Thomas Edwin Wilson  (1886-1917)

 My uncle Edwin Wilson died twenty years and two day before I was born. All I know of him are a few family stories and the three pictures below. Not much to construct a story with, but I found his pictures disturbing. Why is he looking so pensive, why so well dressed?  So here goes...

ed mamie
 Edwin age 10                 On the front porch of the Wilson home            With sister, Mamie, at the rear of the Wilson home.


A cousin, Nancy Tenner, provided his obituary.



My mother, Mamie, adored him. She said he was a handsome man with wavy auburn hair and a fine athlete. After finishing seminary and establishing himself at a church in Georgia he returned to Arkansas and was engaged to marry a socialite from a well to do family in Batesville, where he attended college. When his train arrived at the station for the wedding, he did not get off the train but continued on to St Louis. A family scandal followed. I think he requested the Presbyterian Church to send him far away. They sent him to Korea as a missionary. In Korea he contracted a disease and was sent home. His nurse, Georgia Crane, married him in Korea so they could travel together in the same steamer compartment. As his disease was contagious a tent was set up in the front yard of his parents home for him to stay in.  Perhaps the nurse tended to him until his death and probably the marriage was annulled.

It might not be unfair to guess that he was a homosexual born a century too early.  I have a strong affinity for this uncle I never knew and occasionally visit his grave.  Edwin Wilson misunderstood by society, his family, and even himself.




His marker in the Columbus Cemetery