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Dwight Le Roy ArmstrongDwight Le Roy Armstrong

Hoosier Connection: Le Roy Armstrong was born in Plymouth, Indiana. He spent almost his entire life in Indiana and wrote An Indiana Man, The Outlaws: The Story of the Building of the West, and other stories relating to his time in Indiana.

Works Discussed: "An Indiana Man", "Outlaws: The Story of the Building of the West"

In Plymouth, Indiana, on May 13, 1854, Dwight Le Roy Armstrong was born to Augustus and Ara Armstrong. His parents died when he was in his teenage years, forcing him to take a job in a printing office. It was there that Armstrong was inspired to start a career in the literary field.

Indiana University, 1855
Indiana University, 1855

He attended Indiana University in Bloomington and studied law for a short period of time before taking a newspaper job for the Chicago Herald. However, soon after accepting the position, he returned to Indiana in 1896 and became the editor for the Lafayette Morning Journal. He continued his editorial career with the Lafayette Democrat until 1905. Around 1906, Armstrong left Indiana and took a job in Salt Lake City, Utah, as an editor for the Herald Republican. He remained there until his death on March 29, 1927.

In between his work with newspapers, he wrote several novels and short stories. Two of his novels, An Indiana Man and The Outlaws: The Story of the Building of the West, were set in Indiana near his hometown of Plymouth. Both works mention the environment several times.

An Indiana Man is a simple love story that Armstrong wrote during the time he worked for the Chicago Herald. Although the story itself is fictitious, the landmarks mentioned throughout the novel are real places and most still exist today. Armstrong speaks about autumn foliage of these Indiana sites:

"[T]he distant forests have changed from deep green to crimson and brown. The hedge ways are swaying slightly, and dropping leaves with every motion. The oak trees by the roadside have painted their foliage a rich wine color, and the hickory that stands on the line fence now sends down shelled nuts..." (185).

In this novel, Armstrong focuses more on the trees and roadsides than any other aspect of nature.

Armstrong delves more deeply into environmental issues in his novel The Outlaws: The Story of the Building of the West. In this adventurous romance novel, Armstrong focuses on politics and the destruction of nature, with emphasis on topics such as urban sprawl and agriculture. He describes his frustration with people that value money over priceless land:

Money was urging the farmers to hurry with their clearing, to roll the forest farther back, and to widen the fields. Money was building the mills, and dragging the saws, and teaching the heavy stone burs to hum in a musical monotone as they poured out the stream of flour and meal. Money brought strangers in increasing numbers from out of the mysterious east to the transformation of the West (92-93).

The novel goes on to discuss deforestation:

The oak, which had answered axe strokes with dull defiance at first, had lifted its bass notes to a piping treble as the blades on the opposite sides approached its heart; and before the final citadel was taken, the great tree shivered, then slowly turned, and surrendering, swept with a mighty sound of branches rushing through the air, of timber rending, and a sullen impact on the stubborn ground (19-20).

In this novel, Armstrong's feeling of anguish over the destruction of the forests and nature surrounding his hometown and throughout Indiana are obvious.

During his years in Indiana, Armstrong contributed to the state's environment by writing about the destruction of the land, which invokes in the reader a sense of remorse for the damage to nature.



Armstrong, Le Roy. An Indiana Man. Chicago: Schulte Publishing Co., 1895.

---. The Outlaws: A Story of the Building of the West. New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1902.

Banta, R. E., ed. "Le Roy Armstrong." Indiana Authors and Their Books 1816-1916: Biographical Sketches of Authors Who Published During the First Century of Indiana Statehood, With Lists of Their Books. Crawfordsville, IN: Wabash College, 1949.

McDonald, Daniel. History of Marshall County. Chicago: Kingman Brothers, 1908. 27 Sept. 2002 <http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/

Vanausdall, Jeanette. Pride and Protest: The Novel in Indiana. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society, 1999.


Indiana University in 1855. University Archives. Indiana U.--Bloomington Libraries. 7 Nov. 2002 <http://www.indiana.edu/~libarch/


To our knowledge, there are no sites dedicated to Dwight Le Roy Armstrong. If you know of any, please notify us at landandlit@bsu.edu.