COFFIN POINT: The Strange Cases of Ed McTeer, Witchdoctor Sheriff – by Baynard Woods
“Baynard Woods has written a rollicking good Low Country tale of a sheriff who took up voodoo to stay ahead of the bad guys. Coffin Point is a real page-turner from a very talented (and very funny) young writer.”
—Joseph L. Galloway, co-author of the bestsellers We Were Soldiers Once . . . and Young and We Are Soldiers Still
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 being voted out in 1962. 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 political and (most chiefly) psychological ‘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. Even after finally losing the position, McTeer remained revered by the community at large, allowing the curious into his home for vaudevillian demonstrations of his power.
Collector of curios, historian, poet, raconteur, and voodoo doctor, McTeer was most assuredly a man of his times and an American original.
“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 enticements.”
—Lawrence Weschler, author of Mr. Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonder and Everything That Rises.
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.
About Baynard Woods
Baynard Woods was born and raised in South Carolina. At the age of eighteen, after being kicked out of several Greenville high schools, he ran as far from there as a 1972 model vehicle would take him. While wandering New Mexico, he met and married Nicole King, a fellow Carolinian, who helped to bring him home. They now live near Washington D.C. where Woods covers Congress for the Columbia City Paper and works as a freelance writer. He holds a Ph.D. in Ancient Philosophy, and teaches Greek, Latin, and Mythology at local universities. His essay “The Right to Think” appeared in The Right to Literacy in Secondary Schools, published by Teachers College Press.
Woods writes songs and plays bass in several bands including Jerry Lee Atwater and the Dueling Creek Playboys.
Coffin Point is his first book.