Will Lisenbee was born in Independence, Iowa, in 1858. He was raised on a farm and spent most of his life in Cherokee, Kansas. Later he spent his vacations in Granby, Missouri, and after 1916 lived there permanently. His first attempt at breaking into print was a sketch sent to the Saturday Star Journal while he was yet a boy. Afterwards he wrote many short sketches for Beadle but only one novel, the latter entitled "Maverick Mose." For this he received fifty dollars, but the publishers promised him seventy-five dollars per story if he would "do his level best" and if the work "took."(1) Perhaps Lisenbee found the pay too small, for no other long- story was published. For his short sketches he received three dollars each.
Lisenbee also wrote for the Youth's Companion, and one year he sold them eight stories. He wrote much for the old New York Ledger, Golden Days, Golden Hours, Good News, and Boy's Holiday, the latter edited by Edward S. Ellis. In the Argosy he had a serial which ran through fourteen numbers. In later years he wrote quite a number of poems for Street & Smith's Ainslee's Magazine and other publications.(2) He also contributed to the New York Weekly, Courier Journal and St. Louis Magazine.
He was a member of the Western Authors' and Artists' Club, to which Badger, Eyster, Whitson, Grissom, Harger, Musick, Roife, and Tom Morgan also belonged. He died at his home in Cherokee in 1925.
REFERENCES: Journalist, VIII, Nov. 10, 1888, 2; XVI, February 4, 1893, 14; Author, III, 1891, 147; Arthur Grissom, "Westerners who Write," St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 28, 1888; letters from Lisenbee to Dr. Frank P. O'Brien, from Cherokee, Kansas, August 18 and November 1, 1895, now in the New York Public Library; Editor and Publisher, LVII, July 11, 1925.
Half-Dime Library. No. 721
|1||ln litteris, Beadle and Adams to Lisenbee, Feb. 24, 1891, now in the New York Public Library.|
|2||In litteris, Gilbert Patten to me, October 27, 1934.|