Great Lakes Fiction Free – Books Set in Great Lakes – Great Lakes Novels

Myths and Legends of the Mackinacs and the Lake Region

Kane, Grace Franks
Cincinnati: Editor Publishing 1897

Books set in Great Lakes.

The Frontier Fort, or, Stirring times in the North-west Territory of British America

Kingston, William H. G.
Toronto: Musson 1880

William Henry Giles Kingston (1814-1880) was the son of a British wine merchant in Portugal who settled in England. He was secretary of a British colonization society, worked on the improvement of conditions for British seamen, and published translations of Jules Verne’s novels from French. He also traveled very widely. After 1850 he was chiefly employed in writing for young people. He published over 100 stories of travel and adventure, including fiction, biography and travelogues, and also edited periodicals for boys.
– Wikipedia entry for W.H.G. Kingston

The Story of the Trapper

Laut, Agnes C.
NY: Appleton 1902

Agnes Christina Laut (1871-1936) grew up in Manitoba, Canada and worked in the late 1890s for a newspaper there. In 1901 she moved to the state of New York and began a prolific and very successful career writing historical novels about the western U.S. and Canada.
“Life and wanderings of the fur-trapper from the St. Lawrence to the Rockies.” – Guide to Historical Fiction, 1914. Great Lakes fiction.

The Indian Drum

MacHarg, William and Balmer, Edwin
NY: Grosset & Dunlap 1917

“It was an Indian superstition—that the drum, hidden somewhere in the woods at the northern end of Lake Michigan, tolled the passing of every soul lost on the lakes. Twenty years before, when the freighter “Miwaka” had gone down with all on board, the drum had beaten short. Twenty-five was the number of the lost, but the drum made the count twenty-four. And there were those who had waited many years for the return of a rescued man. The story opens with the disappearance of Benjamin Corvet of Chicago, veteran ship owner and best known man on the lakes. Coincident with this is the arrival In Chicago of young Alan Conrad of Kansas, who had been summoned by Corvet. Henry Spearman, youngest member of the firm Corvet, Sherrill and Spearman, insists that the senior partner is dead, but Constance Sherrill refuses to be convinced and encourages Alan in his search for the missing man.”
“An unusually good mystery story.”
“The power and tragedy of the Great Lakes in time of storm form an impressive background.”
– The Book Review Digest

Free Historical novels set in different countries around the world

Old Fort Duquesne: or, Captain Jack, the Scout. An historical novel with copious notes

McKnight, Charles
Pittsburgh 1873

Charles McKnight (1826-1881) was born in Pittsburgh, PA. A graduate of Princeton, he went into the iron business for a short time before becoming the editor and owner of the periodical The Chronicle. He sold that during the Civil War and began publishing and writing for several other periodicals in Philadelphia. In addition, he found time to write novels, publishing Old Fort Duquesne in 1873. This was well-received and was published in England and Germany soon afterward. He also wrote Simon Girty the White Savage, Our Western Border, and several other novels published serially. Great Lakes fiction.

The Prairie Bird, Vol 1

Volume 2

Volume 3

Murray, Charles Augustus
NY: Harper 1845

Includes a detailed account of the habits and customs of the Indians in Ohio and an account of the wars between the Delawares and the Osages, in a story about the adventures of some English people in the Far West.

The Sign of the Prophet: a Tale of Tecumseh and Tippecanoe

Naylor, James Ball
Akron, OH: Saalfield 1901

James Ball Naylor (1860-1945) lived in Morgan county, Ohio throughout his life. He was a physician, best-selling author of novels and short stories, and a poet. He was also a newspaper columnist, political candidate, and a popular speaker on the lecture circuit.

The Lady Angeline; A Lay of the Apalachians. The Hours, etc.

Noble, Louis Legrand
NY: Sheldon, Blakeman 1856


Lake Breezes; or, The Cruise of the Sylvania

Optic, Oliver (Adams, William T.)
Boston: Lee & Shepard 1878

Books set in Great Lakes.

Out West; or, Roughing it on the Great Lakes

Optic, Oliver (Adams, William T.)
Boston: Lee & Shepard 1877

Books set in Great Lakes.

