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Chapter 113: It Begins

January 18, 1906Sterling, Illinois I returned to the office late in the afternoon, after spending a day and a half in Morrison, at court. Our office secretary, Miss Delp, handed me a few letters in a folder that required my signature. No other messages? I’d asked. “No, Mr. Wilson”, she […]

Chapter 112: Outside Looking In

October 11, 2016Chevy Chase, Maryland Those first few weeks in Sterling were an eye-opener for Emmett Wilson. Probably for Nicholas Van Sant as well. It isn’t that Emmett didn’t think he wouldn’t have anything to catch up on once he’d moved from Florida; he had a lot on his list […]

Chapter 110: The best of everything

Wednesday, January 3, 1906Sterling, Illinois It was breathtaking, the snow, all blinding white, crisp, clean, cold. White fluffy drifts and dunes everywhere. I felt light hearted. “This is wonderful,” I said to Sydney Anning, as I looked around at the blinding whiteness that was everywhere. There had been a fresh […]

Chapter 109: The Annings

January 1, 1906The Boardinghouse of Mrs. Luella S. Anning802 West Third Street, Sterling, Illinois Nick had taken charge of everything related to my moving to Sterling. He’d even taken charge of finding my boarding house.  I would have gladly made my own arrangements, but I had no idea where to […]

Chapter 107: New From the South

May 1, 2015Chevy Chase, Maryland I’ve been reading microfilm for hours. My eyes are dry. But what a freaking goldmine. Not only am I finding long-missing information about Emmett Wilson’s wherabouts during 1905 and 1906, there is a ton of contextual information about Nicholas Van Sant, Emmett’s roommates at his […]

Chapter 102: Emmett’s Decision

April 30, 2015Chevy Chase, Maryland Apparently Emmett’s visit and interview with Nicholas Van Sant, which took place sometime during the last week of October, 1905, was successful: In the spirit of transparency, I have no idea what kind of conversation went on between Emmett and Nicholas Van Sant during their […]

Chapter 101: Day One in Sterling

October 25, 1905Residence of Nicholas Van SantSterling, Illinois I slept well after the three-day train trip to Sterling. Van Sant met me at the Sterling train station, brought me home right away; as it was late, the house was already quiet, but that was no matter — I was glad […]

Chapter 95: No Waiting

April 30, 1905Cephas and Lula Wilson’s HouseMarianna, Florida7:25 pm I’m standing outside of Ceph’s house, in the front yard, looking up at the huge oak tree near the sidewalk. The tree has curtains of gray moss dangling, drifting with the soft wind. The sun’s set already, and it feels like […]

Chapter 92: Remembering

April 29, 1905Marianna, Florida5:45 p.m. After Long had shut the door behind him, and I knew I was all alone, I turned again to gaze out of the window at the courthouse; the shadows of the oaks around the building growing longer with the sunset. I didn’t want to go […]