Museum the New Llano Colony

Ludwig "Louis" Mahler

Birth: He was born in 1890 in Germany and was a naturalized US citizen in 1940.  

Family Information: Husband of Mrs. Hulda Mahler.

Father of Hulda, Wayne, Carl, Martha, Esther and Joe Ann Mahler.  

Description: In 1917 he was tall and slender with blue eyes and brown hair.  

Pre-Colony History: In 1917 he was employed as a butcher for the Echart Co.

In April 1932 he brought his family to the colony from Grand Rapids, Michigan where he had been working for scrip. His friend, Weatherwax arrived around the same time.  

Home in Colony: In May 1932 the family were living in a house recently vacated by the Kilroy family. Perhaps because he'd once been a sailor, Mr. Mahler did not like the huge Burr oak that was near the house, or for that matter, any oak. But he did like onions and had brought a multiplier onion with him from Michigan which he'd planted and within two weeks the stems were already 10" tall and expected to produce seed within two months of planting.

In March 1933 he departed for the new unit at Gila, New Mexico, along with RV Shoemaker and his wife, Ann; McCullough and his wife; Beanfellow, shoemaker; Dan Taran, blacksmith; Kenfield, Charley Desiderio, Frank Plaga, farmers; John Neill, poultryman; and Milton Maki, machinist; with Warren Mitchell and Lee Fread as chauffeurs. The chauffeurs would not stay, but return to the colony with the truck. That was two fiddles, a guitar and a flute lost from the orchestra...  

Job in Colony: In April 1932 the bricklayers under Wes Wright were erecting the boiler wall at the east side of the power plant. George Hullinger and Henry Witt were laying the brick and Albert Wick and Mahler were keeping them supplied with mortar and brick.

In October 1932 he was trying to work out ways to make tanning hides profitable. It cost $3 for enough chemicals to work over one bull skin at drug store prices, so he was looking for ways to cut those costs. He had made some goat-skin vests for his children that turned their friends green with envy.

In December 1932 he and Oliver Gaylord finally received some neat's foot oil and they proceeded with tanning "the outside lining of a cow" which they hoped would "do service as a weatherproofing for human feet."

In January 1933 he was in charge of the meat department, cold storage and smoker and was preparing bacon and sausage in his newly arranged smokehouse -- some for the outside trade and some for the colony. Just a few days prior, he had cut up more than a ton and a half of meat for neighbors which was stored in the cold storage department.

In March 1933 he'd killed a fat steer, eight pigs and a calf and was exhibiting the horns of the steer which must have been monumental, as the horns are almost equal in size to the elk antlers that were mounted in the colony library. He was in charge of all the meat curing in the colony, a trade which he'd learned in the "old country."

In June 1933 he was at the Gila unit where they planned to start a meat business, turning the cheaper cuts into cured meats and sausage and tanning the hides to make shoes, saddles, harness, chaps, etc. In 1934 he was tanning hides at Gila.

In June 1934 he was hoeing potatoes and irrigating crops with the assistance of his son, Carl. The next month the two were in the cabbages with a "Cali Dust Gun" gunning for green aphids.  

Other Info: He played the flute and other instruments in the colony orchestra.

In July 1932 he showed Esther Allen several mammoth watermelons stored in the cold storage unit -- some of them weighed more than 50 pounds.

He and Chester Swenson took one snuff can of Comrade Slaughter's tobacco seed and mixed it with 3/4 yard of Gila River sand and a few wheel-barrow loads of barnyard manure, to plant at Gila, New Mexico.

In June 1933 colonists at Gila had their own entertainment -- ladies were furnished with chairs from Chet's room and men sat on the floor. Harold and Clyde appeared with five or six inch brim new straw hats, Mr. Wooley in high heel boots, Chet Page in a hat -- well, no disrespect to Chet or the hat, but there was every reason to believe that it was not a new hat. The performers were Mr. Wooley with his violin, Mahler with a flute, two guitars and a violin, and Chet singing.

In January 1934 he and Mr. Wooley played violin duets for the unit's entertainment.

In December 1934 Hulda and Carl Mahler each gave a reading at the Christmas program. Mr. Mahler won the men's checker game; Violet Reynolds the lady's game; and Isom Shoemaker the dominoes.

In January 1935 his son, Wayne, and Isom Shoemaker each gave readings during the entertainment program at Gila. Also, he and Mr. Wooley played a violin duet, "La Paloma".

In March 1935 he and Frank Plaga sang in German with Mahler playing the guitar. Louis Roedemeister joined in before they'd finished.  

Post-Colony History: In March 1936 the Mahler family were the only colonists left at the one-time Gila unit, the people having scattered to the 4 winds as best they could. Mr. Mahler has so far succeeded in finding enough employment to keep them in the same location.

In 1935 and 1940 he and Hulda were living in New Mexico with their five youngest children while he worked as a butcher in a retail market.  

Death: He died in 1955 and was buried at Silver City, New Mexico.  

Sources: US Draft Registration: WWI; "Llano Colonist": April 9, 1932, April 16, 1932, April 23, 1932, May 7, 1932, July 16, 1932, October 22, 1932, December 3, 1932, January 14, 1933, March 18, 1933, March 25, 1933, May 20, 1933, June 10, 1933, June 17, 1933, January 20, 1934, March 31, 1934, June 2, 1934, June 16, 1934, July 14, 1934, December 1, 1934, January 5, 1935, January 12, 1935, March 2, 1935, March 7, 1936; US Census: 1940;  


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