Indiana Novels and Historical Fiction

The settings for novels on this page were in historic Indiana. Many of the authors lived in Indiana or one of the other Great Lakes states. See the right column for more info about this website.


The Outlet

Boston: Houghton, Mifflin 1905
Adams, Andy Go to Book

Prince Cinderella

Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill 1921
Alexander, GraceGo to Book

The Blue Moon; A Tale of the Flatlands

Boston: Bobbs-Merrill 1919
Anderson, DavidGo to Book

The scene of the story is laid in Indiana in the late forties of the last century. The hero is a young man known as the Pearlhunter to his companions along the Wabash and he himself does not know his own name. Ever since he can remember he has lived with his mother among the pearl fishers. She is a woman of refinement, but he knows nothing of her past. She tells him part of her history, but her death cuts it short, and he goes out into the world nameless. The story has to do with the unraveling of this mystery and with the adventures that follow his finding of the wonderful pearl, known as the Blue Moon.
“This is a reckless swashbuckling story indeed. But there is very little false sentiment in it. It is human but never trite.”
– The Book Review Digest

An Indiana Man

Chicago: Schulte 1891
Armstrong, LeRoyGo to Book

Knights in Fustian; A War Time Story of Indiana

Boston: Houghton, Mifflin 1900
Brown, CarolineGo to Book

A Civil War story.
Buy the print version: Knights in Fustian: A War Time Story of Indiana

A Princess of Fiji

NY: Dodd, Mead 1892
Churchill, WilliamGo to Book

In the Twilight Zone

Boston: C.M. 1909
Craven, Roger CareyGo to Book

Life Sketches from Common Paths

NY: Appleton 1856
Dumont, Julia L.Go to Book

Julia Louisa Cory Dumont (1794-1857) was raised in New York by a widowed mother. She arrived in Vevay, IN in 1814 with her husband, where she began a long dual career; as an inspiring and revered teacher, and as a popular and respected author. You can find a biographical article about her by Skelcher, Lucille Detraz and Jane Lucille Skelcher at the Indiana Cultural History page of this site.

See also: Books about 19th Century American Women Authors

The Big Brother

NY: Putnam 1875
Eggleston, George Cary Go to Book

Historical fiction, about the War of 1812 and Tecumseh’s war.

Evelyn Byrd

Boston: Lothrop 1904
Eggleston, George CaryGo to Book

The Hoosier Schoolmaster: A Story of Backwoods Life in Indiana

NY: Grosset & Dunlap. 1871
Eggleston, EdwardGo to Book

“The Hoosier schoolmaster is a young man who undertakes the management of the Flat Creek school. He fights the boys; “boards roun’ ” with their parents; incurs the hostility of a gang of horse-thieves and burglars, who have at their head the principal physician among the Flat Crickers; narrowly escapes lynching at the hands of a mob instigated by the robbers..”
The band of thieves such as still here and there infest the Western country, keeping grand juries in awe, electing or killing sheriffs, and necessitating or instigating lynch-law executions; the “protracted meeting”; the spelling school in the evening; the “rough and tumble” fights; the brutality and sodden vulgarity of the ruder part of the community; the jumble of religious sects–something of these things which all once were of the West, if not precisely the West itself, is, on the whole, not ill sketched by Mr. Eggleston”.
– The Atlantic

Edward Eggleston (1837-1902) was born in Vevay, Indiana. He was both a novelist and a historian, authoring several texts of U.S. history.
See a profile of Eggleston in: Vedder, Henry C., American Writers of To-day in Century Past Collective Biographies: Authors Q – Z

More of Eggleston’s novels can be found on this website at the Great Lakes Novels and Historical Fiction and Illinois Novels and Historical Fiction pages.

Indiana Novels and Historical Fiction

The Hoosier School-boy

NY: Scribner’s Sons 1900
Eggleston, Edward Go to Book

See the biographical note on Eggleston at his other novel, above.

Signing the Contract, and What It Cost

NY: Dodd, Mead 1879
Finley, MarthaGo to Book


Boston: Roberts Brothers 1877
Fleming, GeorgeGo to Book

Elkswatawa, or, The Prophet of the West. A Tale of the Frontier

NY: Harper 1836
French, James Strange Go to Vol 1|Go to Vol 2

James Strange French (1807-1886) was a lawyer, novelist, and later a hotel keeper. He was educated at William and Mary and the University of Virginia, then read law with his uncle Robert French in Fayetteville, North Carolina. In 1831, French represented Nat Turner, as well as a number of other slaves accused of participating in Nat Turner’s slave rebellion. He was the author of at least one other novel, Sketches and Eccentricities of Col. David Crockett of West Tennessee (1833).


