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Cactus Gallery LA

OMIE WISE by artist Karly Perez

$ 650.00

Resin cast, mud pigmented muslin, carrot top dyed gauze, raw alpaca fiber, mix of dried grass & flowers and carrot leaves, cedar stump base, 8" length, 6"depth, 8" height

75% of the profits from this sale will he going to The Laurel Center -  - a nonprofit organization that has been providing emergency shelter and support services to survivors of domestic and sexual violence and their dependent children in the City of Winchester, Virginia (Karly's home state) and the counties of Frederick, Clarke and Warren counties for close to 40 years

Their philosophy is empowerment through support and education. They provide clients with knowledge, methods, and tools to make healthy choices, cope with their present situation and to prevent, when possible, violence in the future. They live our mission, vision and values 24-hours a day, 365 days a year… 


About Omie Wise:

North Carolina is a treasure trove when it comes to myths, legends, and the aural traditions that tell them. Musical storytelling, the method of conveying historical events through song, is one of these aural traditions. Through music, the story, which is often a true historical event, is able to be passed on, from generation to generation, allowing history to live and breathe. The sad tale of Omie Wise is from this genre.

Naomi was murdered by John Lewis in 1808 in Randolph County, North Carolina. She was an orphan girl, who was being raised by Squire William Adams and his wife Mary. John Lewis, who lived in Guilford County, would ride his horse to work in Randolph Co. at the beginning of each week, then back home for the weekend. Along his route was the Adams farm, where he would stop by and court the beautiful Omie. This apparently continued until she became pregnant.

Coming from a well-to-do family, John Lewis’s mother had plans for him to court another woman, Hettie Elliot, whose family was also in “high standing”. Rather than deal with an illegitimate child from an orphan girl, Lewis decided to murder Omie and dispose of her body in the Deep River, near Randleman, NC.

Once everyone noticed that Omie was missing, Mr. Adams gathered a search group and followed the horse tracks down the spring. There they found her beaten, pregnant body floating in the river. A woman later testified she heard screaming in that area the night of the murder.

John Lewis was found and brought to jail. Only one month later, he escaped and traveled to Kentucky, where he soon started a new family. Several men, including the Sheriff, were arrested for aiding John’s escape.

Word soon got back to Randolph County concerning John’s whereabouts, and they demanded he be returned and tried for his crimes. He was brought back to North Carolina from Kentucky, and remained in jail from 1811 until 1813 awaiting his trial. Despite overwhelming evidence and eye witnesses, when brought before the court he was only tried for escaping jail, and not for the murder of Naomi Wise. He was found guilty and spent 47 days in jail, after which, he was a freed and traveled back to Kentucky.

No one knows for sure who killed Omie, as there was never a confession. However, legend has it that John Lewis confessed to Omie’s murder on his deathbed. He died on April 25, 1817 of unknown causes.

Lyrics of Omie Wise by Doc Watson:

Video of the Ballad of Omie Wise:

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