Westward Ho! A Tale

Paulding, James Kirke
NY: Harper 1845

Two volumes in one. Great Lakes fiction, books sset in Great Lakes.

The Man with the Iron Hand

Parish, John C.
Boston: Houghton, Mifflin 1922

About Henry de Tonty and his fellow French explorers, based on historical letters and documents of Tonty, Father Marquette, Joliet, La Salle and others.

See the resources on this site for: La Salle the Explorer

Beyond the Frontier: a Romance of Early Days in the Middle West

Parish, Randall
Chicago: McClurg 1915

George Randall Parrish (1858-1923) grew up in Kewanee, Illinois and began a legal career in Wichita, Kansas. In the early 1880s he left his law practice and worked at a number of odd jobs throughout the west, eventually becoming a newspaper reporter. He wrote many novels.

Practically all of the action of the story is occupied with a long journey from Quebec to old Fort St. Louis (Starved Rock), on the Illinois river. Adele la Chesnayne, who tells the tale, has been forced into a marriage with Francois Cassion against her will. She accompanies her husband on the hazardous journey. She knows that reasons of state lie behind her marriage and knows that her departure from Quebec is due to Governor La Barre who sees a menace to his plans in her presence. But it is not until after many adventures that the proof of what she suspects comes to her hands. The death of Cassion sets her free from the marriage, which has been only nominal, and as the wife of Rene De Artigny, a follower of La Salle who has been her devotee and champion, she begins a new life in the new country beyond the frontier.
– Book Review Digest

The Bridge; A Story of the Great Lakes

Pickthall, M. L. C.
NY: Century 1922

Books set in Great Lakes.

Blennerhassett or The Decrees of Fate; A Romance founded upon events in American History

Pidgin, Charles Felton
Boston: Clark 1901

This is about the infamous Aaron Burr episode, in which Burr was alleged to conspire with Spanish government officials in New Orleans to enable western frontier areas to secede from the U.S. Harman Blennerhasset, who settled on Blennerhasset’s Island in the Ohio River, was involved in the affair (1805) indicted for treason, and released in 1807. Pidgin was very well versed in the details of the Burr affair, and believed Burr to be innocent of the charges.

The Tory’s Daughter; a Romance of the North-west, 1812-1813

Riddle, Albert G.
NY: Putnam 1888

A historical novel, following the fortunes of the contestants on both sides during our last war with Great Britain. The scene is for the most part laid out in northwestern Ohio, Detroit, and the points of General Harrison’s operations in the War of 1812.

See the resources on this site for: The War of 1812

For U.S. history of the War of 1812, see also on this site: Babcock, Kendric Charles, The Rise of American Nationality 1811-1819 in America in the Early 19th Century – 1809-1861

Myths and Legends of our Own Land (Vol. 2)

Skinner, Charles M.
Philadelphia: Lippincott 1896

Volume 2 of this collection contains about 40 myths and legends from the Central States and Great Lakes. Some titles are “The Snake God of Belle Isle”, “Were-Wolves of Detroit”, “Hiawatha” and “Twelfth Night at Cahokia”.

Down the O-hi-o

Roberts, Charles Humphrey
Chicago: McClurg 1891

Rural life among the Quakers on the Ohio before the Civil War

The Western Captive, or, The Times of Tecumseh

Smith, Seba
NY: Winchester 1842

Elizabeth Oakes (Prince) Smith (1806-1893) was born and raised in Maine, and married Seba Smith, a popular humorist and editor of a Portland weekly journal, the Eastern Argus. In addition to raising their six sons and managing a household that included printers and apprentices, Mrs. Smith wrote poems and stories for the Argus. After her husband lost their fortune in the Panic of 1837 she began writing for leading ladies’ journals. The Western Captive first appeared in two “supplements” in the New World in 1842. Great Lakes fiction.

