Ohio Novels and Historical Fiction


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


Winesburg Ohio; A Group of Tales of Ohio Small Town Life

NY: Modern Library 1919
Anderson, SherwoodGo to Book

“The reader feels that it is real life that is passing by in a procession of “grotesques,” as the author himself suggests. Most of the characters portrayed are scarred and warped by handicaps from within and from without, whose hidden sources are revealed by the writer’s flashes of psychologic insight. The tales are loosely linked together by their local background and the figure of George Willard, the young reporter. Some of the titles are: Hands; Mother; The philosopher; Nobody knows; A man of Ideas; Respectability; Loneliness; An awakening; Drink; Death.”
“As a challenge to the snappy short story form, with its planned proportions of flippant philosophy, epigrammatic conversation and sex danger, nothing better has come out of America than ‘Winesburg, Ohio.’ With Sherwood Anderson simplicity Is both an art and a limitation. But the present book is well within his powers, and he has put into it the observation, the brooding ‘odds and ends of thoughts.’ of many years. It was set down by a patient and loving craftsman; it is in a new mood, and one not easily forgotten.”
– The Book Review Digest

Cousin Sadie

Boston: Stratford 1920
Anderton, DaisyGo to Book

“The scene is a college town in Ohio to which the heroine, Sara Dickinson, descendant of a long line of Calvinistic forebears, returns after a long absence. She thinks she has shaken off the teachings of her childhood, but in a crucial situation, involving love between herself and the husband of a young cousin, the sharp sense of distinction between right and wrong reasserts itself.”
“The atmosphere of an Ohio college town is well done.”
– The Book Review Digest

The Bandits of the Osage: A Western Romance

Cincinnati: Robinson and Jones 1847
Bennett, EmersonGo to Book

Emerson Bennett (1822-1905) was born in Massachusetts, left home at 16, and lived in various cities, including Cincinnati, Lawrenceburg, IN and Philadelphia. He published his first short story in 1843, and by 1880 had published more than 30 books and hundreds of short stories. His adventure stories about the west were very popular from the 1840s to the 1860s with an emerging mass market of readers.

Leni Leoti; or, Adventures in the far West. A Sequel to “Prairie Flower”

Cincinnati: James 1852
Bennett, EmersonGo to Book

See the brief biographical sketch of Emerson Bennett at the novel The Bandits of the Osage, on this webpage.

The Prairie Flower

Cincinnati: James 1852
Bennett, Emerson Go to Book

See the brief biographical sketch of Emerson Bennett at the novel The Bandits of the Osage, on this webpage.

Ohio Novels and Historical Fiction

The Phantom of the Forest: A Tale of the Dark and Bloody Ground

Philadelphia: Potter 1868
Bennett, Emerson Go to Book

See the brief biographical sketch of Emerson Bennett at the novel The Bandits of the Osage, on this webpage.

Plain People: A Story of the Western Reserve

New York: Publishers’ Print. Co 1892
Branch, Edward P.Go to Book


The Bishop’s Son: A Novel

NY: Carleton 1857
Cary, Alice Go to Book

Alice Cary (1820-1871) was born near Cincinnati in 1820. She grew up on Clovernook farm; land that her grandfather received in lieu of pay as a Revolutionary War veteran in 1803. The Cincinnati press first published her verse when she was 18, to an enthusiastic reception. Alice remained at Clovernook until 1850, when she and her sister Phoebe moved to New York. In the same year her first volume of poems was published, launching a highly successful literary career. There is a biographical chapter about her in Venable, Beginnings of Literary Culture in the Ohio Valley, on the Great Lakes Cultural History page of this site.

See also: Books about 19th Century American Women Authors

Ohio Novels and Historical Fiction

Clovernook; or Recollections of our Neighborhood in the West

NY: Lovell 1852
Cary, AliceGo to Book

See the biographical note of Cary at The Bishop’s Son, on this page.

Married, not Mated, or, How they Lived at Woodside and Throckmorton Hall

Cincinnati: Derby 1856
Cary, AliceGo to Book

See the biographical note of Cary at The Bishop’s Son, on this page.

