IN THE “MOVIES.”
Colored Girl is Said to be Playing Part in Large Moving Picture Company.
Kittie Reeves, a mulatto girl who possesses more than the usual amount of good looks, lived in this city several years ago, but now is said to be a leading woman in a well-known motion picture company. Kitty Reeves lived here from her early childhood. Her name was Kitty Smith before she married Charles Reeves, a highly respected negro, a son of Fletcher Reeves, the veteran hearse driver of the old Wadsworth Livery Stables for numbers of years. Kitty was always said to have been the belle of her set. She was a bright and accomplished young negress, but the lure of the stage was always within her, and when Black Patti came through here in 1910, Kitty Reeves applied for a place in the chorus. Immediately upon signing the contract, her name became Katherine Reeves. The tour was a success, but during the between-season lay-off, Katherine secured a place in a well-known manicuring establishment in Philadelphia.
The girl was possessed of fair skin with coloring. Her hair was long, but black with many freckles on her face. After learning the secrets of the manicurists’ art, Katherine underwent treatment for some time. When she ceased working on her face and hair, a great transformation had taken place. No longer was the hair black, but it had been turned to a dull auburn. The freckles had departed from her face, and she bore all of the appearances of a white person.
After leaving Philadelphia, Katherine became connected with a well-known motion picture firm in the State of New York. Many of her colored friends in the city claim to have recognized her a number of times playing leading parts in the film plays. So far as is known, this is the only person from Charlotte who has ever appeared upon the screens as an actress for motion pictures.
Charlotte Observer, 29 December 1912.
Ten years before this article appeared, twenty-one year-old Frank Reeves applied for a marriage license for himself and Kate Smith, 18. Both lived in Mecklenburg County. Frank (called Charles, above) was the son of Fletcher and Angeline McConnaughey Reeves. Kate’s parents were listed as Thomas and Mary Smith. S.H. Hilton, justice of the peace, married the young couple on 1 Aug 1902 at the county courthouse.
The marriage did not prosper. When the censustaker reached their neighborhood in 1910, he found Frank and Kate’s only child, 7 year-old Wilbur, living with his paternal grandparents. Charles (or Frank) and Kate (or Kittie or Katherine) do not appear together in that census or any other. (She had gone off with Black Patti by that time and, presumably, was pursuing her career as a star of the silent screen.)