Illinois! Illinois!

The Prairie Years: 1818-Civil War








145. HABBERTON, JOHN, 1842-1921.
The Jericho Road, A Story of Western Life, by John Habberton. Author of "Helen's Babies," and "The Barton Experiment"...Chicago: Jansen, McClurg & Co., 1877. 222p.

Based on the parable of the Good Samaritan, The Jericho Road is an allegory in which the author theorizes what might have happened to the unfortunate traveler on the road to Jericho had the Samaritan not happened along. Lemuel Pankett, the traveler, is cast ashore at Mount Zion, Illinois, when the river packet Helen Douglas, on which he works, is destroyed while trying to run the locks on the Wabash River during a flood. Weak and ill, Lem is pitied by the town's people, but is ignored, refused help, and denied work until, in desperation he falls prey to the sleek words and devious methods of counterfeiters and horse thieves. The author's thesis that the Biblical age had no monopoly on hypocritical priests and Levites is well expressed in this satire of the church and the professed Christian, set in southeastern Illinois about 1848.

Atlantic, 3/1877, p. 373. Harper's, 3/1877, p. 618-9. Nation, 3/22/1877, p. 181-2. North American Review, 9/1877, p. 319-21. Saturday Review, 4/28/1877, p. 531.
146. HALL, JAMES, 1793-1868.
Legends of the West, by James Hall. Author of Letters from the West, Etc. Philadelphia: Published by Harrison Hall; 133 Chesnut Street, 1832. 265p.

See No. 35.

147. HALL, JAMES, 1793-1868.
Seven Stories, by James Hall. A Selection with an Introduction by Mary Burtschi. Vandalia, Illinois: Fayette County Bicentennial of the American Revolution Commission, [1975.] 114p.

See No. 36.

148. HALL, JAMES, 1793-1868.
Tales of the Border. by James Hall. Author of "Legends of the West," &c., &c. Philadelphia: Harrison Hall; No. 47, South Third Street, 1835. 276p.

See No. 37.

149. HALL, JAMES, 1793-1868.
The Wilderness and the War Path, by James Hall. Author of Legends of the West, Border Tales, Sketches of the West, Notes on the Western States, Etc., Etc. New York: Wiley and Putnam; 161 Broadway, 1846. 174p.

See No. 38.

Michael Beam, [by] Richard Matthews Hallet. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company; The Riverside Press, Cambridge, 1939. 451p.

Pioneers and Indians grapple for the wild and fertile Illinois land in this adventure story about a young man torn between two ways of thinking, the Indian's and the traditional white man's, and between two women, the patrician Charlessie Carteret and the Indian maid, Red Bloom. Michael Beam, pioneer and founder of the county seat at Sorry Crossing, near Peoria, survives near-death episodes many times in this romantic tale depicting the dangers and hardships endured by Illinois inhabitants of the early 1800s. In spite of contrived situations, the novel is rich in historic detail and both Indian and pioneer lore, and includes a loose interpretation of the Indian situation during some of the most crucial times of Black Hawk's reign.

Book Review Digest, 1939, p. 419.
Lincoln's Spy; or, The Loyal Detective, A Stirring Story of the Plot to Burn Chicago, by Major A. F. Grant. [pseud.] New York: Novelist Publishing Co.; No. 20 Rose Street, Feb[ruary] 20, 1886. 23p. (The War Library, Original Stories of Adventure in the War for the Union, No. 180)

In the autumn of 1864, as the South seems to be losing the War of Secession, a desperate plot is hatched by Confederate sympathizers which, if carried out, would strike a crippling blow against the Union. The plot--to burn Chicago and release thousands of Confederate war prisoners at Camp Douglas--is carefully planned by four men of dubious loyalties, and might have been brought to fruition had it not been for the bravery and cunning of Tunis Tracy, a detective loyal to President Lincoln and the Union. Such a plot was never carried out, and historians cannot prove conclusively that one ever existed. Whether based on fact or hearsay, Lincoln's Spy presents a vivid image of strife-worn Chicago as the Civil War draws to a close.

152. HARRIS, H. A.
The Horse Thief; or, The Maiden and Negro. A Tale of the Prairies, by H. A. Harris. Boston: Gleason's Publishing Hall, 1 1-2 Tremont Row, 1845. 66p.

