This is a fictional treatment of Harris' early teen-age years as printer's devil for The Countryman, a remarkable country paper roughly modeled after The Spectator that was published during the war years by Joseph Addison Turner at Turnwold Plantation near Eatonton, Georgia. Harris dedicated On the Plantation to Turner and says in an Introductory Note: "Some of my friends who have read in serial form the chronicles that follow profess to find in them something more than an autobiographical touch. Be it so. It would indeed be difficult to invest the commonplace character of Joe Maxwell (i.e., Harris) with the vitality that belongs to fiction.
Nevertheless, the lad himself, and the events which are herein described, seem to have been born of a dream. That which is fiction pure and simple in these pages bears to me a stamp of truth, and that which is true reads like a clumsy invention. In this matter it is not for me to prompt the reader. He must sift the fact from the fiction and label it to suit himself".