Free Michigan Novels PDF – Fiction Books Set in Michigan

Vintage Books Set in Michigan

VINTAGE BOOKS – Michigan Novels and Historical Fiction

The Groper

Aikman, Henry G.
NY: Boni and Liveright 1919

“Lee Hillquit is a dreamer and an idealist who maintains that ‘success comes to the man who works for it’ as the inevitable reward of merit. He goes to Detroit in 1907, at a time when the automobile industry was just emerging from infancy. At first he honestly tries to put his doctrine of trustfulness and hard work into practice, only to find himself the dupe of a real estate concern of decidedly dubious methods. Then, just as he is about to give up and go back to his home in Chatham, luck takes him by the hand. For a while he congratulates himself on his good fortune, only to discover that he must pay a price for it, the price of his self-respect. “Many of the minor characters are cleverly drawn, and the book as a whole gives an excellent picture of Detroit during the years from 1907 to 1916, even though it entirely ignores the war.” – The Book Review Digest.

Author notes: Henry G. Aikman was a pseudonym for Harold Hunter Armstrong, a Michigan author who was born in Morenci, MI in 1884, graduated from University of Michigan, and earned a law degree at Detroit College of Law. ‘The Groper’ is one of four novels that he wrote; all of them related to the business scene.

Captives of Cupid: A Story of Old Detroit

Antona, Annetta Halliday
Detroit: Eby 1896

A complex tale of romance, murders and the death of Tecumseh at the Battle of the Thames.

Author notes: Annetta J. Halliday-Antona was a Detroit author and was married to Italian Count and diplomat Guiseppe Antona. In addition to two or three novels, she, with her husband, also translated other works from Italian.

Redcloud of the Lakes

Burton, Frederick R.
NY: Dillingham 1909

An epic story dealing with the history of a group of Ojibway Indians through three generations; from the time that the grandfather of the tribe goes forth as a young man to fast, and in the wilderness sees a vision, until the vision is fulfilled in the life time of the grandson. The vision – that of a young buffalo despoiled of horns and mane and heart by a great beast whose body trailed away to in visible distance – foretells the coming of the white man, the end of the wild tribal life, and the civilization of the Indian. – Book Review Digest.

Author notes: Frederick Russell Burton (1861-1909) was an author and composer. This Michigan writer was born in Jonesville Michigan, graduated from Harvard, and later lived in Yonkers, NY. He also studied Native American music and published ‘American Primitive Music: With Especial Attention to the Songs of the Ojibway’.

Mackinac and Lake Stories

Catherwood, Mary Hartwell
NY: Harper 1899

Story titles are:
– Marianson
– The Black Feather
– The Cobbler in the Devil’s Kitchen
– The Skeleton on Round Island
– The Penitent of Cross Village
– The King of Beaver
– Beaver Lights
– A British Islander
– The Cursed Patois
– The Mothers of Honore
– The Blue Man
– The Indian on the Trail. Mackinac Island (Mich. : Island) — Fiction, Beaver Island (Mich.)

The White Islander

Catherwood, Mary Hartwell
NY: Century 1893

“A romance of the old Indian wars. Characters : a chief and an Indian girl, a white fugitive, and a French girl, captive among the redskins. Jealousy, revenge, scenes of violence and superstitious orgies are wrought into a harmonious whole by the pictorial treatment of the wonderful scenery of forest and river, sunshine and storm.” – Guide to Historical Fiction.

Mary Hartwell Catherwood (1847 -1902) was born in Luray, Ohio and as an adult lived in several cities in the Midwest. She developed a signature style of incorporating Midwestern culture, dialect, and local color into her texts. Although most of her novels and stories are set in Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, some are also based along the American border with French Canada and on colonial Mackinac Island. She spent the last 10 summers of her life on Mackinac Island.

