Strangers to Us All Lawyers and Poetry

William Henry Rhodes

North Carolina, Texas & California

Sam H. Dixon, The Poets and Poetry of Texas, Biographical Sketches of the Poets of Texas, With Selections From Their Writings, containing Reviews Both Personal and Critical (Austin, Texas: Sam H. Dixon & Co., Publishers, 1885)(facing pg. 246)

"Rhodes, William Henry, lawyer, was born in North Carolina in 1822, but afterward lived in Texas, and finally removed to California, where he died about 1875. . . . [B]esides attaining success at the Bar, he indulged his taste for literature by writing at intervals more for mental diversion than for pecuniary profit. His works include: 'Theodosia,' a play, 'The Indian Gallows, and other Poems' (1846), and 'Caxton's Book' (San Francisco, A.L. Bancroft and Company, 1876), a work which appeared after his death, containing stories and sketches, essays and poems, edited by Daniel O'Connell." [Source: Edwin Anderson Alderman & Joel Chandler Harris (eds.), Library of Southern Literature 3677 (New Orleans: Martin & Hoyt Co., 1910)(1907)(Vol. 15, Biographical Dictionary of Authors, Lucian Lamar Knight ed.)]

Rhodes graduated, in 1846 from the Harvard Law School, one of the first two Texans to do so. He practiced law in San Francisco and was a founder of the Bohemian Club. Rhodes wrote science fiction under the pen name "Caxton."

"William Henry Rhodes was born in Windsor, North Caroia, July 16, 1862. In 1844, his father, Col. E.A. Rhodes, was appointed United States Consul to Texas. William Henry was then just budding into manhood. Possessing a great ambition, and a mind superior to his companions, he became a leader among the young men of Galveston, where his father was located in his office as Consul. Here he gathered around him an Association of young men, whose zealous natures were congenial to his lofty ambition

In 1844, he entered Harvard law school, where he remained for two years. . . . After he completed his study at Harvard he returned to Galveston, where he entered upon the practice of his profession. . . . [I]n 1847 [he] was elevated to a Probate Judgeship. He filled this office with distinction for one term, at the close of which he returned to his native state and entered upon the practice of his profession. He remained there but a short time when he caught the inspiration of adventure in the new El Dorado, and sailed for California. He continued to the time of his death a citizen of that state." [Sam H Dixon (ed.), The Poets and Poetry of Texas 246-253, at 246-247 (Austin, Texas: Sam H. Dixon & Co., Publishers, 1885)]

William Henry Rhodes

William Henry Rhodes
Oscar Tully Shuck, History of the Bench and Bar of California
(Los Angeles: The Commercial Printing House, 1901)


William H. Rhodes, The Indian Gallows and Other Poems in Two Parts (New York: E. Walker, 1846) [online text]

_______________, The Emerald Isle: A Poem (San Francisco: Printed by Mullin, Mahon & Co., 1869)

_______________, Caxton's Book: A Collection of Essays, Poems, and Sketches (San Francisco: A. L. Bancroft and Company, 1876) [online text] [Reprint— Westport, Connecticut: Hyperion Press, Inc. 1974)]

Occasional Poems

Elisha Williams McKinstry, Twenty-First Anniversary of the Corporate Society of California Pioneers: Oration by Hon. E.W. McKinstry; Poem by Wm. H. Rhodes, Esq. (San Francisco: Published by order of the society, 1871)


W. H. Rhodes, The Political Letters of "Caxton" (San Francisco: Alta California Power Presses, 1855)

___________, Caxton's Book. A Collection of Essays, Poems, Tales and Sketches (San Francisco: A.L. Bancroft, 1876)(Daniel O'Connell ed.) [online text] (Westport, Connecticut: Hyperion Press, 1974)

___________, The Case of Summerfield (San Francisco: Paul Elder & Co., 1907)(San Francisco: Pub. for its members by the Book Club of California, 1939)

___________, Phases in the Life of John Pollexfen, or, How Did John Pollexfen, the Photographer, Make His Fortune? (Arcata, California: P.E. Palmquist, 1999)(Peter E. Palmquist ed.)

Research Resources

William H. Rhodes Papers
Harvard Law School