Thursday, September 25, 2014

Killed by a Washpot Fire - Leila Janet Wilson 1904-1916 #52Ancestors #34

Sometimes people call out to you for their story to be written. Leila is one of those. She is no one's ancestor...she didn't live long enough.

Leila was the daughter of Andrew Wiley Wilson and his wife Mary Aline "Lena" Johnson. She was born December 1904 in Blacksher, Baldwin County, Alabama. She is only found in one census record:
1910 ALABAMA BALDWIN BLACKSHER

Series: T624 Roll: 1 Page: 1

Wilson, Andrew A 38 M W AL , Turpentine Distiller, both parents AL, reads & writes
Wilson, Lena, 37, married 19 years, 7 children, 6 living, born AL, Father NC, Mother AL, reads & writes
Wilson, Veta, daughter, 17, reads & writes
Wilson, Hollis, 15, odd jobs, reads & writes, did not attend school
Wilson, Carele [Carrie], 13, reads & writes, did not attend school
Wilson, Wiley, 8, read-write is blank, did not attend school
Wilson, Lela, 6, read-write is blank, did not attend school
Wilson, Cally, 0

Leila died Monday, June 19, 1916 in Little River, Baldwin County. She was 11 years and 1 month old. Her dress caught fire from the fire around the washpot, and she died ten hours later. I can only hope that she was unconscious for most if not all of that time.

Leila was buried in the Blacksher School Cemetery which was lost to time.
The photo is of the schoolhouse we believe was located on present day Earle property, which at the turn of the century was the heart of the community. It was located just east of a large green barn that still stands. Helena Rost Wilson, schoolteacher in circa 1914-1917, told her daughter, Dorothy Wilson Kempton, about the children buried beside it. About the little girl (Leila Janet) burned in a washpot fire who "belonged" to Andrew Wilson. We now call this small wrought iron fenced-in cemetery the Blacksher Cemetery due to the fact there are several little cemeteries in and around the Blacksher area. It was just rediscovered in Feb. 2007. The Charles Y. Wilson family is buried inside the fence and others with unmarked graves and two marked graves around the outside. It has basically been reclaimed by the timberland. --Carolyn Hastings Dickinson

Thanks to the efforts of the descendants of the Wilson family, Leila now has a memorial in the Wilson Cemetery located on Highway 59 in Blacksher.

Photo by Carolyn Hastings Dickinson