Jump to Navigation

Margaret Hill McCarter

Margaret Hill McCarterTeacher, author. Born: May 2, 1860, Carthage, Rush County, Indiana. Married: William A. McCarter, June 5, 1890. Died: August 31, 1938, Topeka, Kansas.

Topeka author Margaret Hill McCarter became well known during the early 20th century for her novels set against a background of the Kansas Prairies.

McCarter was born in Indiana, on May 2, 1860, to Thomas T. and Nancy (Davis) Hill. She attended Earlham College and in 1884 graduated from the State Normal School at Terre Haute, Indiana. She taught school in her home state and moved to Kansas in 1888 to head the department of English at Topeka High School. She married Dr. William A. McCarter June 5, 1890.

McCarter began her writing career in 1901. Her early works included The Cottonwood's Story, 1903; Cuddy's Baby, 1907; In Old Quivira, 1908; Cuddy and Other Stories, 1908. In 1909 she wrote The Price of the Prairie, which dealt with settlers in post Civil War Kansas and A Wall of Man, portraying the struggle between free-state and proslavery factions. These novels appealed to readers who appreciated her detailed descriptions of the landscape and events. (Read more about the locust tree in The Price of the Prairie.)

Later works include The Peace of the Solomon Valley, 1911; A Wall of Men, 1912; A Master's Degree, 1913; Winning of the Wilderness, 1914; The Cornerstone, 1915; Vanguards of The Plains, A Romance of the Santa Fe Trail, 1917; and The Reclaimers, 1918.

In addition to her writing, McCarter devoted much time to her work civic organizations and clubs and she became well known as a public speaker. Her activities in the Republican Party resulted in an invitation to address the 1920 convention, becoming the first woman to speak to the national gathering.

During her lifetime, McCarter received honorary doctorates from Washburn University and the College of Emporia. Margaret Hill McCarter Elementary School in Topeka, today perpetuates the memory of this Kansas author.

McCarter died August 31, 1938 and is buried in Topeka.

Entry: McCarter, Margaret Hill

Author: Kansas Historical Society

Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.

Date Created: June 2003

Date Modified: January 2013

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.