Museum the New Llano Colony

Ernest G. Webb

Birth: He was born in 1873 at California.  

Family Information: He and his wife, Henrietta, had three sons -- Delbert, Marvin and Halmar, though neither Henrietta nor any of the sons lived in the colony.

His son, Del E. Webb, would become a major real estate developer and found a new type of retirement city -- Sun City. He often associated with men like Howard Hughes, Bugsy Siegel, Bing Crosby and more. By 1945 Del was also a co-owner of the New York Yankees.  

Description: "He was an orator of facile tongue with a fund of juicy anecdote. He was entertaining and inspiring."

Pre-Colony History: In 1920 he was living in California with his wife and sons and working as a farmer on a fruit farm.

In 1930 he was living in California with his wife and middle son while he was working as a male nurse in an institution. In August 1930 he was a new subscriber to the "Llano Colonist" and in November of that year he wrote a letter (from California) which was published in that paper stating that things were "so dull there financially that the only thing they can think of is Llano."

In February 1931 he was president of the Pacific Cooperative League which had recently begun publishing the "Oakland World", a defunct newspaper at that time resurrected and marked "New Series No. 1." Marvin Sanford was the editor.

Soon after his arrival at the colony in August 1931 he contributed one dollar to a fund to screen the back porch of the hotel.

Home in Colony:  

Job in Colony:

In September 1931 one hundred fifty sacks of beans and peas were picked in the forenoon by a volunteer crew of men, women and children. The crowd gathered a little after 7 am and was divided into different crews to look after different fields; by 11:30 the job was done. Volunteers included: Killian, Butts, Lloyd, Baldwin, Waters, Doc Williams, Quentin, Fred Busick, Roscoe Busick, Byron Busick, Vivian Busick, Graves, Webb, John Allred, Melvina Hullinger, Fred Levan, Goeke, Eldred, Tom Farrell, Claud Allred, Earl Swenson, Mackie, Frank Collins, George Collins, Boydelatour, Cleve Campbell, Mr. Caves, Clarence Long, Harry Rennick, Dee Kurtz, Pittman, Edminster, Walter Fread, Clarence Fread, Mrs. Herron, Woodruff, J.W. Gilbert, H.M. Wood, Winegar, Bert Moore, Lindwall, Ole Synoground, Rohr, Carnahan, Hoens, Mrs. Wooley, John Neill, Robert Roe, Warren Roe, Nesnow, Bartrum and B. Stevens.

Along with Dr. J.P. Kimmel, he oversaw the building of the colony "sunbath" or solarium which was simply a roofless platform four feet or so above the ground, 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 worked with Dr. Kimmel to expand the colony health facilities and often wrote a "letter to the editor" which would be published in the "Llano Colonist" and tell about the work they were doing there. He later wrote a column for the "Colonist" titled "Health Department."

In October 1931 one of those "letters to the editor" stated that the hospital had been put into good working order and, when possible, all persons requiring medical care should report to the hospital for that care. This would relieve the nurses of some of the extra time they spent every day traveling to individual homes. Others asked that any colonist who would not be reporting to work should let their foreman and the health department know prior to starting the daily work; and that colonist's first consideration should be cleanliness and sanitation in the colony.

Also in October 1931 he and Carl Bradshaw finished digging a septic tank pit at the hospital which George Hullinger, Wesley Wright, Chas. Baughman, Fred Busick and Elliott Self would build up as soon as they finished with the septic tank at the hotel. In December the roof to the septic tank was almost dry and would soon be put in place.

In January 1932 Doc Williams visited the health home (Webb corrected him; said it's a hospital) where he discovered a real typewriter table made by Frank Gion who had been sick, but at that time was brought to a state of "150 percent" by Webb.

Other Info: In 1931, he wrote to the Department of Agriculture, at Comrade Slaughter's request, to ask how to get the bitter taste out of their colony-grown tobacco, but the answer was not practical for the colony -- the suggestion was to keep the tobacco for two to three years before smoking.

In September 1931 he ran ads for "The Herald," a Pacific Coast newspaper in the "Llano Colonist."

In October 1931 he attended a birthday party for George Pickett at the Roof Garden.

At one psychological meeting in November 1931 he read a letter from his wife, still living in California, revealing some of the drawbacks and shortcomings of the Pacific Co-operative League. The next week he read a letter from Secretary Bryson of the Pacific Coast Co-operative League which provided an insight as to what was being done in California.