Pictures of Country Life

NY: Derby & Jackson 1859
Cary, AliceGo to Book

See the biographical note of Cary at The Bishop’s Son, on this page.

Ohio Novels and Historical Fiction

Flatboats and Wagon Wheels

Chicago: Beckley-Cardy 1948
Comfort, Mildred H, and Dirk Gringhuis Go to Book

Juvenile fiction from the mid-20th century. The story is about two children of the 1780s who, with their parents, leave their Pennsylvania farm and travel to the Ohio frontier by flatboat to start a new life near Losantiville (Cincinnati).

Chronicle of an Old Town

NY: Abingdon 1919
Cunningham, Albert BenjaminGo to Book

“A Methodist minister who has grown old in the service of an eastern church is turned out by his trustees with rather callous cruelty, because after a long period of domestic affliction he has lost much of his earlier vigor. The men in authority in his denomination also seem to have little use for him now that he has grown old, but by pure luck he is assigned to the church in a little Ohio town. His congregation is composed of simple, easy-going country people who show him and his family the greatest kindness. Men and women are drawn in a lifelike manner with all their peculiarities of speech and behavior. There is a youthful romance in which the minister’s daughter finds her happiness.”
“Its unimportant love story, leisurely told, lets the minister and two other mellow philosophers talk rustic wisdom that is richly flavored.”
– The Book Review Digest

The Broad Aisle; A Realistic Tale of Early Ohio

London: Neely 1899
Daggett, Mary Stewart Go to Book


Tales and Sketches of the Queen City

Cincinnati: Morgan 1838
Drake, BenjaminGo to Book

This volume contains thirteen tales or sketches, several of which were published in the Hesperian and other periodicals in the 1830s.

-The Queen City
-The Novice of Cahokia
-Putting a Blackleg on Shore
-The Baptism
-The Yankee Colporteen
-The Grave of Rosalie
-The Burial by Moonlight
-A Kentucky Election
-Visit to the Blue Licks
-Trying on a Shoe
-The Battle of Brindle and the Buckeyes
-The Buried Canoe
-The Flag-Bearer

The Hunter’s Cabin; An Episode of the Early Settlements of Southern Ohio

NY: Beadle 1862
Ellis, Edward SylvesterGo to Book


Ned on the River

Philadelphia: Porter & Coates 1884
Ellis, Edward S. Go to Book

An adventure story that takes place in 1789 on the Ohio frontier and includes fighting Indians. Author Edward S. Ellis (1840-1916), was a teacher and school administrator who published hundreds of books and magazine articles under his own name and more than a dozen pseudonyms.

Ohio Novels and Historical Fiction

George Mason, the Young Backwoodsman; Or, ‘Don’t Give Up the Ship.’

Boston: Hilliard Gray 1829
Flint, TimothyGo to Book

Timothy Flint (1780-1840) was one of the most significant literary figures in the early history of the Old Northwest. He was a minister and graduate of Harvard who went west in 1815 to carry out missionary work. For the next ten years he traveled in the Mississippi Valley, publishing in 1826 a memoir called Recollections of the Last Ten Years. In 1833 he published Biographical Memoir of Daniel Boone, which did much to develop the Boone legend. He also founded and edited the Western Monthly, a literary magazine in Cincinnati from 1827-1830. You can find a biography of Flint by John Kirkpatrick on the Ohio Biographies and Memoirs page of this site. There is also a biographical chapter about him in Venable, Beginnings of Literary Culture in the Ohio Valley, on the Great Lakes Cultural History page.

Betty Zane

Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press 1903
Grey, ZaneGo to Book

This adventure from frontier Indian wars is based on fact. Pearl Zane Grey (1872-1939), born in Zanesville, OH, was best known for his popular adventure novels and stories that presented an idealized image of the American frontier. Over 100 films have been produced from his books.

The Last Trail

Roslyn, N.Y: Walter J. Black 1909
Grey, ZaneGo to Book

See the biographical note of Zane at Betty Zane, on this page.

Ohio Novels and Historical Fiction

The Spirit of the Border: A Romance of the Early Settlers in the Ohio Valley

New York: A.L. Burt 1906
Grey, Zane and J W. DavisGo to Book

See the biographical note of Zane at Betty Zane, on this page.

