Museum the New Llano Colony

Howard "Claude" Lewis

Birth: He was born on Christmas Day in 1872 at Utah.  

Family Information: He had married Ella (Walker) Lewis in 1901 at Salt Lake City, Utah.

Father of Mildred, Jasmine, Marjory, Belden and Afton Lewis.

Brother of Miss Lou Lewis.  

Description: On his draft registration card dated September 12, 1918 he was described as being of medium height and slender build with brown eyes and dark brown hair. At that time he was listed as a teacher for a B.A. college.

Prior to his arrival in the colony he had been a teacher and principal for many years, as well as a school superintendent, and had extremely liberal and progressive views concerning the education of children.  

Pre-Colony History: He'd acquired his early education in Utah, completing high school, attending the Utah Agricultural College and the University of Utah. He'd also done one year of graduate work at the Johns Hopkins University Medical school and later, two years graduate work in psychology at the University of Utah.

In 1910 he was living in Maryland with his wife and children, along with his mother, Eppie and sister Elizabeth "Lou". At the time he was working as a chemist in a laboratory.

In 1920 the couple were living in Utah with their children and he worked as Superintendent of Iron County schools.

He and his son arrived in the colony around July 1932. For the 4 years prior to his arrival he'd been representing a publishing house which had put out a new reference work for school children, which he and Professor E.E. Jones had co-authored, known as "The Universal Reference Guide," which was a child's encyclopedia to be used in connection with school work.  

Home in Colony: After the arrival of his wife and daughters, the family moved into the house previuosly occupied by George Pickett. The old place was vacant for only about an hour before the Lewis' were seen carrying in their household goods. 

Job in Colony: He was Superintendent of the colony schools and was very enthusiastic concerning the educational possibilities at Llano -- he believed there was a great possibility for building up a really progressive type of experimental school at the site.

In 1934 Mrs. Glavincheff served as president of the Parent-Teachers Association. Other officers included: Nick Lentz, vice-president and Professor Brown, secretary. On the program committee were Superintendent Lewis, Mrs. Lentz and Mrs. Potter.

In 1935 Anna Loutrel submitted her resignation as a member of the colony Board of Directors. Pete Kemp nominated Professor Lewis to replace her and he was unanimously elected.

Also in 1935 he was an essential assistant to his wife in the Kid Kolony kitchen -- caring for Sally and Pearl, the two cows who supplied the milk for the babies and workers' meals.

Other Info: In 1932 he signed a protest against colonists E.G. Webb and Walter Groth remaining in the colony "to save them".

Also in 1932 he played the clarinet in the orchestra under the leadership of George Pickett.

In December 1932 he was "seen happy as a lark, as he whistle[d] at his work," when additional members of his family arrived in the colony -- his wife, two lovely daughters -- Marjory and Jasmine -- and his sister in a Studebaker sedan driven by Gordon Pickett. The car had been donated to the colony by George Bancroft of Portland, Oregon and young Gordon was sent to pick up the car and on the return trip to collect the Lewis family from Salt Lake City.

For Christmas 1932 he and Lloyd Potter cut a big long-leaf pine from the new athletic field, just to get the beautifully symmetrical top for a Christmas tree.

In March 1933 both he and his sister gave readings at the Sunday forum. In April 1933 Jack Lewis, a relative of the Lewis family, arrived for a visit and it was hoped he might be able to help solve some "water problems" at the Kid Kolony. That month he also helped Sidney Archer shingle the chicken houses at Chicken Unit No. 2, which were badly in need of repair.

In August 1933 he was invited to the 35th wedding anniversary celebration of Dr. Robert K. and Cecil Williams.

In March 1934 Mr. Lewis, Dr. Cecil and Mrs. Fay took the first graders including: Joan Wooley, Opal Ogden, Violet Quipp, Blair Pickett, Roy Peecher, Martha Mahler and Martha Lentz to Leesville to give a demonstration of their singing to an audience that included around twenty-five Leesville teachers plus Superintendent Honeycotte.

Each child stood and introduced themselves as they did each morning, with name, address and rule. For example: My name is ...; I live in Newllano (Noo-yah-no); Vernon Parish, Louisiana, on Highway 171; My rule is the Golden Rule: "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you." Mrs. Harlow-Fay then demonstrated her method of teaching with the children.

In April 1934 he, Mrs. Cora Potter and Myrtle Bradshaw performed a skit titled "Suppressed Desires", a by-play on fanatical devotion to Psychoanalysis.

In May 1934 he, his wife (just returned from her vacation) and daughter, Afton, attended a party at the home of Frank Brough where Afton gave a Spanish dance which helped very much in the entertainment.

In January 1935 Jack Lewis (a visiting relative who came to the colony every few months and often assisted colonists with mechanical work) was demonstrating his own invention -- a motor driven device for sharpening lawn mowers, from the smallest to the largest -- at Prof. Lewis' manual training shop in the colony. He carried it in his truck and had built up quite a lucrative business all over the country.

Also in early 1935 Professor Lewis was making furniture -- he'd made some little chairs and charming new beds for the kindergarten and was finishing a breakfast set for an outside customer which would be used to barter for a used car, certain parts of which were needed to repair the Kid Kolony car which Comrade Kemp had given them.

In 1935, after the "May Day Revolution" ousting George Pickett and causing the election of a new Board of Directors, many of the colonists wanted to stick with Pickett. They fought the action in the streets of New Llano and in the Vernon Parish courts. On July 22, 1935 a group of Pickett supporters held their own meeting and elected a board which included George T. Pickett as President and General Manager, Arthur Hoffman, Claude Lewis, Oscar Needham, Sidney Young, Sidney Archer and John Szpila.

Post-Colony History: In 1940 he and Ella were living in Texas where he was working as a proof reader in a printing shop.

His last known residence was in Provo, Utah.

Death: He died in 1967 and was buried in Cedar City, Utah.

Sources: Utah Select County Marriages; US Census: 1910, 1920, 1940; Draft Registration Card: WWI; "Llano Colonist": August 6, 1932, August 27, 1932, September 17, 1932, December 24, 1932, December 31, 1932, January 28, 1933, March 15, 1933, April 9, 1933, August 12, 1933, March 24, 1934, March 31, 1934, April 7, 1934, April 21, 1934, April 28, 1934, May 12, 1934, January 19, 1935, March 23, 1935, August 31, 1935, September 7, 1935; US SSDI;  


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