Biography of Hero Frank Harrison Merriwell Part 2

About the hero Frank Harrison Merriwell, history and biography of the adventure hero.



Instead of returning to Yale, he decided to stay out west. His decision led him into a series of amazing adventures. He took a job with the railroad and, among other exploits, settled a strike which threatened to paralyze the western states. He also captured a band of train robbers who were terrorizing the railways.

A series of intrigues then took him to Africa, where fate introduced him to Elsie Bellwood, whom he saved from a ferocious lion. Elsie would later compete with Inza Burrage for Frank's heart but lose.

From Africa, Frank went to Peru to search for ancient Inca treasure. After that, he sought excitement in Europe. But in 1904 he finally returned to Yale for his senior year. His stay was brief, however, because he learned of a half brother who lived in the wilds of the Rocky Mountains. He decided to find this long-lost relative, and did so several months later. The boy was 15 years old, had been raised since infancy by Indians, and could converse with animals. Frank brought the boy back to civilization and enrolled him at Fardale.

By this time his well-publicized exploits had made his name a household word. But rather than swell his head, this renown made Frank work all the harder. He was elected captain of the football, baseball, track and boxing teams and was the moral and scholastic mentor to countless underclassmen.

He culminated his career at Yale in 1905 by graduating magna cum laude, and married Inza Burrage, ending the battle that had raged for a year between Inza and Elsie Bellwood. He then organized a baseball team and took it on countrywide barnstorming tour, after which he and Inza settled in Bloomfield and took over the Bloomfield Home for Wayward Boys.

Merriwell disappeared from public view at this time, and it was thought by many that his star had finally fallen. But in 1941 he again achieved worldwide prominence due to his struggle to alert Americans to the growing threat of Nazi aggression. This time he was living in the small Midwestern town of Elmsport with his wife Inza, his daughter Bart (named for his best friend Bart Hodges), and his son Frank, Jr., a distinguished graduate of Fardale and Yale like his father before him. From his post as director of the Elmsport Town Improvement Society, Frank led the battle against Communists, fifth columnists, isolationists, and opponents of the Elmsport Manual Arts School. The spearhead of his fight to awaken Americans to the growing threat of totalitarianism in Europe was the Young Defenders of Liberty, a nationwide alliance of schoolchildren who were pledged to uphold the American principles of liberty and justice. Meriwell's efforts were cited in later years as being instrumental in determining America's entry--and ensuring its eventual victory--in W.W. II.

Frank Merriwell's fight against totalitarianism was to be his swan song. After this there were few battles for him to fight. There no longer seemed to be a place for his brand of freewheeling heroics in the postwar years, and once again he slid into obscurity. The place, date, and circumstances of his death are unknown.

The legend of Frank Merriwell continues, however. His exploits on the athletic fields and in the public eye will not soon be forgotten. His character remains an example to us all. As one admirer explained his appeal, "He is a boy with no vices, but doesn't act like he has no vices."

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