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Rainer E. Lotz

singer, musician, and theatrical entertainer, was born in Keokuk, Lee County, Iowa. As a juvenile comedian and singer he was a member of the Ponce de Leon Comedy Four with the Mahara Minstrels. In Mahara's brass band, then directed by the composer W. C. Handy, he worked in Cuba as a tuba player from 1899 to 1900, and Handy recalled him in his autobiography, Father of the Blues (1941). Garland and his trombone playing girl friend, Nettie Geoff, toured with Craine & Garland's Big Alabama Minstrels, followed by engagements with G. W. Washburn's Southern Minstrels (1900), Johnson and Stratter's Colored Minstrel Carnival (1901), and A Holiday in Coontown Company (1901). By 1903 Garland was playing the tuba with Richard & Pringle's Georgia Minstrels.

Garland and Nettie Geoff, now Mrs. Garland contributed to the success of ...