Biography Henry Timrod

Henry Timrod

photo of Henry Timrod
  • Time Period1828 - 1867
  • Place
  • CountryUnited States

Poet Biography

Henry Timrod was born on 8th December 1829 in Charleston, South Carolina. His father, William Henry Timrod, was a staunch patriot and also contributed to a literay magazine. It is no surprise, therefore, that Henry also grew up to have these charactersitics.

Despite his father's early death, Timrod was still able to attend Charleston's finest school and later attended the University of Georgia. On graduating, he returned to Chaleston and at first practised law, before later becoming a private teacher. This suited him well as it also gave him time to pursue his literary ambitions.

During the Civil War, Timrod not only enlisted in a volunteer regiment, but also made the conflict the focus of his poetic works. His patriot lyrics are said to have inspired many a soldier and civilian and helped him acquire a reputation as “the laureate of the Confederacy”. One of his finest pieces to come out of this time was Ode to the Confederate Dead at Magnolia Cemetery.

Plagued by recurring illness throughout his adult life, Timrod was soon left unfit for service on the front line and instead became a war correspondent. By 1864 he had become the editor of the Columbia South Carolinian.

Despite his ill health, he married and had a son, who died shortly after the end of the war. When Timrod himself died of tuberculosis, virtually in poverty, on 7th October 1867, he was buried next to his son in the graveyard of Trinity Church in Columbia.

Only one volume of his works had been published during his lifetime (in 1860), but further collections were edited posthumously. Amongst his most memorable poems are The Cotton Boll, Carolina, and Ethnogenesis.