Books Set in Ohio – Books that Take Place in Ohio – Ohio Novels

Ned on the River

Ellis, Edward S.
Philadelphia: Porter & Coates 1884

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. Historical fiction set in Ohio.

The Bounty Lands

Ellis, William Donohue
World 1952       

“Alone in a cabin clearing with his wife and child, Tom Woodbridge was a law unto himself, as rugged and self-centered as only a frontiersman could afford to be. When the town of Hosmer’s Village [Ohi0] began to grow around him, he fought all improvements: the court, the school, the church and even the town government, each a threat to his own continuing independence.” -McClurg Book News
“It is apparent that the author has gone to a great deal of trouble to make sure just how the people lived in that day and that land. The research must have kept him busy for a long time, for nowhere in the book could this reviewer find an anachronism or a descriptive line that did not ring true.” -Chicago Sunday Tribune. Books set in Ohio.

The Brooks Legend

Ellis, William Donohue
Crowell 1958       

“The third in the author’s chronicles of the Ohio frontier covers the years following the War of 1812. Saul Brooks, the central figure, is a medical practitioner whose efforts to become a trained M.D. are thwarted repeatedly not because of lack of skill but because he is either tricked into staying in a community desperately in need of his services or he is caught in the conflict over systems of medication and medical opinion. Although interest focuses on medicine, many other aspects of the frontier life are realistically detailed. Characters reappear from the preceding Jonathan Blair and The Bounty Lands.” -Booklist. Books set in Ohio.

Jonathan Blair: Bounty Lands Lawyer

Ellis, William Donohue
World 1954       

“The hero of this historical novel of the American frontier is Jonathan Blair, the lawyer from the East who defended the Ohio settlers’ interests in The Bounty Lands. In this volume Blair risks his life and reputation to establish the Mesopotamia territory on a sound financial basis.” -Book Review Digest. Books set in Ohio.

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

Flint, Timothy
Boston: Hilliard Gray 1829

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.

Omensetter’s Luck

Gass, William H.
New American Library 1966       

Negro “Brackett Omensetter’s arrival in Gilean had a profound effect upon the town. To some his force and freedom of spirit was an encouragement. To minister Jethro Furber, Omensetter was a rival, with more power over Furber’s people than the minister had. And to Doc Orcutt he was a revelation of how effective a man could be.” -Book Buyer’s Guide
“An unusual poeticophilosophical novel concerned with good and evil, not easily followed but richly rewarding for the patient, perceptive reader.” -Booklist

Fathers

Gold, Herbert
Random House 1967       

“The story of the persecution of Jews in Czarist Russia, the determined flight of Mr. Gold’s father to the United States when only thirteen years old, his struggle against poverty and harassment by racketeers, and his eventual success. It is also a story of the conflict between immigrant parents and first generation Americans.’ Library J
“His approach is tender and warmhearted and lyrical. He charms rather than probes. He etches in vignettes as he edges away from dramatics. The result is a book that is often eloquently and deeply moving, because it is constantly informed with a search for love—father love: so hard to describe, so difficult to understand, yet so impossible to live without.” -N Y Times Bk R

Therefore Be Bold

Gold, Herbert
Dial 1960       

Story of a Jewish boy growing up in a non-Jewish suburb of Cleveland, Ohio in the 1930’s. Books that take place in Ohio.

Betty Zane

Grey, Zane
Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press 1903

Betty Zane was a real woman, one of the great heroines of the American Revolution. She was one of the pioneers who moved westward from Virginia at the end of the eighteenth century into the wilderness beyond the mountains. Zane Grey tells of the daily struggles and hardships of her frontier life, of her romance with Alfred Clarke, of the continual warfare with the Indians, of the burning of her settlement and of her dramatic escape from both the Indians and the British in the last battle of the American Revolution.
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.

We have thousands of free books of short stories, and hundreds in audio

The Last Trail

Grey, Zane
Roslyn, N.Y: Walter J. Black 1909

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

Grey, Zane and J W. Davis
New York: A.L. Burt 1906

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

A Tree Full of Stars

Grubb, Davis
Scribner 1965       

A sentimental tale of Christmas in a small Ohio town during the Depression.

East and West: A Story of New-Born Ohio

Hale, Edward E.
New York: Cassell 1892

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

Hall, James
NY: Putnam 1832

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

Tales of the Border

Hall, James
Philadelphia: Hall 1835

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

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

Hall, James
Cincinnati: Guilford 1828

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

The Wilderness and the War Path

Hall, James
London: Wiley & Putnam 1846

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

Trumpet in the Wilderness

Harper, Robert S.
New York: M.S. Mill 1940

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. Historical fiction set in Ohio.

The Quiet Shore

Havighurst, Walter
Macmillan 1937       

Homesteading on Lake Erie just after the Civil War, and the growth of industry in Ohio. Books set in Ohio.

Early Engagements: and Florence, (a sequel)

Hayden, Sarah Marshall
Cincinnati 1858

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

Hentz, Caroline Lee
Philadelphia: Peterson 1869

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

Linda, or the Young Pilot of the Belle Creole

Hentz, Caroline Lee
Philadelphia: Peterson 1869

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

You’ll Like My Mother

Hintze, Naomi A.
Putnam 1969       

A “Red mask mystery” “Another modern Gothic (this suspense-horror tale) has a haunted house in Always, a small town on the Ohio, where Francesca Kinsolving (in her ninth month of pregnancy) comes to meet for the first time the mother of her dead husband.” -Library J
“Francesca herself is immediately endearing, a vibrant, completely convincing young woman who turns what might have been an ordinary story into a compelling novel to be read at one sitting. Admirers of ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ should attend this birth.” -Book of the Month Club News. Books set in Ohio.

The Jazz Bird

Holden, Craig
Simon & Schuster 2002       

“Charlie Taft is a prosecutor in late 1920s Cincinnati. When bootlegger George Remus turns himself in, in October 1927, for shooting his society wife, Imogene, Charlie thinks he’s been handed a career maker. But all is not as simple as it seems.” Publ Wkly
This novel “is based on an actual murder that place in Cincinnati in 1927. In addition to its exploration of the Remus murder case, the book offers a portrait of a now-lost Cincinnati, with its jazz clubs, its great Roebling suspension bridge and its neighborhoods with names like Over the Rhine and Eden Park.” N Y Times Book Rev. Novels set in Ohio.

Stories of Ohio

Howells, William Dean
NY: American Book 1897

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

Marriott, Crittenden
Philadelphia: Lippincott 1914

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

Follow the River

Mayer, Albert I.
Doubleday 1969       

A long tale of frontier settlement and Indian fighting in the Ohio country in the 1790’s. The hero journeys down the Ohio River to Cincinnati to teach; later joins General Josiah Harmar’s expedition against the Indians along the Maumee River.

Sula

Morrison, Toni
Knopf 1974       

Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature. This “is the story of two black women friends and of their community of Medallion, Ohio. The community has been stunted and turned inward by the racism of the larger society. The rage and disordered lives of the townspeople are seen as a reaction to their stifled hopes. The novel follows the lives of Sula and Nel from childhood to maturity to death.” Merriam-Webster’s Ency of Lit

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