Museum the New Llano Colony

Anna Besse

Birth: She was born in 1889 at Germany.  

Family Information: Mother of Carl Besse.  


Once referred to as a "high class treat" for her theater performances.

Pre-Colony History: She came to the U.S. in 1902 or 1904, depending on the source you look at, and became a naturalized citizen in 1916 according to one source.

In 1910 she married Karl Besse in New York and that year they were living in New York with her brother, Herman Goetz. In 1915 the couple lived alone in New York.

In 1920 she and Karl were living in Florida with their son and Karl was working as a farmer.  

Home in Colony: In January 1929 she was fixing up her kitchen with the help of Ted Landrum

Job in Colony: She worked as a teacher in the colony schools -- in December 1928 she taught the primary classes while Mrs. Hopkins cared for the kindergarten children. Mrs. Bennett was the principal of the department.

In November 1928 she had a big group of juniors picking beans at the orchard. In December she and her two crews of young colonists were certainly doing a great work all over the colony -- every place where they found wood to pile, yards to clean, garden to make, crops to gather or any job they could work at, they got on the job. it was an inspiration to anyone to see the things the little folks could do.

In January 1929 she took a company of sixth and seventh graders out for a hike in the woods.

In February Mrs. Pewther was also teaching the youngsters, and in March, she and Anna were responsible for the first, second and third grades of school.  

Other Info:

She was often part of the theater programs.

At one in November 1927 she and Mrs. Louise Gaddis sang a vocal duet, accompanied on the piano by Billy DeBoer; at a second program composed chiefly of instrumental and vocal music by Mesdames Louise Gaddis, Anna Besse and Ruby Nesnow and Messrs. Max Beavers, Harry Nesnow, Mickey and Price; another she and Carl Hoppe contributed a number of vocal duets.

In May 1928 she, Louise Gaddis and Peter Borg contributed a trilogy on the violin, cello and piano at one of the theater programs. Later that month she was presiding at the piano, accompanied by Peter Borg on the violin while Comrade Condon was practicing his song for the Mother's Day entertainment that night. Other performers were Kenneth Thurman and Comrade Tefteller. Also the orchestra under Bob Snyder, Mrs. Hewitt and Mrs. Busick.

Later that month two visiting musicians -- W.L. Ferris and O.L. Owens of Leesville -- collaborated with the colony orchestra which consisted of: Robert Snyder, leader; George T. Pickett, Roedemeister, Ben Roe, Raymond Faussel, Joseph Gaddis, Louise Gaddis, Billy DeBoer, C.C. Mickey, Peter Borg, Max Beavers, Warren Fread, Guy Rogers, Florence Roe and Anna Besse, pianiste.

She was pleased to play the tune for a ditty popular in 1928, the words of the composer, in translation, being:
"Enjoy yourselves as long as life's lamp is glowing.
Pick your roses as long as they bloom.
Some people like to live in gloom
Seeking thorns and finding them,
Ignoring the sweet little violet
That blooms for them in the grass."

In November 1928 Carl and Mrs. Besse returned to the colony from a summer's vacation.

In January 1929 she was listed as a member of the Conscientious Objector's Union.

In April 1929 she played the piano with the orchestra all evening until 10 o'clock for a dance at the Roof Garden which was crowded with visitors from Leesville and the surrounding country.

In May 1929 she and Carl were shelling some beans for their dinner.

In June 1929 she presented a "most excellent dissertation" entitled "The Essentials of Discipline" to the Parent-Teacher's Association at the little red school house. Also, she, Fred Hamel and Albert Wichmann rendered two German songs with feeling and spirit.

A week later she and Carl departed with George Pickett on their way to Kansas where he had several lecturing dates and she, according to family members and acquaintances, married former colonist, Samual Stewart.

Post-Colony History: In 1930 and 1940 she and son, Carl, were living in Kansas with her second husband, Samuel R. Stewart -- while her first husband, Karl, continued to live in Florida.  


Sources: New York County Marriage Records; US Census: 1910, 1920, 1930, 1940; New York State Census: 1915; "Llano Colonist": November 5, 1927, November 19, 1927, November 26, 1927, January 7, 1928, February 11, 1928, May 12, 1928, May 19, 1928, May 26, 1928, November 17, 1928, November 24, 1928, December 1, 1928, December 15, 1928, December 22, 1928, January 5, 1929, January 12, 1929, February 9, 1929, February 16, 1929, March 2, 1929, March 9, 1929, March 16, 1929, April 6, 1929, May 25, 1929, June 1, 1929, June 15, 1929; "Vernon Parish Democrat": February 28, 1929, June 6, 1929; Personal Info: Virginia Harrison  


Clipping from the Llano Colonist dated March 2, 1929.
Clipping from the "Llano Colonist" dated March 2, 1929. Expand Image

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