East and West: A Story of New-Born Ohio

New York: Cassell 1892
Hale, Edward E.Go to Book

Edward Everett Hale (1822-1909) was a child prodigy in Boston who graduated from Boston Latin School at age 13 and enrolled immediately afterward at Harvard College. There he was elected Class Poet and graduated second in his class, then went on to study at Harvard Divinity School. In the second half of the 19th century he was prominent in the American literary scene through short stories in periodicals, novels, and a variety of non-fiction works. He was at the same time a Unitarian minister at a Boston church and an active social reformer.

Legends of the West

NY: Putnam 1832
Hall, JamesGo to Book

James Hall (1793-1868) lived in Ohio and Illinois, editing a magazine in Cincinnati. He authored many stories of adventure on the western frontier and was considered one of the most talented writers in the West.

Also see:
– Hall, James, The Wilderness and the War Path in Illinois Novels and Historical Fiction
;
– a biographical chapter about James Hall in Venable, William H., Beginnings of Literary Culture in the Ohio Valley; Historical and Biographical Sketches in Great Lakes Region Cultural History

Ohio Novels and Historical Fiction

Tales of the Border

Philadelphia: Hall 1835
Hall, JamesGo to Book

See the biographical note at Legends of the West, on this page.

The Western Souvenir: A Christmas and New Year’s Gift for 1829

Cincinnati: Guilford 1828
Hall, JamesGo to Book

See the biographical note at Legends of the West, on this page.

The Wilderness and the War Path

London: Wiley & Putnam 1846
Hall, JamesGo to Book

See the biographical note at Legends of the West, on this page.

Ohio Novels and Historical Fiction

Trumpet in the Wilderness

New York: M.S. Mill 1940
Harper, Robert S.Go to Book

This adventure story about the War of 1812 in the west opens in 1813 with Jubal Johnson, recently a clerk in Philadelphia but now a sergeant and aide to Colonel Lewis Cass, marching across the Ohio wilderness with an army headed for battle in Detroit.

Early Engagements: and Florence, (a sequel)

Cincinnati 1858
Hayden, Sarah MarshallGo to Book

Sarah Hayden was recognized at the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago as Illinois’ first woman authoress. She wrote Early Engagements at the age of 16 in 1842, but that story and the sequel, Florence, were not published until 1854. Hayden was born in Shawneetown, IL, and after her marriage in 1843 she and her husband lived in Cincinnati, where she wrote poetry and prose for periodicals. Some of her works were published under the pen name Mary Frazaer.

Eoline: or Magnolia Vale

Philadelphia: Peterson 1869
Hentz, Caroline LeeGo to Book

Caroline Lee Whiting Hentz (1800-1856) was a major author of her day, and noted for her outspoken opposition to the abolitionist movement and her rebuttal to the anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Born and raised in Massachusetts, after marrying she and her family moved several times, living in North Carolina, Kentucky, Cincinnati, Alabama and Georgia. While in Cincinnati she was friends with Harriet Beecher Stowe.

See also: Books about 19th Century American Women Authors

Ohio Novels and Historical Fiction

Linda, or the Young Pilot of the Belle Creole

Philadelphia: Peterson 1869
Hentz, Caroline LeeGo to Book

Includes a biography of the author. Also see the brief biographical note on this page, at the novel Eoline.

Stories of Ohio

NY: American Book 1897
Howells, William DeanGo to Book

William Dean Howells (1837-1920) was the son of a newspaper editor who moved often around Ohio. He was a very influential fiction writer, editor and critic. He served as the editor of The Atlantic from 1871 to 1881, and played an important part in the rise of the Literary Realism movement in the U.S.

“This book is a successful attempt to present an outline view of the history of Ohio from the earliest times, in the form of stories drawn from the annals of the state. The stories are true to the essential facts of history, and are told in Mr. Howells’s well-known style. As a matter of course, it is much fuller in the pioneer period than in the later period, and throws far more light upon what may lie called the strictly social side of life than upon the political and civic side. The book is intended for young readers, especially pupils in the public schools.”
– Literature of American History; a bibliographical guide (1902)

The Ward of Tecumseh

Philadelphia: Lippincott 1914
Marriott, CrittendenGo to Book

Crittenden Marriott (1867-1932) was born in Baltimore and began his career in Louisville, KY. He was a writer for the Associated Press and a reporter and correspondent for various newspapers, traveling worldwide. He wrote books, magazine serials, short stories, non-fiction, and motion picture scenarios.

