Strangers to Us All Lawyers and Poetry

John Wilford Overall

Mississippi & Louisiana

"A Native of Virginia, Mr. Overall, at an early age, came to Mississippi. He studied law at Columbus in the office of Gov. Tucker, and practiced his profession successfully in that city. Later he made his home in Mobile, and still later in New Orleans, in which cities he was connected with newspapers." [Ernestine Clayton Deavours, The Mississippi Poets 147 (Memphis: E. H. Clarke & Brother, 1922)]

"JOHN WILFORD OVERALL was born in the Shenandoah Valley, Va., September 25, 1822. In early manhood he went to New Orleans, where he was, for a while, on the staff of the City Printer. Subsequently he became editor of the Daily Delta, and then of the Daily True Delta. He has also been editorially associated with the press of Mobile, Richmond, Galveston, and St. Louis. Since 1876 he has resided in New York, where he has been for several years the literary editor of the Mercury." [Thomas M'Caleb, The Louisiana Book: Selections from the Literature of the State 514 (New Orleans: R.F. Straughan, Publisher, 1894)]

"The occasional poems of Mr. Overall have been reproduced in almost every journal in the South and many of the North." ["John W. Overall," in James Wood Davidson, The Living Writers of the South 403-407, at 403 (New York: Carleton, 1849)]

Overall, according to one source "practiced in Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana,—part of the time being engaged in journalist work." [Thos. W. Herringshaw (ed.), Local and National Poets of America 711 (Chicago: American Publishers' Association, 1890)]

Overall was a friend of Alexander Beaufort Meek, an Alabama lawyer and poet.



Seventy-Six and Sixty-One

Ye spirits of the glorious dead!
Ye watchers in the sky!
Who sought the patriot's crimson bed
With holy trust and high—
Come lend your inspiration now,
Come fire each Southern son,
Who nobly fights, for freemen's rights,
And shouts for sixty-one.

Come teach them how on hill, in glade,
Quick leaping from your side,
The lightning flash of sabres made
A red and flowing tide;
How well ye fought, how bravely fell,
Beneath our burning sun,
And let the lyre, in strains of fire,
So speak of sixty-one.

There's many a grave in all the land,
And many a crucifix,
Which tell how that heroic band
Stood firm in seventy-six—
Ye heroes of the deathless past,
Your glorious race is run,
But from your dust, springs freemen's trust,
And blows for sixty-one.

We build our altars where you lie
On many a verdant sod,
With sabres pointing to the sky
And sanctified of God —
The smoke shall rise from every pile,
Till freedom's fight is done,
And every mouth throughout the South,
Shall shout for sixty-one.

Overall Poems
Thomas M'Caleb (ed.), The Louisiana Book: Selections from the Literature of the State 514-518 (New Orleans: R.F. Straughan, Publisher, 1894)

Poetry in Anthologies

William G. Shepperson (ed.), War Songs of the South (Richmond, Virginia: West & Johnson, 1862)] [online text]

John W. Overall, "To a Miniature" and "The Bards," in Thomas M'Caleb, The Louisiana Book: Selections from the Literature of the State 514-518 (New Orleans: R.F. Straughan, Publisher, 1894)


John W. Overall, A Catechism of the Constitution of the United States of America: With Sketches of the Constitutional and Ratifying Conventions, and Valuable Personal, Historical, Political and Legal Information, Criticism and Interpretation (New York: published by the author, 1892) [online text] (New York: by author, 1896)