Edited by Stephen G. Hoffius
These are the memoirs of an extraordinary individual whose rich and vibrant life spanned nearly a century. Neal Cox was the Superintendent of Arcadia Plantation, a retreat on Waccamaw Neck near Georgetown, South Carolina, belonging to the wealthy Vanderbilt family. Cox came from humble beginnings, yet had charm and special abilities that made possible the sort of life that reads like a novel, but shows once again that truth can be stranger than fiction.
The memoir of Neal Cox’s real-life experiences paints vivid word-pictures that make its reading a delight for readers of every stripe: from seasoned professionals and hobby-readers to the inexperienced and casual readers. Vivid illustrations draw the reader into tangible, endearing experiences that seem every bit as real as the beauty, the complexity, and the mystique of Lowcountry South Carolina. Cox’s encounters with notable people of his era, the “rich and famous” of the times, and the unlikely people he was acquainted with as well, make his memoirs an especially fun read. He was a friend of George Vanderbilt, but knew many of the family well. Among his more noteworthy acquaintances was President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
This is chiefly the story of a special man, Neal Cox, but also it chronicles the times of a special place: Arcadia Plantation. Arcadia was the home of Cox’s friend, George Vanderbilt, but the place acquired the status of “legendary” and “renowned” through the efforts of its superintendent, Neal Cox. Around the home and grounds known as Arcadia, most workers and other employees called George Vanderbilt, “Boss.” The staff, however, answered to Cox, the man whom they respected and admired for his hard work and his vivaciousness, and his extraordinary gifts.
This memoir should be a special treat not only for South Carolinians, but also for the many Americans who enjoy reading about the history of our country. It is refreshingly honest and deeply personal — a rare, beautiful, and enthralling true story of human existence.