Museum the New Llano Colony

Tom Cunningham


Description: Once described as a "distinguished ex-lion tamer."  Colonists were often awakened to the tune of Cunningham summoning the mules to breakfast -- "that voice that's like the voice of the ancient Thor, summoning the tribesmen to battle." He had been an animal trainer and widely travelled circus man prior to joining the colony. The boulevards of Paris and the thin streets of French provincial towns were as familiar to him as to any globe trotter.  

Pre-Colony History:  

Family Information:  

Job in Colony: In 1932 he was frequently helping to load and haul freshly cut trees to the sawmill; Also plowing the gardens and grading around the industrial buildings.

In 1933, "the old circus driver" was hauling timber from the forest and firewood where it was needed, helping with the plowing as needed, and more. In August it was reported that "none of the stuff would move if it were not for the old mule power, engineered by Tom Cunningham, circus and animal man."

In 1934 he was the "conductor and motorman of the colony roustabout wagon, delivering groceries, vegetables and miscellaneous supplies about the colony at the vertiginous speed of about two miles per hour." In that year he "acquired a new conveyance... It [was] a rubber-tired rushabout, pneumatic in front and solid rubber behind. And the box [was] painted in bright red." Both he and his nag were forgiven their hauteur on the occasion. He and his faithful blind horse delivered as high as 2800 pounds of ice to the colonists on a daily basis.

In addition to his roustabout delivery duties, Tom was an expert veterinarian. He took care of the horse and mule barn and looked after the livestock. "Then while he [was] resting, he [took] care of the hogs."

In February 1934 he was a member of the Sunday Volunteer Gang including: Bill Heath, Charles Brown, Rob Roe, Walter Gaulke, Dad Thomas, Ernest Prodon, Bert Busick, Roscoe Busick, Gossett, Jack Carnahan, Ed Hiatt John Calgarry, Tom Cunningham, Phillips, Real Baril, Nick Lentz, Ed Mansfield, Septer Baldwin, F.W. Fay and F.S. Hammond. They spent the day cutting some eight hundred feet of cypress lumber into two-inch planks, twenty inches wide and as clear as a hound's tooth to be used for shingles.  

Home in Colony:  

Other Info: When working in the barn, he wore a pair of shoes made by Comrade Clarke in the colony shoe shop. They had light, curved wooden soles and were perfect for wearing while he went about his duties in the barn.

For Christmas, 1932, Tom hauled in the big tree from the pasture beyond the goat ranch, which was placed in the roof garden and decorated by Homer Loutrel and Elliot Self, electricians, and Mrs. Killian. For Thanksgiving 1933, he and Frank Quipp butchered 7 small pigs for the holiday meal.

In 1934, he contributed to the fun at the theater by "butting in" (all pre-arranged) on a fifteen minute "magic show" by Ted Landrum.  

Post-Colony History:  


Sources: "Llano Colonist": April 16, 1932, May 7, 1932, June 18, 1932, June 25, 1932, July 30, 1932, August 6, 1932, August 13, 1932, October 2, 1932, November 12, 1932, January 7, 1933, January 14, 1933, March 18, 1933, August 12, 1933, August 26, 1933, September 16, 1933, October 14, 1933, December 2, 1933, December 9, 1933, January 27, 1934, February 3, 1934, February 24, 1934, April 14, 1934, June 9, 1934, June 30, 1934, July 28, 1934, August 18, 1934  




























× Babb, A.B. Babb, Bennett Babb, Lutie Babb, Marion

Baer, Comrade

Baldwin, Rhea Mae Baldwin, Runa Baldwin, Septer

Banks, Thomas

Banta, Bondell Banta, Earl L. Banta, Elizabeth Banta, R.W.

Barrett, Jack

Bartlett, Boyd Bartlett, Ida Ann (Morris)

Barton, Dave

Bates, Charles

Bays, J.T. Bays, Lenna Bays, Leola Bays, Lillian Bays, Norman

Beals, May

Beavers, Beulah (Gaddis) Beavers, Cora Beavers, John Henry Beavers, Mabel (Synoground) Beavers, Max Beavers, William

Bell, Alma (Wilson) Bell, Harry, Jr. Bell, Harry, Sr. Bell, Ida Bell, Louise (Belorahdsky)

Belorahdsky, A. Belorahdsky, Josephine Belorahdsky, Louise Belorahdsky, Mary Belorahdsky, Rose

Bennett, Edward C. Bennett, Mrs. E.C.

Benthal, Mrs. Benthal, Truman

Benton, W.C.

Bertino, Bert Bertino, Jimmy

Besse, Anna Besse, Carl

Bickle, Mr.