See more of Catherwood’s works at: Great Lakes Novels and Historical Fiction and Illinois Novels and Historical Fiction

The Oak-openings; Or, The Bee-hunter

Cooper, James Fenimore
NY:Appleton 1873

The book opens with the meeting of four men, Elksfoot, Pigeonswing, Benjamin Boden, and Gershom Waring. Boden is a bee-hunter, who searches for natural bee hives and harvests the honey. Waring is a down-on-his-luck alcohol trader. And the lives of the two Indians are a source of intrigue. As the four settle into Boden’s house for dinner and conversation, they begin talking about the politics of the day, including the impending war between the Americans and the British. The men part ways in the morning, but murder and danger soon follow them all. Elksfoot turns up dead, and Boden and Waring must escape a deadly band of Pottawattamie Indians. Along the way, they pick up new travelers, all trying to find a way out of Pottawattamie territory and certain death.
Cooper set this story in Schoolcraft Michigan, in Kalamazoo county, after a visit. The bee-hunter is reportedly Bazel Harrison, Schoolcraft’s first settler.

James Fenimore Cooper was an American writer of the first half of the 19th century. His historical romances depicting frontier and Native American life from the 17th to the 19th centuries created a unique form of American literature. -Wikipedia.

See also: Lounsbury, Thomas Raynesford, James Fenimore Cooper in Century Past Biographies: C

A Daughter of New France; with some Account of the Gallant Sieur Cadillac and his Colony on the Detroit

Crowley, Mary Catherine
Boston: Little, Brown. 1901

“A brilliant picture of Canada, or New France, under Louis XIV, the Regency of Orleans, and the early years of Louis XV. Nearly all the prominent statesmen, explorers, missionaries, soldiers, and Indian chiefs of the period 1687-1735 are introduced, and not only the chief historical events but the buildings, the manners and customs, and trading and military usages are delineated.” -Baker’s Best. Note that Cadillac founded the City of Detroit, in what was then New France, or French Canada.

Author note: Mary Catherine Crowley (pen name, Janet Grant, 1856 – 1920) was an American author of poems and novels. She was also an accomplished musician and linguist. Crowley began her literary work in 1877 as a contributor of poems and short stories to Wide Awake, St. Nicholas Magazine, Ladies’ Home Journal, and The Pilot. In 1892, she went to Europe and on her return, lived for ten years in Detroit, where she was a collaborator on the Memorial History of the city. Crowley was a recognized authority on the early history of that city, and a leader in its bicentennial celebration in 1901, the pageant being founded on descriptions in her book ‘A Daughter of New France’. Her later years were spent in New York City, where, from 1907, she edited the Catholic Missions Magazine and the Annals of the Propagation of the Faith. Crowley lectured extensively on art and literature, and was the author of several novels.

Heroine of the Strait. A Romance of Detroit in the Time of Pontiac

Crowley, Mary Catherine
Boston: Little, Brown. 1902

The story of Chief Pontiac’s attempt to capture Detroit in 1763 and the efforts of a French family to warn the British garrison of the Ottawa chief’s plan.* Also see the description at Crowley’s “Daughter of New France”, above. the Novel is set in historic Detroit. Pontiac’s Conspiracy, 1763-1765.

Love Thrives in War. A Romance of the Frontier in 1812

Crowley, Mary Catherine
Boston: Little, Brown. 1903

The story of General William Hull’s (1753-1825) surrender of Detroit to the British in the War of 1812, as well as of a young woman who faces many perils to save the man she loves.* Also see the description at Crowley’s “Daughter of New France”, above.

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

The Courage of Captain Plum

Curwood, James Oliver
NY: Grosset & Dunlap 1912

A stirring tale of the Mormon colony on Beaver island, in Lake Michigan. At the center of the plot lies the perfidy of James Jesse Strang who as self-proclaimed king ruled the island during the administration of Franklin Pierce. Captain Plum, who visits the island in the interests of righting a grievance of piracy, is plunged into the thick of a revolt, and, at the peril of death, snatches two persecuted young women from the meshes of the Mormon net. – Book Review Digest.

A Little Girl in Old Detroit

Douglas, Amanda M.
NY: Dodd, Mead 1902

A story of Detroit as seen through the eyes of a young French girl from its inclusion in the United States in 1796 until the destructive fire of 1805.* Historical Fiction set in Detroit.

Amanda M. Douglas (1831-1916) was raised in New York city and lived as an adult in New Jersey. This novel is one of many in her “Little Girl” series; stories set in various U.S. cities for young audiences. Among other books, she also authored a “Helen Grant” series which was more of a ‘college girl’ genre.