NY: Lane 1903
Hooper, Cyrus LauronGo to Book

A Man Story

Boston: Ticknor 1889
Howe, Edgar Watson Go to Book

The Rugged Way

Boston, Lothrop, Lee & Shepard 1911
Kramer, Harold Morton Go to Book

An Indiana Girl

Washington: Neale 1901
Lincoln, Fred S. Go to Book

A Forest Hearth : A Romance of Indiana in the Thirties

NY: Macmillan 1903
Major, Charles Go to Book

The author was born in Indianapolis in 1856 but lived in Shelbyville from the age of 13. He was a popular writer whose first novel appeared in 1898. He was also an attorney and an amateur historian of Indiana history and of the English Tudor period.

Indiana Novels and Historical Fiction

Uncle Tom Andy Bill: a story of bears and Indian treasure

NY: Macmillan 1908
Major, Charles Go to Book

See the biographical note on Major at his other novel above.

A book of lively, wholesome stories of adventure which Uncle Tom Andy Bill, seventy and reminiscent, selects from his boyhood experiences.
– Book Review Digest

The World Destroyer

Washington: Lucas-Lincoln 1903
Mann, Horace, (pseud.)Go to Book

The Man from Brodney’s

NY: Dodd, Mead 1908
McCutcheon, George BarrGo to Book

Quill’s Window

NY: Dodd, Mead 1921
McCutcheon, George BarrGo to Book

“Quill’s Window is the name given by a certain Indiana country population to the opening of a cave high up on a rock, a site connected with many weird stories. It becomes the center of this story, which relates the villainies of an invalided rake, posing as an ex-service man while he is making love and seducing country girls and trying to secure the hand of a rich heiress. When his iniquities have found him out, the cave becomes his last refuge where he is hounded down and brought to bay by the brother of one of his victims.
“The darker threads of the story are loosely woven together and the end, if not perfectly neat, is at least crashing.”
– The Book Review Digest

Slag; A Story of Steel and Stocks

Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill 1922
McGibeny, Donald Go to Book

The Sand Doctor

Boston: Houghton Mifflin 1921
Mulder, Arnold Go to Book

Thad Perkins: A Story of Early Indiana

London: Tennyson Neely 1899
Myers, Frank A.Go to Book

The Siege of the Seven Suitors

NY: Grosset & Dunlap 1910
Nicholson, MeredithGo to Book

The Hoosier Editor. A Tale of Indiana Life

Indianapolis: Tilford & Carlon 1877
Perrow, George L.Go to Book

The Conflict: A Novel

NY: Appleton 1911
Phillips, David Graham Go to Book

The Social Secretary

Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill 1905
Phillips, David GrahamGo to Book

Tales of a Vanishing River

NY: Lane 1920
Reed, Earl H. Go to Book

“The background of this collection of sketches and stories is the country through which flowed one of the most interesting of our western rivers before its destruction as a natural waterway. This book is not a history. It is intended as an interpretation of the life along the river that the author has come in contact with during many years of familiarity with the region.”
– from the author’s Foreword

The river was the Kankakee, near the southern end of Lake Michigan, and once the main confluent of the Illinois. Once it lapped its leisurely course with many ramifications through low marsh lands, teeming with natural beauty and bird life, the home of the Miami and Pottawatomie Indians. Now the Indians and the beauty and the birds are gone and a mighty ditch of straight-channeled course has drained away the marshes. The book is an attempt at the Interpretation of the life along the river that has vanished and is illustrated with sketches by the author. The contents are: The vanishing river; The silver arrow; The brass bound box; The “Wether book” of Buck Granger’s grandfather; Tipton Posey’s store; Muskrat Hyatt’s redemption; The turkey club; The predicaments of Colonel Peets; His unlucky star.
– Book Review Digest

Pipes o’Pan at Zekesbury

Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill 1888
Riley, James WhitcombGo to Book

James Whitcomb Riley (1849-1916) was an Indiana writer, poet, and best-selling author. During his lifetime he was known as the “Hoosier Poet” and “Children’s Poet” for his dialect works and his children’s poetry respectively. Pipes o’Pan at Zekesbury was his fourth novel, released to great critical acclaim.
-Wikipedia entry for Riley

Indiana Novels and Historical Fiction

Seth Way

Boston: Houghton 1917
Snedeker, Caroline D.Go to Book

Caroline Dale Snedeker (1871-1956) wrote primarily for young adults. Born in New Harmony, IN, she grew up in Vernon, IN and attended the College of Music in Cincinnati. After her marriage, the couple lived in New York. Seth Way was her third published novel. The setting is the utopian New Harmony settlement in Indiana in the 1840’s.

