Gene (born Geneva) Grace Stratton is one of Indiana’s most famous female authors. She was a prime example of an independent woman, an accomplished naturalist, and a born story-teller.
Born near Wabash, Indiana on August 17, 1863, she was the youngest of 12 children. Her parents, Mark & Mary Stratton, raised their children on a farm near Lagro, Indiana, located in Wabash County. From a humble Hoosier homestead and with not even a high school diploma, Gene Stratton-Porter would eventually become a famous author, naturalist, talented photographer, and movie producer.
Two of her Indiana homes are state historic sites. The Limberlost State Historic Site in Geneva, Indiana, was Gene’s home from 1895-1913, but altogether she lived 25 years in Geneva. It was in Geneva that she, her husband (Charles Porter) and daughter (Jeannette), lived near the 13,000 acre Limberlost Swamp in a 14-room Queen Ann style log cabin home that she called “Limberlost”.
Mrs. Porter lived until December 7, 1924. A streetcar accident claimed her life in Los Angeles. At the time of her death she was considered to be one of the wealthiest female authors in America and had an estimated 50 million people (nearly half the population of America) reading her books. For a thorough biography of Gene Stratton-Porter, see Gene Stratton-Porter, Novelist and Naturalist by Judith Reick Long – Published by Indiana Historical Society – Indianapolis 1990.