Stories from Where We Live: The Great Lakes

St. Antoine, Sara, ed.
Milkweed 2003

This series for families “celebrates the literature of North America’s eco-regions. . . Each book portrays (the eco-region’s) unique features through literature written by those who have lived in that place and love it. . . This book takes readers on an informative, imaginative trip through the [Great Lakes] region’s past and present” -Book cover.
Some of the many authors represented are: April Pulley Sayre – Susan Power – Gwen Hart – Sigurd Olson – Gene Stratton-Porter – Bruce Catton – Katharine Crawford Robey – Ellen Airgood – Marie Howe – Aldo Leopold – Sara St. Antoine – Carol Farley – Roger Pfingston – Shannon Sexton – John Knott – Margaret Atwood – Edwin Way Teale – Pat Kertzman – Sandra Cisneros – Pamela Uschuk – George Vukelich – Marjorie Carlson Davis – Laurie Allmann.

On the Trail of Pontiac or the Pioneer Boys of the Ohio

Stratemeyer, Edward
Boston: Lothrop 1904

“Sequel to “Marching on Niagara”. Chiefly concerned with the Ohio pioneers during and after the French and Indian war. A fight in a snowstorm with the Indians and the French is especially realistic.” – Guide to Historical Fiction, 1914

Edward L. Stratemeyer (1862-1930) was a writer and publisher of juvenile fiction. He published dozens of series, some of which are still remembered today; for example, Tom Swift (volumes produced from 1910 to 1984), The Hardy Boys (1927-2005) and Nancy Drew (1930-2003). As a publisher, he instituted the practice of using a team of free-lance writers all working under the same pen name owned by his company. Because of this practice, it can be very difficult to determine the real author of any given title.

With Sword and Crucifix: Being an Account of the Strange Adventures of Count Louis de Sancerre, Companion of Sieur de la Salle, on the Lower Mississippi in the Year of Grace 1682

Van Zile, Edward S.
NY: Harper 1900

Adventures of La Salle, the explorer of the Mississippi region.
Edward Sims Van Zile (1863-1931) was a New York newspaper editor, a poet, playwright, and an author of short stories and novels. His novels were well-received by the critics.

See the resources on this site for: La Salle the Explorer

The Young Shipper of the Great Lakes; A Story of the Commerce of the Great Lakes

Weir, Hugh C.
Boston: Wilde 1912

A volume in the “Great American Industries” series. Great Lakes fiction, books set in Great Lakes.

Simon Kenton, or, The Scout’s Revenge; an Historical Novel

Weir, James
Philadelphia: Lippincott 1852

Books set in Great Lakes.

Conjurer’s House. A Romance of the Free Forest

Audio Book

White, Stewart Edward
NY: McClure 1903

“The rivalry between the Hudson Bay Company and the Free Traders in the far North-west. Realistic pictures of the woodman, the factor, the Indian, etc., with a thrilling story of passion and adventure, a captured Free Trader being rescued by the factor’s daughter, who loves him.” – Guide to Historical Fiction, 1914

Stewart Edward White (1873-1946) grew up in Grand Rapids, MI and was a graduate of the University of Michigan. An avid camper and outdoorsman, Theodore Roosevelt said he was “the best man with both pistol and rifle who ever shot” at Roosevelt’s rifle range at Sagamore Hill. White wrote fiction and non-fiction about adventure and travel, with an emphasis on natural history and outdoor living. Beginning in 1922, he and his wife Elizabeth wrote a number of books about spiritualism.
– Wikipedia entry for White

The Silent Places

White, Stewart Edward
NY: McClure 1904

See the biographical note about the author at his book Conjurer’s House, on this page.
“The journey of two servants of the Hudson Bay Company into the northern wilds (Canada, late 1860s). Brings vividly before the imagination what appalling hardships and what feats of endurance the old fur-traders were called upon to face as part of the day’s work; and shows, with no little art, the effect such experiences had upon a man’s nature.” – Guide to Historical Fiction, 1914. Books set in Great Lakes.

On the Frontier with St. Clair

Wood, Charles
Boston: Wilde 1902

This action-packed story is about St. Clair’s disastrous campaign against the Indians in Ohio country in 1792. The book was said to bring home vividly the terror and savagery of Indian warfare, and provides sketches of the notable Indian fighters of the day.

Charles Seely Wood (1845-1912) was born in Cincinnati and earned degrees from Miami University of Ohio and the Princeton Theological Seminary. He was a pastor in Wisconsin and New York in the 1870s before retiring from the ministry for health reasons. He then wrote books and articles on Ohio history.

Scroll to Top