Lewis Foulk Thomas
Ohio & Missouri
Lewis Foulk Thomas, Inda, a Legend of the Lakes: With Other Poems
(St. Louis: V. Ellis, 1842)
William Turner Coggeshall, The Poets and Poetry
of the West: With Biographical and Critical Notices 243 (Columbus,
Ohio: Follett, Foster and Company, 1860):
LEWIS FOULKE THOMAS is a native of Baltimore
county, Maryland. He was born about the year 1815. His father,
E[benezer] S. Thomas, having moved to the West [to Cincinnati]
in 1829, Lewis F., in connection with his brother, Frederick
William, assisted in the conduct of the Commercial Advertiser,
and the Evening Post, at Cincinnati. When the Post
was discontinued, in 1835, Lewis F. became a student of law.
He was at that time an acceptable contributor to the Western
Monthly and to the Cincinnati Mirror. In 1839 he
published and edited the Louisville (Ky.) Daily Herald.
In 1841 he removed to St. Louis, where he edited and published
a quarto pictorial work called "Valley of the Mississippi Illustrated."
Parts of it were republished in London, and were translated
into German, and issued at Dusseldorf.
In the year 1842, Mr. Thomas had the honor of publishing at
St. Louis the first volume of poems ever printed west of the
Mississippi River—"Inda and other Poems"—a duodecimo, containing
one hundred and thirty-two pages. It was embellished with a
portrait of the author, and two steel engravings illustrating
the principal poem. V. Ellis was the printer, at the Bulletin
office. About one thousand copies were printed, but soon after
they were published a fire occurred in the building where they
had been stored, and only a few copies were snatched from the
flames. It is, therefore, now a very rare book. "Inda" was
delivered before the Lyceum at Cincinnati, in 1834, and having
been repeated in St. Louis in 1842, was published at the request
of the members of the Lyceum of that city. In the preface to
his book, the author claiming to be a "pioneer of poesy on
this (west) side of the Great Valley," declares that he publishes
with "Inda" some juvenile indiscretions, against the advice
of friends, merely to gratify his own whim. One of those indiscretions,
"The World," was originally written in the Album of John Howard
Payne, which was sold in Washington City, in 1859, at a very
Since 1842, Mr. Thomas has written much but published rarely.
The only series of poems given the world from his pen, are "Rhymes
of the Routes"—published in Washington during the Mexican war.
They celebrated the principal victories by the American army.
In 1838 he wrote a drama entitled "Osceola," which was successfully
performed at Cincinnati, Louisville, and New Orleans. He was
therefore encouraged to dramatic studies, and has given elaborate
thought to a tragedy entitled "Cortez, the Conqueror," which
he proposes to put upon the stage sometime within the present
year. Mr. Thomas is now an attorney at law in Washington City.
[By most accounts, Thomas's birth is reported to have been 1808.
His middle name is sometimes spelled Foulke.]
Lewis Foulk Thomas is identified as a "lawyer and literary man of St. Louis" in John Francis McDermott, J.C. Wild and Fort Snelling, 32 (1) Minnesota History 12, 14 (1951). Thomas moved from St. Louis to Washington, D.C. where he practiced law until his death. [James Grant Wilson & John Fiske (eds.), Appleton's Cyclopaedia of American Biography 83 (New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1889).
Lewis Foulke Thomas
Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography
Lewis Foulk Thomas, Inda, a Legend of the Lakes:
With Other Poems (St. Louis: V. Ellis, 1842) [online text]
________________, Rhymes of the Routs, in Mexico
(Washington, D.C.: W. Adam, 1847)
________________, Cortez the Conqueror, a Tragedy
in five acts founded on the Conquest of Mexico (Washington,
D.C.: B.W. Ferguson, 1857) [online text]
J.C. Wild, The Valley of the Mississippi; Illustrated
in a Series of Views (St. Louis, Missouri: Published by the
artist, printed by Chambers and Knapp, 1841)(Lewis Foulk Thomas