Thursday, May 16, 2019
This is the introduction of a multiple part series. Read Part 1 or Part 2.

Julia Lucas, a retired professional runner and former collegiate all-American, is an MFA student in the Nonfiction Writing Program at the University of Iowa.

Julia Lucas

As part of her MFA thesis project, Lucas will retrace the steps of her great, great, great grandmother, who abandoned her three young children in 1862 and headed west on foot from Hickman, Tenn., to Prairie Grove, Ark. Julia feels this trip is an essential and final step in piecing together her own picture of the psychologically tortured, athletically-gifted women of her family.

Lucas will walk her great, great, great grandmother’s 465-mile journey over six weeks, starting on May 18. Julia will share her experiences here on our website through her own words and photos once a week until the completion of her three-state trip. The trip is being financially supported through a MFA Summer Fellowship from the Graduate College.

“I’ve become interested in this lineage of strong, clinically anxious but fiercely independent women in my family, especially as they seem to have emerged from the inexplicable wanderings of my ancestor,” Lucas says.