Museum the New Llano Colony

Grace (Barnhouse McLaren) Marians

Birth: She was born around 1870 in Iowa. On both the 1870 and 1880 Census she was listed as still living with her parents in Iowa where her father is listed as a stock buyer.

Family Information: Aunt of James and Grace Hunt.

Cousin of Fred Jensen.  


Pre-Colony History: In 1892 she married James M. McLaren in Trinidad, Colorado. In 1900 they still lived in Trinidad with his daughter, Jennie, and James worked as an engineer on a locomotive.

Between 1900 and 1910 she is listed in the Trinidad Colorado City Directory -- in 1904 with just her name; in 1905 she's listed as an artist and also on a page which listed artists; in 1907 she is listed as offering furnished rooms on Commercial St.; in 1909 as being the proprietor of McLaren Flats and with additional properties on Pine St.; and finally in 1910 as being the proprietor of McLaren Flats and The Gilmore on Commercial St.

The 1910 Census lists her as being divorced and the head of her household, along with a 7-year old daughter, Mgt. (perhaps Margaret?), and still being the household manager of a rooming house.

In 1913 she married Abraham Marians in Trinidad, Colorado and in 1915 they were the proprietors of Hotel Stratford on Pine St. in Trinidad, Colorado. Soon after their marriage they both became involved with Socialist politics -- in 1916 he ran for President Elector while she ran for Regent of the University of Colorado. Sadly, he died of pneumonia in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania in November 1918.

In 1918 Grace was among eight women, five of them Socialists, who ran for state offices in Colorado - she ran for Secretary of State and in 1920 she tried once more when she campaigned for Auditor of State.

The 1920 census lists her as widowed, still living in Trinidad, Colorado, though now with her retired father, where she is the manager of apartment houses. Also living with them is a housekeeper and janitor.

The 1930 US Census lists her as still living in Trinidad, Colorado, still widowed, and still the owner-manager of an apartment house. Living with her at this time are her niece and nephew -- Grace (9) and James (7) Hunt, and a cousin, Fred A. Jensen.

At some point, she must have visited the art community at Taos, New Mexico, "America's best known original art center", because a report in one of the colony newspapers stated that she had and that she often made replicas of some of the Taos masters, which often featured scenes of American Indian life.  

Home in Colony:  

Job in Colony: When describing her work, she often mentioned china decoration first because that was "the line she ha[d] best been able to commercialize." She was also devoted to pastel and fabric painting and clay modeling, but what she loved best was painting in oils. In addition to making finished products for sale, she taught classes in oil and pastel painting within the colony.

Soon after her arrival in the colony, arrangements were being made to create an art department, with the art studio being fitted up in her home.

She and Mrs. Dougherty attended the Vernon Parish Fair in October 1930 and answered many questions about "Llano's distinctive products" which were on display there and included some of her own works.

By December she already had "outside people" who visited the studio to purchase "souvenirs of different kinds" and who were also taking lessons from the colony teachers -- besides Grace, several members of the Young family offered lessons in painting, sculpturing, and most any kind of art.  

Other Info: One of her oil paintings, a massive reproduction of The Good Samaritan, was on display in the Colony dining room. In December 1930 arrangements were being made to display more, including some large pictures of "the ideal human figure" and a collection of her work on china and pottery.  

Post-Colony History: Possibly only stayed in the colony for a few months as newspaper reports of her inside the colony stop suddenly and she is once again listed in the Trinidad, Colorado City Directory for 1931.

In 1934 she is registered to vote in Los Angeles, California and in 1935 she arrived late at a picnic for ex-colonists held at Los Angeles with Mr. and Mrs. Taylor and Lowell Coate. In 1937 she is listed in the Los Angeles City Directory.  


Sources: US Census: 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, 1931; State of Colorado Marriage Records: 1892, 1913; Trinidad, Colorado City Directory: 1904, 1905, 1907 1909, 1910, 1912, 1915, 1918, 1921, 1922, 1924; "Elk Mountain Pilot": October 12, 1916; "Ordway New Era": October 27, 1916; "Reno Evening Gazette": November 4, 1918; "Albuquerque Morning Journal": November 4, 1918; "The Chronicle-News": November 14, 1918; "Cheyenne Record": October 28, 1920; "Llano Colonist": October 11, 1930, December 6, 1930, Decemer 20, 1930, February 14, 1931, February 21, 1931, August 10, 1935; Voter Registration: 1934; Los Angeles, California City Directory: 1937  


Detail of one of the pastel paintings by Grace Marians on display at the museum.

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