Strangers to Us All Lawyers and Poetry

Edward Henry Thomas

(1812-     )
Maine & Iowa

George Bancroft Griffith (ed.), The Poets of Maine 151 (Portland, Maine: Elwell, Pickard & Co., 1888):

Edward Henry Thomas, born in Portland, January 1812, fitted for college under the well-remembered Deacon Joseph Libby; studied law with the Hon. Stephen Longfellow, and was admitted to practice in the bar of that city. He opened an office in Portland, where, as he writes under date of 1858, with characteristic humor, he "had but one case for some time, and that was his bookcase." He removed to Harrison, where he hoped for cases "not so wooden," and was not wholly disappointed; where, as he states, he "played the flute in the singing seats on Sunday, at times putting in considerable execution on the psalmody," as his college friends, recalling his peculiar taste and skill, will readily suppose. Not entirely satisfied with his prospects, he not long after returned to Portland, speculated somewhat in wild lands, but "found that such speculations were much more serious in their consequences than metaphysical speculations." He set out for the great West in 1838 with a friend, settled Wapello, Iowa, and practiced law until 1851. In 1844 he was appointed district attorney for the middle district of the then Territory of Iowa, comprising eight counties, and served in the office two years; as he writes, "sending few convicts to the penitentiary, and not getting all my pay till several years after." In 1851 he returned to Portland, and engaged in the land-warrant business, and 'made some money, which I sank in the late financial storm.' In 1853 he visited Europe. In 1854 he returned to Iowa and engaged in the business of banking. In 1855 he married, "following in the line of safe precedents," he declares, Miss Charlotte A. Dubois, in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. Mr. Thomas has for some years endured the calamity of almost total blindness, but retains his cheerful spirit and characteristic humor. We are indebted to the pen of the late Prof. Packard for the above sketch. Mr. Thomas's wife died Dec. 28, 1861, leaving one son, Chas. W. Thomas. Mr. Thomas's father was chief clerk in the Custom House for 20 years, and State Treasurer for four years.