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 George H. Ellsbury  (1840 - 1900)

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Lived/Active: Minnesota      Known for: birds-eye town views, etcher, illustrator

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
George H. Ellsbury was born in Skaneateles, New York in 1840 moved with his family to St. Charles, Minnesota. in 1857.  He was a participant in the Sibley expedition across what was to be North Dakota in 1863.  During this time he was a sketch artist for Leslie's magazine where a number of his illustrations appeared.  

Later he served in the Union army in the South and more of his illustrations appeared in Harpers magazine.  After the Civil War, he returned to Winona county Minnesota where he was elected Register of Deeds for the county.   There he married Miss Julia Curtis.  In the early 1870's he worked with Mr. Andreas and did large drawings of Winona, St. Paul and Minneapolis, which appeared in the Andreas Atlas of Minnesota of 1874. 

During the 1876 Exposition in Philadelphia he was present and sold his art work there.  In 1878 he came back to Dakota territory and founded the town of Tower City where he was Charlesmagne Towers land agent.  It was during his years in Tower City that he painted Custer's Last Stand.  In 1878, he also did etchings of Bonanza farming in North Dakota, which were published in Leslie's magazine.  Later, likely in the 1880s, he did a series of etched views of Tower City that were in Harper's magazine.

In 1889 he left Tower City and moved to Centralia Washington where he continued selling land for Mr. Tower.  In Centralia he did a large painting of the Oregon Trail.  He died in Centralia in 1900.

Written and submitted November 2005 by Allen Petersen, who has done in-depth research of Tower City, North Dakota and of the genealogy of the artist, George Ellsbury, and his family. 

Petersen wrote: "This information did not come from one place but from many sources, from newspaper accounts going through Harper's and Leslie's page by page, looking for etchings by him, going through period newpapers, and eventually corresponding with his descendants.  It was just a hobby that got out of hand but was certainly interesting and fun.  I also heard that some of his artworks were in Washington DC at the Masonic Hall or museum, although I did not follow through with verifing that.

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