Museum the New Llano Colony

Edgar Oliver Joynes

Birth: He was born around 1885 in Birmingham, England.  

Family Information: He first married Sarah McKee in in 1909 at Pennsylvania and they had several children, but she and the children died in 1920.

He later married Sarah "Sadie" (Dell) Joynes.

Father of Ernest, Robert and Ashton "Paul" Joynes.  


Pre-Colony History: He came from Liverpool to the U.S. aboard the Lord Gough in 1888 (at the age of 2) with his mother, siblings and a 17 year-old laborer named Arthur Jones. He became a naturalized citizen on December 24, 1914.

In 1900 he was living with his parents and siblings in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; his father was a blacksmith, one brother a machinist, another an insurance agent, and his sister was a cutter (underwear) while he attended school.

In 1930 he was living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with his second wife and son and working as a bookkeeper for a Steel Works.  

Home in Colony: In 1935 he, his wife and sons were living inside the Newllano Colony.  

Job in Colony: He was a bookkeeper and sometimes wrote for the colony diary.

In February 1936 he, along with Eugene Carl and Harold Emery, took the civil service examination for postmaster at Leesville, LA. Later that year he was the acting postmaster for the colony.  

Other Info: 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 George 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, E.D. Carl, Lester Caves, Crockett Campbell, John Szpila, Harold Emery, Charles Lawrence, Chester Peecher, 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.

This new board tried to make improvements to colony life, but after the first year, finances were in such a state that the court appointed a receiver to help them straighten out their affairs. Two different receivers tried to calm the colonists and persuade them to work together, but this proved fruitless.

In May 1937, Ferguson -- the second receiver -- appointed two groups to work with him in an advisory capacity as he tried to get the colony's finances sorted out -- first a membership committee who would settle questions about returning members, which might or might not be allowed. This committee consisted of H.S. Stansbury, chairman; George Pickett, E.O. Joynes, R.K. Williams and Carl Gleeser. The second was expected to organize the industrial work so as to ensure that everyone had a job somewhere. That committee consisted of Dr. Williams, chairman; Chester Page, Chester Peecher, Charles Worden and Crockett Campbell.

In June, 1937, as disaster loomed, some control was returned to Pickett when he was asked to be, first the Farm Superintendent, then the Ice Plant Manager, and finally in control of all colony industries. Unfortunately, it was too late; within months the receiver petitioned the court for permission to sell the land and soon began to divide the property into smaller lots which were sold at auction for much less than their actual value.

In 1936, Doc Williams and Mr. Joynes traveled 15 miles below DeRidder, where they inspected the Hauser model farm and seed nursery and came back much enthused over lespedeza as a stock fodder suitable to this locality.

In 1937 he met with several interested colonists to discuss garden needs that were soon going to need to be met. Also in attendance were Otto Hoefel, Israel Ginsberg, Ted Landrum, Forrest Waters, Ed Mansfield, Boyd Bartlett, and Mr. Hayman of Leesville.  

Post-Colony History: According to his son, when the colony property was sold, he bought the building that housed the Post Office and other colony offices. The front continued to be the town's Post Office and the family lived in the manager's offices in the back.

Former receiver for the colony, Dwight Ferguson, purchased the commissary building next door (during the last years of the colony it housed the bakery, grist mill, peanut butter factory, cannery, candy factory, etc.) and lived there with his family.

In 1940 he and his wife, with their sons, were living in a home in the unincorporated New Llano, Louisiana (site of the old colony) while he continued to work as the post master of the Third Class U.S. Post Office there.

He'd been the postmaster at New Llano for 20 years when he retired in 1953. Following his retirement from that position, he worked as the town clerk for the village of New Llano for 12 years.

He was also an ordained minister in the First Christian Church and a member of the Leesville Masonic Lodge.

He was quoted in April 15, 1949 interview as saying, "It's God's blessing that it's gone," in reference to the colony.  

Death: He died in December 1970 and was buried at the New Llano Colony Cemetery. Funeral services were held at Hixson Bros. Funeral Home of Leesville with Chaplain K. Adcock officiating.  

Sources: Pennsylvania Passenger and Crew Lists; US Census: 1900, 1930, 1940; US Naturalization Record Indexes; Pennsylvania Marriages: 1852-1968; "Chicago Tribune": March 15, 1920; "Llano Colonist": April 14, 1934, October 12, 1935, February 29, 1936, February 13, 1937, May 1, 1937, August 21, 1937; "Town Talk" (Alexandria, Louisiana): December 22, 1970;; Martha Palmer Notes; Photo Archives  


Clipping from the "Llano Colonist" dated August 21, 1937.

Edgar O. Joynes tombstone at O'Banion Cemetery in New Llano, Louisiana.

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