Museum the New Llano Colony

William E. Zeuch

Birth: He was born in 1891 in Iowa.  

Family Information:  


Pre-Colony History: An old friend of Kate and Frank O'Hare, Zeuch had written the pamphlet "The Truth About the O'Hare Case" after Kate's trial in North Dakota for Espionage. During WWI, they often discussed building a workers' college, but were forced to wait until the war was over when Kate was imprisoned and Zeuch drafted to fight in the war.

When the O'Hare's moved into the colony, they contacted Zeuch about the possibility of building his long dreamed-of college here.  

Home in Colony:  

Job in Colony: Along with Frank and Kate O'Hare, Zeuch was a creator and professor of Commonwealth College, although this effort failed and the college would relocate to Mena, Arkansas in 1924.

In 1923, however, 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 to the colony (with the establishment of the college), 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 nearby Mena, Arkansas where it would remain until 1940.

In 1931 he was forced to resign from the college after several years of struggles between the directors, staff and students. Often referred to as "Father" Zeuch or "Himself", his unyielding "blindness to changed priorities" was profound. "Stubborn and self-righteous to the end, he never [returned] to Commonwealth."

Post-Colony History: In 1936, he was teaching economics at Black Mountain College and Chancellor or the newly organized Workers' School located in Port Royal, S.C.

In 1934, Dr. Zeuch was appointed head of the Subsistence Homestead Planning Division of the Federal Housing Administration. He spoke on the subject to a joint meeting of the American Farm Economic Association and the American Sociological Society in Chicago, December 27, 1934.

Death: He died in 1968 at Los Angeles, California.  

Sources: US Census: 1900, 1910; "Llano Colonist": Story of Llano, March 25, 1933; February 29, 1936; "Hope Star": Feb. 18, 1935; "Radical Education in the Rural South; Commonwealth College 1922-1940" by William H. Cobb; Martha Palmer Notes; "The Subsistence Homestead Program from the Viewpoint of an Economist" by William E. Zeuch; California Death Index  


William E. Zeuch

Dormitory built as part of the Commonwealth College, located west of Hwy. 171 at Fort Polk Entrance Road.

William E. Zeuch

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