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Mary Lee Settle

Mary Lee Settle

Mary Lee Settle (1918 – 2005) is the author of 21 books, including The Beulah Quintet — a five volume work of historical fiction that spans two continents and 300 years of American history. Each book is set at a moment of transition, a time right on the edge of deep societal change. Beulah Land, where the novels unfold, is a fictional place grounded in the reality of Settle’s family home place at Cedar Grove, West Virginia.

  • Prisons (published. 1973) –  Follows two soldiers in Oliver Cromwell’s army, members of the Leveller Movement, during the English Civil Wars
  • O Beulah Land (pub. 1956) – Warfare over who would control the Ohio Valley in the lead-up to the American Revolution
  • Know Nothing (pub. 1960)The valley has transformed into a mountain plantation in the years before Civil War comes to Beulah
  • The Scapegoat (pub. 1980)Set in 1912 in the days and hours before a major coal strike erupts in southern West Virginia
  • The Killing Ground (pub. 1982) - The final novel takes us up to and beyond the cultural revolution of the 1960s, ending in 1979

Mary Lee on the Web

A few of our favorite Mary Lee readings and resources online…

Biographical and Critical Readings in Print

Archival Sources

  • Boston University Library – Mary Lee Settle Collection
  • West Virginia State Archives and History Collection – Tompkins Collection, audio visual collection
  • West Virginia & Regional History Center at West Virginia University - Tompkins Papers
  • Appalshop Archive – Maxine Kenny interview for “Go Tell It On the Mountain,” hosted by Nikki Giovanni
  • American Prose Audio Library – Interview by Kay Bonetti


Listen to Kate Long’s hour-long 2003 special: Mary Lee Settle reading, reflecting, even singing. It’s a part of Kate’s “In Their Own Country” series on West Virginia writers, which won a Gabriel Award.