Ralph Hartsook, the schoolmaster at Flat Creek, Indiana. He makes a place for himself in the community until his enemies accuse him of being a thief. He escapes a mob and gives himself up to the authorities. He is tried and found innocent. Being a friendly and democratic man, he tries to help everyone. He falls in love with Hannah, a hired girl, and marries her.
Hannah Thomson, the “bound girl” at the Means home. She defeats the schoolmaster in a spelling bee. He falls in love with her and marries her.
Bud Means, one of the older pupils in Ralph’s school. He becomes the schoolmaster’s friend. Chagrined when he is ignored by Martha Hawkins, he falls in with evil companions, but he saves himself and tries to help the schoolmaster.
Martha Hawkins, daughter of the local squire. She is in love with bashful Bud.
Dr. Small, a thief. He is Ralph’s enemy and tries to lay his crime upon the schoolmaster’s head. At Ralph’s trial, he incriminates himself and is later hanged for his misdeeds.
Pete Jones, Dr. Small’s accomplice. He tries to lay the blame for the robbery on Mr. Pearson, an honest man. He and his brother are sent to prison as punishment for their part in the robbery.
(The entire section is 458 words.)