Strangers to Us All
Lawyers and Poetry

Edmund Stephen Holbrook

Massachusetts & Illinois


Edmund S. Holbrook, Poems
(Chicago, 1898)

Edmund S. Holbrook was born in Grafton, Massachusetts, April 23, 1816. He entered Amherst College in 1835, and graduated in 1839. He was the class poet. Before the war, he was an anti-slavery speaker. He relocated to Virginia where he became a college professor. In 1843, he moved to Illinois and established a law practice at Ottawa.

When the Mexican War broke out, he enlisted as a private. After a year's service, in which he participated in the Battle of Buena Vista, and other engagements, he returned to Illinois and resumed the practice of law. In 1865 he moved to Chicago. [Source: The Sunday Herald (Syracuse, New York), April 25, 1897]

"Edmund Stephen Holbrook . . . was born in Grafton, 23 April, 1816. He took a preparatory course at Phillips Academy, Andover, and was graduated A.B. at Amherst, 1839. As a student he acquired a reputation as a poet and deep thinker; was also known as an orator, and on graduation from college was
at once invited by the New England Anti-Slavery Society to become one of their lecturers. For three years he taught a grammar school in Essex Co., Va., studying law at the same time. March 1, 1843, was admitted to the bar at Richmond, Va. In the fall of the same year, finding the slavery sentiments of Virginia distasteful, he went West and made his residence in Lasalle Co., Ill. At
the outbreak of the war with Mexico, he assisted in the organization of a company, which became Co. I of Col. J. J. Hardin's 1st Illinois regiment. Mr. Holbrook was commissioned 1st lieutenant and participated in the campaigns of this command, being at the battle of Buena Vista and other engagements. Returning to Illinois, he published the 'Peru Telegraph,' a Free-soil weekly paper, 1848-511, and on the organization of the Republican party he warmly espoused its principles. In 1865 he transferred his law office to Chicago; five years later he removed his family to Joliet, and there opened a branch office, but returned to Chicago in Nov. 1875, where he thenceforth made his home. His specialty was real estate law . . . . Was a valued contributor in prose and verse to current literature. A selection of his writings was published after his death by his daughter . . . . He died in Chicago, 1 Nov. 1897." [Charles Allcott Flagg, The Descendants of Eleazer Flagg: And His Wife Huldah Chandler of Grafton 62 (Boston: Press of David Clapp & Son, 1903)]

The Sunday Herald (Syracuse, New York)
April 25, 1897, p. 4, c. 6


Edmund S. Holbrook, Poem on the Mexican War (Chicago: Published by the Association, 1880)

Edmund S. Holbrook, Poems (Chicago, 1898)("Issued for Miss Florence Holbrook under the direction of Way & Williams.") [online text]