One journalist curious about life in the taverns along the stagecoach lines in Wisconsin and northern Illinois from the early 1800s until the 1880s was Harry Ellsworth Cole. While he could not sample strong ales at all of the taverns he wrote about, Cole did study newspaper accounts, wrote hundreds of letters to families of tavern owners, read widely in regional history, and traveled extensively throughout the territory. The result, according to Brunet, is a "nostalgic, sometimes romantic, well-written, and easily digested social history."
At Cole's death, historian Louise Phelps Kellogg edited his manuscript, which in this case involved turning his notes and illustrations into a book and publishing it with the Arthur H. Clark Company in 1930.
Harry Ellsworth Cole worked first as a reporter for the LaCrosse Republican and Leader before becoming the publisher and part owner of the Baraboo News at Baraboo, Wisconsin. He was president of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin.