Museum the New Llano Colony

William "Billy" De Boer

Birth: Born around 1877 in Holland. He immigrated to the US in 1903 and had been naturalized by 1930.  

Family Information:  


Pre-Colony History: An all around man -- he had graduated from a European university, had been an organist in a great cathedral, a veteran of the Boer war and a government instructor in South Africa.

He joined the colony while it was located in California and made the trip to Louisiana in one of the autos that left the old colony on November 15, 1917 and arrived in early December at Stables (later to become Newllano), Louisiana.

His companions for the trip were Jess Morris, Fred Allen and Abe Ginsberg.  

Home in Colony: In 1930 he was listed as a boarder with the Rezin E. Waters family. 

Job in Colony: In California, he worked on the hog farm which had 600 hogs. In Louisiana, he cared for the work stock at the mule and horse barn as well as the hogs; maintained the gates and fences and looked after more than twenty acres of gardens.

He was always willing and always doing things in the interest of the colony -- he had fields of egg plant and sorghum, as well as his tobacco. He and Comrade Slaughter built the tobacco barn.

In May 1930 Maxine Palmer helped the Mesdames Oberleitner, Hewett, Kimball, Hardy, and Lacefield; the Misses Lois Thompson, Bonnie Mason, Florence Case and Rhea Mae Baldwin; and the Messrs. Petersen, Wichman and DeBoer serve dinner under the direction of Mrs. Walter Fread.

Other Info: Was one of the members of the colony when George Pickett first named General Manager. He left the colony for several months to work in the oil fields, but returned in November 1919.

He often participated in colony theater productions -- in November 1927 he played the piano for a vocal duet by Mrs. Anna Besse and Mrs. Louise Gaddis.

In May 1928 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.

In February 1929 the colony orchestra consisted of Violins: Guy Rogers, William Bingham, Albert Wichmann, Warren Fread, Joseph Silberman, Rhea Baldwin; Flute: Clyde Mickey; Clarinets: Frank Rahn, William DeBoer, William Newman; Saxophones: Raymond DeFausell, Florence Roe, Arthur Goble; Trumpets: Louis Reodemeister, Benjamin Roe; Horn: Benjamin Couchman; Trombone: George Pickett; Tuba: Fred Hamel; Pianist: Mary Erma Wilson.

Bill was one of the first to begin planting tobacco in the colony; in 1930 he had some growing in one of the colony hotbeds. In 1931 it was decided that if the tobacco users must have tobacco, then it must be produced within the colony -- but when it came to how it should be cured and prepared, DeBoer and Bickle were for using one method, Slaughter was for another. Both were successful -- DeBoer produced smoking tobacco and Slaughter specialized in chewing tobacco. Gus Kretzschmar had the cigar end of the enterprise.

The group were providing "honest-to-goodness" tobacco for the colonists, which seemed to prove the wide-spread rumors that the tobacco trust had been using largely alfalfa and various chemicals to infect their commodity. Colony tobacco was much stronger -- users were warned to take it in mild doses at first, otherwise it had a tendency to make your head go "round and round."

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 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.  

Post-Colony History:  


Sources: "Western Comrade": December 1917-January 1918; "Vernon Parish Democrat": November 22, 1919; "Llano Colonist": October 29, 1927, November 5, 1927, November 12, 1927, May 19, 1928, February 16, 1929, April 26, 1930, May 3, 1930, May 17, 1930, July 4, 1931, July 25, 1931, August 15, 1931, September 26, 1931, November 7, 1931, July 16, 1932, December 10, 1932, January 21, 1933 (Early Days in California), April 11, 1933 (Reprinted from the Colonist May 17, 1924); US Census: 1930  


Tobacco farmer at the New Llano Colony -- possibly DeBoer, Slaughter, or Gus Kretzschmar.

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