Thursday, January 7, 2010

From the Collections: "Taking the Root Off" Edition

A former City of Charleston lawman (and longtime CLS member) stopped by the Library for a very pleasant visit this week, which got me to thinking about a good candidate for "From the Collections".  It's one of my favourites: the 1970 autobiography of longtime Beaufort County Sheriff J.E. McTeer, High Sheriff of the Lowcountry.  With a local printing and only two small publication runs, the book is fairly rare (we still have it in circulation, though!), but when it comes to nonfiction about the South Carolina coast, it's nothing short of classic.

McTeer was appointed sheriff of Beaufort County at the age of twenty-two, and remained on the job until he was almost sixty.  High Sheriff includes forty years worth of his best stories: using gullah to trick armed bootleggers in a dark swamp; losing (and recapturing) a prisoner in the middle of New York City; and his many encounters -and occasional battles- with witch doctors (like Dr. Eagle excerpted above).  Combating hoodoo and the root was a real job for McTeer, and, if nothing else, gives his rural policing stories a dark and spooky edge Andy Griffith never had.

If you liked Ben Mo├»se's recent Ramblings of a Lowcountry Game Warden, you'll find much of the same stuff to love here.  At 101 pages, it's a quick read for a cold weekend, so consider picking it up (catalogue number IC M25) next time you're in.  Which should be soon!

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