Strangers to Us All Lawyers and Poetry

William Wirt


Eugene L. Didier, The Golden Days of the Maryland Bar
3 The Green Bag 312, 315 (1891)

William Wirt was born on November 8, 1772 at Blandensburg, Maryland and died February 18, 1834. He was a prominent lawyer in the early days of the republic, a statesman, and an author. Wirt acted as prosecutor in the conspiracy trial of Aaron Burr in 1807 and served as United States Attorney General from 1817 to 1829. Over the course of his career, he argued over 170 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. In 1832 Wirt was the unsuccessful nominee of the Anti-Masonic Party for the Presidency of the United States.

Wirt was a friend of St. George Tucker, a fellow lawyer poet and they exchanged manuscripts of poems over the years.

[I wish to thank Margaret Cook, Volunteer, Swem Library, College of William and Mary, for bringing Wirt's endeavors as a poet to my attention.]

William Wirt

[William Wirt] [Short bio] [Another Short bio] [And another]

William Wirt: Early Essayist

William Wirt and the Early History of Wirt County, West Virginia

Excerpt from the Argument of William Wirt in the Aaron Burr Trial

R. Thomas, A Pictorial History of the US of America (Hartford: E. Strong, 1847) [Used with permission of the Florida Center for Instructional Technology]

Evert Augustus Duyckinck & George Long Duyckinck, Cyclopaedia of American Literature 618 (New York: Charles Scriberner, 1866)


William Wirt, Sketches of the Life and Character of Patrick Henry (Philadelphia: Published by James Webster, 1817) [online text]


Gregory Kurt Glassner, Adopted Son: The Life, Wit & Wisdom of William Wirt, 1772-1834

Bibliography: Articles

Jay B. Hubbell, William Wirt and the Familiar Essay in Virginia, 23 (2) William and Mary College Quarterly Historical Magazine 136 (1943)(2nd series)

Henry M. Dowling, William Wirt, 10 (11) The Green Bag 453 (1898)

Research Resources

William Wirt Papers
Marlyland Historical Society
Baltimore, Maryland

William Wirt Letters
Wirt Family Papers
Manuscripts Department Library
Southern Historical Collection
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill