Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts




English (MA)

First Advisor/Chairperson

Matthew Frank


This project compiled research of my family history to present an honest and creative portrayal of my family’s journey, connecting the stories of my ancestors to the common struggle, movement, and growth of humanity. The Duckworth’s were farmers who came to West Virginia from Maryland in the 1830s. Five pieces follow the course of the Duckworths, who witnessed the growth of industrialism, the toils of migration, the extension of the B&O railroad, and the eruption of the American Civil War. The lives described in this thesis are the patriarchs of the Duckworth family, beginning with Henry Duckworth migrating to West Virginia due to the coal mining industry overtaking his home and continues with George Duckworth, the focus shifting to creating something tangible of his life for future generations. Place becomes central to the life of Ephraim Duckworth who not only worked the land but also fought in the Civil War. Progressing further in time, Hansford Duckworth moves off the farm and becomes more informed of the stories that are creating the United States and creating him as well. The final “creation” of Lowell Farrell Duckworth once again aims at truly experiencing his past life by examining tangible photos that he left behind. Through each of these essays, I was able to evoke the essence of my family and place them into the grand narrative of human existence. Ultimately, by combining lyricism and biography, I was able to see my own context in the history of my family and my family’s context in history.

Access Type

Open Access

Included in

Nonfiction Commons