Strangers to Us All Lawyers and Poetry

Alexander Beaufort Meek


Lawyer, poet, newspaper editor, and state legislator

Alexander Beauford Meek was born at Columbia, South Carolina, but was taken by his parents at age five to Tuscaloosa, Alabama when he grew up. He graduated at the University of Alabama in 1833, where he was first in his graduating class. He studied law at the University of Georgia, read law in Tuscaloosa, and was admitted to the Alabama bar in 1835. He took up the practice of law in Tuscaloosa and began editing a Tuscaloosa newspaper, Flag of the Union.

In 1836 he was was in the military, serving in an action against the Seminole Indians. [See A.B. Meek, The Journal of A.B. Meek and the Second Seminole War, 1936 ([Jacksonville, Florida]: Florida Historical Society, 1960)(John K. Mahon ed.)]. In this same year, at the age of twenty-three, he was appointed attorney general of Alabama. In 1841 he became a probate judge and in 1845 was appointed Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in President Polk's administration. Meek returned in two years to become district attorney .

Meek resided for some twenty years in Mobile, Alabama where he served for five years as editor of the Mobile Register and held various public officers and served in the state legislature. Meek died at Columbus, Mississippi on November 30, 1865.

Meek's famous poem, "The Red Eagle," a lyrical epic about a Creek Indian chief, William Weatherford, was published in 1855.

[See: George Armstrong Wauchope, The Writers of South Carolina: With a Critical Introduction, Biographical Sketches, and Selections in Prose and Verse 299 (Columbia, South Carolina: The State Co., Publishers, 1910)] [See also: William Peterfield Trent's Southern Writers]

Alexander Beaufort Meek



[Land of the South] [Would'st Thou Have Me Love Thee? ] [Poems & Writings]


American Epic
a course that includes Meek's poetry


A. B. Meek, A Poem (Tuscaloosa, Alabama: Ciceronian Club, 1838)("pronounced before the Ciceronian club and other citizens of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, July 4, 1838")

_________, The Red Eagle, a Poem of the South (New York: D. Appleton & Company, 1855)(Montgomery, Alabama: Paragon Press, 1914) [online text]

_________, Songs and Poems of the South (New York: S. H. Goetzel & Co., 1857) [online text] [online text] [online text]


A.B. Meek, The Journal of A.B. Meek and the Second Seminole War, 1936 ([Jacksonville, Florida]: Florida Historical Society, 1960)(John K. Mahon ed.)


A.B. Meek, Romantic Passages in Southwestern History, including Orations, Sketches, and Essays (New York: S. H. Goetzel & Co., 1857) [online text] (Spartanburg, South Carolina: Reprint Co., 1975)


A. B. Meek, Americanism in Literature (Charleston: Burges and James, 1844)(an oration before the Phi Kappa and Demosthenian Societies of the University of Georgia, at Athens, August 8, 1844)


Margaret Gillis Figh, Alexander Beaufort Meek, Pioneer Man of Letters, 2 (2) Alabama Historical Quarterly 127-151 (1940)

Robert H. McKenzie, Alexander Beaufort Meek: Pioneer Alabama Lawyer and Literary Figure ([Tuscaloosa, Alabama]: Center for Public Law and Service, University of Alabama, 1983)

________________, Alexander Beaufort Meek: Pioneer Alabama Lawyer and Literary Figure, 8 Journal of the Legal Profession 161 (1983) [online text]

Rayburn S. Moore, "Alexander Beaufort Meek," in Louis D. Rubin, Jr. (ed.), A Bibliographical Guide to the Study of Southern Literature 245 (Baton Rouge, Louisiana State University Press, 1969)

H. C. Nixon, Alexander Beaufort Meek: Poet, Orator, Journalist, Historian, Statesman (Auburn: Alabama Polytechnic Institute, 1910)

C. Ross, Alexander Beaufort Meek, 4 Sewanee Review 411-427 (1896)

Robert H. McKenzie, Law and Literature in Antebellum Alabama: Two Case Studies in Applying the Humanities to Public Policy, 22 (3) Southern Studies 302-313 (1983)(focusing on two lawyer poets, William Russell Smith and Alexander Beaufort Meek)

Research Resources

Alexander Beaufort Meek Papers
Manuscript Department of the William R. Perkins Library
Duke University
Durham, North Carolina

Alabama Writers in the 19th Century
Alabama Department of Archives & History

Poets of the Civil War
Cambridge History of English and American Literature

Williams, Benjamin Buford, A Literary History of Alabama: The Nineteenth Century
(Cranbury, New Jersey: Associated University Presses, 1979)