I stopped by New Salem Pottery in Randleman, North Carolina where Hal and Eleanor Minnick Pugh in addition to their everyday profession of making fine slip decorated pottery just finished another years long project. They have had their book Naomi “Omie” Wise, Her Life, Death and Legend published. It’s a historical and very accurate account of the story of romance gone wrong that ended in a young woman’s death in 1807 that has been remembered in prose and song. Hal and Eleanor have spent years researching the crime that occurred just a couple of miles from their pottery. Probably the most accurate account of the event written to date, the book is available in local bookstores and on Amazon.

From Hal and Eleanor:

“Naomi 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.”

Hal and I had an interesting discussion while Eleanor reminded us that we were at a pottery as we watched her slip decorate a plate.

(Photographs copyright 2022 by Dan Routh)

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