The Mystery of Mamie Thurman


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   Perhaps one of the most famous murders in our mountain state is that of Mamie Thurman; which to this day (over eighty years ago) has yet to be solved. Mamie's body was recovered from 22 Mine road just seven miles from a small coal town, Logan. There have been many theories through the years as to just what happened to Mamie leading up to her tragic end. Residents of Logan still claim to see a young woman walking the road at night. Who could have murdered Mamie? And does her ghost still haunt 22 mine road? We may never know for sure, but after the completion of this webquest, you will be familiar enough with the story to make a well educated guess. 

Students will create a slideshow presentation featuring 5 slides (not including the title slide with student information) to be turned in to me. The first slide should feature simple biographical information about Mamie that you found notable. The second slide is where you will identify who you think committed the murder. The third and fourth slide will be your chance to prove to me, and eventually the class, why you think they did it. The fifth slide will be blank at first. Once turned in to me, I will group you with those who think the same. You will get with your group and work together to make your argument even more compelling. Along with this you finish the fifth slide by finding another WV ghost story (must be agreed upon by the group, and I will make sure no two groups have the same story) and discuss it briefly with the class and have any important information on the last slide. The presentation will be turned back in after group presentations for a final grade (see evaluation for details.)

-The students will go to the given sites and read about the life and tragic end of Mamie Thurman:

-They will use the sites given to decide who they think committed the crime.

-A slide show presentation with the following will be created: a title slide, a biographical slide, a slide identifying who they think murdered Mamie, two slides defending their assumption, and a fifth which will be completed later.

-Presentations will be turned in, and then students will be grouped with others who blame the same person.

-Groups will work together and exchange information to make a more compelling argument.

-Finally, each group will chose another WV ghost story to tell to the class and include all important facts on the fifth slide. This should include the site(s) where information was found.

-Groups will present and then grades will be assigned both as a group and as an individual.


4 points- Excellent

3 points- Good

2- Average

1 point- Needs Improvement

0 points- Did not complete task

Use of links for successful completion

Students noticeably used the links provided to their advantage. They came away with accurate, as well as, important information that enhanced their project.  

Students noticeably used the links given, but did not seem to read through them all. At least two sources were thoroughly explored and used to enhance the project.  

The student skimmed through the links and got the needed information. They seem to only have strong pieces of information from one source and it does not do what is necessary to enhance the project.

The student did not appear to have investigated with the given links, but just had basic information and made a random guess.

Student did not use required links.

Slideshow Presentation

The presentation is set up as requested and all necessary information is included. The student has put a lot of thought into their guess.

The presentation is set up as requested and has most required information, only missing one or two small details. The student put effort into their guess.

The presentation does not follow guidelines very well, but it is understandable. The student did not seem to care about the guess, but it was included.

The presentation is messy and hard to follow. Guidelines were not met, and the student noticeably put no effort into their guess and information to back it.

The presentation was not complete, and the student did not make a guess.

Time Use

The student stayed on task and used in class time for the project’s completion.

The student was mainly on task, getting off topic a couple times to socialize.

The student spent at least half of the time off task or socializing, and it shows in the final product.

Even though the student turned the project in, they spent most of the time off task or socializing, and it shows in the final product.

Time was wasted.

Group Presentation and Story Slide

The group worked well together, spent their time cooperating to create a very strong argument, and they also completed the story telling slide together, successfully. It is obvious that the group worked hard to find a story that would entertain the class.

The group worked well together, but their presentation could have been a little more rehearsed. The group completed the story telling slide together with minor flaws.

The group completed the activity, but spent too much time off task. There was not much effort that went into the story telling slide.

The group did not work well presenting together, and put little effort into their story telling activity.

The group did not prepare a presentation, no fifth slide was completed.


This lesson teaches a bit of West Virginia's darker side of history. Students will come away with a good sense of how to investigate sources for the information necessary for the quest's completion. Through group presentations and verbal discussion, the class will get to see different perspectives and opinions, while defending their own. Following this activity, we will view one Logan county native's (Keith Davis) opinion delivered in his book, "The Secret Life and Brutal Death of Mamie Thurman." This lesson will cross contents, and cover history as well as reading and English. If you feel so inclined, go check out 22 mine road for yourself to see if the hills are really haunted by Mamie. 


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Purpose: Students are completing this webquest not only to learn more about WV history, but to learn to use resources to find and incorporate found information into a project, paper, or presentation.


Objectives: - Using technology to find needed information, not accessible otherwise

-Weeding out that which is useful (information,) from that which is not

-Mastering technology to create a slideshow presentation

-Working with others who are like-minded to create a stronger, shared argument

-Respecting and listening to the perspectives and opinions of others, while still defending one’s own


Learner Description: This is appropriate for grades 9-11, because it requires students to not only use resources to find information, but to weed through what information is needed and what is not. Students are learning to incorporate useful information that enhances their writing, projects, and presentations.


Standards Addressed:

  • ELA.9.R.C3.3- analyze various accounts of a subject told in different mediums of informational texts (e.g., a person’s life story in both print and multimedia), determining which details are emphasized in each account. (CCSS RI.9-10.7)
  • ELA.9.R.C3.4- delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in an informational text, assessing whether the reasoning is valid and the evidence is relevant and sufficient; identify false statements and fallacious reasoning. (CCSS RI.9-10.8)
  • ELA.9.SL.C14.1- present information, findings and supporting evidence clearly, concisely and logically such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, substance and style are appropriate to purpose, audience and task. (CCSS SL.9-10.4)