Campfire and Trail (The White Captive); A Tale of The Pontiac War

Ford, R. Clyde
Chicago: Rand McNally 1915

Freed from captivity, a young man helps defend Fort Detroit during Pontiac’s siege. Set at Forts St. Joseph, Michilimackinac, and Detroit from 1760 to 1763.* Pontiac’s Conspiracy, 1763-1765.

Author notes: Richard Clyde Ford (1870-1951) had two degrees from Albion College and a 1900 PhD from the University of Freiburg, Germany.

Fatal Secret – Mystery Novels Upper Peninsula

Glenwood, Ida (Gorton, Mrs. Cynthia M. R.)
Philadelphia: Potter 1873

The incidents in this story were reportedly based on the experience of a couple who for twenty years worked at the Mission school on Mackinac Island.

Author notes: The author went totally blind after a serious illness when she was in her mid-twenties. Despite her blindness she was a successful writer of poetry, magazine serials and romantic novels, composing her work on one of the earliest typewriters. Born in Massachusetts, she moved sometime after her marriage to Fenton, MI, where she remained throughout her life.

Trial by Fire: A Tale of the Great Lakes

Hallet, Richard Matthews
Boston: Small, Maynard 1916

“A long-drawn-out dachshund of the lakes” was the “Yuly Yinks,” a boat on which the forepart scarcely knew the hindpart by sight, so widely were they separated by actual distance and social distinction. Circumstances bring young Alexander Grant to ship as a deckhand forward at the same time that his father and a party of friends, one of them Avis Wrenn, are passengers at the other end. But Alexander, sweating down in the hold, does not know the true inwardness of all these circumstances. Only Cagey the fireman knows. Something of a Caliban is this Cagey, capable of ruminating half intelligently on life as he has seen it, and capable too of rising to a certain height of self-sacrifice.”
“No summary of the story would convey its vivid realism. The language is stripped to the bone of every superfluous phrase, allusion and description. Dramatic scenes are dashed on the canvas with a minimum of colorful words. Cagey is a creation; and Avis Wrenn the heroine is charming. The book is of outstanding merit.” – The Book Review Digest.

Author notes: Richard Hallet was a 25-year-old Harvard-educated lawyer from New England when he abandoned practice of the law for adventure of the sea and a career as a sea-writer. After a passage as a seaman from Boston to Australia and another as a fireman from the Indian Ocean to England, he worked for a few months as a fireman aboard the iron ore freighter James A. Jenks on the Great Lakes. Trial by Fire was his only novel located on the Great Lakes. -from Searchable Sea Literature website.

Ann Arbor Tales – Short Stories Set in Michigan

Harriman, Karl Edwin
Philadelphia: Jacobs 1902

Romantic and sentimental short stories focusing on students at the University of Michigan.

A New Home-Who’ll Follow? Or, Glimpses of Western Life

Kirkland, Caroline (under the pseudonym Mrs. Mary Clavers)
NY: Francis 1841

Set in the frontier of Michigan in the 1830s, A New Home is the first realistic portrayal of western village life in the United States. Based on Caroline Kirkland’s own experiences – and written from a woman’s perspective – it narrates with a keen eye and wit the absorbing story of the establishment of the village of Montacute [Pinckney], Michigan. .

Author notes: Caroline Kirkland, from a wealthy family in New York City, moved west with her husband to Michigan Territory in 1835. They helped found the town of Pinckney in Livingston County in 1837. She wrote two very literate and autobiographical novels while in Michigan; A New Home; Who’ll Follow and Forest Life. The family returned to NYC in 1843, partly because their Pinckney neighbors were not amused at her humorous portrayals of them. Back in New York she wrote a third book about Michigan; Western Clearings, and went on to become a highly successful novelist.

Forest Life

Volume 2

Kirkland, Caroline
London: Longman 1842

More of the author’s fictionalized experiences on the Michigan frontier are recounted. Set in “Montacute” (Pinckney) in the early 1840s. See the note at the entry for Kirkland’s A New Home-Who’ll Follow?

“Humor, vivacity, keen discernment, graphic powers of description, and a thorough acquaintance with American forest life, are the most striking features of these volumes. There is not a chapter from which we do not feel strongly disposed to quote.”

