William H. Bushnell was born June 4, 1823, in the town of Hudson, Columbia County, New York, where his father was a lawyer. He received his education at the University of the City of New York and was admitted to the bar. He went to Chicago where he practiced law for a time but later became land surveyor and civil engineer in that city. He appears to have been in Chicago as early as 1843, for on Washington's birthday in that year he delivered an original poem, "Knowledge is Power," before the Junior Lyceum of Chicago. At about the same time he began to write prose and poetry for the Gem of the Prairie, a weekly literary paper. For some time thereafter he devoted himself entirely to literature. He was editor of the Democratic Advocate for a short time, editor and publisher of the Chicago Dollar Newspaper, and was appointed steward of the old University of Chicago, May 22, 1857. The earliest Chicago directories (1858 to 1860) list him as land surveyor and civil engineer, but at about the same time he was also one of the editors of the Chicago Ledger. I have been unable to trace his movements between 1860 and 1883, but in the latter year he was living in Washington, D. C., where he was a clerk in the Treasury Department, then in the Government Printing Office until 1891, but at the same time was listed as a journalist, and was contributing to various magazines. His wife was also an author, writing under the name "Helen Luqueer."(1) Many of Bushnell's sketches of Indian life were written under the name "Frank Webber."(2) For Beadle he wrote only one tale, but it was reprinted under two titles. Among his other writings was his "Biographical Sketches of the Early Settlers of Chicago," published in Chicago in two volumes in 1876.
REFERENCES: William T. Coggeshall, Poets and Poetry of the West, 1860, 456; Allibone, Supplement; Nat. Cyc. Amer. Biog., I, 1898, 431; Magazine of Poetry, I, 1889, with portrait; Thomas W. Hernngshaw, Local and National Poets of America, Chicago, 1890, 898; Chicago City Directories, 1858-1860; Washington, D. C., City Directories, 1883-1890; Herringshaw's Encyclopedia of American Biography, Chicago, 1906, 179; R. T. Andreas, History of Chicago, Chicago, 1885, II, 816. †Herringshaw's National Library of American Biography, Chicago, 1909, L, 514, states that he died in Washington, D. C.
American Tales. No. 3
Starr's American Novels. No. 149
† Correction made as per Volume 3.
|1||Nat. Cyc. Amer. Biog. I, 1898, 431.|
|2||William Cushing, Initials and Pseudonyms, New York, 1886, 604.|