|James Werner, Photo credit: Larry Fenwick|
My lack of professional preparation for doing research was embarrassing when we reached Wernersville with only the research I had in my memory, but I was rewarded with far more information than I deserved, and one of those rewards was meeting James Werner, to whom I was introduced because we wandered into Hains Church after visiting the church cemetery. I had asked if any Werners were members of the church, and that is how I was introduced to James, who interrupted his day to come to the church to share much of his family history as a descendant of Isaac Werner's favorite uncle.
In my files I have a letter dated July 5, 2012, in which I tell James "The manuscript is completed, and I am at the point of preparing submissions to publishers." My expectations for quickly finding a publisher were overly optimistic! My previous books had been published quickly, but as most of you reading this blog know, Prairie Bachelor was finally released in late December of 2020, twelve years after I first saw the journal and began my work toward telling Isaac's story! I was determined to write history accurately but in a style that would read like a novel. Academics already know about the Populist Movement, but most Americans do not know about the most successful Third Party in our history, and I wanted to share that important past with general readers through Isaac Werner and his community. Finding a publisher willing to do that proved challenging. I am proud that Prairie Bachelor, The Story of a Kansas Homesteader & the Populist Movement was honored as a 2021 Kansas Notable Book.
|Gifting "Prairie Bachelor" to Heidelberg Heritage Society|