Local News

Rolesville Man Unravels Family Mystery

Posted Updated
Switch to classic wral.com

ROLESVILLE, N.C. — Bruce Harris always wondered about his real family. When his parents divorced 51 years ago, he was separated from his brothers. For several years, his wife, Faye, used the Internet to find the answers. She found the oldest of three brothers, Wayne Nelson, in Tennessee. Later, she found the youngest, David, in Alabama.

Fifty-one years ago, their mother, Elsie, placed Bruce and David for adoption when their father, Bill Nelson, left home. Elsie died 12 years ago, but the search continued for the father.

Then in the first week of January, Faye found Bill Nelson's second wife, a widow in Farmville.

"I could not believe it. Everything I asked her, 'Was your husband's name Willie Nelson?', Did he pass away in 2000?' All of the answers were yes," Faye said. "Did he ever live in Virginia, 'Yes.' and then her answer to me was, 'He had three boys, Wayne, Bruce and David.' She said, 'Honey, what's wrong?' and I said, 'Because my husband is one of his boys.'"

The man everyone knew as Willie died of cancer 1 1/2 years ago. He never found the boys he had searched for, the boys whose names he had tattooed on his arm.

"That told us, if nothing else, that he loved his children," Faye said.

"I never did harbor any hard feelings toward my mother or my father," Bruce said.

Bruce found more than just answers. He has two brothers, a half-sister, and a stepmother.

"I couldn't love her any more than if she'd given birth to me herself," Bruce said.

Bruce also said that he has made peace with his past.

"I now know who my natural parents were. It has filled the void that I've had in my life for so many years," he said.

Harris and his newfound family are planning a reunion for some time in March.


Rick Armstrong, Reporter
Rick Armstrong, Photographer
Kamal Wallace, Web Editor

Copyright 2022 by Capitol Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.