Joseph Alexander Altsheler

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Joseph Alexander Altsheler
Born (1862-04-29)April 29, 1862
Three Springs, Hart County, Kentucky
Died June 5, 1919(1919-06-05) (aged 57)
New York City, New York
Occupation Novelist
Nationality American
Period 1896-1919

Joseph Alexander Altsheler (April 29, 1862 – June 5, 1919) was an American newspaper reporter, editor and author of popular juvenile historical fiction. He was a prolific writer, and produced fifty-one novels and (at least) fifty-one short stories. Thirty-two of his novels were part of his seven series:

  • The Civil War Series (8 volumes)
  • The French and Indian War Series (6 volumes)
  • The Gold Series (2 volumes)
  • The Great West Series (2 volumes)
  • The Texan Series (3 volumes)
  • The World War Series (3 volumes)
  • The Young Trailers Series (8 volumes)

Although each of the thirty-two novels constitutes an independent story, Altsheler suggested a reading order for each series (i.e., he numbered the volumes).

The remaining nineteen novels can be read in any order. [Note, however, that A Knight of Philadelphia was later expanded through the addition of nineteen chapters and some minor tweaks to become Mr. Altsheler's novel In Hostile Red.]


Early life and education[edit]

Altsheler was born in Three Springs, Hart County, Kentucky to Joseph and Louise (née Snoddy) Altsheler. He attended Liberty College in Glasgow, Kentucky before entering Vanderbilt University.


In 1885, he took a job at the Louisville Courier-Journal as a reporter and later worked as an editor. He started working for the New York World in 1892, first as the paper's Hawaiian correspondent and then as the editor of the World's tri-weekly magazine. Due to a lack of suitable stories, he began writing children's stories for the magazine.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Altsheler married Sarah Boles on May 30, 1888; they had one son, Sidney.

Altsheler and his family were in Germany in 1914, when World War I began, and they were forced to remain in Germany for a time. The hardships the Altshelers endured in returning to the U.S. damaged Altsheler's health and rendered him a semi-invalid until his death.[2] Upon returning to the U.S., he wrote The World War Series of books based on his ordeal.


Altsheler died in New York City on June 5, 1919, aged 57; his obituary appeared in The Evening World, on June 6, 1919. His widow, Sarah, died 30 years later. Both are buried at the Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville, Kentucky.


The Gold Series[edit]

  • V1 The Rainbow of Gold (1898)
  • V2 The Hidden Mine (1896)

The Young Trailers Series[edit]

  • V1 The Young Trailers, a story of early Kentucky (1907)
  • V2 The Forest Runners, a story of the great war trail in early Kentucky (1908)
  • V3 The Keepers of the Trail, a story of the great woods (1916)
  • V4 The Eyes of the Woods, a story of the ancient wilderness (1917)
  • V5 The Free Rangers, a story of the early days along the Mississippi (1909)
  • V6 The Riflemen of the Ohio, a story of early days along "the beautiful river" (1910)
  • V7 The Scouts of the Valley, a story of Wyoming and the Chemung (1911)
  • V8 The Border Watch, a story of the great chief's last stand (1912)

The French and Indian War Series[edit]

  • V1 The Hunters of the Hills, a story of the French and Indian War (1916)
  • V2 The Shadow of the North, a story of old New York and a lost campaign (1917)
  • V3 The Rulers of the Lakes, a story of George and Champlain (1917)
  • V4 The Masters of the Peaks, a story of the great north woods (1918)
  • V5 The Lords of the Wild, a story of the old New York border (1919)
  • V6 The Sun of Quebec, a story of a great crisis (1919)

The Texan Series[edit]

  • V1 The Texan Star, the story of a great fight for liberty (1912)
  • V2 The Texan Scouts, the story of the Alamo and Goliad (1913)
  • V3 The Texan Triumph, a romance of the San Jacinto campaign (1913)

The Civil War Series[edit]