Western Clearings

Kirkland, Caroline
NY: Wiley & Putnam 1845

See the note above under Kirkland’s A New Home-Who’ll Follow?

The Wolverine; A Romance of Early Michigan

Lawrence, Albert Lathrop
Boston: Little, Brown 1904

Stevens Mason, Governor Cass, and Father Richard are important characters in this romance centering around a French-American girl who came to live in Detroit in 1817.

Author note: Albert Lathrop Lawrence was born in Coldwater, MI in 1865. In the early 1900s, when this book was published, he was mainly a Lansing-based writer of short stories for newspapers and magazines.

Legends of Michigan and the Old North West, Or, A Cluster of Unpublished Waifs, Gleaned Along the Uncertain, Misty Lie, Dividing Traditional from Historic Times – Free Books Set in Michigan

Littlejohn, Flavius Josephus
Allegan, MI: Northwestern Bible 1875

Author Note: Flavius J. Littlejohn grew up in New York, where he was educated and began practicing law in 1830. In the late 1830s he moved to Allegan, MI, where he became renowned for his eloquent speech. He was elected to the state legislature in 1841, and to the State Senate in 1845. In 1858 he was appointed Circuit Court judge of Allegan County, covering a region that extended to the straits of Mackinac. ‘Legends of Michigan’ appears to be his only published book, but he seems to have also written essays.

Onawago or the Betrayer of Pontiac

Ludlow, Will Cumback
Benton Harbor: Antiquarian 1911

An Ojibwa medicine woman who had warned the Detroit garrison of Pontiac’s attack in 1763 is a mysterious presence among the settlers of Michigan. Set mostly in “Barterville” in Berrien County from 1838 to 1858.* This novel was published four years after the author’s death at age 22.

The Indian Drum – YA Michigan Fiction

MacHarg, William Briggs, De La Vergne, Earl W. and Balmer, Edwin
Boston: Little Brown 1917

When Alan Conrad enters the lives of Benjamin Corvet and Henry Spearman, events are put in motion that dredge up the December 1895 fate of the Lake Michigan steel freighter the Miwaka. Can the Manitou Indian legend that tells of a drum beating every time the lake takes a life unravel the mystery?

The Outbound Road

Mulder, Arnold
Boston: Houghton Mifflin 1919

“As the scene for his novels this author chooses a quaint Dutch settlement in Michigan. In the present story the hero is a young man who as a child was adopted into a Dutch household. His dead mother had been an actress and his heritage from her breaks out in spite of the narrow religious training that regards theater going, even as novel reading, as sin. The boy while yet a child, shows a gift for acting, and as he grows older turns naturally to the theater, but his true genius is to express itself in play writing. The story is told by the boy’s father, a college professor, who has let his petty ambitions in his profession, withhold confession of his parenthood.”
“What we need in American fiction is just such simple veracity, insight, sane and liberal human feeling as Mr Mulder displays in his descriptions of his Dutch country-folk in East Nassau.”

Author notes: Arnold Mulder (1885-1959) was raised in Ottawa County, MI, and received his B.A. at Hope College in Holland, MI. He then earned an M.A. at Univ. of Chicago. He spent his career as a newspaper editor in Holland, MI, and also wrote several novels.

At War with Pontiac or the Totem of the Bear. A Tale of Redcoat and Redskin

Munroe, Kirk
NY: Scribner 1919

The twelve-year-old son of a retired British major is involved in a series of adventures during Pontiac’s Conspiracy in 1763. Partially set in Detroit.* Pontiac’s Conspiracy, Books set in Michigan.

Author notes: Charles Kirk Munroe (1850-1930) was born in a log cabin in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, and while a child moved with his family to Cambridge, Massachusetts. He finished school at 16 and began work as a NY newspaper reporter, and then worked as a young magazine editor. From 1979 to 1884 he was the commodore of the New York Canoe Club, and in 1880 co-founded the League of American Wheelmen, which soon became the main organization in the U.S. for bicyclists. In 1886 he and his wife moved to Miami, where he joined the Audubon Society and became an active environmentalist. He published many novels between 1886 and 1905.

