Image of Dan DeQuille


Lifetime: 1829 - 1898 Passed: ≈ 126 years ago


Author, Journalist


United States

Dan DeQuille

William Wright better known by the pen name Dan DeQuille or Dan De Quille, was an American author, journalist, and humorist. He was best known for his written accounts of the people, events, and silver mining operations on the Comstock Lode at Virginia City, Nevada, including his non-fiction book History of the Big Bonanza (American Publishing Company, 1876).

William Wright was born in Knox County, Ohio, in 1829, the oldest of nine children. In 1849 he moved west with his family to West Liberty, Iowa, where in 1853 he married Caroline Coleman. Their union produced five children, two of whom died in infancy.

In 1857, leaving his family behind, he traveled to California in search of gold. While living as a nomadic prospector in the Sierra foothills and Mono Lake region, he heard of the discovery of silver on the other side of the Sierras and ventured to Virginia City, Nevada in 1859.

With no success at prospecting there and in need of funds to send his wife and children in Iowa, Wright applied for regular employment in Virginia City at the (Territorial) Enterprise, a newspaper that had recently relocated there from Carson City, Nevada. He was hired in 1862 and soon adopted the pen name Dan DeQuille.

At the beginning of the 1880s the major silver mining operations at the Comstock Lode were coming to an end and the population of Virginia City was rapidly declining. DeQuille remained a prolific writer, however, providing articles for publication on both coasts, contributing a portion to Myron Angel's History of Nevada (Thompson & West, 1881), and writing the article on Nevada for the 10th edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica in 1884.

In 1893 the Enterprise ended publication. DeQuille remained in Virginia City for a few more years working as a correspondent for a newspaper in Utah and as a contributor to publications on both coasts. In the late 1890s he returned in poor health to West Liberty, Iowa, where he resided with his daughter until his death on March 16, 1898.

Books by Dan DeQuille

A History of the Comstock Silver Lode and Mines Cover image

A History of the Comstock Silver Lode and Mines

History Business
19th century Economic America Geography Modern Railway United States

This is a brief account of the Comstock Lode silver mines, and description of the geographic features of the state of Nevada including the railroads. Silver not only defined Nevada, but influenced the opening of the American West as far as San Franci...