Museum the New Llano Colony

Dawson Abner Cryer 

Birth: Born in 1913 at Elmwood, Louisiana.  

Family Information: Son of Dan and Leah Cryer.

Brother of Docia, Denver, Dover and Dora Cryer

Description: Based on his WWII Draft Reg. Card dated November 20, 1940 he was 5'10" tall and weighed 190 pounds with gray eyes, brown hair and a ruddy complexion. At the time he was a member of Co. M of the Louisiana National Guiard and employed as a Construction QM at a Masonic Temple.  

Pre-Colony History: In 1920 he was living with his parents and siblings in Vernon Parish, Louisiana.

In March 1922, when Dan decided he couldn't "stand the competition any longer" he brought his family to live in the colony.  

Home in Colony:  

Job in Colony: In April of 1922 he was part of a group of students who worked in the garden along with Emma Kapotsy, Bennett Babb, Dover Cryer, Roscoe Busick, Fred Busick, Clifford Synoground, Harold Kemp, Charles Lee, Brooks Merrel and Max Beavers.  

Other Info: In 1922 he recited a part at one of the colony theater performances "like [a] little hero."

One of 42 colonists who signed a petition, dated January 10, 1928 and sent to the governor of Louisiana, which objected to the securing of a new charter being issued to the colony. Among other things, this petition claimed 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. It 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.  

Post-Colony History: In 1930 the family, including older sister Dora with her husband and their two children, were living in Rapides Parish, LA.

In 1940 he was living in Beauregard Parish, Louisiana with his wife, Melba, and working as a laborer in the construction industry.  

Death: He died in April 1984 and was buried in Pineville, Louisiana.  

Sources: US Census: 1920, 1930, 1940; "Llano Colonist": March 18, 1922, March 25, 1922, April 15, 1922, April 22, 1922, February 25, 1928, May 13, 1933 (Story of Llano), May 20, 1933 (Story of Llano); WWII Draft Registration Cards; US SSDI;

NOTE: The colony papers always referred to him as "Dawson", but the 1920 US Census listed him as "Abner".  


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