak frame 20-1/2” by 17-1/4” and 1-1/2” wide with a 3-1/2” mat. The document is 11-1/2” by 8-1/4” and was issued by John H. Scott, clerk of the County of Essex and James H. Owen, Chairman of the Board of Canvassers on November 14,, 1921. Bus would have been 20 years old at the time.

Bus McGinnity, Constable in the 3rd Ward of Nutley NJ

Bus McGinnity was an athlete during his high school years. He continued pursuing sports in his adult life. In 1924, when Bus was 25 years old, he belonged to a Newark bowling league, the Kaufmann-Windheim Bowling Club.

Bus was also a free-lance cartoonist for the New York American newspaper around the same time. He free-lanced for George McManus for the “Bringing Up Father” cartoon and the more well-known “Maggie and Jiggs” cartoon.

He produced a sketch of all members taking part in the annual “Step Out” tournament. One of the members of the club was Fred Windheim, the grandfather of Tom Windheim of Windheim Plumbing and Heating of Nutley. Recently, Tom found the sketch in a storage shed used by his grandfather and he and his wife, Brigette, donated a copy of the sketch to the Kingsland Manor Restoration Trust. The sketch is 30” by 22-1/2” in a frame measuring 31-1/2” by 24-1/4”. The sketch is displayed in our Speakeasy.

“Step Out” tournament, Kaufmann-Windheim Bowling Club

McGinnity signature, “Step Out” tournament, Kaufmann-Windheim Bowling Club

Katherine Agnes McGinnity’s dress was donated to the Trust by Mrs. A. L. Teeple in October 1974. The dress is “Black chiffon and lace worn by Mrs. McGinnity as ‘hostess’ for the ‘Speakeasy’.” The dress is displayed in the Master Bedroom of the Manor.

Speakeasy Hostess Gown Katherine Agnes McGinnity

In our artifacts collection we have a book belonged to Mrs. Katherine Agnes McGinnity named, “Heart Songs, Melodies of Days Gone By.” It is a compilation of songs contributed by 25,000 people to the National Magazine. There is a book stamp on the inside cover that tells us that the book is owned by, “Mrs. K. A. McGinnity, 3 Kingsland Road, Nutley, N.J.” The book is displayed in our Museum.

Heart Songs Melodies of Days Gone, book owned by Katherine Agnes McGinnity

Heart Songs Melodies of Days Gone, book owned by Katherine Agnes McGinnity

Picture of Katherine Agnes and Bernard Charles McGinnity from our collection. Additional photos Leon Kish.

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