Michelle Martin

(Frank) We’re back. And of course we’re back from the Dillon House, across from the Capitol in Topeka, Kansas. And what else have you got going on? (Deb) Well, one of my dearest friends, Michelle Martin is like myself, not a Kansas native. She came to Kansas and fell in love with it
and we came together through Kansas history. She is just a remarkable person and has been a wonderful friend to me. But more importantly, she’s been a fantastic friend to Kansas history from Fort Larned to Lecompton and especially the Fort Scott area. She’s just an amazing
person and I just wanted to pay a little tribute to her. (Frank) I’m having some fun with this old time baseball. I discovered it and there’s a bunch of teams all over the country and there are some teams right here in Kansas. And I mean they play under the old time rules. No gloves
and they use a ball that’s a little bit bigger than the hard ball that we have today. And they even use the language of the time, which makes it interesting, because there is a striker, and not the umpire, but I can’t think of the term right now, but he says advance and I mean it’s
really kind of a fun… (Deb) That’s hilarious. (Frank) So, we’re gonna show you some film of that too. (Deb) That’ll be a great series. I can’t wait for that. In the meantime, let’s see my friend Michelle. Michelle Martin is a Michigander by birth, a Kansan by choice. Rarely has Kansas history had such a champion. As a living historian, teacher, and re-enactor, Michelle takes us into a virtual time to the most turbulent decades of Kansas history. She has spent countless hours researching the lives of Kansas pioneers and reenacts many of those women. Her family claims that she suffers from multiple historical personality disorder. Her portrayals include Mahala Doyle, widowed by John Brown during the Pottawatomie Massacre, and Sarah Seelye, who pretended to be a man in order to serve in the Union Army. Michelle said the ability to study the past is sometimes not enough to satisfy my desire to know about those
who came before us. By knowing what previous generations wore, what they ate, how they lived and what they thought, how they lived. When I wear 19th century clothing and work in the hot sun doing laundry for soldiers or sit on officer’s row writing letters, or when I tend wounded men after battle I feel like I know what our ancestors lived thru. This is reaching out and grabbing the past by the scruff of the neck and holding it in my hands and learning and preserving its secrets. She has taught at Pittsburg State, Fort Scott Community College, and Baker University. Michelle has authored or co-authored several books including the Prairie Table Cookbook with Bill Kurtis and Kansas Forts and Bases with Deb Goodrich. She has appeared in documentaries on countless subjects including the Bloody Benders of Cherryvale, and has portrayed the infamous Kate Bender. Most importantly, Michelle has given her heart
and soul to Kansas, to preserving and sharing its rich history. She has spent thousands of hours volunteering for groups and organizations throughout the state. As the director and historian of the Little House on the Prairie Museum near Independence, Michelle oversees one of the most beloved sites in the nation. She has portrayed Caroline Ingalls on numerous occasions. On June 13, the annual Prairie Days Celebration at the Little House will mark Michelle’s last event. She is moving to Albuquerque, New Mexico, to pursue her doctorate in history. We are sad that she will be so far away but we will continue to learn from her work
and research. We also know that someday she will click her heels and come home. We hope you can make to Prairie Days and let Michelle know how much her time in Kansas has meant to so many folks. Michelle, you are always a Kansan no matter where you are.

1 Comment

  1. Even as early as her junior high years it was evident that Michelle would do wonderful things in the area of history. She constantly challenged her teachers to do more than what was required. Her mother and I have always been proud of her and her accomplishments. Most importantly, we are proud of the well rounded, caring and loving person she has become.

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