Strangers to Us All Lawyers and Poetry

Robert Josselyn

Virginia & Mississippi

"A native of Massachusetts, where he was born in 1810, Robert Josselyn, after being licensed to practice law in Virginia, removed to Mississippi, where he made his home. He served as an officer under Jefferson Davis in the Mexican War, and was the Confederate President's secretary during the first year of the Civil War. . . . His death occurrred in Texas, to which state he moved from Mississippi, where he was connected with several papers."

[Ernestine Clayton Deavours, The Mississippi Poets 101 (Memphis: E. H. Clarke & Brother, 1922)]

Josselyn moved to Mississippi in 1835 where he served in the state legislature (1838-1839 and 1844) and, in Holly Springs, edited the Marshall Guard from 1942 to 1944.

[See James B. Lloyd (ed.), Lives of Mississippi Authors, 1817-1967 367 (Jackson, Mississippi: University Press of Mississippi, 1981)]

"MR. JOSSELYN was born in Massachusetts, 1810, educated in Vermont, and admitted to the bar at Winchester, Virginia, 1831. He then immigrated to Mississippi, where he practiced law, served in the Legislature, was District Attorney, and for a while engaged in journalism. He entered the Mexican War as private in First Mississippi Rifles, with Col. Jefferson Davis, but was appointed Captain and Commissary by President Polk. At the expiration of term of service he resigned; was State Commissioner of Mississippi 1850 to 1858; and in Treasury Department, Washington, 1860, but resigned after one year's service, on account of ill health, and was made Secretary of Arizona Territory, as organized under the Confederacy. Since the war he has resided in Texas, at Austin. . . .

He is the author of many fugitive poems, two of which—The Girl with a Calico Dress and The Young Widow—have kept their places in the newspapers for more than twenty-five years, though rarely credited to the author.

For some years Mr. Josselyn was connected with the Democratic Statesman. In 1878 he started a daily paper at Austin, but it fell through after a short life. . . .

January, 1883, when Hon. John Ireland was installed Governor of Texas, Mr. Josselyn accepted a clerkship in the executive office, where he remained until his death, which occurred of pheumonia in 1884. He lived a bachelor—having never been married." [Sam H. Dixon (ed.), The Poets and Poetry of Texas 164-165 (Austin, Texas: Sam H. Dixon & Co., Publishers, 1885)] [online text]

Josselyn is also claimed by the state of Vermont, where he was a resident in Woodstock. Josselyn celebrates the Green Mountain land of Vermont in his poem "Shall I See Them No More?" [Abby Maria Hemenway, Poets and Poetry of Vermont 125-126 (Boston: Brown, Taggard & Chase; Battleboro, Vermont: W. Felton, rev. ed., 1860)]

Josselyn was appointed by the governor of Texas to be the first State Librarian in 1866 but was removed from office in 1867 by the reconstruction government. [Texas State Library]

[See also: "Robert Josselyn," in Sam H Dixon (ed.), The Poets and Poetry of Texas 164-170 (Austin, Texas: Sm H. Dixon & Co., Publishers, 1885)] [online text]

Robert Josselyn


Robert Josselyn, The Faded Flower, and Other Songs and Little Poems (Boston: B.B. Mussey, 1849) [online text]

____________, A Satire on the Times (St. Louis: Southwestern Book and Publishing Company, 1873)

____________, The Coquette, a Domestic Drama in Five Acts (Austin: [s.n.]: E.W. Swindells, 1878)