Museum the New Llano Colony

Walter Thomas Mills

Birth: He was born in 1856 in New York, the son of a Quaker farmer.  

Family Information:  


Pre-Colony History: He'd attended Oberlin College and Wooster University and during his lifetime become a minister, evangelist, temperance lecturer, socialist propogandist and educator.

Whether by design or bad luck, most of his schemes ended in disappointment. He organized several colonies and schools -- found investors and took their money, then moved on just before they went bust. There were even claims that his most popular book, "The Struggle for Existence", was mainly written by another comrade who had been denied credit.

However, despite the accusations made against him following these failures, he was frequently sought as a public speaker on socialist themes throughout the country.  

Home in Colony:  

Job in Colony: During a visit in August 1917 he spoke to the group about the war, his personal experiences, and the colony and his ambitions for it. He [was] an organizer of wide and recognized ability and [was] expected to initiate some new lines of progress and to extend the influence of Llano in many ways. 

Other Info: In 1917 he visited the colony several times and pleased his hearers by telling them that he had concluded to join them.

Post-Colony History: Sometime before 1922 he turned away from Socialism towards the Non-Partisan League.  

Death: He died in California in 1942.  

Sources: Western Comrade: August 1917, October 1917, November 1917; Walter Thomas Mills -- His Record by Thomas J. Morgan; California Death Index;  


Clipping from the "Western Comrade" dated October 1917. Other colonists mentioned in the ad are colonists Kate Richards and Frank O'Hare, Guy Lockwood and Mrs. Lockwood, and W.C. Benton.

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