Robert Cavelier: the Romance of the Sieur de La Salle and his Discovery of the Mississippi River

Orcutt, William Dana
London: Heinemann 1904

Robert Cavelier de la Salle, from the real character as portrayed in Parkman’s La Salle and Jesuits in North America, and from original documents in archives in Paris. Characters include Frontenac, Louis XIV, Mme. de Maintenon, Mme. de Montespan, Joliet, Tonty. Pictures early life at Montreal and Quebec, and the struggles of the Jesuits for the temporal control of Canada, aided by their influence with the Indians. The magnificent and heroic work of the missionaries and their martyrdom is brought out in contrast with the struggle of their order to gain power. The scenes shift from Paris to North America and Versailles, and culminate in the discovery of the Mississippi by La Salle. – Guide to Historical Fiction.

Author notes: William Dana Orcutt (1870-1953) was born in New Hampshire, was a graduate of Harvard, and had a career in designing and making books in Massachusetts. He was the first president of the Boston Society of Printers, which was inspired by the principles of the Arts and Crafts movement. He also wrote about printing, reviewed and translated articles, and researched and wrote history. -Wikipedia.

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

The Boy Spies at the Siege of Detroit: a Story of the Ohio boys in the War of 1812

Otis, James
NY: Burt 1904

An adventure for boys by the author of Toby Tyler, or Ten Weeks with a Circus.

Author notes: James Otis Kaler (1848-1912) was born in Maine, and spent much of his career as a journalist. His first published book, in 1880, was ‘Toby Tyler; or, Ten Weeks with a Circus’, which was very successful. In 1960 Disney made it into a movie. Kaler continued to write children’s books under several pen names; nearly 200 books in all, although scholars believe some of the later books for young children may have been written by his wife. He was appointed Superintendent of Schools in South Portland, Maine in 1898.

The Power and the Glory: a Romance of the Great La Salle

Parker, Gilbert
NY: Harper 1925

Author notes: Sir Horatio Gilbert George Parker, 1st Baronet (1862-1932) was born in Camden East, Ontario. He began his career by teaching, then went to Australia in 1886 where he edited a newspaper and traveled extensively. By the early 1890s he was gaining a reputation as an author of fiction. He is largely remembered today for his historical novels about Canada, and for his poetry. In addition to writing many popular novels, Parker was a politician, serving in the British House of Commons from 1900 to 1918.

Sword of the Old Frontier: a Tale of Fort Chartres and Detroit. Being a Plain Account of Sundry Adventures Befalling Chevalier Raoul de Coubert, One Time Captain in the Hussars of Languedoc, During the Year 1763

Parrish, Randall
Chicago: McClurg. 1905

A plain account of sundry adventures befalling Chevalier Raoul de Coubert, one time captain in the Hussars of Languedoc, during the year 1763, in which he gallantly draws his sword for France and his English lady-love in the stirring times of Pontiac’s conspiracy. Meeting with treachery from both white men and red, he takes desperate chances, escapes from his enemies and wins honor, wealth, and love. – Book Review Digest.

Author notes: 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. This was one of many adventure stories he published. See the Illinois Fiction page on this site for more.

Wacousta; or, The Prophecy: A Tale of the Canadas

Richardson, John
London: Cadell 1832

A renegade Englishman allied with the Ottawa Chief Pontiac seeks revenge on the daughter of the woman he could not have. Set in Detroit and Michilimackinac in 1763.* Pontiac’s Conspiracy, 1763-1765 — Fiction.

Author notes: John Richardson (1796-1852) was born in Queenston, Ontario. His father was a surgeon in the British army and his mother was half-British and half-Ottawa. As a child, Richardson lived for a time with his grandparents in Detroit. He enlisted with the British army at 16, and during the war of 1812 participated in the Battle of the River Raisin (Monroe, MI) and the Battle of the Thames, where he was taken prisoner by U.S. troops. He made a career of the army until at least 1838, rising to the rank of Major. In 1849 Richardson moved to NYC to try to make a living writing fiction, but failed in this. He died there in 1852, supposedly of starvation, and was buried in a pauper’s cemetery. – Wikipedia.

Montlivet – Michigan Romantic Historical Fiction

Smith, Alice Prescott
Boston: Houghton, Mifflin 1906

“A rather well written love story with enough adventure with Indians to keep you turning the pages. Early trading days, when the French, English and the Indian were contending for supremacy, give the setting. The story centers about Armand de Montlivet who masquerades as a French trader and saves an English youth.” – ALA Booklist. Features Fort Michilimackinac.

