The haunting folk ballad "Omie Wise" has kept the story of Naomi Wise's murder alive for more than two hundred years. Naomi Wise, a poor but beautiful orphan girl, was courted by Jonathan Lewis, son of a wealthy farmer. His mother persuaded him to stop the courtship but not before Naomi became pregnant with Jonathan's child. To avoid marriage and scandal, Jonathan Lewis drowned Naomi Wise in Deep River. That is the traditional tale of Naomi Wise, but how much of it is true?
Date: Spring 1807
Victim: Naomi Wise
Cause of Death: Drowning
Accused: Jonathan Lewis
"Little Omie Wise" - Doc Watson
Naomi thought that she and Jonathan would soon marry and began to prepare for the wedding. But Jonathan's mother had other ideas. His employer, Mr. Elliot, had a daughter, Hattie, who Mrs. Lewis thought would be a perfect match for her son. At his mother's insistence, Jonathan began courting Hattie Elliot, and would ride by Adams's farm without stopping.
Naomi's body was found tangled in weeds growing near the shore of Deep River. Her neck had been bruised and the coroner gave the cause of death as "drowning by violence." His examination also revealed that Naomi had been pregnant when she died.