Sunday, January 23, 2022

John Cofield's Oxford And Ole Miss: The Old Colonel

But Sanctuary did not come from out of nowhere, and neither did William Faulkner. He hails from a long line of novel-worthy figures. The Mississippi tree goes back to the only member of the old family guard to not be buried at Saint Peter’s Cemetery in Oxford.
He is the fountainhead, William Clark “Old Colonel” Falkner. He was the author’s great grandfather, and he rests in the family plot in Ripley, Mississippi. As it is with many of this storied Mississippi family, colorful is too light a word for the Old Colonel.

Ed Perry, friend of John Cofield, added: A statue of the Old Colonel was erected in Ripley, where his stone figure in a frock coat stood eight feet high. “His head,” wrote Faulkner, speaking of a similar statue of John Sartoris, “was lifted a little in that gesture of haughty pride which repeated itself generation after generation with a fateful fidelity, his back to the world and his carven eyes gazing out across the valley where his railroad ran, and the blue changeless hills beyond, and beyond that, the ramparts of infinity itself.” (

John Cofield is a writer and one of Oxford’s leading folk historians. He is the son of renowned university photographer, Jack Cofield. His grandfather, J.R. “Colonel” Cofield, was William Faulkner’s personal photographer and for decades was the Ole Miss yearbook photographer. Cofield attended Ole Miss as well.
Stay tuned for more information on Cofield’s forthcoming book: Oxford, Mississippi ~ The Cofield Collection — a pictorial history book with John’s writing on the history to go along with the photos.
Contact John at
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