A huge box arrived in Lake Charles (via the Panama Canal) from Mrs. E.G. Webb containing shoes, clothing, hospital things, music, and other usable articles. Also in the box were samples of some fruits that would be sent later.

In December 1931 Mrs. Webb engineered a generous shipment of good winter clothing which would be altered as needed by Jolly Rosenberg, the colony tailor. She and Comrade Bryson (of the Pacific Co-operative League) arranged fruit deliveries from San Francisco which, with the consent of the Gulf Steamship Company, was forwarded free. In his "Health Department" column Webb stated, "Such prunes as these will need no sugar in cooking and only washing and soaking in fresh water overnight to make them the most palatable of fruit."

In February 1932 Sheridan Webster wrote a letter to E.G. Webb which was published in the "Colonist" supporting Webb's articles against the colony and suggesting that Webb might soon find himself "gagged" by the colony. He thought that if Llano would do three things it could become the open gateway for the exodus of the human race into freedom -- 1) allow freedom of speech; 2) publish complete financial records; 3) quit selling the products of co-operative labor into the capitalist market. The colony responded - they already had freedom of speech; they didn't feel they should expose their financial records to the public, which included many enemies; and 3) until they could manufacture clothes, all the necessary machinery and tools, and many other necessities of life, they could not withdraw completely from outside markets.

In March 1932 Webb was unanimously elected president of the Llano Welfare League. Other officers elected were: Vice-president Meyer Tuber; secretary Daisy Brown; Assistant Secretary Walter Frahm; The meeting was attended by more than 100 persons and included members of the colony's Board of Directors as well as GM Pickett. Webb said "Llano Colony is a democratic group and the Welfare League is designed to be an avenue of expression for all who wish to support the management in its desire to promote the progress and happiness of its people and interest or lack of interest in the work of the League will therefore be the measure of one's concern for the welfare of the community. Meyer Tuber also declared his devotion to the purposes of the League and to the colony.

At the next psychological meeting manager Pickett  disclaimed emphatically the idea that the Welfare League was a "brush gang". On the contrary he said, he personally welcomed the organization and wished it all success in carrying out its objectives.

After the first meeting, however, the Welfare League seems to have become a group of adverse critics, their weekly meetings becoming programs of complaint. Also, Webb contributed a series of articles to a newspaper published outside in which he made aspersions and unfair insinuations regarding the conduct of colony affairs.

One morning he was handed a note asking him to appear at the office and report to the Board of Directors. Instead, he packed his suitcase and moved into the colony home of Meyer Tuber, who claimed both Webb and Walter Groth were his invited guests and could not legally be evicted. From this colony home they worked with other disgruntled former colonists and conducted a campaign of vilification and defamation, mainly directed at George T. Pickett.

In July 1932 colonists signed a protest against Webb and Walter Groth remaining in the colony "to save them." Shortly afterward, the 11th District Court of Mansfield ruled that even though Tuber had spent his own money on his home, it remained the property of the colony, therefore the men were trespassing on colony property and ordered to depart immediately and never return.

The court also noted a paragraph in the contract Webb had signed when he joined the colony that read, "I am joining the colony because I believe in its high ideals and should I fail to live up to them, become dissatisfied and desire to leave, be dismissed or sever my connection in any way with the colony, I will go in peace and commit no act that will cause discord or disharmony within the group."

Post-Colony History: In 1940 he was again living in California with his wife and middle son and unemployed.  

Death: He died in 1954 and was buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Park at Glendale, California.  

Sources: US Census: 1920, 1930, 1940; "Llano Colonist": August 9, 1930, November 22, 1930, February 14, 1931, August 22, 1931, August 29, 1931, September 5, 1931, September 19, 1931, September 26, 1931, October 3, 1931, October 10, 1931, October 17, 1931, October 24, 1931, October 31, 1931, November 7, 1931, November 14, 1931, November 21, 1931, November 28, 1931, December 5, 1931, December 12, 1931, January 23, 1931, February 13, 1932, March 12, 1932, March 19, 1932, April 9, 1932, April 16, 1932, May 7, 1932, May 14, 1932, May 28, 1932, July 2, 1932, August 6, 1932, August 27, 1932, October 1, 1932, November 19, 1932, December 10, 1932, December 24, 1932, December 31, 1932, July 8, 1933, June 22, 1935, August 31, 1935; ;  


"At the Psycho Meeting." -- Clipping from the "Llano Colonist" dated April 7, 1934.

Clipping from the "Llano Colonist" dated August 27, 1932.

Clipping from the "Llano Colonist" dated July 1, 1933.

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