  • V1 The Guns of Bull Run, a story of the Civil War's eve (1914)
  • V2 The Guns of Shiloh, a story of the great western campaign (1914)
  • V3 The Scouts of Stonewall, the story of the great valley campaign (1914)
  • V4 The Sword of Antietam, a story of the nation's crisis (1914)
  • V5 The Star of Gettysburg, a story of southern high tide (1915)
  • V6 The Rock of Chickamauga, a story of the western crisis (1915)
  • V7 The Shades of the Wilderness, a story of Lee's great stand (1916)
  • V8 The Tree of Appomattox, a story of the Civil War's close (1916)

The Great West Series[edit]

  • V1 The Great Sioux Trail, a story of mountain and plain (1918)
  • V2 The Lost Hunters, a story of wild man and great beasts (1918)

The World War Series[edit]

  • V1 The Guns of Europe (1915)
  • V2 The Forest of Swords, a story of Paris and the Marne (1915)
  • V3 The Hosts of the Air, the story of a quest in the Great War (1915)

Other novels[edit]

  • A Knight of Philadelphia (1897)
  • A Soldier of Manhattan, and his adventures at Ticonderoga and Quebec (1897)
  • The Sun of Saratoga, a romance of Burgoyne's surrender (1897)
  • A Herald of the West, an American story of 1811-1815 (1898)
  • In Circling Camps, a romance of the Civil War (1900)
  • In Hostile Red, a romance of the Monmouth campaign (1900)
  • The Last Rebel (1900)
  • The Wilderness Road; a romance of St. Clair's defeat and Wayne's victory (1901)
  • My Captive, a novel (1902)
  • Before the Dawn, a story of the fall of Richmond (1903)
  • Guthrie of the Times, a story of success (1904)
  • The Candidate, a political romance (1905)
  • The Changing Order (1907)
  • The Recovery, a story of Kentucky (1908)
  • The Last of the Chiefs, a story of the great Sioux war (1909)
  • The Horsemen of the Plains, a story of the great Cheyenne war (1910)
  • The Quest of the Four, story of the Comanches and Buena Vista (1911)
  • Apache Gold, a story of the strange Southwest (1913)
  • The Golden Leaf, a story of the dark tobacco region (2013)

Short stories[edit]

  • After the Battle
  • At the Cannon's Mouth
  • At the Twelfth Hour
  • Black Feather's Throw
  • Bobby's Twilight Dance
  • The Break of Day
  • The Breath of Pélé
  • The Broken Journey
  • Carson's Victory
  • A Case of Restraint
  • A Dawn in the Desert
  • A Dead City
  • A Deal with the Prosecution
  • The Eighth of January
  • The Empty Box
  • The Escape
  • The Fate of the Gun
  • The General
  • The Governor's Choice
  • Guard No. 10
  • His Greatest Speech
  • How Carroll Came Home
  • In Sheep's Clothing
  • The Indian Scout
  • The Insistence of Fleming
  • The Island Chute
  • Jimmy Grayson's Spell
  • Justice Intervenes
  • The Last Call
  • The Lone Huntsman
  • The Lost Herd
  • The Man from Maui
  • Mercer's Best Shot
  • My Pennsylvanian
  • Old Manson's Sin
  • Old Tom of Nantucket
  • The Pirate and the Maid
  • A Plot for a Crown
  • Prince Kailulino
  • A Problem of the East
  • The Red Light
  • The Retreat of the Ten
  • The Sharpshooter
  • The Silent Stranger
  • The Spellbinder
  • A Spy of France
  • The Stolen Speech
  • The Stroke of Midnight
  • The Third Degree
  • A Visitor from Kentucky
  • The Wedding Guest


  1. ^ "ALTSHELER, JOSEPH ALEXANDER". The Handbook of Texas. Retrieved August 2015. 
  2. ^ "ALTSHELER, JOSEPH ALEXANDER". The Handbook of Texas. Retrieved August 2015. 

External links[edit]