"Claude Allen" and "Sydney Allen"
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THE ROANOKE TIMES
ROANOKE, VA, FRIDAY MORNING, MARCH 15, 1912--12 PAGES
JUDGE T. L. MASSIE AND TWO COURT OFFICERS
MURDERED BY ALLEN GANG AT HILLSVILLE
Tragedy in Carroll County Court Room Follows Conviction of Floyd Allen For Complicity in Escape of a Prisoner After Penitentiary Sentence Is Pronounced by Jurist Mountaineers Begin Fusillade of Bullets and a Triple Murder Follows In the Hall of Justice
POSSES PURSUE MURDERERS INTO MOUNTAIN FASTNESSES;
$3,000 REWARD FOR CAPTURE
Victims of Mountaineers Shots
Judge Thornton Massie, of Pulaski;
Commonwealths Attorney W. M. Foster, Hillsville
Sheriff Webb, of Hillsville
Hillsville, Carroll county, Va., a little town at the foot of the Blue Ridge mountains, was the scene yesterday morning of the crime which crosses the border line of lawlessness and enters into the realms of anarchy.
In a brief silence that followed the pronouncing of a sentence on Floyd Allen, the court room became a place of dread where horror stricken people fought to escape from the windows and doors, and the foundations of law and order were swept away almost with one fell stroke.
Floyd Allen had said that he would die before he would go to the penitentiary. The lives of Judge Massie and Sheriff Webb had been threatened if the decree of the court should be carried out.
Allen was found guilty of aiding in the escape of a prisoner, his nephew, and had been sentenced to one year in the penitentiary.
In pursuance of his promise, Floyd Allen defied the court and he and his band killed three of its officials. He almost fulfilled that other part of his pledge which said that he would die, for he was seriously wounded.
The machinery of the twenty-first circuit court of Virginia suddenly stopped yesterday morning when in a few moments, Judge Thornton L. Massie, Commonwealths Attorney William M. Foster, and Sheriff Lewis F. Webb were killed; Clerk Dexter Goad dangerously wounded; Foreman of the Jury Kane, Juror Fowler, Juror Faddis and three spectators were injured by the flying bullets from the revolvers of the Allen clan which had gathered in the court room with the evident intention of frustrating justice.
People in Hillsville and the surrounding country will live in terror until the capture of the lawless Allens.
BULLETS DEADLY TOLL In MOUNTAIN COURT
Judge Thornton L. Massie, Commonwealths Attorney William M. Foster and Sheriff Lewis F. Webb, of the twenty-first Virginia circuit court in session at Hillsville, Carroll County, were shot and almost instantly killed and nine others, officers of the court, members of the jury and spectators at the trial of Floyd Allen, wounded yesterday morning by relatives of the prisoner who gathered in the court room with the evident intention of frustrating justice and liberating Allen from a years sentence to the penitentiary.
In a brief moment law and order were overthrown and a spirit of lawlessness which amounted to little less than anarchy, prevailed in the quiet court room, where a short time before a prisoner had been sentenced to a one year term in the State penal institution. Floyd Allen was that prisoner and he had sworn that he would die before he would serve out a sentence in prison.
Hardly had Judge Massie pronounced the decision of the court, following the verdict of the jury, than Floyd Allen drew a revolver from his inner pocket and ended the life of the judge before whom he had tried. Almost instantly other members of the Allen family produced revolvers and there followed a scene the like of which probably no other court room in the world ever witnessed.
MANY MERCILESS SHOTS ARE FIRED.
It was a reign of terror. Panic prevailed among those who had filled the court as spectators of the trial. Mercilessly the members of Allen clan shot down one after another of the court officers and members of the jury, while spectators were wounded by the flying bullets. In the pandemonium it was impossible to tell who were shooting or who were being shot.
Judge Massie was the first to fall, fatally wounded by the prisoner, who defied the courts decree. Quick to grasp the action of his prisoner when he reached for his revolver, Sheriff Webb had drawn his own gun and sent a bullet into Floyd Allen that almost ended the latters life.
