Locke, David Rose

Locke, David Rose (Petroleum Vesuvius Nasby, pen name)

(1833–88) journalist, writer; born in Vestal, N.Y. He had little formal education, but when very young (1843–50), was an apprentice journalist in Cortland, N.Y. He then worked as an itinerant printer and became a founder of the Plymouth Advertiser in Ohio (1852). When he was editor of the Jeffersonian in Findlay, Ohio, he gained popularity by printing the Nasby letters (1861); his assumed persona, the Reverend Petroleum Vesuvius Nasby, was an illiterate advocate of slavery and of everything that Locke detested. President Lincoln enjoyed the letters and was said to read them aloud to his Cabinet. Locke became editor and principal owner of the Toledo Blade (1865–88) and was a popular lecturer. He continued to publish his satiric letters until 1887, first collected in 1864 as The Nasby Papers.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.