Museum the New Llano Colony

Sydney R. Archer

Birth: He was born in 1884 in England. He immigrated to the U.S. in 1910 and became a naturalized citizen in 1918.

Family Information: Husband of Ethel Archer.  

Description: In 1942 he was 5'9.5" tall, weighed 140 pounds, with blue eyes, brown hair and a dark complexion.  

Pre-Colony History: In 1891 he was living in Haddenham, Cambridgeshire, England with his parents, brother, maternal grandmother and two servants. His father was a merchant.

In 1917 he and Ethel were living in Umatilla, Oregon and listed as fruit growers. He served in the U.S. Army during WWI. In 1920 and 1930 they were still living in Oregon where he worked as a farmer.

In July 1932 he wrote a "Letter to the Editor" of the "Llano Colonist" stating that "he and his wife always read the Colonist from cover to cover and hoped to be in the colony soon." They arrived in November 1932.  

Home in Colony: He lived at Chicken Ranch Unit Number 2 with his wife -- in 1935 it was described thus: "west from the dairy, over the red clay road... [was] the bailiwick of our good friend, Sidney Archer. He was busy spading up the front garden and had about a dozen fig cuttings set out in business-like fashion, from which new trees w[ould] be grown.

Archer's spring garden include[d]: mustard, radishes, turnips, beets, bermuda and multiplier onions. He also ha[d] some cabbage seed in. Further over [was] a nice patch of strawberries in bloom.

The poultry flock look[ed] fine and the production of eggs ha[d] increased... and incubation [was] to start soon. Mr. Crisp [was] taking over the brooders and the incubation work, and [was] enthusiastic over the poultry possibilities in Llano."

Before he left, the reporter "couldn't help noticing how the temperament of the Archers [was] revealed in their love of flowers. [He] remarked that there always seemed to be a "pull" to a place where flowers were to be seen. Said... the pianist: 'It is good to have something about that one can't eat. It's food for the soul.'"

Job in Colony: He was a poultry man. In August 1935 he and Professor Lewis shingled the chicken houses at Chicken Unit No. 2, which were badly in need of repair.

In 1936 he brought in the carry-all truck from the Chicken Ranch for the funeral of Aunt Em. In 1937 it was reported that egg production was coming along very nicely. 

Other Info: He often performed on the piano at the theater -- usually every week. For many years he was leader of the colony orchestra.

In December 1932 it was decided (by W.R. Gaylord, DeBoer, Chet Page, and Doc Williams) that Comrade Archer, who was an expert on the piano, would take over on that instrument for theater performances and Bill DeBoer would take up the bass viol or clarinet in the orchestra; however, Bill would continue to play the piano for the dances while Archer played the sax or violin.

In January 1933 Doc Williams was planning a Gypsy Program for the theater; Sydney and Ethel were helping him work it out "while the fiddles and etycetery were plinging and a plunking at the roof garden." Lloyd Potter, Gordon Pickett and Margaret (sic) and Jasmine Lewis were practicing the steps for Mrs. Archer's act.

In April 1934 a lovely gathering was held at the home of Frank Brough, another New Englander, to "God-speed" the Fay family to Norfolk, Connecticut where they hoped to arrange their affairs over the next few months and return to the colony in the fall.

Attendees enjoyed music, games and a wonderful lunch. They included: Mr. and Mrs. Sydney Archer, Drs. Robert K. and Cecil C. Williams, Mr. and Mrs. George Matz, Mrs. Maki, Smith Sanford, DeForest Sanford, George Leevey, Wm. Bingham, Dennis Stanley, Forest R. Waters, Mary Emery and the Brough family, consisting of Margaret, William and Frank.

In July 1935, after the "May Day Revolution" ousting George Pickett and causing the election of a new Board of Directors, many of the colonists wanted to stick with Pickett. They fought the action in the streets of New Llano and in the Vernon Parish courts. On July 22, 1935 a group of Pickett supporters held their own meeting and elected a board which included George T. Pickett as President and General Manager, Arthur Hoffman, H. Claude Lewis, Oscar Needham, Sidney Young, Sydney Archer and John Szpila.  

Post-Colony History: In 1940 he was living in Leesville, Louisiana as a lodger with the Robert K. Williams family and working as a music teacher.  

Death: He died in 1966 and was buried at Willamette National Cemetery at Portland, Oregon. His spouse at the time of his death was listed as Robin Dieckman.  

Sources: England Census: 1891; US Census: 1920, 1930, 1940; 1917 Umatilla, Oregon City Directory; "Can We Cooperate" by Bob Brown; "Llano Colonist": July 30, 1932, December 3, 1932, December 10, 1932, January 28, 1933, June 3, 1933, July 1, 1933, April 21, 1934, January 5, 1935, February 16, 1935, August 31, 1935, September 7, 1935, February 29, 1936, May 23, 1936, June 5, 1937, July 3, 1937, August 21, 1937; US Draft Registration WWII;; US Veterans' Gravesites  


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