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October 8, 2007 |
A friend told us today about one of Garrison's monologues in which he told about the life of Prudence Crandall and about his relationship to her. Prudence and her brother Hezekiah are buried in our cemetery in Elk Falls, KS, where the two had come to homestead 160 acres just west of town while in their 80's. She was quite a controversial character in this small rural community and was supported in her latter years by Mark Twain. We have a Kansas State Historical Marker in our town memorializing her many accomplishments as an early civil rights advocate. If there is any truth to the assertion that Garrison is a descendant of Prudence Crandall, I would certainly be interested to be able to document that fact.
Steve F., Pres.
Friends of Elk Falls Association
My great-grandfather William Evans Keillor married Mary Jane Crandall up in New Brunswick before emigrating to Minnesota. She was the daughter of Joseph Crandall, a well-known Baptist minister in Canada, who was descended from John Crandall who was a close associate of Roger Williams, who founded the Rhode Island colony and who was a friend to the Indians and studied their languages and who broke with the arrogance and intolerance of the Puritans. And Prudence is likewise descended from John. Mark Twain was proud of her for having resisted racial bigotry in Connecticut. She opened a school for girls and when colored girls applied to the school, she accepted them even though she knew that the white parents would withdraw their children. So she went right ahead and operated a school for colored girls, until she was run out of town. We Keillors are proud of our tenuous association with tolerance and bravery, even if we may not always exemplify them ourselves, at least we're connected to people who did. I will put Elk Falls on my list of places to visit. It's my dream to ride a bike across Kansas some spring or fall and I'll make sure the route runs through Elk Falls.