Strangers to Us All Lawyers and Poetry

Jonathan W. Gordon


Jonathan W. Gordon was born on August 13, 1820, thirteen of fourteen children born to William Gordon, an Irish laborer, who emigrated to the United States in 1790, and Sarah Walton, a native of Virginia. Gordon was born in Pennsylvania but the family moved west in the spring of 1835, and settled in Ripley County, Indiana. Gordon married Catherine J. Overturf, in April, 1843 and entered took up the practice of the law in 1844. He went to Mexico in 1846 as a volunteer in the third Regiment of Indiana Volunteers. When he returned from the war he studied medicine and received his medical degree in 1851. He then moved to Indianapolis where he resumed the practice of the law in 1852. He was elected to the Indiana House of Representatives in 1856 and again in 1858; and served as Speaker of the House.

[Source: William Turner Coggeshall, The Poets and Poetry of the West: With Biographical and Critical Notices 424 (Columbus, Ohio: Follett, Foster and Company, 1860)][See also, Benjamin S. Parker & Enos B. Heiney (eds.), Poets and Poetry of Indiana 433 (New York: Silver, Burdett and Co., 1900)]

Gordon shares, with Thomas Burke, Thomas Dunn English, Edward Robeson Taylor, and George D. Prentice, the distinction of being not only a lawyer poet, but a lawyer physician poet.


Jonathan W. Gordon, An Argument Against the Jurisdiction of the Military Commissions to Try Citizens of the United States (Indianapolis: Hall & Hutchinson, 1865)(delivered in the case of Wm. A. Bowles, and others)

Biographical Sketch

"Gordon, Jonathan W.: 1820-1887," in R. E. Banta, Indiana Authors and Their Books 1816-1916: Biographical Sketches of Authors Who Published During the First Century of Indiana Statehood with Lists of Their Books 121-122 (Crawfordsville, Indiana: Wabash College, 1949)