Thursday, September 27, 2012

1912 - "I never dreamed that he was a negro"

Washington Post
Washington DC
September 27, 1912


Mrs. Anna Wilson Quits Spouse 

Wed Three Years Ago.


Former Boston Woman Alleges Upton Wilson, U.S. Employe (sic), Is Colored, but Pretended to Be White and Won Her.  Learned Truth Here--Mother of Two Children--Awarded Funds to Go Home.

Charging that her husband, whom she alleges is a negro, married her on pretense that he was a white man, Mrs. Anna Wilson, formerly Miss Anna Maxwell, a member of a prominent Boston family, yesterday sought the aid of Judge Callan, of the juvenile court, in assisting her to leave Upton Wilson, of 418 Eighteenth street northwest, an employe (sic) of the naval observatory,  to whom she has been married for more than three years.

Wilson was brought into juvenile court yesterday on a technical charge of nonsupport, and through his counsel, Frederick C. Handy, pleaded guilty to the charge of nonsupport, and on order of the court supplied his wife with sufficient funds to return to her home in Boston immediately.  She will leave this morning and says she will never return here.  She left her husband Wednesday, and went to the house of detention and applied for aid.

Discovered His Race Here, She Says

According to the story told by the woman in court yesterday, she married Wilson more than three years ago in Boston, and never had any idea that he was a negro until she came to Washington with him, and here met members of his family, who, she declared, plainly showed their race.

Wilson was in court, but made no statement.  He has none of the characteristics of a negro, but his counsel, Mr. Handy, said that he had negro blood in him.  He is a tall, handsome man, wearing eyeglasses.  He is employed as a watchman at the Naval Observatory.

Miss Sarah L. Bucher, agent of the Board of Children's Guardians, appeared with Mrs. Wilson, and told Judge Callan that Mrs. Wilson alleged she had been living in fear of her husband for weeks.  She declared that when she first saw Mrs. Wilson yesterday she was on the verge of collapse, and pleaded for protection against her husband.

Mother of Two Children.

On recommendation of Assistant Corporation Counsel George, Judge Callan ordered that Wilson pay to Miss Bucher the money for Mrs. Wilson's transportation to Boston, and that Miss Bucher go with Mrs. Wilson while she packed her clothes.  Judge Callan also ordered that Mrs. Wilson be lodged last night at the Crittenton Home, and that her husband be kept away from her.  The couple have two children, neither of whom show any signs of having negro blood in their veins, according to statements made in court yesterday.

Mrs. Wilson came into court heavily veiled, but glimpses which could be caught of her face showed her to be an exceedingly pretty woman, with delicate pink skin and soft blue eyes.  Her eyes were tear stained, and she appeared to be on the verge of collapse throughout the hearing.

The proceedings in court were conducted in whispers in order to protect the woman's feelings, but following the hearing, Mrs. Wilson told her story.

Mrs. Wilson Tells Her Story.

"My name before I was married was Maxwell," she said.  "I was an expert bookkeeper, and held a position paying $50 a week at the time that I met this man in Boston.  I never dreamed that was a negro, but he did tell me that he had some Indian blood in his veins.  He made love to me, and we were married.

"When I discovered that he was a negro, after we had come to Washington, I was horrified.  At the time I was about to become a mother, and so determined to stay with him until the child was born.  I am going back to Boston and stay there and hope never to see him again."

Judge Callan ordered that in addition to paying Mrs. Wilson's railroad fare back to Boston, Wilson give $5 a week for the support of his children.

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