Jackson Mahaffey

August 29, 2008

Author: Fred Ross
Copyright: 1951
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Started: 8/28/08
Completed: 9/1/08

I first read this book when I was a youngster. My father owns it; i imagine he bought it, or was given it, because of the similarity to our family name. I found myself thinking about it again recently because of my genealogical hobby. I did a search and found a copy via Amazon. I thought I should read it again.

This story is not, as far as I can tell, based on anything at all in family history. The name is a coincidence. The title character is a rough and ready small-time farmer in North Carolina around the turn of the 20th Century.  He’s a sharp trader, a moonshiner, and a cock-fighter. He’s something of a ne’er do well who starts to change a bit when he meets a religious young woman.

This is a character piece and a study in rural old-fashioned Carolina life. I’ve found some mention of the  author, Fred Ross, in the proceedings of Carolina writer’s groups. He was not unknown to his contemporaries, though he is not known now.

I saw a reference in one 1950’s newsletter to his plans for a sequel. but I have never yet found anything else by Fred Ross.


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