Museum the New Llano Colony

Chauncey Du Proz


Family Information: Husband of Birdie Du Proz.  


Pre-Colony History: Came to the colony, from Florida, in December 1932 with his wife.  

Home in Colony:  

Job in Colony: Immediately after his arrival in December 1932 he was put to work in the main office where he was a fast-clip on the typewriter. In November 1933 he was still in the office and was very busy following the departure of Anita Brannon. It was reported that his "machine sings a merry song while he translates his shorthand dictations into typewritten sheets."

Also in 1933 he and Bill Shipman were regular workers at the transplanting garden.

Other Info: In February 1933 he, along with Ida Ann Bartlett conducted a program in celebration of Lincoln's birthday which consisted of readings, recitations, Victrola music and speech-making. Phonograph selections were mostly of the patriotic variety, "Barbara Fritchie," "The Battle Hymn of the Republic," "Marching through Georgia" and "Columbia."

In March 1933 he attended a good-bye party for the Sanford family, along with Mr. and Mrs. R.W. Banta, Mrs. June Black, Sybil Black, Cyrus Horney, Mr. and Mrs. Hess, Mr. and Mrs. Brannon, Mr. and Mrs. B. Stevens, Mr. and Mrs. Marve Sanford, Lou Colt, and the Messrs. Githens, D. Sanford, Beanfellow, and Starkweather.

In May 1933 she celebrated Marvin Sanford's birthday, along with DeForest and Smith Sanford, Anita Brannon, Florence Anderson, Mrs. Ivy Hoag, Birdie DuProz, Cy Horney and Bernie and Leona Stevens.

He sang in the choir at Gus Kretzschmar's funeral in December 1934.

On May Day, 1935, some dissatisfied colonists -- most of them younger members who had not yet earned their right to vote on colony decisions -- held a meeting while Pickett was out of town and elected a new Board of Directors that didn't include George Pickett. Doc Williams, an on-again / off-again colonist from the early years in California, was elected President; Eugene Carl, a new member who'd only been at the colony about three months -- he was still a probationer and consequently didn't even have voting rights in colony matters, was elected Executive Director; and Walter Robison, also a recent arrival, was elected Chairman of the Board of Directors.

Pickett and his supporters fought the action in the Vernon Parish courts, but even though the courts ruled the new board was not legal, they also refused to name Pickett's board as the legal directors, so the disagreements within the colony only continued to escalate.

Read the Court Judgment dated September 6, 1935.

In order to claim that an official board had been properly elected after the court judgment had been handed down, the new board and leaders held another election. They advertised for former colonists to send in their proxies and adopted a rule permitting all resident members who had been at the colony more than sixty days to vote in the election, provided too few proxies were received to hold a regular stock holders' meeting.

In October 1935 he was nominated to be on the self-proclaimed "legal" Board of Directors, along with (in order of nomination), Robert K. Williams, E.D. Carl, Lester Caves, Crockett Campbell, John Szpila, Harold Emery, Charles Lawrence, Chester Peecher, E.O. Joynes, Chester Page, Horace Cronk, George Hullinger, Walter Robison, Mrs. Olive Lentz, Mrs. Mabel Busick, Lionel Crossland, Charles Derleth, J.H. "Dad" Ribbing and Cy Horney.

As expected, less than one fourth the required stock was represented at the Stockholders' meeting, so the colonists proceeded with the election of a new board of directors as planned. Those selected were: Robert K. Williams, E.C. Carl, Lester Caves, Crockett Campbell, Harold Emery, Chester Peecher, E.O. Joynes, Charles Lawrence, and Chester Page. Runners up were Mrs. Mabel Busick, Horace Cronk and John Szpila.

This new board tried to make improvements to colony life, but after the first year, finances were in such a state that the court appointed a receiver to help them straighten out their affairs. Two different receivers tried to calm the colonists and persuade them to work together, but this proved fruitless.

In June, 1937, as disaster loomed, some control was returned to Pickett when he was asked to be, first the Farm Superintendent, then the Ice Plant Manager, and finally in control of all colony industries. Unfortunately, it was too late; within months the receiver petitioned the court for permission to sell the land and soon began to divide the property into smaller lots which were sold at auction for much less than their actual value.

Post-Colony History: In November, 1935, he announced his and Birdie's intentions to leave the colony for Long Beach, California.

Before leaving the colony in 1935, he and his wife donated a number of books to the library.

In 1937 he wrote a letter to colonists which was published in the "Llano Colonist" that says he and Birdie had been "busy as Capital B's since [they] opened their restaurant on September 7 of the previous year... in a little place of less than 1500 souls with six eating places in it." Yet in that short time they'd "climbed to... first place as an eating emporium." They were living in Hart, Michigan.


Sources: "Llano Colonist": January 7, 1933, February 18, 1933, March 4, 1933, April 29, 1933, May 6, 1933, November 18, 1933, December 22, 1934, October 12, 1935, November 2, 1935, November 9, 1935, March 20, 1937  


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