Lies, deception, half-truths and misunderstandings are the vehicles on which the author relies in telling his thin story of a girl trapped by fate. Mary Green, a teen-ager living on the prairies of southern Illinois with her demented grandmother, finds little joy in life save that derived from her love for James Walker. She suffers silently the abuses of her grandmother and her father Devil Bob Green until James proposes marriage. This prompts Devil Bob to announce what he considers the ultimate in debasement--Mary's marriage to his servant, a gigantic Negro named Tim. Motives are revealed and a conclusion wrought only after the deaths of several key figures, great suffering by many others, and the eventual confessions of Devil Bob and his mother to their evil deeds.

Mr. Lincoln's Wife, [by] Anne Colver. New York [and] Toronto: Farrar & Rinehart, Inc., [1943.] 406p.

The courtship of Mary Todd and Abraham Lincoln and the early years of their marriage in Springfield are perceptively described in the first chapters of this fictionalized biography. The scene then shifts to Washington, D. C.. for the greater part of the book, but returns to Illinois for a brief picture of Mrs. Lincoln's sanity trial, where she is depicted as aging and confused. Mary Lincoln is treated fairly by Mrs. Colver, who views her more favorably than many others have, and the story is pleasant reading, although it is sometimes a vague and inaccurate account historically.

Book Review Digest, 1943, p. 168.
The Heart of the West, An American Story by an Illinoian. Time: 1860. Scene: On the Mississippi...Chicago: Steam Printing House of Hand & Hart, 1871. 229p.

In the spring of 1860, Walter Sydenham embarks on a voyage down the Mississippi River from the pine forests of Minnesota to New Orleans with a barge load of lumber. He and his crew are elated over their prospects, for theirs is the first barge to leave the St. Croix Pineries after the spring thaw, and they are confident that their cargo will bring a good price in the South. The barge and crew encounter several delays and mishaps along their route--they stop in Wisconsin to aid an old Indian in his fight with land speculators; they run against a pier of the railroad bridge at Rock Island and damage the barge; they witness a riverboat fire between St. Louis and Cairo, and in rescuing the passengers set the barge aflame--so Sydenham decides to end the voyage in Memphis and return home. The plot moves slowly at times, since the author devotes several chapters to a description of the Mississippi River valley, to the social and economic development of the states through which the river winds, and to an extended dialogue concerning slavery and the impending war over the slavery question. The Heart of the West re-creates the feeling of time and place more perfectly than many current history books, making it a valuable asset to the literature of the middle west.

Old 'Kaskia Days, A Novel by Elizabeth Holbrook, Kaskaskia: Jesuit mission, founded 1680-86. Under British rule, 1763. A county of Virginia, 1778. Northwestern Territory, 1787. Territory of Indiana, 1802. Territory of Illinois, 1809. State of Illinois, 1818. Chicago: The Schulte Publishing Company, 1893. 295p.

See No. 40.

Brombeau, by John B. Holmes. Philadelphia: Published by the Industrial League, at No. 261 South Fourth Street...1888. 16p. (Tariff Tract, No. 12)

Brombeau is an allegory written to explain in simple terms the economics of the tariff. Mr. Brombeau, who represents unrestricted trade, is a wealthy Illinois farmer who has accumulated his wealth by taking advantage of his neighbors. When Mr. Morden fences in his farm (equated with imposing a tariff) to keep Brombeau's cattle off his land, prices soar. But Morden is enabled to raise more and better crops as a result of his act; therefore, he is able to afford the higher prices, thus illustrating the sound principles of tariffs and restricted trade to his less progressive neighbors.

Hubbard's Trail, by Alfred Hubbard Holt. Chicago, Ill[inois:] Erie Press--Publishers; 30 N[orth] LaSalle St[reet, 1952.] 320p. (Books of Character)

The life of one of Illinois' leading citizens supplies the inspiration and background for this historical novel which spans nearly seventy-five crucial years in the state's history. Gurdon S. Hubbard joins the American Fur Company in May of 1818, at the age of sixteen, and is sent to Mackinac Island, then to Chicago, and finally into the interior of the new state of Illinois as a clerk for the company founded by John Jacob Astor. Working hard at his chosen profession, Hubbard rises to the superintendency of the Illinois River Trading Posts before civilization kills the fur trade in Illinois. Undaunted, he moves to the bustling village of Chicago, where he becomes a meat-packer, eventually branching into shipping, importing, insurance, and banking, before the Chicago fire brings financial ruin at an age when blindness and infirmity prevent his rebuilding his fortune. The novel focuses on Hubbard's life with his first wife, the Indian maiden Watseka, in whose honor a northern Illinois city has been named; and his third wife Ann, who is his companion and helpmate during the last fifty years of his life. Hubbard's Trail is a thorough history of a man and a state whose stories are inseparable. Gurdon S. Hubbard lived the strenuous life of the voyageur; he blazed the first trail from Chicago to Danville; he knew Abraham Lincoln; he was instrumental in the building of the Chicago railroad complex; he established the Chicago fire department; he survived the great fire. Gurdon S. Hubbard is a perfect vehicle around which to develop the history of Illinois, and Alfred Hubbard Holt has accomplished the task admirably.

