The first of the Southwestern humorists, Augustus Baldwin Longstreet, was born September 22, 1790 in Augusta, Georgia. Possibly the most accomplished and well-educted of the humorists, Longstreet led a varied and illustrious life. He attended the prestigious Waddell School in Willinton, South Carolina and then entered Yale College. He was a lawyer and served politically on the State Assembly in Georgia and as an elected judge in 1821-1822. After the death of his son in 1824 (one of six children to die as an infant) Longstreet withdrew from political office.
In 1830 he began writing sketches that would be collected into the classic text of Southwestern humor, Georgia Scenes, published in 1835. These nineteen stories appeared first as separate publications in the Milledgeville, Georgia Southern Recorder and in the Augusta States Rights Sentinel-- of which Longstreet was the editor. His stories held an appeal for all--ranging from a didactic, authoritative tone in "The Charming Creature as a Wife" to the raucous and crude humor of "The Horse Swap"and "The Fight". It is in his most famous story, "The Fight", that Southwestern humor acquires the character type of the ring-tailed roarer with Ransy Sniffle. Sniffle is the first of the frontier troublemakers and will serve as a model for literary characters even into the twentieth-century with Faulkner's Flem Snopes.
In 1838, Longstreet became a Methodist minister and often appeared to regret the brusqueness of his earlier writing. Before his death in 1870, Longstreet served as the president of Emory College, Centenary College, Mississippi State University and South Carolina State University. He remained active in Confederate concerns, such as states' rights and the secession movement, writing a book entitled A Voice From the South in 1847. Despite his impressive career-- spanning education, religion and politics-- Longstreet is best remembered for his contribution to the creation of the genre of Southwestern humor.