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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 108: Arrival

January 1, 1906C, B & Q DepotSterling, Illinois The train pulled into the station at about half past seven; the snow was still coming down heavily. I looked up at the streetlights around the depot, marveling at the large flakes coming down, and all around me as the town was […]

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 106: Blizzard

On the westbound Chicago, Burlington & Quincy trainEn Route to Sterling IllinoisNew Year’s Eve, 1905Around 5 pm. It isn’t close to midnight, but there are New Year’s celebrations going on in the several of the cars surreptitiously — men are passing bottles and private flasks among themselves, up and down […]

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 89: Emmett and Sterling

March 26, 2015Chevy Chase, Maryland Back in the mid-1980’s, when I was a year or so out of journalism school with some experience writing for daily newspapers under my belt, I got the itch to move on to a bigger newspaper market, with a more interesting beat, and more exciting […]

First Intervention

In early May, 1906, Nicholas Van Sant was worried. His law firm with Emmett was not doing as well as he’d hoped. Although they had won cases and were building a client base, there was a negative cash flow. Emmett seemed to be doing well enough; but Van Sant hadn’t […]

An Expensive Lesson

Emmett’s best legal education came not at Stetson University (where he was the valedictorian of the 1904 law class; it came not at the hands of his esteemed and experienced older brother, Cephas Love Wilson, Esquire. It came when he was, essentially, fired from his dream job in Sterling, Illinois […]