Ella Lincoln; or, Western Prairie Life, An Autobiography, by Mrs. E. A. W. H. Boston: James French & Company, 1857. 359p.

Ella Lee marries Allen Lincoln against her family's wishes, and the two move to Mariette in the new state of Illinois to begin their life together. From the moment of her marriage, Ella's life is torment, for misfortune follows misfortune in quick succession. Business reverses cause the Lincolns to move from shopkeeping to tavernkeeping to farming, then to shopkeeping again, meanwhile using up Ella's inheritance. Desertion, foreclosure, the drowning of her younger son, and a constant succession of additional tribulations eventually drive her to the edge of despair. The title page indicates that Ella Lincoln is autobiographical, but the Library of Congress and most other libraries classify it as fiction, and reading the exaggerated text will corroborate the decision.

159. HUNT, IRENE, 1907-
Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt. Jacket and endsheets by Albert John Pucci. Chicago: Follett Publishing Company, [1964.] 223p.

April, 1861, marks the beginning of the Civil War and the personal conflicts which rend the Creighton family in twain. Set in southern Illinois where the population is composed largely of immigrants from Kentucky, Tennessee, and the Carolinas living in an area well within the geographical bounds of the Union, Across Five Aprils is the story of Jethro Creighton, whose family divides its allegiance, sending one son to die for the Confederacy, while two others fight for the Union. At age nine, Jethro assumes responsibility for the operation of the family farm, amid the turmoil of the Copperhead-Unionist conflict which leads to terrorism, violence, and personal vendettas against the family, and adds to the burdens of work and responsibility which force the boy to grow up long before his time. The story is based on the life of the author's grandfather, who lived through the Civil War and related many of the incidents which Ms. Hunt has incorporated into her story. The author is particularly skillful in re-creating the scene, the characters, and the events of the times, and in presenting the influences of all phases of the war on the limited world of the Creighton farm.

Book Review Digest, 1964, p. 596-7.
Wau-Bun; The "Early Days'' in the North-West, by Mrs. John H. Kinzie, of Chicago. With Illustrations. New York: Published by Derby & Jackson, 119 Nassau Street; Cincinnati: H. W. Derby & Co., 1856. 498p.

See No. 44.

161. KIRKLAND, JOSEPH, 1830-1894.
The Captain of Company K, by Joseph Kirkland, Late Major and A.-D.-C., U.-S. Volunteers. Profusely Illustrated from Drawings by Hugh Capper. Chicago: Dibble Publishing Company; 260 Clark Street, 1891. 351p. ("Detroit Free-Press" Competition, First-Prize Story)

A novel based on the author's war experiences, The Captain of Company K revolves around the character of Will Fargeon, a Chicago businessman who gives up profession and personal ambition to become a soldier in the Union Army. The story follows Fargeon to boot camp near Cairo, to Fort Donelson, then to Shiloh where he loses a leg. An early devotee to realism, Kirkland combines the plight and bitterness of the foot soldiers with the glamour of the behind-the-lines commander, the nation's economic condition, and the worry and sorrow of civilian family and friends in a well-constructed, quite detailed interpretation of Illinois' contribution to the Civil War.

Critic, 11/14/1891, p. 261.
162. KIRKLAND, JOSEPH, 1830-1894.
The McVeys (An Episode), by Joseph Kirkland. Author of "Zury: The Meanest Man in Spring County." Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin and Company; The Riverside Press, Cambridge. 1888. 468p.

A sequel to Kirkland's earlier, Zury: The Meanest Man in Spring County, The McVeys continues the story of Zury Prouder through his association with the widow Anne McVey and her children Philip and Margaret. The McVeys is a realistic, accurate interpretation of family life in the small prairie settlements of Illinois during the 1850s. Philip's broken leg, Meg's adjustment to being less than beautiful, Anne's affection for Dr. Strafford and her marriage to Zury Prouder, the question of the children's parentage, Phil's death, and Meg's business ventures fill a major portion of this long novel. But of far more consequence is the wealth of background material on the development of the railroad network in Illinois, the religious practices of the early prairie settlers, the speed and permanency of frontier justice, the colorful tales told around parlor table or pot-bellied stove, and the details of local custom that fuse together to form an intricate portrait of the times.

