In 1909, Edna Newsome Wilder hired a lawyer to help her get custody of her grandson, 12 year-old Purley Newsome. Purley’s mother was dead, and his father absent and uninterested. A colored man named Willie Woodard, who was “of no kin” and lived in Black Creek township, had the boy and was ill-treating him.
Judge Charles M. Cooke heard the application for writ of habeas corpus. In a somewhat enigmatically worded Order, Cooke declared that it was “inadvisable” to make a final decision at the time and that Purley’s best interests were served by remaining with Woodard for a year. Edna Wilder and her sons — the boy’s uncles — were permitted to visit him at Woodard’s, and the boy was permitted to visit his grandmother once every three months. The hearing was postponed until September term of court, 1910, and Wilder ordered to pay costs.
I have not been able to identify Purley Newsome or Willie Woodard.
On 31 January 1900, Edna Newsome, 55, married Ishmael Wilder, 60, son of Ben and Clarissa Wilder, at Edna Newsome’s house in Cross Roads township. Rev. W.H. Horton performed the service in the presence of Grant Farmer, W.T. Barnes and L.H. Newsome.
In the 1900 census of Springhill township, Wilson County: Ishmael Wilder, 63; wife Edney, 55; and daughter Clora, 26.
The Wilders’ marriage, the second for both, did not last long. Ishmael Wilder is listed in the 1910 census of Springhill township as a divorced farmer, living alone. Edna Wilder is not found.
Writ of Habeas Corpus to End Child Abuse, Miscellaneous Records, Wilson County Records, North Carolina State Archives.