Museum the New Llano Colony

Dan Cryer 

Birth: He was born in 1869 in Oakdale, Louisiana.  

Family Information: Husband of Leah Cryer.

Father of Docia, Denver, Dover, Dora and Dawson Cryer.  

Description: He'd been raised nearby and was the first close neighbor to become a part of the colony. Colonists welcomed him -- they felt he was well acquainted with the ups and downs of the colony, understood what co-operation was about and was ready to help them succeed.  

Pre-Colony History: In 1880 he was living with his parents and siblings in Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana.

In 1900, 1910 and 1920 he was living on a farm in Louisiana with his wife and children.

In March 1922, when Dan decided he couldn't "stand the competition any longer" he brought his family to live in the colony. Waters and Scharrer drove out to the Cryer place and brought back to the colony corn, peanut hay and other useful things (cows and hogs among them) that Dan wanted to turn in.  

Home in Colony:  

Job in Colony: Dan was a farmer and in 1922 when the family first came to the colony it was expected that he and his sons would soon take up some useful line of work. A week later he was working in the sawmill and running the roustabout wagon and the following week he was running the big planer.

Also that year, he and his son, Denver were among several colonists who volunteered to take up the study of planning and the operation of fruit growing for the colony. Dan spoke of his experience in this section of country with various standard fruits and berries. It was thought his knowledge would prove of considerable value to the membership.

He served on the 1925 colony Board of Directors and sometimes acted as a liason between colonists and locals.  

Other Info: In 1927 he, Sid Merrel, Bill Burton and Doc Thurman accused the colony directors, especially George T. Pickett of mismanagement, specifically that affairs of the colony had been grossly and intentionally mismanaged and conduct of the management so flagrantly opposed to good morals that a receiver assigned by the District Court was necessary to handle affairs.

They created a petition (eventually signed by 42 persons) that alleged that management had: 1. Used misleading propaganda which caused hundreds of people to invest their money in the colony, only to be disillusioned and have to leave with nothing to show for their investment. 2. Reduced the colony to a peon camp - these "peons" being poorly fed, clothed and housed. 3. Advocated "free-love", including promiscuous relations of the sexes and other practices contrary to good morals. 4. Expressed contempt for courts and authorities by taking it upon themselves to punish two boys for stealing from the colony store. 5. Prostituted colony schools by employing nondescript persons as teachers, while issuing fraudulent reports and drawing hundreds of dollars from the Parish School funds in the names of certified teachers and by exploiting child labor. The case was taken all the way to the Supreme Court but eventually was annulled and the plaintiff's demands rejected. Read the entire story here.  

Post-Colony History: In 1930 the family, including their daughter Dora with her husband and their two children, were living in Rapides Parish, LA.

In 1940 he and Leah were still living in Rapides Parish, next door to their daughter, Dora, and her family.  

Death: He died in 1940 and was buried in Rapides Parish, Louisiana.  

Sources: Photo Archives; US Census: 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, 1940; "Llano Colonist": March 18, 1922, March 25, 1922, April 8, 1922, April 15, 1922, February 25, 1928, May 13, 1933 (Story of Llano), May 20, 1933 (Story of Llano); "Monroe News-Star": January 29, 1927; Louisiana Statewide Death Index;  


Board of Directors, 1925.
Board of Directors, 1925. (L to R) Septer Baldwin, Sid Merrel, Ole Synoground, Carl Gleeser, Louise Gaddis, George Pickett, Bill Burton, Peter Kemp, Dan Cryer.

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