Museum the New Llano Colony

Ernest "Woos" Wooster

Birth: He was born in Oregon around 1895.  

Family Information: Son of Rufe and Jeannette Wooster.

Brother of Elma Wooster.

He married Pearl Wooster on Jan. 6, 1920 in DeRidder, LA; father of twins, Bobby and Jeannette.



Pre-Colony History: In 1910 he was working as a teacher in a public school while living in Stockton, San Joaquin, California.  

Home in Colony:  

Job in Colony: He was editor of the "Vernon Parish Democrat." Also, served as Vice-President in charge of the colony during Harriman's prolonged absence until 1920 when George Pickett was elected General Manager.  

Other Info: After his wedding in DeRidder, a small group of colonists held a "chiverie" (var. spelling - chiravari) outside their residence. The band included an accordion, clarinet, several horns and innumerable cans. After their performance, the crowd was invited into the Wooster home, where they made merry for some time.

He, his wife and mother left the colony in 1920, traveling first to Nebraska for a visit with Mrs. Wooster's sisters, then on to California.

He returned to the colony with the establishment of the Commonwealth College at Newllano in 1923 and the return of Job Harriman. That year the Commonwealth College Association designated a teaching faculty of Harriman, Kate O'Hare, Howard Buck, F.M. Goodhue, Frank O'Hare, Wilbur C. Benton, Theodore Cuno, Ernest Wooster, Harold Z. Brown, Ivy Van Etten, and William E. Zeuch.

Unfortunately, the college group were suspicious of Pickett, who viewed the college as an adjunct to the colony, while Zeuch and the O'Hare's seemed to look at the colony as a sort of school farm. Fights over priorities were immediate and vicious.

At the same time, Harriman and George Pickett were struggling with a dispute over colony leadership. Both Harriman and Wooster had been returned to the Board of Directors upon their return to the colony, and both were in support of the O'Hares and the college group.

It soon became clear that coexistence with the Newllano colony would not be possible. The Harriman / college group located a new site in Ink, Arkansas, organized the Commonwealth Colony of the Ozarks and they and their supporters moved there over the next few months.

Struggles continued in Arkansas, however. The college group's priorities were again different from the colonists who had moved there to support them. Before the year was out, the college had relocated again, this time to Mena, Arkansas where it would remain until 1940 and the fledgling colony at Ink had fizzled out.  

Post-Colony History: In 1936 he was living in Santa Ana, California with his wife, Pearl, and their two children, Bobby and Jeannette,  and interested in the EPIC movement.  


Sources: US Census: 1910, 1920; "Vernon Parish Democrat": January 10, 1920; April 24, 1920; "Llano Colonist": February 29, 1936; "Radical Education in the Rural South; Commonwealth College 1922-1940" by William H. Cobb  

Left Top: Group standing outside the theater; Ernest Wooster standing in the center.

Left Bottom: Group outing -- Viola Gilbert is standing to the right, Pearl Wooster is standing to the left of her and Ernest Wooster is kneeling in front of them with the adopted Wooster twins. Right: Clipping from the Vernon Parish Democrat.  

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