Museum the New Llano Colony



Oscar Needham

Birth:  

Family Information: Married to Alta Needham.  

Description:  

Pre-Colony History: He and his wife came from Valparaiso, Indiana to join the colony. He had been a jobber in timber and hardwood supplies of various sorts and a bank cashier. He had also worked as a carpenter.  

Home in Colony: In August 1935 they were expected to move into the recently vacated Thelma Perkins house. Apparently they had been living in the Hardy's home and the Hardy's were expected to return soon from their extended western vacation.  

Job in Colony: In the fall of 1933, both he and his wife were placed in charge of the fifth, sixth and seventh grades at the school.

In February 1934 had been teaching seventh grade in the colony schools, but when he came down with the grip (grippe?) he was forced to take a rest and Mr. Goldstein took over as teacher. In April of that year he was helping to build cabbage crates at the veneer plant and teaching afternoon classes at the high school. June of that year found him working as the checker in the planing mill.

At the end of 1934, he was selected for the Board of Directors to replace Septer Baldwin. He quickly began preparing for his new job as industrial superintendent and was trying to arrange set jobs for colonists so that a regular job would be waiting when the colonists assembled each morning. It became his job to see that the men, mules and tools were properly distributed in order to accomplish the greatest efficiency.

In February he saw to it that equipment was installed allowing for burning oil rather than wood in one of the boilers -- they could then be compared to see which method was cheaper. The change over had cost practically nothing and Needham though a great amount of work, as well as expense, would be saved. 

Other Info: In June 1933, Mr. Needham loaned his big Buick coupe so the fourth grade could have their spring outing on the banks of the Sabine river. They enjoyed swimming, fishing, ice cream, mud baths and a perfect day. The group included: Hulda Mahler, Frances Roe, Genevieve Quipp, Billy Busick, Eugene Hewett, Ernest Ogden, Raymond Campbell, Joe Lentz and their teacher. When they left the colony, four children were hanging on the outside, while five rode on the inside with plenty of eats and an ice cream freezer filled with vanilla ice cream and fresh strawberries. Their picnic included biscuits with egg, honey and peanut butter filling and raw carrots for relish. While the teacher read to some, others threw stones far out into the stream, with Ernest and Raymond claiming to have thrown into Texas. The 'colored' ferryman, having come down, went into convulsions of laughter after spotting Eugene, who had covered every square inch of his body, except his eyes and mouth, with mud.

In 1934 he and his wife were guests for the Christmas dinner at the Kid Kolony.

In 1934, Needham was drafting men for a wood-cutting expedition. After leasing their sawmills and selling some of the timber to the Nona Mills Lumber Co. out of Leesville, it would be the colony's first wood gang in more than a year, however the shortage of stove wood made it necessary.

In 1935, after the "May Day Revolution" ousting George Pickett and causing the election of a new Board of Directors, many of the colonists wanted to stick with Pickett. They fought the action in the streets of New Llano and in the Vernon Parish courts. On July 22, 1935 a group of Pickett supporters held their own meeting and elected a board which included George T. Pickett as President and General Manager, Arthur Hoffman, H. Claude Lewis, Oscar Needham, Sidney Young, Sidney Archer and John Szpila. At a meeting held in July 1935, however, he refused to work with "the dictator" (Pickett) and his followers.  

Post-Colony History: Mr. and Mrs. Needham left the colony for parts unknown on September 25, 1935, though it was rumored that he intended to start a business.  

Death:  

Sources: "Llano Colonist": January 21, 1933, February 25, 1933, June 17, 1933; October 14, 1933, October 21, 1933, January 6, 1934, February 17, 1934, March 24, 1934, March 31, 1934, April 7, 1934, June 16, 1934, November 3, 1934, November 10, 1934, November 17, 1934, November 24, 1934, December 8, 1934, December 15, 1934, December 22, 1934, December 29, 1934, January 12, 1935, January 19, 1935, January 26, 1935, February 16, 1935, February 23, 1935, March 23, 1935, March 30, 1935, April 13, 1935, July 20, 1935, July 27, 1935, August 31, 1935, September 7, 1935, October 5, 1935  

 

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