Museum the New Llano Colony

Francis "Frank" P. O'Hare

Birth: He was born around 1877 in Iowa.  

Family Information: Married to Kate (Richards) O'Hare.

Father of Richard, Kathleen, Eugene and Victor (the last two being twins named after Eugene Victor Debs, a good friend of Kate's).  

Description: On his draft registration card dated September 12, 1918 he was described as being tall and slender with brown eyes and hair.

Pre-Colony History: In 1880 he was living in Iowa with his parents, 2 step-siblings and a brother.

In 1900 he was living in Missouri with his older sister, Gertrude Petzold, while working as a clerk. Around this time he took a twenty-lesson correspondence course from the Mills school and became a member of Wayland's Appeal to Reason group, eventually ending up at Girard, Kansas, face-to-face with his future.

In 1902 while he was visiting the Walter Thomas Mills' school for Socialist workers at Girard, Kansas, he met Kate Richards and they were married at Crawford, Kansas in 1902. By 1910 they had four children and were living in Kansas.

In 1920 he and his children were living in Missouri while Kate was serving time at the state penitentiary for speaking against the war. He was working as an efficiency engineer.

Together they had published the successful magazine, "National Ripsaw", before she was sent to prison. After her release they published the "American Vanguard" which also had a large, established circulation throughout the country.

Over the years the pair had become the most famous team of Socialist organizers in America. She achieved greater celebrity with her incisive writing and passionate speeches, although her success wouldn't have been possible without his genius for scheduling, managing, coaching and publicity.

Around 1923, when he and Kate joined the colony, they persuaded their old friend Professor William E. Zeuch to come to the colony to start his Commonwealth College.  

Home in Colony:  

Job in Colony: Arrangements had been made for the colony to publish the "American Vanguard" at no cost to the couple. For the first year, the O'Hare's would continue to collect any monies from the magazine, which would be used to pay off existing debts of $8,000, but after that period of time, the magazine would become colony property in exchange for membership fees for the O'Hare's and their children.

In 1923 the Commonwealth College Association designated a teaching faculty of Job Harriman, Kate O'Hare, Howard Buck, F.M. Goodhue, Frank O'Hare, Wilbur C. Benton, Theodore Cuno, Ernest Wooster, Harold Z. Brown, Ivy Van Etten, and William E. Zeuch.  

Other Info: Unfortunately, the college group were suspicious of George Pickett, who viewed the college as an adjunct to the colony, while Zeuch and the O'Hare's seemed to look at the colony as a sort of school farm. Fights over priorities were immediate and vicious.

At the same time, Harriman and Pickett were struggling with a dispute over colony leadership. Both Harriman and Wooster had been returned to the colony Board of Directors upon their return, and both were in support of the O'Hares and the college group.

It soon became clear that coexistence with the Newllano colony would not be possible. The Harriman / college group located a new site in Ink, Arkansas, organized the Commonwealth Colony of the Ozarks and they and their supporters moved there over the next few months.

Struggles continued in Arkansas, however. The college group's priorities were again different from the colonists who had moved there to support them. Before the year was out, the college had relocated again, this time to Mena, Arkansas where it would remain until 1940.

Post-Colony History: At some point before the new college at Mena was established, Frank had returned to St. Louis, never having visited the Arkansas campus.

In 1930 he was living in St. Louis, Missouri with his second wife, Irene, his half-sister Gertrude Petzgold and his sister-in-law while he worked as a manager in a hat company. In 1940 he was still in St. Louis, but then with only Irene and he was working as a freelance writer.  

Death: He died in 1960 in Missouri.  

Sources: US Census: 1880, 1910, 1920, 1930, 1940; Kansas County Marriage Records; WWI Draft Registration Cards; "Llano Colonist": (Story of Llano), March 25, 1933; "Radical Education in the Rural South; Commonwealth College 1922-1940" by William H. Cobb; Missouri Death Certificates;  


O'Hare family -- Back row -- Frank and Kate Richards O'Hare, in front are Richard and Kathleen with toddler twins Eugene and Victor.

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