Carolina True Crime: The infamous Bigham family of Florence and Marion counties
FLORENCE COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – Head north on Old River Road from Highway 378 toward Florence, and you’ll be hugging the Great Pee Dee River, winding through the flat land, lightly forested with pine trees and a few hardwoods here and there.
Turn right on Bluff Road and travel the bumpy dirt road until you see the thick, muddy river in front of you at Dewitt Bluff. To your right, see the tall bluffs hanging over the river, craggy red clay rising straight up from the riverbank. Look left into the backwoods, scraggly pines taking up the land, and not a building in sight.
Here, near the small town in Florence County called Pamplico, is where an infamous family called the Bighams settled in the mid-1800s, built their home, and by many accounts, proceeded to rule and terrorize their neighbors for the next three generations.
In this three-part edition of Carolina True Crime podcast, WMBF News explores the complicated and often violent history of the Bigham family. Over three generations, nearly 20 murders are linked to family members, but only one of them ever served significant jail time.
That man, Edmund Bigham, is also the eponymous subject of one of the nonfiction books used in research for the podcast, The Last of the Bighams, by J. A. Zeigler, who was editor of the Florence Morning News at the time and attended each day of Edmund Bigham’s trial.
We also consulted and quoted from late FMU professor Katharine Boling’s nonfiction account of the same family, A Piece of the Fox’s Hide, along with newspaper articles from the day, to tell the story of the Bighams.
From the murder of a young wife in the Murrells Inlet area called, ironically, Sunnyside, to the massacre of five family members on a cold winter day, the story of the Bighams is one you’ve likely never heard but aren’t likely to forget.
You can find “Carolina True Crime” on your favorite podcast streaming app.
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