Moreland, Mantan Jesse
- Donna L. Halper
was born in Monroe Louisiana; his birth resulted from a brief affair between his mother Marcella Brodnax and Frank Moreland, who was married and had four other children. According to Moreland’s biographers (Price et al, p. 65) and his daughter Marcella Moreland Young, his birth name was Jesse James Brodnax; he received the nickname “Mantan” from his maternal grandmother Mandy, who helped to raise him. She sang him a song called “Mantan the Funnyman.”
Information about Moreland’s childhood is sparse and contradictory. Some sources say he was born in 1901, and his daughter Marcella asserts he was born in 1903. California state death records give the date as 3 September 1902 Some sources refer to his biological father as a Dixieland bandleader and say that Mantan ran off with a minstrel show when he was only eight years old Oliver p 5 but his daughter questions both ...