Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Quite the family

I should be working on the formal presentation for my lecture tomorrow, but I am struck by how fascinating the history of the Elliott family is and felt compelled to share this with you.

Helen Agnes Brown  - born to a mom who had the woman's pioneer experience of traveling from one place to the other, with an infant, and somehow didn't miss a beat.  She also has an experience where her husband who is Sheriff is not in town and sees a face staring in her window.  She reads the face well and decides rather than panic, she moves the curtains so the potential intruder can see her calmly going about her business.

The family later learns that there were thieves in the area who chose not to come to Brown house since she looked so calm and they assumed "the man of the house" must have been present.

It is daughter Helen Elliott, who tells those hesitant Hoosiers, unsure of their move to establish the California Colony of Indiana, that "“I’m going anyway, even if no one else does”.  
Helen Brown Elliott
Courtesy Archives of The Pasadena Museum of History
Her husband, Thomas Balch Elliott, is remarkable as well.  He is committed to what we would now call "social justice" issues.  Among those issues are the needs of those who are, again using current terminology, marginalized.

He is the only man to vote "Free Soil Party" in the state of Indiana.  While he is president of the school board of Indianapolis, he is one of four men who offer a formal appeal for "The Education of Colored Person".  As a result free schools for "negroes" are established.

Okay, I shall take a deep breath and go back to the work to be done.


  1. I'm glad you took a brief detour from your presentation prep to share this with us!

  2. I dearly love "I Can Remember Early Pasadena" by Jennie Hollingsworth Giddings. She remembers the creation of Pasadena from the perspective of a child and a teenager in the 1880s. Mostly joy and freedom, racing her pony along what is Colorado Blvd, Orange Grove, and Marengo today. Sometimes I think about that when stuck in traffic.

  3. It is a good read. Nice to read something by a younger person.