LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
“The young man implicated and charged with the crime is none less than E.K. Wilson who, though he has been a citizen of our county only about nine years, has been honored more than once by the good citizens of this county . . .”
According to the Mountain Echo, which covered the criminal charges and the long, drawn out trial, Wilson became intimate with the young servant and when she got pregnant he promised to marry her but, instead, obtained medicines and an instrument of some kind and performed an abortion on her that caused her death. This is a fascinating story that was covered in detail by the newspaper but which is much too long to go into here. Wilson came from a noted and well-to-do family who fought the charges with all their might. At one point the trial was moved from Laurel County to neighboring Rockcastle where Wilson was finally convicted and sentenced to five years in prison. His lawyers filed at least two petitions for a pardon from the governor but these were denied and Wilson was moved to the state penitentiary in 1901. He did not serve out his whole sentence, however, because in October of 1904 the Mountain Echo reports that “Mr. E.K. Wilson, formerly County Attorney of Laurel County, was here a few days this week.”
In reading the accounts of this incident in the Mountain Echo it is interesting to see how public opinion, at first outraged, subtly changed to reflect Wilson’s social standing vs. the young woman’s lack of it. I’m guessing she was soon not only dead but forgotten.
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The Laurel County Historical Society is located at 310 W. 3rd St., London, (formerly the Laurel County Health Department). The society is open on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. until 12 noon. Visit the historical society’s website at www.laurelcountykyhistoticalsociety.org.