Reading about Wisconsin
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She and her husband take a trip from the Green Bay area to visit relatives in Illinois at a time when roads/maps weren't available to take one easily from place to place. Legs of the journey were described according to who lived where in the wilderness and mistakes in following vague or ambiguous directions put you in real danger of starving to death in the middle of nowhere. Even if you didn't get lost, camping in the woods in the middle of winter in a wind/snow storm doesn't sound too safe.
Her mother-in-law was Eleanor Lytle, who was taken captive by the Seneca as a child and eventually released to her family. The story was fictionalized on The Shirley Temple Storybook as "The Indian Captive." Kinzie's granddaughter apparently founded the Girl Scouts.
For Wisconsin, I was thinking of Mona Simpson's Off Keck Road. This is set in Green Bay or one of its suburbs. I went to college up there and don't recall ever seeing any fictional works set there before.