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. His seven series comprise a total of thirty-two novels, each containing an independent story. There are eighteen other novels. He also authored many short stories.


Altsheler was born in Three Springs, Hart County, Kentucky to Joseph and Louise (Snoddy) Altsheler.[1] 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.

Altsheler married Sarah Boles on May 30, 1888, and had one son. He and his family were in Germany when World War I began. The difficult journey home took a toll on Altsheler's health and he was never the same. He died in New York City in 1919. His obituary appeared in "The Evening World," on June 6, 1919.


The Gold Series (2)[edit]

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

The Young Trailers Series (8)[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 (6)[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 (3)[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 (8)[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 (2)[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 (3)[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 (18)[edit]

  • 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 posthumously)

Short Stories (43)[edit]

  • The Break of Day (1895)
  • The Sharpshooter (1896)
  • A Spy of France (1896)
  • A Visitor from Kentucky (1896)
  • At the Cannon's Mouth (1897)
  • The General (1897)
  • My Pennsylvanian (1897)
  • Old Tom of Nantucket (1897)
  • A Problem of the East (1897)
  • The Red Light (1897)
  • After the Battle (1898)
  • At the Twelfth Hour (1898)
  • Guard No. 10 (1898)
  • The Indian Scout (1898)
  • Mercer's Best Shot (1898)
  • The Stroke of Midnight (1898)
  • Black Feather's Throw (1899)
  • A Plot for a Crown (1899)
  • The Fate of the Gun (1902)
  • The Governor's Choice (1902)
  • The Breath of Pélé (1903)
  • The Man from Maui (1903)
  • Prince Kailulino (1903)
  • Old Manson's Sin (1903)
  • A Dawn in the Desert (1903)
  • The Escape (1903)
  • The Island Chute (1903)
  • The Wedding Guest (1903)
  • The Retreat of the Ten (1904)
  • The Broken Journey (1905)
  • The Lost Herd (1905)
  • The Stolen Speech (1906)
  • Carson's Victory (1906)
  • The Insistence of Fleming (1907)
  • Justice Intervenes (1907)
  • A Deal with the Prosecution (1907)
  • The Silent Stranger (1907)
  • The Last Call (1907)
  • A Case of Restraint (1908)
  • The Lone Huntsman (1908)
  • How Carroll Came Home (1911)
  • Bobby's Twilight Dance (1914)
  • In Sheep's Clothing (1919)

Preliminary Versions (6)[edit]

  • A Knight of Philadelphia (1897) This novel was greatly expanded and republished as In Hostile Red.
  • His Greatest Speech (1902) This short story later became the basis of chapter 7 of The Candidate.
  • Jimmy Grayson's Spell (1903) This short story later became the basis of chapter 9 of The Candidate.
  • The Third Degree (1903) This short story later became the basis of chapter 13 of The Candidate.
  • A Dead City (1903) This short story later became the basis of chapter 14 of The Candidate.
  • The Spellbinder (1903) This short story later became the basis of chapter 17 of The Candidate.


  1. ^ Merriman, C. D. (2006). "Joseph A. Altsheler". The Literature Network. Jalic, Inc. Retrieved May 23, 2010. 

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