Atlantic, 2/1889, p. 276-80.Catholic World, 11/1888, p. 267-9. Critic, 11/17/1888, p. 244. Dial, 11/1888, p. 161. Epoch, 11/30/1888, p. 309. Harper's, 5/1889, p. 987. Independent, 2/7/1889, p. 1134. Literary World, 11/10/1888, p. 169. Overland, 2/1889, p. 213-4.
163. KIRKLAND, JOSEPH, 1830-1894.
Zury; The Meanest Man in Spring County. A Novel of Western Life by Joseph Kirkland. Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin and Company; The Riverside Press, Cambridge, 1887. 538p.

See No. 45.

The Romance of Gilbert Holmes, An Historical Novel by Marshall Monroe Kirkman. Author of ''The Science of Railways,'' in twelve volumes, ''Primitive Carriers," etc.. etc. Chicago, New York, [and] London: The World Railway Publishing Company, 1900. 425p.

Gilbert Holmes' youth, spent on the prairies of west central Illinois during the 1820s and 1830s, is the theme which gives continuity to an historical novel of amazing depth and breadth. When Gilbert's parents die, leaving him a ward of his maiden aunt Jane Holmes, Gilbert runs away to join his maternal relative Job Throckmorton. Gilbert's flight from the authorities who wish to return him to his legal guardian brings him into contact with various people of historic significance, including Abraham Lincoln, Jefferson Davis, Stephen A. Douglas, and Black Hawk; and presents an accurate, though romanticized panoramic view of life in early Illinois that has been equaled by few writers before or since. The Romance of Gilbert Holmes is quaint in style, but rugged, powerful, dramatic, and beautifully spellbinding--a narrative which ranks with the best of American literature.

N. Y. Times Book Review, 11/10/1900, p. 774.
Thunder on the River, by Charlton Laird. Boston: Little Brown and Company, 1949. 310p. (An Atlantic Monthly Press Book)

See No. 46.

166. LANCASTER, BRUCE, 1896-1963.
For Us the Living, by Bruce Lancaster. New York: Frederick A. Stokes Company, 1940. 556p.

Although the story revolves around the boyhood and early manhood of Hugh Brace, a fictional friend of Abraham Lincoln, it is Lincoln himself who frequently occupies center stage. From the hardships of pioneer life at Pigeon Creek, Indiana, to New Salem days and the Black Hawk War, the continuing friendship between Hugh and Abe serves to bring to light early signs of Lincoln's worth. Details of pioneer life lend authenticity to the account and help sustain interest in this long, rambling novel. Backwoods dialect is used and characters fit rather precisely into their comfortable molds. Beardstown, Clary's Grove, Vandalia, Decatur, Springfield, and Shawneetown are mentioned.

Book Review Digest, 1940, p. 529.
The Everlasting Fire, [by] Jonreed Lauritzen. Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1962. 474p.

Jonreed Lauritzen has undertaken a monumental task in attempting to re-create in fiction the early history of the Mormon Church, particularly in light of Vardis Fisher's Children of God which covers the subject in minute detail. Yet Lauritzen has delved deeply into Mormon history and theology to create a bold and perceptive novel relating the persecution of the Mormons at Nauvoo, the death of the prophet Joseph Smith, the accession of Brigham Young, and the migration of the Saints toward the west. The story focuses on Judge Nathan Eyring, a non-believer whose children lead him to the church, but the scope of the novel reaches far beyond the limits of the one man. Included here are the politics, the history, the doctrine, the shame, and the glory of one of America's major religious sects, packaged neatly in the form of a fascinating historical novel.

Book Review Digest, 1962, p. 693-4.
The World Before You; or, The Log Cabin. By the Author of "Three Experiments," "Old Painters," and ''Huguenots in France and America." Second Edition. Philadelphia: Geo[rge] S. Appleton, 148 Chestnut St[reet;] New York: D, Appleton & Co., 200 Broadway, 1844. 207p.

Henry Green, son of a New England sea captain, is reared by his maternal grandmother in the ways of courtliness and femininity. Following his grandmother's death, young Henry recognizes his limitations in the town of his birth, so he ventures to the Illinois wilderness to seek his fortune. The prairie lands of central Illinois attract Henry, who settles in a small community some twenty miles from Springfield, to serve as schoolmaster. Adjustment to the customs of his neighbors, a bout with the "ager'' which leaves him physically weak, a chance to buy a farm and build his own home, and the wiles of a woman in search of a husband all have their effects on Henry Green. But the effects are positive. He marries his childhood sweetheart and becomes a prosperous farmer, a legislator in the new state, a pillar of the community, and the father of a robust family of intelligent industrious children. The World Before You is a success story written in the form of a memoir. It is low-key throughout, avoiding sensationalism, even when wrong-doing is apparent. Although a bit too Puritanical and exaggerated for modern tastes, it is historically significant for its good description of early life in Illinois.

