Museum the New Llano Colony

Leah (Craft) Cryer 

Birth: She was born in 1873 in Leesville, Louisiana.  

Family Information: Wife of Dan Cryer.

Mother of Docia, Denver, Dover, Dora and Dawson Cryer.  


Pre-Colony History: In 1880 she was living with her parents and siblings in Vernon Parish, Louisiana.

In 1900, 1910 and 1920 she was living on a farm in Louisiana with her husband and children.

In March 1922, when Dan decided he couldn't "stand the competition any longer" he brought his family to live in the colony. Waters and Scharrer drove out to the Cryer place and brought back to the colony corn, peanut hay and other useful things (cows and hogs among them) that Dan wanted to turn in.  

Home in Colony:  

Job in Colony: When the family first came to the colony in March 1922, she planned to start cloth-making by the old hand-loom method, which would have been a new industry for the colony. A month later she and Mrs. Wright opened the long wished-for establishment -- they were carding and spinning cotton which would later be woven into cloth.  

Other Info: One of 42 colonists who signed a petition, dated January 10, 1928 and sent to the governor of Louisiana, which objected to the securing of a new charter being issued to the colony. Among other things, this petition claimed that affairs of the colony had been grossly and intentionally mismanaged and conduct of the management so flagrantly opposed to good morals that a receiver assigned by the District Court was necessary to handle affairs. It alleged that management had: 1. Used misleading propaganda which caused hundreds of people to invest their money in the colony, only to be disillusioned and have to leave with nothing to show for their investment. 2. Reduced the colony to a peon camp - these "peons" being poorly fed, clothed and housed. 3. Advocated "free-love", including promiscuous relations of the sexes and other practices contrary to good morals. 4. Expressed contempt for courts and authorities by taking it upon themselves to punish two boys for stealing from the colony store. 5. Prostituted colony schools by employing nondescript persons as teachers, while issuing fraudulent reports and drawing hundreds of dollars from the Parish School funds in the names of certified teachers and by exploiting child labor. The case was taken all the way to the Supreme Court but eventually was annulled and the plaintiff's demands rejected.  

Post-Colony History: In 1930 the family, including their daughter Dora with her husband and their two children, were living in Rapides Parish, LA.

In 1940 she and Dan were still living in Rapides Parish, next door to their daughter, Dora, and her family.  

Death: She died in 1944 and was buried in Rapides Parish, Louisiana.  

Sources: US Census: 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, 1940; "Llano Colonist": March 18, 1922, March 25, 1922, April 8, 1922, February 25, 1928, May 13, 1933 (Story of Llano), May 20, 1933 (Story of Llano); Louisiana Statewide Death Index;  


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