Museum the New Llano Colony



Rocina "Rosa" (Mesniak Matz) Babb Sometimes called "Rose" or "Rosy"

Birth: She was born in Bosnia Herzo-Govina (or possibly, according to the 1920 census -- India) on February 10, 1905

Description: In 1907, when she arrived in America (age 2) she had a dark complexion, blue eyes and black hair.

Pre-Colony History: In 1907 she and her mother, Mary, traveled from Bremen, Germany to Baltimore, Maryland on board the SS Rhein. They listed Mary's uncle, George Matz, as their relative in the country.

In 1910 she and her mother were living in West Virginia with Mary's uncle, George Matz.

The family arrived at the colony from Cleveland, Ohio during the California days and probably were on the chartered train that brought most of the colonists from California in November 1917. In 1920 George and Mary were married and living at a Leesville, Louisiana address with their daughter, Rosy.  

Family Information: Daughter of Mary and George Matz.

 

Job in Colony: In 1920 she was working with Myrtle Kemp and Louise and Rose Belohradsky at waiting on tables during meal time. At the time, she expected to take Clara Boyd's place teaching school during the afternoon.

In April 1922 she was part of a group of students who helped out at the kindergarten that included Rosa Matz, Ruby Synoground, Laura Merrill, Nellie Kemp, Vinita Thurman and Mabel Synoground.

Later on she was a typist in the Colony office and in the photographer's office; Also worked part-time in the colony library. 

Home in Colony: Her family had joined colony during the California days -- she had fond memories of living in a large tent in Llano, California where the wind blew constantly.

 

Other Info: She was one of the members of the colony when George Pickett first named General Manager.

In 1922 Harry Bell, Jr. was the manager of the Newllano Theater. In April of that year he performed the ditty "I Love a Lassie" in one of the theater programs assisted by a bevy of lovely girls consisting of Louise Belorahdsky, Rose Matz, Maxine Gaddis, Vinita Thurman, and Mildred Seelye.

Later that month he did another sketch assisted by the Misses Louise Belorahdsky, Gertrude West, Rosa Matz and Maxine Gaddis and Comrades Frank Newman and Bill Beavers. "It was a one-act melodrama, and a scream indeed. Harry sang: "They all go wild over me" -- but that [wa]s just his conceit. He [wa]s not the only pebble on the beach. There [we]re others."

 

Post-Colony History: In 1930 and 1946 she was living with her husband, Frank Benz, in Cleveland, Ohio. They had one son, George Anton Benz. In 1932 she was listed as a new subscriber to the "Llano Colonist".

In 1958, she was working as the Medical Librarian at Fort Polk and married her second husband, Syd Hefner (he was with Administration at Fort Polk), in Leesville. He died in 1968 and was buried at O'Banion Cemetery in Newllano, Louisiana.

In 1969 she was living in Encinitas, California. In 1973 she married Bennett Babb who, by 1983 had become a sculptor -- he was taking a Lost-wax Bronz sculpture course at Palomar College that year.

In 1988, in a letter that is part of our archives, she wrote that she enjoyed painting.  

Death: She died in 1991 in California and was buried at Escondidio, California.  

Sources: Baltimore Passenger Lists; US Census: 1910, 1920, 1930; Correspondence to "Florence": June 1, 1983; August 3, 1988; "Vernon Parish Democrat": July 29, 1920, April 28, 1921; "Llano Colonist": April 15, 1922, April 22, 1922, May 14, 1932, April 11, 1933 (Reprinted from the Colonist May 17, 1924); "Leesville Leader": May 23, 1946, August 2, 1962, October 30, 1969; California Death Index; FindAGrave.com  

Left: Clipping from the Vernon Parish Democrat, April 28, 1921.

Top Center: Tent homes at Llano, California.

Bottom Center: (Left) George Matz and (Right) Mary Matz with their daughter Rocina and her son, George Benz.

Right: Llano children involved in the 1918 play, "Pandora": (Front row L to R) Ross Brown, Mabel Synoground, Lois Will, unknown, Roberta 'Pete' Will, Mary Bellrawski, Ruby Synoground, John Dougherty; (Back row L to R) Irene Brown, Nellie Kemp, Rosa Matz, Elizabeth Brown, Mr. Cryer and his sister Dora Cryer.