Museum the New Llano Colony

Prudence Stokes Brown

Birth: She was born at Bloomington, Kansas around 1862.  

Family Information: Wife of James K. Brown and mother of Paul and Herman Brown.  


Pre-Colony History: Her father had been a Union soldier and after the war, when Prudence was 3 years old, he moved the family to Little Rock, Arkansas and became part of the reconstruction work in the South, especially focused on creating a public school system there.

Her maternal grandfather had been a professor at the University of Berlin and had sought to extend the benefits of general education to the people. He worked in the Liberal movement which led to the German Revolution of 1848 and for this was exiled from Germany and came to the U.S.

In 1870 she was living in Arkansas with her parents and siblings and in 1880 was being home-taught. She trained at home in all the arts of home making, shared in the outdoor duties of the farm, and had each day a routine of study prepared as carefully as if she'd been at school.

At the age of 16 she married Dr. James K. Brown and in 1880 she was still living in Arkansas, but now with her husband. Five years later they moved to National City, California where she grew concerned about her sons' education.

To address this, she trained, then promoted and taught the first public school kindergarten at National City in 1889. She continued her studies and from 1915-1917 attended the personal lectures and instruction of Doctor Montessori.

In 1900 she was living in California with her sons, but no husband, though she was still listed as married. She was working as a teacher. (Her husband committed suicide in 1901 in Arkansas).  

Home in Colony: She lived and worked in the California colony.  

Job in Colony: Mrs. Brown, a Montessori specialist, taught kindergarten in the California colony school.  

Other Info:  

Post-Colony History: In 1920 she and her youngest son were living in California where they resided in a home with John Carlyle and Emma G. Ashburn. Both the Browns and Mrs. Ashburn worked as teachers and all three were listed as "partners" of John Carlyle.

In 1930 she was living in the Santa Monica District Home as a patient.  

Death: She died in 1933 in California.  

Sources: US Census: 1870, 1880, 1900, 1920, 1930; "Western Comrade": October 1915, March 1917, April 1917; "Llano Colonist": January 21, 1933 (Early Days in California); City of San Diego and San Diego County : the Birthplace of California:; California Death Index;  


Photo shows the Montessori school at Llano, California.
Photo shows the Montessori school at Llano, California. The teachers are (from L to R) Prudence Stokes Brown, Mildred Buxton and Adeline Horne.

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