‘The ward of Tecumseh’ finds the reader transplanted to the scenes attendant upon the war of 1812. At the death of the rich Count Telfair of France the succession falls to Estelle Telfair, daughter of the count’s brother, M. Delaroche, who settled early in Ohio and became a trader with and a close friend of, Tecumseh, chief of the Shawnee Indians. At her father’s death, the girl is raised by the Indians, as Alagwa, without knowledge of her royal blood until she Is seventeen, when Brito Telfair, an English representative of a branch of the Telfair family comes to Tecumseh and demands the girl.
— Publishers’ Weekly

Ohio Novels and Historical Fiction

Ansel’s Cave: A Story of Early Life in the Western Reserve

Cleveland: Burrows 1893
Riddle, Albert G.Go to Book

Albert Gallatin Riddle (1816-1902) was raised in Newbury, OH, in the Western Reserve. He was a prosecuting attorney in Cleveland and a U.S. congressman, and also served as U.S. Consul at Matanzas, Cuba.

Bart Ridgeley; A Story of Northern Ohio

Boston: Nichols and Hall 1873
Riddle, Albert G.Go to Book

See the biographical note about Riddle at Ansel’s Cave, on this page.

The Portrait; A Romance of Cuyahoga Valley

1874
Riddle, Albert G.Go to Book

See the biographical note about Riddle at Ansel’s Cave, on this page.

Ohio Novels and Historical Fiction

Drayton: A Story of American Life

NY: Harper 1851
Shreve, Thomas H.Go to Book

Thomas Hopkins Shreve (1808-1853) was a Quaker journalist who lived in New Jersey and then Cincinnati before moving to Louisville, KY, where he became an editor of the Louisville Journal. From 1847 to 1850 he was one of the Unitarian editors of the antislavery newspaper The Examiner, in Louisville. The group’s goal was to put an emancipation clause into the Kentucky state constitution.

Clinton Bradshaw: or, The Adventures of a Lawyer. Two volumes in one

Cincinnati: Robinson and Jones 1847
Thomas, Frederick W.Go to Book

Frederick William Thomas (1806-1866) lived in Cincinnati as a young man, working on his father’s newspaper. His career included spells as a literary editor at newspapers, professor of literature at the University of Alabama, lawyer in Maryland, and Methodist Episcopal minister in Cincinnati.

The Emigrant: or, Reflections while Descending the Ohio. A Poem

Cincinnati: Drake 1833
Thomas, Frederick W.Go to Book

See the biographical note of Thomas at Clinton Bradshaw, on this page.

Ohio Novels and Historical Fiction

Howard Pinckney: A Novel

London: Clements 1841
Thomas, Frederick W.Go to Book

See the biographical note of Thomas at Clinton Bradshaw, on this page.

Figs and Thistles: A Romance of the Western Reserve

NY: Fords, Howard & Hulbert 1879
Tourgee, Albion WinegarGo to Book

Albion Winegar Tourgee (1838-1905) was born on a farm in Williamsfield, OH. He left college to enlist at the beginning of the Civil War, fought in several major battles, was wounded twice, and was a POW for a time. After the war he farmed in North Carolina and was appointed a Superior Court Judge, where he began a long career of activity on behalf of civil and voting rights for African Americans. In 1891 he was the lead attorney for Homer Plessy in the historic Plessy v. Ferguson Supreme Court case, challenging a Louisiana “Separate but Equal” law.
-from Wikipedia

Night and the Stars: A Tale of the Western Reserve

Chicago: Winona 1906
Vincent, Clarence A. Go to Book

This story begins in a farming community in the 1850s.


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

Great Lakes Fiction|Indiana Fiction|Illinois Fiction|Michigan Fiction|Wisconsin Fiction

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.

See also on this site: Historical Fiction about the Southern U.S.



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