Museum the New Llano Colony



Dr. Robert K. Williams

Birth: Born around 1873 at Ohio.

Dr. Robert K. Williams  

Description:  

Pre-Colony History: In 1910, he and his wife were living on San Pablo Ave. in Fresno, California with him employed as telegrapher for the Associated Press.

They joined the colony during the California years and made the move to Louisiana with the original group -- Doc traveling with a group of men in several automobiles. They were still in the area in 1919, but left at some point before 1922. They lived in California for years -- in 1930, he and Cecil were living on Colden Ave. in Los Angeles, CA with both working as chiropractors and having Alice C. Austin as their lodger.  

Family Information: Married to "Doctor Cecil" Williams (also a chiropractor).

 

Job in Colony: In California, "Doc" Williams served as the official colony guide for visitors. In 1915, he became the secretary of the "Commission of Nine", which became the real managing force in the colony; in September of 1915 he was in charge of housing the colonists.

In March 1922 he was in New York City and writing a column called "Meanderings" for the "Llano Colonist."

In the late 30's when the colony decided to try to drill for oil, he managed the Oil Corporation and had his own office inside the colony. In addition to colony labor, he brought in oilmen to run the operations. In June 1934 Esther Allen and Martha Dougherty helped him with the printing of the cards for the Oil and Mineral Dept.

By 1935 enough colonists had become dis-satisfied with George Pickett's leadership that a meeting was held, on May Day 1935, while Pickett himself was out of town, and a new Board of Directors was elected by those attending. "Doc" was chosen to be the new President. There is some evidence that he and the new board tended to focus less on agriculture and even colony industries, instead, they leased out many of the colony businesses.  

Home in Colony: In Louisiana, he and his wife lived in an upstairs apartment at the Kid Kolony.  

Other Info: A popular singer, Doc Williams often led the community singing in the Sunday night shows at the theater and performed as part of various groups, sometimes even at churches "outside".

In December 1932 it was decided (by Gaylord, DeBoer, Chet Page, and Doc Williams) that Comrade Archer who was an expert on the piano, would take over on that instrument for theater performances and Bill DeBoer would take up the bass viol or clarinet in the orchestra; however, Bill would continue to play the piano for the dances while Archer played the sax or violin.

In January 1933 he was planning a Gypsy Program for the theater; Sidney and Ethel Archer were helping him work it out "while the fiddles and etycetery were plinging and a plunking at the roof garden." Lloyd Potter, Gordon Pickett and Margaret (sic) and Jasmine Lewis were practicing the steps for Mrs. Archer's act.

In 1933 he was part of the mixed quartet, the Llano Four, composed of Dr. Williams on the upper end; Anita Brannon and Mary Roe; and Comrade Gaylord on the lower end. She sang a strong soprano and often took part in the theater programs as part of this group, as well as with other ensembles.

Another service that Doc performed was to sit up every night until midnight or later, listening to his personal radio, so that he might take down in shorthand what was happening the world over; next day he typed several copies of his notes,, one of which was posted to the colony bulletin board -- others sent to the branch units.

In April 1934 a lovely gathering was held at the home of Frank Brough, another New Englander, to "God-speed" the Fay family to Norfolk, Connecticut where they hoped to arrange their affairs over the next few months and return to the colony in the fall.

Attendees enjoyed music, games and a wonderful lunch. They included: Mr. and Mrs. Sidney Archer, Drs. Robert K. and Cecil C. Williams, Mr. and Mrs. George Matz, Mrs. Maki, Smith Sanford, DeForest Sanford, George Leevey, Wm. Bingham, Dennis Stanley, Forest R. Waters, Mary Emery and the Brough family, consisting of Margaret, William and Frank.

After the May Day Revolution of 1935, he signed a statement supporting John Szpila's letter, which had been published in the September 21, 1935 issue of the "Llano Colonist" and spelled out the reason's the overthrow of former General Manager, George T. Pickett, had been necessary.

In October 1935 he was nominated to be on the Board of Directors, along with (in order of nomination), Robert K. Williams, E.D. Carl, Lester Caves, Crockett Campbell, John Szpila, Harold Emery, Charles Lawrence, Chester Peecher, E.O. Joynes, Chester Page, Horace Cronk, George Hullinger, Walter Robison, "Chauncey" DuProz, Mrs. Olive Lentz, Mrs. Mabel Busick, Lionel Crossland, Charles Derleth, J.H. "Dad" Ribbing and Cy Horney. The meeting also adopted a rule permitting all resident members who had been at the colony more than sixty days to vote in the election, provided too few proxies were received to hold a regular stock holders' meeting.

Less than one fourth the required stock was represented at the Stockholders' meeting, so the colonists proceeded with the election of a new board of directors as planned. Those selected were: Robert K. Williams, E.C. Carl, Lester Caves, Crockett Campbell, Harold Emery, Chester Peecher, E.O. Joynes, Charles Lawrence, and Chester Page. Runners up were Mrs. Mabel Busick, Horace Cronk and John Szpila.

In 1936, Doc and Mr. Joynes traveled 15 miles below DeRidder, where they inspected the Hauser model farm and seed nursery and came back much enthused over lespedeza as a stock fodder suitable to this locality. During another trip in 1936 he, Roy Parson and Charley Derleth made a hasty run to Shreveport searching for a much-needed "dado" or groove cutting machine to be used, but none could be found. While there, they stopped to inquire after two colonists who'd been some time in the Shreveport hospital -- E.A. Bennett and George Collins. It was too early for visiting hours, but they inquired of the head nurse and she assured them that both patients were doing finely.

In May 1937 Doc Williams took Bondell Jensen, her son Earl Banta and C.S. (Daddy) Thomas to the Shreveport Hospital -- Earl to see a doctor about an injury to his eye and Daddy because his vision had been getting worse. They arrived around 10 and as usual, the hospital was very busy and it required considerable time before the two patients were seen. Finally they were examined and told to wait. Around noon, Daddy, who had to have a slight operation was told to stay over and taken to a ward and so they completely lost sight of him. Earl was eventually taken to a ward on the third floor and put in a white robe. He didn't fancy that very much, as he didn't want to go to bed in the daytime. At 4 pm the Dr. finally came around and looked Earl over, deciding that there was no need for an operation. He had nothing but a scar on his eyeball and adding another would only make matters worse. Mrs. Jensen was very relieved and Earl was immediately ready to return home.  

Post-Colony History: In 1940 he and his wife were living in Leesville where he worked as a taxi driver.  

Death:

 

Sources: "Llano Colonist": March 25, 1922, October 10, 1931, December 10, 1932, January 21, 1933 (Early Days in California), January 28, 1933, February 25, 1933, June 3, 1933, April 21, 1934, June 9, 1934, October 12, 1935, February 29, 1936; August 8, 1936, October 24, 1936, May 8, 1937; "Can We Cooperate" by Bob Brown; US Census 1910, 1930, 1940; "Leesville Leader": August 5, 1948  

Top Left: Dr. Robert K. Williams

Bottom Left: Doc Williams and Job Harriman

Top Right: New Leaders (1935) - Walter Robison, Eugene Carl, Dr. Robert K. Williams

Bottom Right: Drs. Robert K. and Cecil Williams Golden Wedding Anniversary

"Dr. Cecil" and "Doc" Williams on their 50th wedding anniversary in Leesville