Living History

Living History Productions - Ken Hammontree

Call him General Dwight David Eisenhower or General George Patton. Or call him Tecumseh, legendary Shawnee leader. How about Daniel Boone? Or better yet, just call him Ken Hammontree. No, he's not identity-challenged. He is Mr. Ohio History and 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 harbor the same excitement about history that he did. Realizing the students had a difficult time relating to history, Ken came up with an unusual plan. He would occasionally teach the class in first-person, impersonating a historical figure. His first performance was Johnny Appleseed.

All Episodes

In the history of church music, Fanny Crosby stands out as the queen of gospel hymns. Born in 1820, she became blind at six weeks old. Rather than hinder, blindness gave her an ear for rhyme and an opportunity for education. She believed that God had ordained her blindness for His glory. By the time of her death in 1915, she had written more than 8,000 hymns many of which are still sung today.

Jun 2

29 min 10 sec

Why did he do it? Why did this ordinary German businessman spend over four million Marks to keep Jews out of the death camps? Why did he continue to risk his life and those of his wife and children for over three years in order to help Jews? Many think of Oskar Schindler as a great Samaritan and compare him to Mother Teresa. However, Oskar Schindler does not exactly fit the description of a Samaritan angel very well; he had many bad habits, including excessive drinking, smoking, and spending lots of money on expensive suits with large Nazi badges on them. No one will ever completely understand why Schindler did what he did. But we do know this: Oskar Schindle rose to the highest level of humanity. He walked through the dark, bloody mud of the Holocaust without soiling his soul. His compassion and respect for human life gave the 1,300 Jews a second chance for life when there was none. Schindler miraculously managed to save over 1,300 Jews during World War II by using the same talents that made him a wealthy war profiteer: his flair for presentation, bribery, and above all, his grand gestures to the SS in Berlin. The German industrialist established an enamelware factory in Krakow, adjacent to the SS force labor camp of Plaszow working with SS-Hauptsturmführer Amon Göth. Then, because of the approaching Russian forces, the SS decided to close the camp at Plaszow and send the Jews to Auschwitz. Schindler quickly set out to establish another work camp at Brünnlitz in the Sudetenland for his workers. In order to accomplish this transfer of Emalia workers, several lists of names were written by Marcel Goldberg, Mietek Pemper, and Itzhak Stern. With Schindler’s approval of the lists, the Jewish workers, along with 250 wagon loads of machinery and raw materials, were moved to the new factory at Schindler’s cost. At the beginning of the war, Schindler had earned millions of German Marks as a war profiteer. He ended the war by spending his last German Marks and risking his life and that of his family to save the Jews. Schindler not only saved lives, but he saved our faith in humanity. After World War II, Oskar Schindler was isolated and rejected by his fellow Germans. On May 8, 1962, Yad Vashem invited Schindler and his wife to plant a carob tree on the Avenue of the Righteous. He died penniless in Hildesheim, Germany in October of 1974. Schindler’s last wish was to be buried in Jerusalem among his Jewish friends.

May 5

26 min 44 sec

On December 8, 1777, when the skirmishes at Whitemarsh were coming to a close, it was well past time for Washington's army to go into winter quarters. Although it may seem quaint today, winter weather and the rigors of winter campaigning was avoided. Supply was complicated by the cold and the rigors of winter campaigning were difficult on the health and poorly clothed and poorly nourished soldiers. Even before his shoeless, shirtless, and blanketless soldiers trudged to Valley Forge, General Washington was under savage attack by critics in Congress and the upper ranks of his army. More and more people concluded it was time to replace this fallen idol with a more reliable and experienced general. However, Washington never loses sight of his goal, which is not a petty personal triumph over his adversaries, but the rescue of his army. The defining moments of the Revolutionary War did not occur on the various battlefields, but at Valley Forge. Washington must wage a secondary war against the slander of his reputation as a general and a patriot. Valley Forge lay at the junction of the Schuylkill River and Valley Creek. Actually, Valley Forge was not a valley but a high rolling ground with gentle slopes two miles long overlooking the Schuylkill River. When Washington decided to march his 12,400 man army to this winter encampment twenty miles from Philadelphia, many in his command criticized him bitterly for failing to attack General Howe in Philadelphia. Not wishing another defeat like that at Germantown in October, Washington made the right decision by avoiding an open battle he was not prepared to fight. Valley Forge was close enough to watch General Howe and far enough away to guard against a surprise attack. It was not the severe cold that was to make the Continentals miserable but the bungling quartermaster department and the avarice of American merchants and farmers that created the suffering at Valley Forge. Quaker farmers preferred to sell their goods to the British who paid in hard coin. Merchants in Boston and New York would not move governmental clothing off their shelves at anything less than 1,000%. Profiteering and graft were everywhere from Congress (when they could be found) down to the local merchants. It was a free-for-all and Washington's men suffered for it. The good news for Valley Forge came in February when Friedrich Wilhelm Ludolf Gerhard Augustin Stuebe, known in history as Baron Von Steuben (who was neither a Baron nor a general) introduced the troops to a vigorous, systematic training regime that transformed the ragged amateur troops into a confident 18th century military organization capable of standing up against the British in an open field of battle. On June 9, 1778, Washington abandoned Valley Forge and followed the retreating British who had just left Philadelphia. Washington had lost nearly 4,000 men who either died or had deserted over to the British. As Washington rode up alongside his troops when departing Valley Forge, one could hear for miles the soldiers yelling, "Long live General Washington! Long live freedom forever!" You can watch General Washington at www.aga.network or download the AGA app on your phone or smart TV.

Mar 19

24 min 41 sec

Tonight is the evening of July 6, 1944. General Eisenhower is addressing the international press corps that has been flown across the English Channel for this exclusive press conference. These are Eisenhower’s first public comments on the D-Day invasion (Operation Overlord) and its success. Operation Overlord was the greatest amphibious operation the world has ever seen - a truly staggering feat of logistics that involved putting ashore on the Normandy beaches a total of 176,475 men, 3000 artillery pieces, 1500 tanks and 15,000 assorted vehicles. Close to 8000 fighting ships, merchant ships, and assault crafts were committed to the entire invasion force along with 10,500 air sorties. Allied commanders secretly predicted to Eisenhower that as many as 10,000 men could be killed in the first 24 hours of the landings (The Longest Day) and that the invasion could be pushed back into the sea. Thankfully, they were overly pessimistic. Fewer than 4500 Allied soldiers were killed on D-Day, and the total casualties were 8422. This was in part due to the highly intricate Allied deception plans and the breaking of the Enigma Code that led Hitler and his military staff to believe the invasion would be at Pas-De-Calais, the narrowest point between England and France. The D-Day landings were the beginning of the end of Hitler’s Third Reich. WATCH THE SHOW! See Ken Hammontree's characters come to life on the Living History show, exclusively on the AGA Network. Download the AGA Network (America's Greatest Awakening) app on your phone or any smart TV device to watch videos on-demand. Visit www.aga.network for more information.

Dec 2020

51 min 19 sec