Museum the New Llano Colony

Richard "Sylvester" Watson

Birth: He was born in 1918 in Burr Ferry, Louisiana.  

Family Information: Son of Richard Watson and Leo (Watson) Page.

Step-son of Chester Page.

Brother of Arlene Watson.  

Description: In 1936 he was described as "grown to man-size and a handsome, well set up young fellow."  

Pre-Colony History: In 1920 he was living with his parents in Sabine County, Texas. In 1930 he was living with his mother and sister in Vernon Parish, Louisiana.  

Home in Colony:  

Job in Colony: In November 1933 he was among a group of boys including Ray Campbell, Carl Mahler, Ray Long, Gene Hewitt, Bill Busick and Robert Peecher who were stacking the veneer sheets as they were shaved off the log.

In December of that year he was riding the oil well truck atop a load of derrick material along with other Sunday volunteers including Alonzo Woolley, Frank Bowling, Ralph Page, Charles Bates, Claude Long and Raymond Campbell.

In June 1934 he was helping dry dishes after dinner and supper at the Kid Kolony dining room -- he wrote in the Jr. Colonist section of the "Llano Colonist" that he hated the job because it meant he didn't get back to the colony until almost dark. He said, "I'd rather go fishing than wash dishes." That same month he assisted May Gossett with drying the supper and dinner dishes at the hotel dining room, along with Kenneth Dean and Loleta Murray.

That same month he volunteered for extra evening work at the crate factory in order to fill an urgent order. Other volunteers included: Director Carl, Industrial Foreman Chet Page, editor and teacher Emery, Willie Brown, Mr. Jernberg and his son Elmer, Arlene and Mrs. Watson.

In August 1936 he was assigned to take over the ice truck route, but the following day was pulled from that job to go to the Rice Ranch and help Bill Brough handle slabs. "It's hard work," he said, ""but not so hard as running the ice route." That year he also often helped out at the bakery -- especially on Saturdays when the heaviest baking was done.

In 1937 he was back on the ice truck helping Lionel Crossland until school started.  

Other Info: In March 1934 Mrs. Watson, Sylvester, Arlene and Hulda Mahler took a trip to Evans, Louisiana to visit relatives of Mrs. Watson. While there they went to a singing, a box supper and a pie supper and Arlene visited the school that she'd once attended, but Hulda couldn't go because she had a sore foot making her unable to wear her shoes and she didn't want to go barefoot.

He often took part in the productions at the theater. Member of the junior band organized in 1934; members included Joe (Lentz), Billy (possibly Busick or Ketchen), Byron (Busick), Ernest (could be Ogden or Joynes), Jimmy (Dix), Bill Quinton, Howard (Stansbury), Clarence (Fread), Jack (Lewis or Barnette), Sylvester and Lenin Tabb.

In April 1934 -- the scene at the hotel dining room included Chet Page changing the numbers on the line-up board; Motherly Mrs. Wright wiping the trays, handing one out to each in the dinner line; colonists filling food tins for those at home. The girls and boys behind the counter; Mrs. Watson and Sylvester forking out spuds, boiled or baked; those nice kids filling glasses of water and shuffling stacks of cornbread. Mrs. Matz grinning over her 20-gallon pot of fine Hungarian soup; Mary Fay keeping her braids out of the gravy as she twirled in the serving line; and Lafe Murray, assistant chef, snipping off scraps of meat and getting the tip nipped off his finger for punishment.

In June 1934 he missed his and Arlene's birthday party because his uncle came and took him for a week's visit at Evans, LA. He later reported, "I went to visit my aunt down on the Sabine river. I went fishing with my little cousin and went frog gigging with Carnie Jeane."

In July 1934 Lloyd Potter took ten boys including Sylvester, Byron Busick, Billy Busick, Phillip Lentz, Joe Lentz, Jimmy Dix, Quentin Quipp, Kenneth Dean, Eugene Hewitt and Clarence Fread on a camping trip to Hadden's Ferry on the Sabine River. They swam for a while; borrowed the ferryman's rowboat and plowed up the river; ate fried potatoes and eggs, bread and jelly, and a fine icing cake. Come evening they set out trout lines and picked moss from the trees to make a bed. They played through the night, getting very little, if any, sleep.

In October 1934, during an athletic demonstration at the theater, he chinned himself fourteen times and was much admired.

In April 1937 he and Kenneth Dean went fishing one evening after they'd finished their school work. Kenneth reported a catch of thirteen fish and Sylvester 10.  

Post-Colony History: In 1940 he was living with his mother, step-father and sister in the unincorporated New Llano, Louisiana (site of the old colony) and working as a truck driver at a CCC camp.  

Death: He died in 1989 and was buried in Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana.  

Sources: US Census: 1920, 1930, 1940; "Llano Colonist": November 25, 1933, December 23, 1933, March 3, 1934, April 14, 1934, April 28, 1934, June 30, 1934, July 7, 1934, October 20, 1934, September 22, 1934, November 2, 1935, March 14, 1936, September 19, 1936, April 24, 1937, September 18, 1937;  


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