Call him General Eisenhower or General Patton. Or call him Tecumseh, legendary Shawnee leader. How about Daniel Boone? Or better yet, just call him Kenneth Hammontree. No, he’s not identity challenged, he’s Mr. Ohio History–a walking historical library.
After college, Ken began teaching American and Ohio History. He was surprised to learn that many of his students did not share his excitement about our past. Realizing the students had a difficult time relating to our past; Ken came up with an unusual plan. He would occasionally teach the class in first person, impersonating an historical figure. His first performance was as Johnny Appleseed.
That was the humble beginning of Living History Productions. Through the years, Ken has accumulated various wigs, make-up, costumes and historical characters. After teaching, Ken decided to go into engineering design with Marathon Oil Company, but wanted to continue bringing living history to Ohio, so he continues to appear at schools, libraries, historical societies and other events throughout the state.
Ken adds a new historical character every few years, but he insists they meet strict criteria before joining his repertoire. The characters must display integrity, have moral credibility and be someone that young people can look up to and learn from. Ken thoroughly researches each new addition right down to the clothing and world events that surrounded that character’s period.
Although he has portrayed numerous people over the years, his favorite characters are George Washington, Generals Eisenhower and Patton, and of course, his first character Johnny Appleseed. In addition to being a thespian and historical role player, Ken is also a published author. His first book, “There Was a Time” is a historical novel centering on Jennie Wade, the only civilian killed in the battle of Gettysburg.