William Hamilton Busbey (1839-1906) was one of nine children born to Thomas C. Busbey and Anna Botkin of Ohio. William joined the Union Army in April 1861 and was a captain with Company C of the 1st Kentucky Infantry until June 1864. In 1867, he served as private secretary to Ohio Governor Jacob Dolson Cox, and by 1868 had also served as secretary to Governor Rutherford B. Hayes. After these appointments, Busbey was as a successful newspaper editor, first for the Ohio State Journal in Columbus, Ohio, then for the Toledo Blade, then the Chicago Tribune, and finally the Inter Ocean in Chicago.
In 1868, William married Mary M. ("Mollie") Harvey. Mary was one of several children of Sarah B. and John S. Harvey, of Oak Grove and Central City, Illinois. Among her siblings were George, Jennie P., and Phebe. After marriage, William and Mary lived in Columbus, Ohio, until 1875, when they moved to Chicago, Illinois. Mary and William had two daughters, Winifred Grace (“Gracie”) and Mabel Harvey.