A story of the New Harmony community, Robert Owen’s experiment in communal living in Indiana. With a few exceptions the characters are real people. The hero, Seth Way, is modelled after Thomas Say, the zoologist, although the author has made him a younger man and has given him a different early environment and woven for him an original romance. Early in the story there Is a touching picture of the meeting between the uncouth, unlearned mountain boy, and William MacLure, the geologist, and of the awakening of the boy’s desire for knowledge. MacLure takes the boy under his protection, and gives him his start In scientific training. One of the important incidents of Seth Way’s association with the New Harmony community is his long journey from New York in company with Jessonda Macleod, who comes to the settlement as music teacher. Out of this grows his romance. Jessonda is interesting as a forerunner of the high-minded, independent woman of today.
– Book Review Digest

A Daughter of the Land

Toronto: 1918
Stratton-Porter, Gene Go to Book

Gene Stratton-Porter (1863-1924) was an author, naturalist, and wildlife photographer. She was also one of the earliest women to form a movie studio and production company. She wrote popular columns in national magazines as well as best-selling novels that were read by millions. Born and raised in Indiana, she and her husband lived near Geneva, IN. Two of her most popular novels were set in the swamp near their home.
– Wikipedia entry for Stratton-Porter

Mrs. Porter’s new novel is a story of two or more generations ago. Kate Bates is the youngest daughter of a rich Indiana farmer, known as the “land king.” Each of her numerous brothers, on reaching his majority, has been presented with a two-hundred acre farm, the deed to which remains in the father’s possession. Kate, when she learns that she is to be denied even the brief term of schooling that has been her sister’s portion rebels against her father’s authority. She has helped earn so many two-hundred acre farms for her brothers that her one ideal comes to be the possession of that number of acres for herself. The story follows her through many years of struggle and disappointment to final achievement.
– Book Review Digest

See also: Books about 19th Century American Women Authors


NY: Grosset & Dunlap 1904
Stratton-Porter, GeneGo to Book

The Gentleman from Indiana

NY: Doubleday 1899
Tarkington, Booth Go to Book

The Turmoil, a Novel

NY: Harper & Brothers 1915
Tarkington, Booth Go to Book

Booth Tarkington grew up in Indianapolis, and attended Princeton University. He set much of his fiction in Indiana. Tarkington was one of the more popular novelists of his time, and in 1921 booksellers rated him in a poll as the most significant contemporary American author.
-Wikipedia entry for Tarkington

The city that is the scene of this story might be Chicago, but it probably is not: it might be any one of the industrial cities of the middle west, but it probably is no one of them. It is any city, every city, that makes Bigness its god. Chief among the worshippers of Bigness in this city was Sheridan of the Sheridan trust company, and this is the story of Sheridan and his family; particularly it is the story of the youngest of them. Bibbs, a dreamy, imaginative youth, sick in mind and body. Such is the Bibbs first introduced to us. The Bibbs we see the last of has become the servitor of business with the rest of them: rising to the occasion when his father needs him and proving himself a man after his father’s own heart. And yet one hopes that he will prove to be something more than a servitor, that he will learn to make Bigness itself the servant; and Mary Vertrees, the very fine girl who had learned to love Bibbs in failure and in success, lends color to the hope.
– Book Review Digest

Indiana Novels and Historical Fiction

The Rose of Love

NY: Dodd, Mead 1903
Teal, AngelineGo to Book

Alice of Old Vincennes

Indianapolis: Bowen Merrill 1900
Thompson, MauriceGo to Book

A historical novel dealing with the life of the old Northwest in Revolutionary times.

James Maurice Thompson (1844-1901), son of a Baptist minister, was born in Fairfield, Indiana. The family moved to north Georgia in the 1850s and he was educated by tutors in the classical languages, literature, French and mathematics, which provided the basis for his later work as a civil engineer. During the Civil War Thompson served in the Confederate Army. After the war he lived in Calhoun, Georgia, studied surveying and engineering, and took up the study of law. He lived in Calhoun two years and began his career as a writer there.

In 1868 Thompson and his brother moved to Crawfordsville, Indiana. Maurice found work as an engineer on a new railroad under construction and the Thompson brothers married sisters. In 1871 Thompson moved from engineering work to law and opened an office with his brother. Now engaged in the practice of law, Thompson again took up writing, and in 1873 the Atlantic Monthly published one of his articles, after which he undertook a series of articles on archery which is acclaimed today in archery circles as the first effort to popularize the sport. Thompson’s first book appeared in 1875 and over the ensuing years he wrote in different genres, including historical fiction and nature poetry. He was elected to the Indiana State Legislature in 1879.
– Info from the website “Strangers to Us All – Lawyers and Poetry”

A Banker of Bankersville: a Novel

NY: Cassell 1886
Thompson, MauriceGo to Book

See the biographical note about the author at Alice of Old Vincennes, on this web page. This story is semi-autobiographical, about Crawfordsville, IN, where the author lived.

Sweetheart Manette

Philadelphia: Lippincott 1901
Thompson, MauriceGo to Book

Hiram Blair

Chicago: McClurg 1912
Tufts, DrewGo to Book

On the Frontier with St. Clair: A Story of the Early Settlement of the Ohio Country

Boston: Wilde 1902
Wood, Charles SeelyGo to Book

You can find more works like these at our other History of the Great Lakes States ‘Fiction’ pages.

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We have 300 more works of fiction from the late 19th and early 20th centuries on our Century Past Free Online Library at the Fiction Directory.


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