ON MONDAY, FEBRUARY 13, 1905, eight- year-old Kenneth Beasley walked to the back of his school’s playground and into the melting snow of the woods beyond. He never returned. A massive search was undertaken for the North Carolina state senator’s son, and a reward was offered. Despite clues, rumors and even a ransom note, he was never found.
A year and a half later, a political rival hurriedly was charged. Accused of the most bizarre and twisted of plots, he faced a courtroom overflowing with jurors, star lawyers, spectators and newspaper reporters. The eventual verdict and stunning aftermath would rip apart two families and shock a state ... yet leave a mystery unsolved.
NOW CHARLES OLDHAM, attorney by trade, has reopened the case. Using modern research methods and his own legal training—while also investigating the state’s political, racial, lynching, and liquor cultures—Oldham has come as close as anyone can to the truth.
The result is an absorbing, must-read story. Meticulously researched and beautifully written, THE SENATOR’S SON: The Shocking Disappearance, The Celebrated Trial, and The Mystery That Remains a Century Later is both an important book and a fascinating one.
“Fascinating … murky … The Senator’s Son is local history at its finest.”
– DEAN KING, best-selling author
“The book is craftily written, deeply researched, and will stick to your hands like a lantern during this dark, raveled Southern tale of disappearance.”
– DAVID L. ROBBINS, best-selling author
“A vibrant, engrossing true tale … both educational and nearly impossible to stop reading.”
– Diane Donovan, MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW.
|Publisher:||Beach Glass Books|
|Product dimensions:||6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.30(d)|
About the Author
Charles Oldham is a native of Sanford, North Carolina, and has grown up with a love of everything about Tar Heel history. A graduate of Davidson College and the University of Georgia School of Law, he has been an attorney since 2000 and practiced criminal defense law for more than ten years. Charles now resides in Charlotte.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Reviewed by Astrid Iustulin for Readers' Favorite I was surprised when I found out that The Senator’s Son is Charles Oldham’s first book. His reconstruction of a century-old cold case is so wide-ranging that it can be compared to the work of a seasoned historian. The Senator’s Son is what every historical book should be. It is extensively researched and as enthralling as a novel. The sad thing is that it tells a true story. Eight-year-old Kenneth Beasley mysteriously disappeared in Currituck County, North Carolina, in February 1905. No one has ever discovered what happened to him. More than one year later, a man with a violent past and on bad terms with Kenneth’s father was put on trial and convicted. He took his own life shortly after the sentence. The press emphasized both the disappearance and trial, but to this day doubts and mysteries remain. Considering The Senator’s Son as just a well-researched book does not do it justice. This is an all-embracing historical picture. It informs about every aspect necessary to contextualize Kenneth’s disappearance and the trial. Despite the shortage of material, Oldham has reconstructed backgrounds that provide useful information about people, customs, and laws. He reveals a keen interest in many topics and enviable subtlety in his analysis. His account is always consistent and relevant, and he often makes valuable remarks. I appreciated that Oldham had not considered his work done with the description of the trial. In the last chapters, he discusses some theories and reflects on the events. Indeed, this is the part that makes you understand how far we were from the truth until now. I really hope to read more books by Oldham soon.
Charles Oldham's first book is a tour de force. He writes in an easy, non-lawyerly, almost conversational tone that does not obscure the breadth, depth and thoroughness of his research, or his legal expertise. His account of a tragic, fascinating, unsolved mystery brings a remote, long-lost place and time vividly to life. Even more impressive is his ability to draw lessons from that time and place that are all too relevant today.
Oldham offers a masterful, yet chilling, account in unearthing a century-old North Carolina case. It’s a compelling mystery bolstered by fascinating historical context. Intricately well-researched and investigated. And a raucous courtroom drama to boot. Oldham leaves us with just enough queries posed to keep one wondering more about the case after the turn of the last page. Oldham dedicates his first book to his family, and to his young nephew, for whom the author wishes a world where politics is not a matter of life and death for children. In this highly contentious time of fervent partisan politics, let me just say that I concur. Young Kenneth Beasley surely deserved more from the people of this world — that we must all agree. A North Carolinian myself, and as a reader of history, current affairs and mysteries, I will be on the lookout for Oldham’s next work if he so pens.