child custody

He is a suitable person to have custody.



TURNER WILLIAMSON, first being duly sworn, says:

That he is a resident of Wilson County, North Carolina, sixty years old, and has lived in Wilson County all of his life; that on the 18th. day of November, 1914, the affiant and Leacy Williamson were married to one another in Wilson County, North Carolina, and lived together until March 5th. 1920, when the said Leacy Williamson, without cause or legal justification, separated herself from the affiant, and has lived separate and apart from him since that date; that prior to the said separation, there had been born of the marriage two children, viz: Sarah Williamson, now six years old, and Amy Williamson, now two years old; that at the time Leacy Williamson separated herself from the affiant, she took with her both of the said children and has had them with her continuously since said date; that she has refused to surrender the custody of the said children to this affiant, their father, and has refused to permit the said children to visit the said affiant or to permit the affiant to visit his said children; that the affiant is, in every way, a proper and suitable person to have the custody of the said children; that he owns eighty-seven acres of valuable Iand in Cross Roads Township and in addition thereto has sufficient personal property to meet the requirements of his said farm and of his family; that the said Leacy Williamson although of correct character, is not a suitable person to have the custody of the said children by reason of her temperament, her lack of estate and her physical inability to provide for the said children the necessities of life, and to educate them.

The affiant has repeatedly endeavored to have his wife return to his household and bring with her his children that he might support and educate his said children, but because of the antagonistic influence of the brothers and sisters of the said Leacy Williamson, she has refused and still refuses to return to his household or to surrender to this affiant the custody of his children, or to permit him to exercise any paternal care or authority whatsoever over his said children.

WHEREFORE, the affiant prays that by proper Writ of this Court the said Leacy Williamson be required to have the said children, Sarah Williamson and Amy Williamson before the Court at such time and place as may be designated by the Court that the custody of the children may, by the Court, be awarded, and for such other and further relief as may be proper in the premises.

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Sworn to and subscribed before me this 31st. day of October, 1921. /s/ J.D. Barden CLERK SUPERIOR COURT


On 17 December 1914, Turner Williamson, 55, married Leecie Dew, 35, both of Cross Roads township. [Turner was the son of Patrick and Spicey Williamson.]

In the 1920 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: Turner Williamson, 62; wife Margarett B., 52; and children Bessie, 25, Effie, 23, Monte, 19, Turner, 17, Anne, 15, George, 13, Sarah, 4, and Amie, 8 months. A couple of odd points: (1) Turner Williamson married Margaret Barnes on 8 October 1891 in Wilson County, but, per her gravemarker, Margaret Barnes Williamson died in 1908 (and Turner is listed as a widower in the 1910 census); (2) if, per the petition, Turner and Leacy Williamson lived together until 20 March 1920, why was she not listed as his wife when the censustaker enumerated their household on 28 January 1920?

A sad coda: Amy Williamson died 25 March 1926, just short of her eighth birthday, of acute pericarditis and tonsillitis.

Marriage Records, Office of Register of Deeds, Wilson County; Death Certificates, Vital Records, Office of Register of Deeds, Wilson County; Child Care Records, Miscellaneous Records, Wilson County Records, North Carolina State Archives.

Their half-brother will care for them.

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“States that two children of Exum Joyner, Col’d, of Wilson N.C. wish to be taken from him their father who is a lazy and worthless fellow and does not take [care] of them. States also that they have a half brother who will take care of them upon proper authority being given him”

North Carolina Freedmen’s Bureau Assistant Commissioner Records 1862-1870,