Memoirs and Diaries from the Indiana Frontier


We have a number of memoirs and diaries/journals from people who traveled in or settled in early Indiana, many of which are listed below.


Click on the page name to open it in a new tab, and you’ll find the recommended works there, with descriptions and links. They are listed alphabetically, by author.
For tips on reading online and downloading, see the note at the bottom of this page.


Indiana Biographies & Memoirs

Coffin, Levi, Reminiscences of Levi Coffin, the Reputed President of the Underground Railroad (1880)

Eggleston, George C., Life in Early Indiana (1910)

Esarey, Logan (PhD), ed., The Pioneers of Morgan County; Memoirs of Noah J. Major (1915)


Indiana Cultural History

Smith, Oliver H., Early Indiana Trials and Sketches (1858)


Indiana Explorers & Travelers

Lindley, Harlow, Indiana as Seen by Early Travelers; a collection of reprints from books of travel, letters and diaries prior to 1830 (1916)


Indiana Native Americans

Gipson, Lawrence H., ed., The Moravian Indian Mission on White River: diaries and letters, May 5, 1799, to November 12, 1806 (1938)

Hopkins, Gerard T., A Mission to the Indians, from the Indian Committee of Baltimore Yearly Meeting to Fort Wayne in 1804, compiled by Tyson, Martha in 1862 (1862)


Indiana Religion

Williams, William, Journal of the Life, Travels, and Gospel Labours of William Williams, dec., a Minister of the Society of Friends, late of White-Water, Indiana (1828)


Indiana Social History

Federal Writers Project, Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States from Interviews with Former Slaves: Indiana Narratives (1941)

Gillmore, Parker, Prairie Farms and Prairie Folk (1872)

Macdonald, Donald, The Diaries of Donald Macdonald, 1824-1826 (1942)


Indiana War & Military

Walker, Adam, A Journal of Two Campaigns of the Fourth Regiment of the U.S. Infantry in the Michigan and Indiana Territories, under the Command of Col. John P. Boyd, and Lt. Col. James Miller during the years 1811 & 12 (1816)



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.