Sparrow Hawk, by Meridel LeSueur. Illustrated by William Moyers. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1950. 174p.

Sparrow Hawk, an Indian youth of the Sauk tribe, comes of age in the 1830s as incidents leading to the Black Hawk War herald the decline of the Sauk nation. Regretting the breach between Indian and white, but nevertheless remaining faithful to his tribe, Sparrow Hawk chooses to follow his chief into the war which brings disaster to the Sauk and the Fox.

Book Review Digest, 1950, p. 553.
170. LITVIN, MARTIN, 1928-
Black Angel; A fictional re-telling of Sukey Richardson's story, by Martin Litvin. Galesburg, Illinois: Log City Books, [1972.] 85p.

Born into slavery, sold on the auction block at age fourteen, seduced by her white master, relegated to a life of drudgery in a plantation kitchen, Sukey Richardson expects little for herself from this world. But when she sees her children destined for the same fate, Sukey resorts to the only avenue open to her--the underground railroad. She runs away from her master, a planter in Randolph County, Illinois, and with the help of kindhearted neighbors and a few avid Abolitionists, makes her way to Knoxville where she settles with her four children. But freedom and peace are not in Sukey's stars, for her owner soon learns of her whereabouts, and his discovery again brings tragedy to Sukey and her family. Sukey Richardson's story is a little-known chapter in Illinois history, but one that occurred time and again in Illinois as well as in the southern states. This fictionalization is based on research done by the author for his publication, Voices of the Prairie Land, and some of the chapters appear to be more fact than fiction. Still, Black Angel is a fascinating little book concerning a social problem of extreme importance to Illinois and the nation prior to the Civil War.

171. LITVIN, MARTIN, 1928-
Hiram Revels in Illinois, A Biographical novel about a lost chapter in the life of America's first black U. S. Senator, by Martin Litvin. Galesburg, Illinois: Log City Books, 1974. 103p.

Hiram Rhodes Revels, the first black man ever to be elected to the United States Senate, lived for a year in the western Illinois town of Galesburg before moving on to Missouri, Kansas, then Mississippi. Martin Litvin has attempted to re-create that year, 1856-1857, from sketchy histories and limited biographical writings. Revels' friendship with the principal of Knox Academy, his teaching experience and scholarship there, the death of his wife's Cousin, and a few other facts have been discovered. From these, Litvin has created an image of the man and a chronology of his activities that seem quite plausible. Because of the scarcity of material about Revels, this small novel may generate some interest although its fictionalized contents and term paper style combine to limit its appeal.

172. LOUX, DuBOIS HENRY, 1867-
Ongon; A Tale of Early Chicago, by DuBois H. Loux. New York: [Charles Francis Press,] 1902. 182p.

Ongon is the supremely virtuous, adored, all wise Chief-King of a number of Indian tribes in the area near Chicago. He has a well hidden secret: he is not really Indian at all, but was found by Indians after a shipwreck when he was three years old, and is now worshipped by red and white alike. His real sister, disguised as a gypsy, is trying to find him to warn him that he is about to be falsely accused of murder. Although some authenticity is implied by citing 1833 as the year in which the events in this tale take place, the book has little historical value, except perhaps as a relic of nineteenth century literary effort. Smothered with sentimentality, its rhapsodic descriptions, wildly improbable coincidences, and pretentious philosophies tend to obscure the poorly laid plot as well as the intended theme: that the red man is basically noble and has been badly mistreated by the white man.

Luke Darrell, The Chicago Newsboy. Chicago: Tomlinson Brothers, 1865. 377p.

Luke Darrell, an orphan at nine years old, ventures to Chicago to seek his fortune, only to find fortune elusive and bare existence an ordeal. Unable to find work in the shops of the city, Luke is eventually befriended by Red-Top, a seasoned newsboy, who introduces him to life on the streets and starts him on his own career hawking papers. During his years as a newsboy, Luke suffers illness, hunger, reprimands from customers, false accusations, arrest, and a variety of additional discomforts and misfortunes. But reminiscent of Horatio Alger's best heroes, Luke manages to maintain his high moral standards in the face of adversity, and is eventually rewarded for his virtue.













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