Museum the New Llano Colony



John Nicholas "Nick" Lentz

Birth: He was born in 1884 in Iowa.  

Description: On his WWI Draft Registration Card dated September 12, 1918 he was described as tall, of medium build with hazel eyes and auburn hair. The 1940 census reports he had completed two years of college.  

Pre-Colony History: Prior to 1932 he had lived in Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and the Canadian West. His education came from a variety of sources, beginning in a one-room schoolhouse; then, with an objective of seeing the world he served in the "navy of Uncle Sam"; before finally attending a great university in the middle west, studying languages, literature and philosophy.

In Chicago he'd dabbled in journalism, social service and the mail order business, though his success "was such that he'd fled into the north woods" where he learned sawing, chopping, log-rolling, pioneering and respect for nature.

In 1930 he brought his family to the colony, only three months after hearing of its existence. In 1935 he was living in Decatur, Arkansas, but in December 1936 he'd returned to the colony, expecting to stay permanently.  

Family Information: Married Olive Pearl Lentz.

Father of Philip, Jane, Joseph, Noel and Martha Lentz.  

Job in Colony: He often wrote for the Colony Diary column of the Llano Colonist; also from time to time wrote bios of his fellow colonists, including his own, for the Llano Colonist.

He spent much of his time in the colony cutting sawlogs, veneer logs and wood for the central unit plant. In early 1931 he was leading the woodsmen crew consisting of Maurice Collins, Paul Bradshaw and Charles Derleth. At that point they were cutting four miles west of the village, sawing and splitting pine wood for boiler fuel.

1932 Lentz, Noggles, and Kenneth Emry were "splitting pine stumps and sawing wood near the power plant to furnish Bill Shipman with sufficient pabulum to feed the mouths of his voracious furnace."

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.

In December 1934 he remembered a few months prior, when it had been time to clean the colony boilers, how Ralph Field had allowed him to crawl inside the tiny opening so he could clean and inspect the insides of the boiler. When Nick finally was able to get himself out, thankfully without having to cut the boiler open (though looking "like someone had tried to skin him alive"), Ralph told him, "Nick, don't you ever go in there again."  

Home in Colony:  

Other Info: In 1934 Mrs. Glavincheff served as president of the Parent-Teachers Association. Other officers included: Nick Lentz, vice-president and Professor Brown, secretary. On the program committee were Superintendent Lewis, Mrs. Lentz and Mrs. Potter.  

Post-Colony History: In 1940 the Lentz family was living in a home in the unincorporated New Llano, Louisiana (site of the old colony) while Nick worked as a night watchman.  

Death: He died in 1955 in Granger, Indiana (where he'd been working as a factory worker in a clothing factory) due to heart problems.  

Sources: Indiana Marriage Index; WWI Draft Registration Card; "Llano Colonist": July 11, 1931, February 20, 1932, March 26, 1932, February 3, 1934, March 24, 1934, December 8, 1934, December 26, 1936, January 30, 1937; US Census: 1940; Indiana Death Certificates; FindAGrave.com