Bidick, Joe

Bingham, William

Black, Charles Black, Jennie

Blacksher, Joe

Blair, Rose B.

Blank, Edwin

Bohnstedt, Ed Bohnstedt, Ida

Borello, Frank

Borgeson, Oren Borgeson, Oscar

Bosch, Earl

Bosen, W.

Boulton, Alfred

Bowers, George B.

Bowling, Frank

Boyce, Vernon

Boydelatour, Charles

Bradshaw, Annette (Emry) Bradshaw, Carl Bradshaw, Carolyn Bradshaw, Madeline Bradshaw, Myrtle (Kemp) Bradshaw, Nellie (Kemp) Bradshaw, Paul Bradshaw, Ray Bradshaw, Verda Bradshaw, W.E.

Brannon, Anita Brannon, C.R. Brannon, Charles Brannon, Dick Brannon, Ross Brannon, Sarah

Brattland, Lois Brattland, Michael A. Brattland, Mabel

Bridger, Alice Bridger, Doug

Bridwell, Dario Bridwell, Dorothy Bridwell, Elizabeth Bridwell, Harlan Bridwell, Kathleen Bridwell, Louis H.

Briggs, Baby Boy Briggs, Henry Lyman Briggs, Mr. Briggs, Patty Briggs, Mrs. H.L.

Brostrom, John

Brough, Frank Brough, Margaret Brough, William

Brown, Bennie Brown, Callie Mae Brown, Charles Brown, Daisy Brown, E.G. Brown, Ed Brown, Elizabeth Brown, Harold Brown, Hattie Brown, Irene Brown, Lottie Brown, Millard Brown, Mrs. T.M. Brown, Prudence Stokes Brown, R.J. Brown, Ross Brown, Sarah Brown, T.M. Brown, Wesley Brown, Willie Brown, Woodrow

Bryers, C.

Buck, Howard Buck, Lillian Buck, Mrs. Warren Buck, Warren

Buhre, Philip

Burbank, Mrs.

Burdick, Mr.

Burns, Glen

Burton, W.H.

Busick, Bertram Busick, Bill Busick, Byron Busick, Fred Busick, Iris Busick, Mabel Busick, Roscoe Busick, Vivian

Butts, Charles N.

Buxton, Mildred

× Sanford, DeForest Sanford, Marvin Sanford, Muriel

Satnan, Al

Schaefer, John D.

Schindler, Pete

Schnitzer, Llano

Schow, Mr.

Schutz, Carl Schutz, Crystal Schutz, Jane

Seelye, Margaret Seelye, Mildred

Self, Elliott Self, Hortense Self, Mrs. Self, Wanda

Shelston, Frank R.

Shepard, Albert Shepard, Bessie

Sherman, Alford

Shipman, Bessie (Casey) Shipman, Will

Shoemaker, Anna (Shutt) Shoemaker, Hope Shoemaker, Isom Shoemaker, Maud Shoemaker, R.V. Shoemaker, Ruth Shoemaker, Ward

Shutt, Anna Shutt, Clarence Shutt, Emma Shutt, Leroy Shutt, Mrs. K.B. Shutt, Will A.

Silberman, Joe

Skinner, Jim

Slaughter, Joe

Smith, Fannie Smith, R.L.

Snell, A.F.

Snyder, Bob Snyder, George Snyder, Mary

Sontag, Alice

Sorrell, William

Stanley, Dennis F.

Stansbury, Howard

Stearns, G.W.A. Stearns, Mrs. G.W.A.

Steinmetz, Mr.

Stephens, Gertrude

Stevens, Bernie Stevens, Cora Stevens, George Stevens, H.J. Stevens, Leona (Hayes)

Stewart, A.A. Stewart, Larry

Still, Anna Still, Craig Still, Mentley Still, Tom Still, William

Storman, Alford

Stoveall, Edward H.

Straub, Helen

Strauss, Charles

Sullivan, J.R.

Svenson, Elma (Wooster) Svenson, Victor

Swanson, Mrs. Swanson, Otto

Sweiger, John

Swenson, Carl Swenson, Chas. Swenson, Chester Swenson, Clyde Swenson, Earl Swenson, Emily Swenson, Eugene Swenson, Florence "Evelyn" Swenson, Helen (Hayes) Swenson, Hope (Shoemaker) Swenson, James Swenson, Laura (Synoground) Swenson, Roy

Swilley, Sena (Goins Nash)

Synoground, Buddy Synoground, Clifford Synoground, Laura Synoground, Lillie Synoground, Mabel Synoground, Ole Synoground, Ruby

Szpila, John

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