Changing of the Guard

Racist patriarch dies in Oklahoma

Right-wing extremists converged in early June on the isolated Elohim City compound near Muldrow, Okla. This time, however, they were not fleeing prosecution or planning a murder — they were attending a funeral.

Elohim City founder Robert "Grandpa" Millar, 75, part of a generation of men who have led the American radical right for some 30 years, died on May 28. His son John Millar is now poised to take over the well-armed compound.

When Millar built Elohim City in 1973, he took its name from the ancient Hebrew for "City of God." His family, with eight children and now 58 grandchildren and great-grandchildren, rejected mainstream American life. Calendars started each year on the spring equinox; clocks each day at noon. Polygamy was acceptable.

For Robert Millar, that meant making an extremist haven of his very own city on a hill.

Over the years, Millar hosted a whole slate of violent extremists, from Gordon Kahl, a Posse Comitatus member who murdered federal agents in the 1980s, to members of the Aryan Republican Army, a violent gang that robbed 22 Midwestern banks in a bid to fund white revolution. Chevie Kehoe, who would later murder an entire Oklahoma family in his own attempt to kick-start the revolution, stayed there.

Even Timothy McVeigh called the compound, asking to speak to a German extremist living there, some two weeks before the Oklahoma City bombing.

Millar's own plot in the Elohim City graveyard lies next to that of Richard Wayne Snell, a white supremacist admirer of Millar's executed for murdering a pawn shop broker who Snell mistakenly believed to be Jewish.

James Ellison, leader of the heavily armed 1980s white supremacist group, the Covenant, the Sword and the Arm of the Lord, has lived on the compound for years and is married to one of Millar's granddaughters.

Speculation about Elohim City's new leadership centered initially on him, but seems to have settled on John Millar. Either way, the city's 100 residents have no plans for change.