Museum the New Llano Colony

Sidney Merrel

Birth: He was born on Christmas day in 1881 at Kansas.  

Family Information: Married to Sally Merrel.

Father of Lee "Brooks", Monroe, Lorene, Lucille, Ernestine and Maxine Merrel.

Description: In 1942 he was 5'5" tall and weighed 148 pounds with gray eyes and hair and a ruddy complexion. He had a cataract on his left eye.  

Pre-Colony History: In 1920 he was living in Arkansas with his wife and children and working as a farmer. He came to the colony at some point that year, because in December his wife and children came from Harrison, Arkansas to join him.  

Home in Colony:  

Job in Colony: In 1925 he was on the colony Board of Directors. 

Other Info: In 1927 he, Sid Merrel, Dan Cryer and Doc Thurman accused the colony directors, especially George T. Pickett of mismanagement, specifically that affairs of the colony had been grossly and intentionally mismanaged and conduct of the management so flagrantly opposed to good morals that a receiver assigned by the District Court was necessary to handle affairs.

They created a petition (eventually signed by 42 persons) that alleged that management had: 1. Used misleading propaganda which caused hundreds of people to invest their money in the colony, only to be disillusioned and have to leave with nothing to show for their investment. 2. Reduced the colony to a peon camp - these "peons" being poorly fed, clothed and housed. 3. Advocated "free-love", including promiscuous relations of the sexes and other practices contrary to good morals. 4. Expressed contempt for courts and authorities by taking it upon themselves to punish two boys for stealing from the colony store. 5. Prostituted colony schools by employing nondescript persons as teachers, while issuing fraudulent reports and drawing hundreds of dollars from the Parish School funds in the names of certified teachers and by exploiting child labor. The case was taken all the way to the Supreme Court but eventually was annulled and the plaintiff's demands rejected. Read the entire story here.

Post-Colony History: In 1940 he was living in Rapides Parish, Louisiana with his wife and children and employed as an operator on a farm.

In 1942 he was self-employed as a farmer and living at Tioga, Louisiana.  

Death: He died in 1971 at Alexandria, Louisiana and was buried there.  

Sources: US Census: 1920, 1940; Photo Archives; "Vernon Parish Democrat": December 23, 1920, April 28, 1921; "Llano Colonist": February 25, 1928, May 13, 1933 (Story of Llano), May 20, 1933 (Story of Llano); "Monroe News-Star": January 29, 1927; US Draft Registration: WWII;  


Clipping from the "Vernon Parish Democrat", April 28, 1921.

Board of Directors, 1925 - Septer Baldwin, Sid Merrel, Ole Synoground, Carl Gleeser, Louise Gaddis, George Pickett, Bill Burton, Peter Kemp, Dan Cryer.

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