The New International Encyclopædia/Shaw, Henry Wheeler
SHAW, Henry Wheeler (1818-85). An American humorist, better known as Josh Billings, born at Lanesborough, Mass. He entered Hamilton College, but soon went West, where he remained for twenty-two years, working on steamboats and farms and finally becoming an auctioneer. Then he settled in Poughkeepsie, N. Y., to pursue his latest calling, and began to write humorous sketches for the newspapers. He adopted an amusing phonetic spelling, and over the pen name of ‘Josh Billings’ won great favor in the early sixties. His Farmers' Allminax, published annually (1870-80), sold widely, and he also increased his reputation by lectures in which he affected awkwardness. Afterwards he contributed to the Century under the pen name ‘Uncle Esek.’ and collected his works in 1877. Among American humorists Josh Billings ranks high in pith and point, and is regarded by many as a true moralist.