Ed McTeer was the sheriff of island-bound Beaufort County, South Carolina, for thirty-six years. The “Boy Sheriff” was only twenty-two when the governor appointed him to fill his dead father’s term in 1926; he held the office until voted out in 1963. During that time, McTeer dealt with syndicate rum-runners, voodoo-inspired murderers, mannered Southern politicians, civil rights pioneers, and local root doctors—and in doing so became more than an ordinary lawman. After an epic battle with the famous Dr. Buzzard, McTeer, a white man, claimed he was the “last remaining tie to the true African Witchcraft.” He used his own brand of voodoo to help govern the largely African American county—and as a result never had to carry a gun during his long tenure as sheriff. When he lost the position, he became a full-time practitioner of the dark arts, revered by the community at large. Collector of curios, historian, poet, raconteur, and voodoo doctor, McTeer was most assuredly a man of his times and an American original.
In Coffin Point, Baynard Woods mixes stories and first-hand accounts from McTeer’s friends, enemies, and family with archival research and critical readings of McTeer’s own books in order to conjure the charismatic sheriff and the bygone world he inhabited. The enthralling, sweeping story reads like an episodic novel, shedding new light on the relationship between power and belief, and demolishing the beleaguered stereotype of the rural Southern lawman.
"Any narrative necromancer worth his salt has got
to know both what
might make a good spell, and then how to cast it. Who knows how or
where but young Mr. Woods here has clearly got himself The
Knowledge. Prepare to give yourself over to his wise and sly
--Lawrence Weschler, author Mr Wilson's Cabinet of Wonder and Everything That Rises.
"Baynard Woods has written a rollicking good Low Country tale of a sheriff who took up Voodoo to stay ahead of the bad guys...a real page-turner from a talented and funny young writer."
--Joseph L. Galloway, co-author of the bestsellers We Were Soldiers Once...and Young and We Are Soldiers Still.