Mark Twain


My first love is history. What history is is the unvarnished story of what went before us. I believe that any historian that tries to revise history and inject politics into it should be defrocked of their sheep skin and banished to Cuba until they get sick of communal poverty and government dictates.

My love for history was born of listening to people who had lived through it. Then I had two great history teachers in high school. There was an English/literature teacher that put up with my hard head and managed to impart some writing skill in my brain full of mush. Then I did a two year stint at Old Cowtown Museum in Wichita. I had been writing and performing cowboy poetry and talking to visitors from all over the world. As an interpreter whether playing the part of Fritz Schnitzler, early saloon owner and businessman,  or guide through the Murdock house, I had to know the history and not repeat a narrative from a story sheet.

Most of you know I started writing and researching little know and forgotten Kansas history. That effort became two books, KANSAS ODDITIES and ECCENTRIC KANSAS. Well the chain continues. Now available, my third book, TRUE TALES OF KANSAS. As is my style I bring stories that you may have never heard of or have forgotten. Again the forward has been written by one of my history heroes. Amy Bickle caught my attention when she wrote for the Hutch News. For years she wrote of Kansas ghost towns and was an authority on Hutchinson and Reno County history. Like me she loves Kansas and I am happy she agreed to write the forward.

TRUE TALES OF KANSAS starts with a tragic story of a courageous fourteen year old girl that repeatedly entered a flash fire in the family dugout to save her sisters and brother. She also went in for furniture that was valuable to the family. After tending to the kids she started running to a nearby homestead for help. She found the neighbor boy picking corn in a field. Her clothes were burned off and her skin was dripping off. She was loaded up and taken to the house where she lingered in pain for two days before passing on. Kansas is full of firsts and one of those was the first female tattoo artist Maud Stevens Wagoner. Those who are country music fans and fans of Joey + Rory, should know that Rory Feek was a Kansas boy. In the cafe that Joey and Rory’s sister ran and filmed in, hangs a Highland Kansas sign. Highland was the place that was the closest to a hometown they had growing up.

Every meteorologist in the world knows Cordell Kansas. Cordell has the distinction of being hit three time three years in a row, on the same day. Farmers are familiar with the tool known as the Crustbuster. I tell the story how the Crustbuster came to be. Have you ever heard of the Walterschied Automobile? Want to build your own airplane? Get one from Rans at Hays. Lloyd Ratts was a farmer, machinist, and inventor that was still at it at 103 years of age. Funk brothers built airplanes but found a niche by installing bigger engines into Ford tractors. They ended up in Coffeeville and what remained of their company is now a part of the John Deere Company.

There are more stories about women that made their marks by being first. Peggy Hull was the first accredited war correspondent. Clementine Paddleford was a celebrated food writer that was published in leading journals long before anyone conceived the Food Network. Nannie Jones was a woman of color and grit who sued and won a lawsuit for denying her admittance to a sporting event. Dixie Lee was a famous madam in Wichita. Jazz great Karrin Allyson was from Great Bend. Amy Loucks served as a physician and educator in Western Kansas.

You have heard about Southeast Kansas being famous for fried chicken? You will fid out why. You also read about Pack Goats. There is much more.

TRUE TALES OF KANSAS can be found in book stores, Ordered from Amazon, You can order a signed copy from Roger Ringer, 2261 NE WELL RD, MEDICINE LODGE, KS. 67104.Send $20 I will pick up the postage.

Attention Educators. Schools should use the full set of Roger’s Kansas History books in your Kansas History curriculum. Contact me.

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