Maxcy Gregg's Sporting Journals 1842-1858

Suzanne P. Johnson

South Carolinian Maxcy Gregg was a lawyer, a classically educated scholar with mastery of many languages, a politician, and a volunteer soldier. But his primary interest was the natural world, especially birds, more than 50 varieties of which he must have identified. Gregg was a self-instructed genuine expert and avid investigator of birdlife and wild plants and he had an astronomical observatory built into his house.

His “sporting journals,” long neglected sources of antebellum Southern history, were meticulous and are meticulously edited by Suzanne Parfitt Johnson. Gregg’s recorded trips cover most of South Carolina, portions of neighboring States, and a sojourn in Mexico—mountains, rivers, Upcountry, Lowcountry. In addition to the wildlife and his hunting prowess or lack thereof, he describes topography, weather, and natural phenomenon (a comet, a hurricane, immense flights of passenger pigeons). The record also provides insight into city, country, and wilderness life. His hunting companions play a prominent part—dogs, horses, and men. Here is a realistic and unusual sample of antebellum Southern life as it was lived day by day.

Hardback ISBN: 978-1947660250

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