Pseudonym of William Wright (1829–98), Far Western humorist and historian. Born in Ohio, he went to California and Nevada as a prospector in 1857. Unsuccessful in mining, he drifted into newspaper writing and became city editor (1861) of The Territorial Enterprise of Virginia City, Nev. In this capacity he became a good friend of his fellow worker Mark Twain, who later encouraged De Quille to write his History of the Big Bonanza (1877). The work bears an introduction by Twain and is known as a repository of information and anecdote about the Comstock Lode. After Virginia City dwindled to a ghost town and his paper could no longer be published, De Quille finally moved away. Posthumously several works were made into books, including Snow Shoe Thompson (1954), Dan De Quille of the Big Bonanza (1980), Little Lucy's Papa: A Story of Silverland (1987), and Dives and Lazarus (1988).
From The Oxford Companion to American Literature in Oxford Reference.