Museum the New Llano Colony

Helen (Hayes) Swenson

Birth: She was born in 1916 at North Dakota.  

Family Information: Daughter of Thea and Charley Hayes.

Sister of Leona (Hayes) Stevens and Erma Hayes.

She married Chester Swenson in November 1932. In fact, their wedding was "fixed up at the last minute... DeForest Sanford was the only one who had any chance to kiss the new bride -- it was reported that Chester was so badly rattled that he couldn't." They left immediately afterward for Gila in a big truck with the rest of the party, beds and bedding and a few other little things to furnish the first necessary man-power.  


Pre-Colony History: In 1920 she was living with her parents and sisters in North Dakota. In 1930 she was living with her father and sisters in Vernon Parish, Louisiana.  

Home in Colony: In 1932 Charley moved to the Rice Ranch where he would supervise the gardening and his pretty young daughters would help with the cooking and housecleaning.

In November 1932, Chester and Helen were among the "Newllano Expeditionary Force" which was the first group going to man the Gila unit.

In October 1935 she visited (from Texas) the colonists and her father who lived nearby. In December, she and Chester moved into the little cottage vacated by Birdie and Chauncy DuProz.  

Job in Colony:  

Other Info:  

Post-Colony History: In 1940 she and Chester were living in New Mexico with their young daughter, while Chester worked as an automobile mechanic at an auto repair shop.  

Death: She died in 1999. Her last residence was in Oregon.

Sources: Photo Archives; US Census: 1920, 1930, 1940; "Llano Colonist": May 7, 1932, November 19, 1932, December 10, 1932, December 29, 1934, October 19, 1935, December 14, 1935; US Social Security Applications and Claims  


At Gila, New Mexico - (Standing L to R) Harold Kemp (holding Carolyn Bradshaw), Bonnie (Mason) Kemp, Clyde and Hope (Shoemaker) Swenson, Chester and Helen (Hayes) Swenson and (Kneeling in front) Myrtle (Kemp) Bradshaw.

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