August 26, 2018
Joyce Thierer as Mary Fix
Scholar/performer Joyce Thierer of Ride into History will transport the audience back a century and a half with her stories of Kansas Territory.
People from Missouri, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and points east and between poured into Kansas in 1854 for “free” land. Meanwhile, tribal people who had always considered the plains land theirs and peoples who had been removed to the Territory by the U.S. government were struggling to maintain their way of life and feed their families.
Joyce Thierer meets the audience as Mary Fix, who is proud that her family’s fulfillment of the Homestead Act has made her husband the owner of their farm. She tells how she decided that this place was where they would stop on their westward journey because it reminded her of their home in Pennsylvania. They soon found they had neighbors in the “empty” land, long-established Kanza and Potawatomie peoples.
“Coming to Kansas Territory” reflects Joyce Thierer’s personal ties as well as her professional passions. Mary Fix was Joyce’s great-great grandmother. Joyce grew up hearing many of Mary’s stories about settling in Kansas Territory from her grandfather as they checked cattle in a horse-drawn buggy. Mary’s personality and some of her stories are, however, drawn from other settlers. A fifth generation (since 1856) Flint Hills, Kansas landowner, Dr. Thierer’s research and teaching are in agricultural history, women’s history, and the history of Kansas and the West. As a youngster she rode her horse from her parent’s farm to the Wabaunsee County bookmobile, where she filled her saddlebags with books on archeology and history. Her bachelor’s and doctoral degrees in history are from Kansas State University. She also has master’s degrees in library science and history from Emporia State University, and was a librarian in Kansas and Nebraska. She is Professor of History at Emporia State University and was recently inducted into the Kansas Cowboy Hall of Fame.
Joyce Thierer founded the Ride into History historical performance touring troupe in 1989 with her signature performance of Calamity Jane. The troupe has performed as far west as Saipan, as far east as the Smithsonian in Washington, DC, as far north as Northfield, Minnesota, and as far south as Port Arthur, Texas. Through the Ride into History Cultural and Educational Project, Inc. she and Ann Birney also conduct workshops and youth camps. Her two books, Telling History and Performing History have been published for the American Association of State and Local History by Rowman-Littlefield.
Join us for a walk back into the history of Volland on a Flint Hills summer afternoon.
Free Admission. Family Friendly.