Spring Flight

Smits, Lee J.
NY: Knopf 1925

“Kenneth Farr, just before World War I, combines newspaper and advertising work with relaxation on the Detroit River.”

Author notes: Lee J. Smits made his living writing for Detroit newspapers. Other than that, the only information found about him was in a 1934 article, “Good Books that Almost Nobody Has Read”. Malcolm Cowley, New Republic literary editor, identified ‘The Spring Flight’ as such a book. Cowley wrote, “I can recall Eaton (Smits’ editor) saying that Smits was one of the laziest people mentally he ever knew. He vastly preferred the life of a beachcomber on the waterfront at Detroit (if you can imagine such a thing) to the labors of composition… I know Easton and myself were enthusiastic and hoped ‘The Spring Flight’ was the first of a series from Smits’ pen…. Mr. Knopf (publisher) had the same idea and did everything possible to induce Smits to work.” – New Republic, 18 Apr 1934 Michigan authors mystery.

Felice Constant, or The Master Passion; a Romance

Sprague, William C.
NY: Stokes 1904

Set in Fort Detroit at the time of the British occupation.

Author notes: William Cyrus Sprague (1860-1922) was born in Malta, Ohio, son of a banker and U.S. Congressman. He was educated at Dennison College and Cincinnati Law School, moving to Detroit in the mid-1880s to practice commercial law. In Detroit he played leading roles in Sunday school education, the Masons, and in a nationwide association of commercial lawyers. In 1890 he launched the Sprague Correspondence School of Law, a radically new way for prospective lawyers all around the country to prepare themselves for bar examinations. His success in this led very soon to the Sprague Publishing Company and the Sprague Correspondence School of Journalism. He also did a lot of writing. In addition to adventure novels for boys, he wrote ‘An Abridgement of Blackstone’ for law students and edited a newsletter entitled ‘The Law Student’s Helper’.

The Red-Keggers

Thwing, Eugene
NY: Grosset & Dunlap 1903

“Changing times for the people of Red Keg, five miles from Midland, as the farmer’s plow replaces the lumberman’s ax.” Country life — Juvenile fiction.

Alice Wilde: The Raftsman’s Daughter. A Forest Romance

Victor, Metta Victoria Fuller
NY: Beadle 1860

His proposal of marriage rebuffed by his cousin, a New York man meets the beautiful daughter of a Michigan sawmill owner and falls in love. Set in “Center City” in the 1840s.*

Author notes: Metta Victor (1831 – 1885) was raised in Wooster, OH and lived about 1850 or 1851 in Ypsilanti, MI with her sister. She later moved to Mansfield, OH, where she married a newspaperman, and they soon moved to New York City. She had an extremely prolific and successful writing career, publishing poetry, romances, mysteries, short stories, humor and even cookbooks under a dozen pen names. At one point she had a 5-year, $25,000 contract with the New York Weekly; a huge salary in the 19th Century.

The Backwoods Bride; a Romance of Squatter Life

Victor, Metta Victoria Fuller
London: Routledge 1861

A new landowner accosts a group of squatters who have settled on his property and falls in love with one of their daughters. Set in southern Michigan in the 1840s.* For a brief biographical sketch of the author, see her other entry on this page.

The Fabric of the Loom

Watts, Mary Stanbery
MacMillan 1924

A story depicting the superficial aspect of materialistic American society in contrast with European culture.

Author notes: Mary Stanbery Watts (1868-1958) was raised on a farm in Delaware County, OH and educated at a convent in Cincinnati. She married a successful real estate agent and spend her adult life in Cincinnati. Her first novel was published in 1908, and followed with a number of others in the ‘teens and ‘twenties. Several of her articles and short stories also appeared in Harpers’ magazine, and probably in others.

The Blazed Trail

White, Stewart Edward
NY: Doubleday. 1902

“It is a record of outdoor life, of life in the logging-camps along Lake Superior, a story of the fight of men with nature. … the author carries the hero from his first experience as a raw hand through all the phases of logging to the time when he is owner of a great logging-camp. When he has finished, the reader knows as much about the preparations of a log for the sawmill as he would know if he had read a government report on the subject.” – Literary Digest

Author notes: 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.

