William Elliott (1788—1863) was one of the largest owners of plantations in Low Country South Carolina. He came from a family distinguished in both previous and later generations. Elliott was well-educated, had many interests and activities, and was a prolific non-professional writer in several genres.
Beginning in 1829, Elliott published many sketches of hunting and fishing experiences in his area around Beaufort. They appeared in various Southern and sporting journals. Carolina Sports by Land and Water, a collection of these articles, has remained popular to the present day and has been republished several times. Elliott’s Hemingwayesque “Devil Fishing” is considered one of the best fishing stories ever written. In a self-satirical sketch, “A Business Day at Chee-ha,” Elliott describes the planter’s temptation to avoid business in favour of deer hunting. This and other sketches give a vivid portrait of life in the antebellum Low Country.
Carolina Sports by Land and Water is available online in several versions. It is best to avoid the 1994 republication with an introduction by an anti-South writer.