Carothers McCaslin

The patriarch of the McCaslin family and the founder of the McCaslin plantation. Most of the important characters are his descendents, through one of three branches: the male branch (Isaac, descended from Carothers's son Buck), the female branch (the Edmondses, descended from Carothers's daughter and her husband, Edmonds), and the Black branch (Tomey's Turl and his descendents, including Lucas Beauchamp, descended from Carothers's affair with his slave-girl Tomey).

Isaac McCaslin

Carothers McCaslin's grandson, the son of Buck McCaslin and Sophonsiba Beauchamp; born in the late 1860s and raised by his second-cousin McCaslin Edmonds. Taught to hunt as a young boy by Sam Fathers, he remains deeply committed to the wilderness and to hunting. At 21, he renounces his inheritance and gives the plantation to McCaslin Edmonds.

McCaslin Edmonds

The great-grandson of Carothers McCaslin, descended from Carothers's daughter. Raised by his Uncle Buck and Uncle Buddy, he, in turn, raises Buck's son, Isaac McCaslin. He inherits the plantation at the age of 37, when 21-year-old Isaac refuses to take it as his own inheritance.

Lucas Beauchamp

The part-Black grandson of Carothers McCaslin, the son of Tennie and Tomey's Turl. He is a tenant farmer on the old McCaslin plantation when it is owned by Carothers Edmonds.

Theophilus McCaslin

Carothers McCaslin's son, Amodeus McCaslin's twin brother, Isaac McCaslin's father. He runs the McCaslin plantation while Amodeus tends the house. (Theophilus and Amodeus are more usually called "Buck" and "Buddy," respectively.) He eventually marries Sophonsiba Beauchamp, Isaac's mother.

Amodeus McCaslin

Carothers McCaslin's son, Theophilus McCaslin's twin brother. He raises his sister's son, McCaslin Edmonds, and tends to the house while his brother runs the plantation. Usually called "Buddy," just as Theophilus is usually called "Buck." At poker, he is unmatched.

Hubert Beauchamp

The owner of the plantation nearest the McCaslins'. He is a leisurely, childish man. His sister, Sophonsiba, believes he is the true Earl of Warwick.

Sophonsiba Beauchamp

Hubert Beauchamp's sister, eventually Buck McCaslin's wife. She believes her brother is the real Earl of Warwick and insists that his plantation be called "Warwick."

Tennie Beauchamp

The Beauchamp slave who marries Tomey's Turl; Lucas Beauchamp's mother.


The slave who becomes Carothers McCaslin's lover; may also be Carothers's daughter if Isaac is right in thinking that Carothers also had an affair with Tomey's mother, Eunice. Tomey gives birth to Turl, Carothers's son, not long after her mother commits suicide by drowning.

Tomey's Turl

Carothers McCaslin's son with the slave-girl Tomey. He marries Tennie and becomes Lucas Beauchamp's father.

Major de Spain

The proprietor of the old Sutpen plantation, also owns the hunting camp described in "The Old People" and "The Bear."

General Compson

The old Civil War general and Jefferson aristocrat who goes on the hunting expeditions. (Also the ancestor of important characters in Absalom, Absalom! and The Sound and the Fury.)

Boon Hogganbeck

The ugly, alcoholic hunter who is fiercely loyal to Major de Spain and McCaslin Edmonds. He tends to the dog Lion and eventually kills the bear Old Ben with his hunting knife.

Sam Fathers

The son of Ikkemotubbe, the Choctaw chief, and a slave-girl. Ikkemotubbe sold Sam and his mother into slavery when Sam was very young. Now an expert hunter, Sam tames the dog Lion and teaches Isaac the ways of the forest.

Molly Beauchamp

Lucas Beauchamp's wife, who helps to raise Carothers Edmonds. In the story "Go Down, Moses," her name is spelled "Mollie."

Carothers Edmonds

McCaslin Edmonds's grandson, Carothers McCaslin's great-great-great-grandson. He runs the plantation in the old age of Lucas Beauchamp and Isaac McCaslin.

Zack Edmonds

McCaslin Edmonds's son, Carothers Edmonds's father.


A huge Black man who works at the sawmill and lives in a house on Carothers Edmonds's property. His wife, Mannie, dies young.


Rider's wife, whose death sends him into despair.


The security guard who runs a crooked dice game at the Jefferson sawmill.

Walter Ewell

A hunter who goes on Major de Spain's expeditions. When he shoots, he never misses.

Miss Worsham

An old white woman with whom Molly Beauchamp's brother lives and who asks Gavin Stevens to bring Samuel Beauchamp's body back from Illinois.

Samuel Beauchamp

Molly and Lucas Beauchamp's grandson, a criminal who is executed in Illinois in the final story.

Gavin Stevens

A white lawyer who helps Molly and Miss Worsham bring Samuel Beauchamp's body back from Illinois.

George Wilkens

The man who marries Lucas Beauchamp's daughter.

Old Ben

The bear of "The Bear," a ferocious, gigantic beast who becomes legendary as an immortal force in the forest. Old Ben has one mutilated foot from a bear trap but otherwise seems to be invulnerable. Old Ben is finally killed by Boon Hogganbeck after tearing out the entrails of the dog Lion.