Naomi Wise: Her Life, Death and Legend
by Hal Pugh and Eleanor Minnock-Pugh
Naomi “Omie” Wise was drowned by her lover in the waters of North Carolina’s Deep River in 1807, and her murder has been remembered in ballad and story for well over two centuries. Mistakes, romanticization and misremembering have been injected into Naomi’s biography over time, blurring the line between reality and fiction. The authors of this book, whose family has lived in the Deep River area since the 18th century, are descendants of many of the people who knew Naomi Wise or were involved in her murder investigation.
This is the story of a young woman betrayed and how her death gave way to the folk traditions by which she is remembered today. The book sheds light on the plight of impoverished women in early America and details the fascinating inner workings of the Piedmont North Carolina Quaker community that cared for Naomi in her final years and kept her memory alive.