“White’s books were popular at a time when America was losing its vanishing wilderness. He was a keen observer of the beauties of nature and human nature, yet could render them in a plain-spoken style. Based on his own experience, whether writing camping journals or Westerns, he included pithy and fun details about cabin-building, canoeing, logging, gold-hunting, and guns and fishing and hunting. He also interviewed people who had been involved in the fur trade, the California gold rush and other pioneers which provided him with details that give his novels verisimilitude. He salted in humor and sympathy for colorful characters such as canny Indian guides and “greenhorn” campers who carried too much gear.”- Summary by Wikipedia and David Wales.

The Riverman

White, Stewart Edward
NY: McClure. 1908

See the biographical note about the author at The Blazed Trail, on this web page.

A story of Michigan rivermen which deals with the fortunes of a log-driving firm. The hero is a river-boss who is induced by a New York lawyer, roughing it for his health, to join him in organizing a company to handle expeditiously all of the logs of the section. The treachery of the partner is outlined in detail against the sterling strength of the rugged hero. Local color and atmosphere abound.
– Book Review Digest.

The Adventures of Bobby Orde

White, Stewart Edward
NY: Doubleday 1908

The nine-year-old son of a river boss has a number of outdoor adventures and helps clear a neighbor of a murder charge. Set in the lumber mill town of “Monrovia.”*

See the biographical note about the author at The Blazed Trail, on this web page.

In the Michigan Lumber-Camps

Whittier, Charles Albert
NY: Broadway 1904

From the “Boys Vacation Series”. The author wrote in the Introduction that he, “purposes to take his readers on “personally conducted” tours through the interesting and instructive regions …” “The incidents related are based upon the actual experiences and adventures of a party of boys who spend every school vacation in travel under the guidance of a gentleman in hearty sympathy with his young charges …”

Author notes: Charles Albert Whittier (1840-1908) was raised in Boston, completing graduate studies at Harvard in 1860. He was studying law there when the Civil War began in 1861, and he enlisted as a lieutenant in the Massachusetts infantry. By the end of the war he had risen to Brevet Brigadier General, before his 25th birthday. He remained in the army until 1870, when he resigned to become a lawyer and a partner in a Boston investment bank. He apparently became very rich from the bank’s investments in railroads. He served in the army again, for less than a year, during the Spanish American War. – Wikipedia


Woolson, Constance Fenimore
NY: Harper 1910

Traces the fortunes of Anne Douglas, a young orphan of strong impulses, fine character and high devotion to duty. Scenes laid on Mackinac Island and in New York.

Author notes: Constance Fenimore Woolson (1840-1894) was raised in Cleveland, OH, and was a grand-niece of James Fennimore Cooper, one of the best-known American writers of the second quarter of the 19th century. Constance was educated at the Cleveland Female Seminary and at a New York boarding school, and traveled extensively when young in the northeast and Midwest, including the Great Lakes. She began publishing short stories and essays in 1870 in the leading national magazines, and published ‘Castle Nowhere’, her first volume of short stories, in 1875. She continued a very successful career as a novelist, poet, and travel essayist until her accidental death from a fall in 1894.

Castle Nowhere: Lake-Country Sketches

Woolson, Constance Fenimore
Boston: Osgood 1875

Where Copper was King; a Tale of the Early Mining Days on Lake Superior

Wright, James North
Boston: Small, Maynard 1905

The author wrote in the Introduction that he, “…has been urged to take upon himself the office of chronicler, lest the memories of that rough and difficult and, in no slight degree, heroic life be irrevocably lost …” “The characters whom he has attempted to draw are real characters, who played parts of more or less prominence in the Lake Superior country forty years ago; and the incidents – distressing, tragical, and ridiculous – which he has described are taken from real life, with but little coloring or exaggeration.”
A story of the copper mining industry on the Keweenaw Peninsula in the 1860s, with much detail given about the techniques, dangers, and working conditions associated with mining.*

Author notes: James North Wright worked for at least two large mining companies in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, as an agent or superintendent.

*Plot Summaries were found in Beasecker, Robert, “Michigan in the Novel 1816-2006: An Annotated Bibliography, Second Edition”(2016)

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