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Allen family


Biographical Note

On March 14, 1912, Floyd Allen, a resident of Carroll County, Virginia, was convicted of interfering with an officer of the law. Soon after Allen's sentence was announced, a gun battle ensued, killing five people (Judge Thornton Massie, Sheriff Lewis Webb, Commonwealth's Attorney William Foster, juror Augustus C. Fowler and witness Betty Ayers) and wounding seven others, including Floyd Allen. Several members of the Allen family fled the scene. While most were soon apprehended, two (Wesley Edwards and Sidna Allen) would not be arrested until six months later in Iowa. On May 18, 1912, Floyd Allen was convicted in the murder of William Foster and sentenced to electrocution. In July, Floyd Allen's son, Claude, was also convicted and sentenced to death by electric chair for Foster's murder. Freil Allen, Sidna Allen, and Wesley Edwards received lengthy prison sentences for their roles in the shootings. Details of the gun battle, also known variously as the Hillsville Courthouse Massacre and the Carroll County Courthouse Tragedy, are available in a number of published sources.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Allen Family Scrapbook

Identifier: Ms-2008-065

The collection contains photocopies of a 1970-1972 scrapbook containing newspaper clippings relating to the Allen family of Carroll County, Virginia and the 1912 Hillsville courthouse gun battle. It includes one original piece, a poem titled "A Memorial: Claude Swanson Allen."

Dates: 1970 - 1972