Museum the New Llano Colony

Joseph "Joe" Valek

Birth: He was born in 1892 at Bohemia, Austria.

Family Information: Married Gertrude (Benthall) Valek while living in the colony.

Step-father of Truman Benthall.

Description: In 1942 he was 5'7" tall and 161 pounds with a light complexion, hazel eyes and brown hair. He also was missing the tip of his second finger on his right hand.  

Pre-Colony History: In 1913 he submitted his Declaration of Intention to become a US citizen. At the time he was living in Los Angeles, California. He had emigrated from Bremen, Germany on board the S.S. Hannover, arriving at Galveston, Texas in 1909.

In 1917 he traveled from Llano, California to Stables, Louisiana in the auto caravan riding with John Will and Otto Swanson.  

Home in Colony:

Job in Colony: He worked in the colony bakery. In May 1922 he combined the bakery and dairy routes and delivered both at once.

Other Info:  

Post-Colony History:

In 1930 he was living in Los Angeles, California with his wife and her son, Truman, and working as a baker in a bakery shop. In 1935 and 1940 he and Gertrude continued to live in California and he still worked as a baker at a retail bakery.

In 1942 he was living in Pasadena, California and his next-of-kin was listed as Mrs. Joe Watkins of Whittier, California.

At some point after December 1944 he completed his Petition for Naturalization form. At the time he was a citizen of Czechoslovakia, but a resident of Pasadena, California and married to Bessie Valek (they had been married in December 1944 at Yuma, Arizona). 

Death: He died on his birthday in 1973 and was buried at the Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier, California.  

Sources: US Census: 1930, 1940; "Llano Colonist": May 6, 1922, February 25, 1933 (Story of Llano); US Naturalization Records; US Draft Registration: WWII; California Federal Naturalization Records;  


Bakery in the colony. The men have not been identified.

Another photo showing unidentified men in the colony bakery.

Clipping from the "Vernon Parish Democrat" dated April 28, 1921.

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