Winner of the 1999 Fellowship of Southern Writers Award for Nonfiction
“Here, traveler, scholar, poet, take your stand
When all those rooms and passages are gone.”
—William Butler Yeats, “Coole Park, 1929”
When traveler, scholar, and poet James Everett Kibler purchased a dilapidated South Carolina plantation in 1989, he had no idea that the rehabilitation of the property would include the unearthing of a remarkable American saga about Southern land and the people who lived on it. Part epic, part history, part memoir, this superb tale of the Hardy family is richly detailed, providing the reader with a glimpse of agrarian life as it was for two hundred years along the hilly, fertile lands of the Tyger River. Recounting his own efforts to restore the plantation’s former glory, Kibler concludes that only by knowing a place truly well can we guard against its abuse. Our Fathers’ Fields is an especially vivid portrayal seen from the inside of the antebellum South, the Civil War, and life after the war. It contains a compelling collection of Civil War letters.
While Kibler strengthens his own ties with the county of his birth, the Hardy family becomes his family, as they may well prove to be the reader’s, with an ending that is yet to be.
About the Author
James Everett Kibler has written or edited eleven volumes and more than a hundred essays, speeches, and book reviews on subjects ranging from Southern gardens, antebellum plants, agriculture, and nature to Southern art, folklore, and architecture.
He still lives and works in the old Hardy plantation home in Newberry County, South Carolina. Kibler’s most recent work is Child to the Waters, published by Pelican. The book is a cycle of Southern Celtic tales also set on the Tyger River. He is an English professor at the University of Georgia and a student of nature, gardening, and Southern history and culture. Kibler enjoys tending what he describes as a true “plantsman’s garden,” composted by pass-a-long plants and plants grown from seed.