Chatham County's Traditional Music Festival

September 12 - 14, 2024

legend of Omie Wise

The Legend of Omie Wise, Friday 3:30pm

With Hal Pugh and David Long

Naomi Wise was drowned by her lover in the waters of North Carolina’s Deep River in 1807. Her murder has been remembered in dozens of ballad versions throughout the last two centuries. Mistakes, romanticization, and misremembering have been injected into Naomi’s biography over time blurring the line between reality and fiction. Authors Hal E. Pugh and Eleanor Minnock-Pugh, whose family has lived in the Deep River area since the 18th century, are descendants of many people who knew Naomi Wise or were involved in her murder investigation, and have written a book about her legend.

David Long has never met a murder ballad he does not like. He is a ninth generation North Carolinian with deep roots in the foothills and Piedmont of this state. He has a lifelong interest in the history, geography, and culture of North Carolina, especially when they converge in the form of music.  David learned guitar at age eleven and his musical interests cover the spectrum from British invasion rock and roll to old-time string bands.

Stop by the new barn and film screening location for Hal Pugh’s book reading with David Long offering versions of this famous ballad. Located in the New Barn.

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