Museum the New Llano Colony

Dr. John P. Kimmel

Birth: Born in 1868 in Pennsylvania, of German ancestry although his ancestors had been residents of this country for several generations. He was very proud of them and delighted in sharing stories about them with his friends.  

Family Information:  

Description: An osteopathic physician, Dr. Kimmel saw himself as a radical. Physically handicapped himself (creeping paralysis), he was quite successful in treating his patients in the colony as well as the neighboring communities.  

Pre-Colony History: In 1880, at the age of twelve, he was listed as a boarder with the J.P. Berry family in Pennsylvania where he worked as a barber. As a young man he had been the medical attendant and athletic director at the University of Indiana.

He came to the colony from Nebraska, where he'd built up a good practice. Licensed as a doctor in Louisiana, he'd long felt that the system of living on the outside was wrong. After reading about the colony in 1914 he began making his plans and finally in 1923 he packed most of his belongings into a car and came to join the colony.  

Home in Colony: In 1930 he was listed as a boarder with the Erwin Valleau family.  

Job in Colony: During his entire stay in the colony he worked as an osteopathic doctor. As doctor and health advisor, Dr. Kimmel looked after any sick or injured colonists. Treating, on an average, twenty patients per day, he still found time to do book-binding for the library.

In 1928 it was reported that he was binding some books for the Parish Assessor. The colony did a lot of work of that kind, having the only bindery in this section of the colony. He also wrote articles for the colony newspapers that were focused on healthy practices and made a variety of medicinal tonics, salves and candies which he advertised for sale in the Llano Colonist.

In September 1928 he was on the college faculty along with: Lowell H. Coate - Superintendent and instructor in Sociology, Economics and Public Education; E.C. Bennett - English and History; Benjamin Roe - Scientific Agriculture; Guy F. Rogers - Mathematics; Eugene Hough - Psychology; F. Hamel - Spanish, German and Latin; Mary Erma Wilson - Voice and Piano; R.B. Snyder - Director of Orchestra, Wind and Stringed Instruments, Chorus and Ensemble; Geo. T. Pickett - Industrial Science; Daisy Daugherty - Domestic Science; Edna Mae Coffin - Manual Art, Sculpture and Architectural Drawing; Austin McLane - Journalism; Nell Rogers - Botany; Hope Shoemaker - Shorthand, Typewriting and Book-keeping; Mr. Daugherty - Intermediate Grades; Mrs. A.E. Bennet - Primary Grades; Esther Allen - Health and Hygiene; Mary H. Atworth - Librarian and Instructor in the Art of Expression; Anna Tabb - School Nurse, Dr. J.P. Kimmel - College Physician; Alice Pickett - Girls Counselor; Theodore Atworth - Oil and Watercolor Art; Alma Wilson Bell - Dramatic Art.

In June 1931 he was doing effective work with Comrades Kretzchmar and Bickle at the health home. In July Mr. Bickle went back to work, though he remained under the watchful eye of Dr. Kimmel.

The possessor of two degrees -- M.D. and D.O., Dr. Kimmel often did health related lectures -- in 1935 he did one at Rest Haven of the Christian Commonwealth Community run by Dr. Irwin near the Llano Colony which included a medical clinic and lecture.  

Other Info: Along with colonist E.G. Webb, he oversaw the building of the colony "sunbath" or solarium which was simply a roofless platform with canvas walls stretched around it on the outside. Exposing patients to the violet rays of "Old Sol" was considered a useful treatment for many ills.

He encouraged a vegetarian, un-cooked diet and lymphatic pumping, which he felt to be a cure for many ills, since the lymph nodes are collection sites for poisons in the body. To do this, the patient would lie flat on their face with pillows below their hips and take deep breaths, then exhale through puckered lips.

After the May Day Revolution of 1935, Dr. Kimmel signed a statement supporting John Szpila's letter, which had been published in the September 21, 1935 issue of the "Llano Colonist" and spelled out the reason's the overthrow of former General Manager, George T. Pickett, had been necessary.

He suffered third degree burns in January 1936 when his stove tipped over, spilling the contents of a pot over his arm, leg and foot. All healed quickly except two -- the very deep one on the heel and one on the upper leg were very troublesome.  

Post-Colony History:  

Death: He died February 25, 1936 (age 68) while living in the colony and the funeral was held the next day in the hotel dining room. Carl Henry Gleeser spoke for a few moments about Dr. Kimmel as he knew him, then Dr. Irwin of Christian Commonwealth gave a talk in which he pointed out how Dr. Kimmel had gone on working despite his handicap.

After his death it was reported that in addition to having suffered from creeping paralysis, Dr. Kimmel had been bedfast due to his recent burns.  

Sources: "Llano Colonist": February 4, 1928, September 15, 1928, May 3, 1930, June 27, 1931, July 18, 1931, February 6, 1932, February 27, 1932, April  16, 1932, June 18, 1932, April 14, 1934, February 2, 1935, October 12, 1935, January 11, 1936, February 29, 1936, March 7, 1936; US Census: 1880, 1930; Louisiana Statewide Death Index 1819-1964  

New Llano Colony stock certificate purchased by Dr. Kimmel and signed by George T. Pickett.

Clipping from the "Llano Colonist" dated September 19, 1931.

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