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The Darien Journal of John Girardeau Legare, Ricegrower

John Girardeau Legare

Publication Year: 2010

In 1877, John Girardeau Legare of Adams Run, South Carolina, arrived in Darien on the Georgia tidewater. Legare managed Darien-area rice plantations, first at Generals Island, then at Champneys. Nearby was Butler's Island, made famous by Fanny Kemble Butler in her antebellum Journal of a Residence on a Georgian Plantation. Legare also served as the clerk of the city of Darien during the first three decades of the twentieth century, maintaining detailed records of public business and documenting local commercial and civic affairs.

Almost to the day of his death in 1932, Legare kept a journal containing his observations and commentary on the development of Darien as a center for timber exports and the gradual decline of the rice industry. South Carolina and Georgia led the world in rice production in the mid-nineteenth century, and Legare's detailed accounts of planting and management provide one of the outstanding contemporary sources for what was becoming a vanishing way of life in tidewater Georgia.

Legare's journals are a microcosmic history of Darien and its environs during a time that was perhaps the most compelling in the town's history. The industrial development of Darien in the postbellum era was the essence of Henry Grady's vision of the progressive New South, a factor not lost on Legare. He reflects on the difficulties associated with rice planting; Darien's soaring, then plummeting, fortunes with yellow pine timber; prominent community members; and the development of local railroads. Legare records these developments against the larger backdrop of America, as his journal contains many observations on contemporary national events.

Buddy Sullivan has placed the Journal in context with an introduction and comprehensive endnotes identifying the people and events referred to by Legare. There is also considerable African American history in the volume, as reflected both in Legare's writings and in the editor's introduction and supplementary notes.

Published by: University of Georgia Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. 2-7

Contents

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pp. 8-9

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Preface to the 2010 Edition

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pp. ix-xi

The small Georgia coastal town of Darien epitomized the industrial post-Civil War "New South" long before Henry W. Grady, progressive editor of the Atlanta Constitution, popularized the term in the 1880s. Darien actually knew no Reconstruction travails, at least economically, relative to the rest of the devastated South after the war. Instead, it experienced...

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Editor's Introduction: The Darien World of John Girardeau Legare

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pp. 1-24

The old rice aristocracy of tidewater Georgia and South Carolina died in the ashes of civil war. The great rice plantations which prospered on the engines of huge labor forces of slaves, enormous outlays of capital and the ingenuity and resourcefulness of a handful of planters had represented the greatest concentration of wealth the antebellum South had ever seen...

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John Girardeau Legare's Journal

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pp. 25-112

I, John Girardeau Legare, believing that an account of the events that have transpired during my lifetime will be of interest to my children and perhaps to others also; I will try to write of them and recount them as they are remembered by me. I have kept a diary for many years in a somewhat imperfect manner. In 1892 I wrote up these memoranda in diary form. But my diary having...

Notes

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pp. 113-150

Index

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pp. 151-156


E-ISBN-13: 9780820343709
Print-ISBN-13: 9780820335605
Print-ISBN-10: 0820335606

Page Count: 168
Illustrations: 35 b&w photos; 1 map
Publication Year: 2010

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Subject Headings

  • Legare, John Girardeau, 1852-1932 -- Diaries.
  • Rice farmers -- Georgia -- Darien -- Diaries.
  • Plantation life -- Georgia -- Darien -- History.
  • Community life -- Georgia -- Darien -- History.
  • Darien (Ga.) -- Biography.
  • Darien (Ga.) -- Social life and customs.
  • Darien (Ga.) -- History.
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