Middling Folk by Linda H. Matthews
Three Seas, Three Centuries, One Scots-Irish Family

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Historians and biographers have traditionally favored stories of the powerful and the trends they set in motion. More recently, they’ve spotlighted the neglected lives of the disenfranchised and dispossessed. “But,” asks Linda H. Matthews, descendant of the pragmatic, adaptable, and lively Hammill family, “who tells the stories of the people in the middle?”

Spanning three centuries and three seas, from the bluffs of Scotland and Ireland to colonial Chesapeake Bay and Virginia, then across the expanding nation into the Pacific Northwest, Middling Folk makes the compelling case that the experiences of the middle classes--those who “quietly, century after century, conducted the business and built the livelihoods that made their societies prosper”--reveal a great deal about the founding of the United States and the ways in which customs and traditions are perpetuated through the generations.

Matthews combines meticulous research and deft storytelling to show how the Scots-Irish Hammills--millers, wagon makers, and blacksmiths--lived out their lives against a backdrop of the American Revolution, the Civil War, and westward expansion. Readers will come away with a newfound respect for the ordinary families who helped shape this country and managed to hold their own through turbulent times.


About Linda H. Matthews

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Linda H. Matthews is the cofounder and former publisher of Chicago Review Press. She is the coauthor of The Balancing Act: A Career and a Family and has contributed several articles to The Mill Racer, the monthly newsletter of the Occoquan Historical Society of Occoquan, Virginia. For more information, visit www.middlingfolk.com
Published November 1, 2009 by Chicago Review Press. 384 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Education & Reference. Non-fiction

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As the family cyclically passes through the private dramas of births and deaths, weddings and funerals, hopes and disappointments, gains and losses, the author unassumingly taps into the natural rhythm of life and history, drawing numerous universal conclusions about family, ancestry and social i...

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Historical Novel Society

I would recommend this book to anyone interested in learning about one family’s march through time as well as a study of the unpretentious, hardworking middling folk who remain the backbone of America to this day.

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