Museum the New Llano Colony

Eugene D. Carl


Family Information: Married Jessie Page in January, 1937 in Leesville, LA.  


Pre-Colony History: He had been employed in the office of a big merchant company from August 1928 until 1933 and unemployed for the following two years.

He arrived in the colony in February of 1935 from the district of Pittsburgh. The colony welcomed him, recognizing their need for a man of business experience to take charge of their trading transactions.  

Home in Colony: In January 1937 there was a re-shuffling of homes in the colony -- the Carls took a home that had been vacated by the Page family.  

Job in Colony: Very soon after his arrival, he was placed in charge of the new Barter and Exchange program which colonists hoped would allow Llano to become the exchange center for products and merchandise within a two-hundred mile radius.

According to George Pickett's supporters, he lost no opportunity of ingratiating himself in the minds of unsuspecting folk, sharing his ideas of what he would like to do if only he had the power and opportunity; gave ready ear to all who cared to voice their grievances to him; and fostered the spirit of discontent in all those who cared to spill him a tale of woe -- soon becoming a power to be reckoned with.

On May Day, 1935, some dissatisfied colonists -- most of them younger members who had not yet earned their right to vote on colony decisions -- held a meeting while Pickett was out of town and elected a new Board of Directors that didn't include Pickett. Doc Williams, an on-again / off-again colonist from the early years in California, was elected President; Eugene Carl, a new member who'd only been at the colony about three months -- he was still a probationer and consequently didn't even have voting rights in colony matters, was elected Executive Director; and Walter Robison, also a recent arrival, was elected Chairman of the Board of Directors.

Pickett and his supporters fought the action in the Vernon Parish courts, but even though the courts ruled the new board was not legal, they also refused to name Pickett's board as the legal directors, so the disagreements within the colony only continued to escalate.

Read the Court Judgment dated September 6, 1935.

In order to claim that an official board had been properly elected after the court judgment had been handed down, the new board and leaders held another election. They advertised for former colonists to send in their proxies and adopted a rule permitting all resident members who had been at the colony more than sixty days to vote in the election, provided too few proxies were received to hold a regular stock holders' meeting.

In October 1935 he was nominated to be on the self-proclaimed "legal" Board of Directors, along with (in order of nomination), Robert K. Williams, Lester Caves, Crockett Campbell, John Szpila, Harold Emery, Charles Lawrence, Chester Peecher, E.O. Joynes, Chester Page, Horace Cronk, George Hullinger, Walter Robison, "Chauncey" DuProz, Mrs. Olive Lentz, Mrs. Mabel Busick, Lionel Crossland, Charles Derleth, J.H. "Dad" Ribbing and Cy Horney.

As expected, less than one fourth the required stock was represented at the Stockholders' meeting, so the colonists proceeded with the election of a new board of directors as planned. Those selected were: Robert K. Williams, E.C. Carl, Lester Caves, Crockett Campbell, Harold Emery, Chester Peecher, E.O. Joynes, Charles Lawrence, and Chester Page. Runners up were Mrs. Mabel Busick, Horace Cronk and John Szpila.

The battles for control of the colony continued over the next couple of years, threats were made, there were some physical altercations, and even a few guns fired. Many colonists became so tired of all the fighting they moved away -- leaving an even greater shortage of workers for the industries.

Read about some of the conflict... "Llano Colonist" dated August 3, 1935.

In August 1935, he was helping to fish the veneer logs out of the steaming vat to fill an order at the crate factory.

In November 1935 he volunteered for extra evening work at the crate factory in order to fill an urgent order. Other volunteers included: Industrial Foreman Chet Page, editor and teacher Emery, Willie Brown, Mr. Jernberg and his son, Elmer, Sylvester, Arlene and Mrs. Watson.

In February 1936, he, along with Mr. Joynes and Harold Emery, took the civil service examination for postmaster at Leesville, LA.

In March 1936 he was appointed as receiver for the colony, though immediate claims of unfitness were brought against him by George Pickett, Walter Robison, and their followers; the court heard evidence on the matter for two days, before the judge announced from the bench that it was his opinion that if a receiver was to be appointed, it should be some person not connected with the corporation.

Richard Pollard, a young businessman from a family that had always been friendly to Llano (even having loaned them large sums of money), was appointed in that same month. He stated that one of his conditions for accepting the position was that colonists must agree to work together. He appointed Dr. Robert K. Williams to be his representative in the colony and Eugene Carl to act as his accountant.

In June 1936 Carl resigned from his postion as the Receiver's representative and resident manager. Upon tendering his resignation, he expressed his intention of accepting a business position elsewhere though he had not, as yet, given a definite statement as to when he will leave for this position. Harold Emery was selected by the Receiver to fill the position.

In September 1936 he again "took up the duties [of being the colony manager] under the receiver."

In October 1936, while speaking at a colony Worker's Meeting, Carl explained to the colonists that the only "legal" authority in the colony was the receiver. He claimed it was the "first legal set-up that the colony ha[d] had for years." When questioned by Mrs. Shutt about why the colony was leasing out its facilities (like the Hooker Furniture Company and the Banta Lumber Company) rather than operating them for themselves, he replied that the colony simply did not have the men necessary to run those industries.

At that same meeting, he went on to state that he expected to be able to present or post conspicuously, within a very short time, a detailed accounting of what the Colony has done since the reorganization, May a year prior.

In February 1937, when Pollard became convinced that colonists would never be able to work together, he resigned from the receivership and the court appointed C.D. "Dwight" Ferguson.

In March 1937 it was noticed that Carl was missing from around the colony. Some said he was ill, but no-one seemed to know the exact nature of his illness.

Other Info: He was a friend of Oscar Needham's who came to the colony in February, 1935 from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

In July 1937 he and Jessie, along with her father, Chet Page, traveled to Shreveport on a business trip and returned around 8 o'clock that evening.  

Post-Colony History:  


Sources: "Llano Colonist": February 16, 1935, August 3, 1935, August 24, 1935, October 12, 1935, November 2, 1935, February 29, 1936, April 25, 1936, June 6, 1936, October 24, 1936, January 9, 1937, January 30, 1937, February 27, 1937, March 13, 1937, July 10, 1937; "The Crisis in Llano Colony" by Sid Young; "Bread and Hyacinths; The Rise and Fall of Utopian Los Angeles" by Paul Greenstein, Nigey Lennon and Lionel Rolfe; ; "Southern Exposure": Vol 1; No 3 & 4 (Llano Cooperative Colony, Louisiana)  


Clipping from the "Llano Colonist" dated June 22, 1935: "Three Corporation Officers - Walter Robison, Chairman of the Board; Eugene Carl, Executive Director; Dr. R. K. Williams, President."

Clipping from the "Llano Colonist" dated March 28, 1936.

Clipping from the "Llano Colonist" dated January 9, 1937.

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