Strangers to Us All Lawyers and Poetry

Levi Bishop


"BISHOP, Levi. lawyer, b. in Russell, Hampden co., Mass., 15 Oct. 1815. d. in Detroit, Mich., 23 Dec. 1881. He received a common-school education, and in 1830 became apprentice clerk in a leather manufactory. He removed to Detroit, Mich., in 1836, and having lost his right arm by an accident in 1839, left his business, studied law, and was admitted to the bar in 1842. He was elected justice of the peace in 1842, and from 1846 till 1858 was president of the Detroit board of education. The largest school building in Detroit now bears his name, and he was a regent of the state university from 1857 till 1863. He was a prominent war democrat, urging the suppression of the rebellion at every hazard. In 1864 he was the democratic candidate for attorney-general. He was much interested in the early history of the west, organized the Detroit Pioneer society in 1871, and was its president till his death. He was a delegate to the international Congress of Americanists at Luxembourg, France, in 1876, and in 1877 was appointed historiographer of Detroit. In this capacity he wrote more than fifty historical papers, under the title 'Historical Notes.' On 15 July 1880, he was made corresponding member of the Royal Historical Society of Great Britain. Mr. Bishop lectured occasionally on literary topics, and published 'The Dignity of Labor,' a poem (1864), and 'Teuchsa Grondie,' a poem in twenty-eight cantos, devoted to the Indian lore of Detroit river (1870). He also translated from the French several historical works concerning the early settlement of the northwest."

[James Grant Wilson & John Fiske (eds.), 1 Appletons' Cyclopaedia of American Biography 270 (New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1888)]


Levi Bishop, Teuchsa Grondie: A Legendary Poem To Which Are Added Miscellaneous Poems, by the Author, Not before Published (Albany, New York: Weed, Parsons & Co., 1870)(2nd ed., 1872) [online text]

_________, The Poetical Works of Levi Bishop, With a Sketch of the Life of the Author (Detroit: E. B. Smith & Co., 1872)(3rd ed., 1873)(3rd ed., 1876) [online text] (Albany, New York: Weed, Parson & Co., 4th ed., 1879) [online text] (Albany, New York: Weed, Parsons & Company, 5th ed., 1880)(6th ed., 1881)

[Note: We learned about Levi Bishop's association with poetry by way of J. Wesley Miller's introductory essay on "Legal Poetry" which appears in Ina Russelle Warren (ed.), The Lawyer's Alcove: Poems by the Lawyer, for the Lawyer and about the Lawyer i-xii (Buffalo, New York: William S. Hein & Co., reprint ed., 1990)(New York: Doubleday, Page & Company, 1900)]