Strangers to Us All Lawyers and Poetry

John Babson Lane Soule

Maine & Indiana

"John B. L. Soule, a native of Freeport, Me., the youngest son of Dea. Moses Soule, was born April 4, 1815. He prepared for college at Phillips Exeter Academy, N.H., and graduated at Bowdoin in 1840. He completed a course of law studies, but never entered upon the practice. After ten years engaged in teaching in Maine and Indiana, he spent several years as a journalist in a Western city. Having for some time held a license as a minister of the gospel, he gave himself to that work in charge of churches in Indiana, Wisconsin and Illinois. Elected Professor of Ancient Languages in Blackburn University, Illinois, he filled that office for eleven years, when he became pastor of the Presbyterian Church in Highland Park, a suburb of Chicago. After seven years in this position, he resigned, and retired from active public duties. Twenty-three years of his life have been spent in the teacher's chair, and twenty-five in the pulpit. Many of her sermons and lectures have been published, and a private edition of his poems printed. The honorary degrees of Master of Arts, Doctor of Philosophy and Doctor of Divinity have been conferred on him by different institutions of learning in the West." [George Bancroft Griffith (ed.), The Poets of Maine 183 (Portland, Maine: Elwell, Pickard & Co., 1888)]

Soule is reported to have been the first State Superintendent of Schools in Indiana and, his place in history is insured by his 1851 editorial as editor of the Terra Haute Express where he penned the title phrase for an editorial, "Go West, young man, go West."


John B.L. Soule, Polychords (Chicago: Knight & Leonard, printers, Private ed., 1882) [online text]

Occasional Poems

John B. L. Soule, Poem delivered in Saco, Maine, July 4, 1839 (Saco [Me.]: Printed by S. and C. Webster, 1839)