Selected Books about Pioneer Life in Early Illinois


Each book entry on site pages has a brief description and a link to the free online book. Click on the page name to open it in a new tab, and you’ll find the recommended works there. They are listed alphabetically, by author.
For tips on reading online and downloading, see the note at the bottom of this page.


Illinois Biographies & Memoirs page

Bacheller, Irving, A Man for the Ages: A Story of the Builders of Democracy

Burlend, Rebecca, A True Picture of Emigration, or, Fourteen Years in the Interior of North America (etc.)

Hubbard, Gurdon S., The Autobiography of Gurdon Saltonstall Hubbard, Pa-pa-ma-ta-be, “The Swift Walker”

Reynolds, John, My Own Times, embracing also the History of my Life

Tillson, Christiana H., A Woman’s Story of Pioneer Illinois

Illinois Explorers and Travelers page

Faux, William, Memorable days in America; being a journal of a tour to the United States (etc.)

Illinois Local History page

Burroughs, Burt E., Legends and Tales of Homeland on the Kankakee

Illinois Social History page

Matson, N., Pioneers of Illinois, containing a Series of Sketches relating to Events that occurred previous to 1813 (etc.)

Perryman, F. M., Pioneer Life in Illinois

Strand, A. E., comp. and ed., A History of the Norwegians of Illinois; (etc.)

Waller, Elbert, Illinois Pioneer Days



Tips for Reading Online and Downloading

More than half the books on our website at History of the Great Lakes States are hosted by Internet Archive or Open Library. They are sister organizations and use the same online viewer application. In most cases this viewer will give you nearly perfect text if you;

1. switch from the double-page to the single-page view by using the icons in the bottom right corner, and;

2. Keep zooming in until the text snaps into a clear focus.

Using the single-page view allows you to scroll pages down with your mouse wheel.

You can download books from these two sites by clicking on the book name at the top-left corner of the page (in the viewer) to get to the download menu.