It was but a moment later that Sheriff Webb and Commonwealths Attorney William M. Foster were fatally shot. Clerk Dexter Goad also was severely wounded and it was reported that he had died. This, however, was found to be untrue and there is hope that he will recover.
PEOPLE RUSH FOR PLACES OF SAFETY.
In the excitement that followed, people rushed for doors and windows in an attempt to escape from the court room that had become an indescribable scene of murder. The court house in the heart of a quiet little country town had become the scene of a terrible tragedy.
JUDGE MASSIE HAD HOSTS OF FRIENDS
TRUE TO DUTY
Richmond, March 14--"Rather than indicate a fear of law-breakers by sitting on the bench with a weapon in my pocket, I prefer to be killed in the administration of justice," was the statement made by Judge Massie only last night to a friend who urged him to take steps for his own protection.
Commonwealths Attorney Foster said, this morning just before he walked into the court room that it would probably be his last day on earth. It was expected that trouble would follow the rendering of a verdict if the jury should convict.
When Floyd Allen fired, as sentence was pronounced, Sheriff Webb quickly returned it, and it is believed that a bullet from his revolver struck Allen. But he did not fire again, for he was shot dead by a mountaineer.
Lynchburg, Va, March 14--Special. --Judge Massie, who was one of the court officials who was killed in the court house of Carroll County this morning, was well known in Lynchburg, having been related to a number of prominent residents of the city. Judge Massie was a brother of Mr. Robert W. Massie, of the Massie-Pierce Lumber Company, and he was a son of the late Patrick Cabell and Susan Withers Massie of "Three Springs," Nelson county.
Another brother, Mr. Withers Massie, is very ill at his home at Massies Mills, and the fear was expressed here this afternoon by relatives of the family that news of the tragic death of his brother would cause his death and for this reason it is regarded as improbable that he will be told of the awful incident.
Judge Massie had lived in Pulaski for a number of years, having gone there about the time he began the practice of his profession. His wife was Miss Mamie Nicholson, a native of Kentucky, who, together with three children, survive. The children are P. Cabell Massie, Wilbur Massie and Miss Mary Bentley Massie, all of whom reside in Pulaski.
"IF YOU SENTENCE ME I WILL KILL YOU," SAID FLOYD ALLEN TO JUDGE MASSIE
Pulaski, Va., March 14--Special.-- This whole community is literally stunned by the awful tragedy at Hillsville this morning in which a party of the Allens and their sympathizers shot and killed Judge Thornton L. Massie and W. M. Foster, the Commonwealths attorney, and Sheriff Webb, and shot Dexter Goad, the cleric, through the neck, and wounded several other persons. One of the Allens was mortally wounded.
A special train was made up and left here at noon to bring home the body of the dead judge. A large delegation of prominent citizens went on the train.
There was also a rumor that Governor Mann was considering the question of sending troops to Carroll County.
THE ALLENS REPUTATION.
These Allens have long been known as desperadoes in Carroll County; though, like the feudists of Kentucky, where not concerned themselves, they were quiet, kind and neighborly, though desperately dangerous if aroused in any way. It is said that for years some of them have been selling liquor illicitly, defying the State and the United States officers.
CAUSE OF THE TROUBLE.
The present trouble seems to have grown out of the arrest sometime ago of some members of the Allen faction. While the officers were taking them to jail, Floyd Allen and one of his nephews or cousin, forcibly rescued the prisoners from the officers.
For this indictments were made. Two terms of. . .ago the younger Allen was tried and given a jail sentence and fine. It was thought then that there would be trouble and that Floyd Allen and his party would shoot the sheriff when he undertook to take the convicted prisoner to jail. Things being rumored that Floyd Allen had sworn he would never let the prisoner go to jail. And it is a fact that the sheriff then expected nothing less than to be shot by the Allens when he started to jail with the prisoner.
FLOYD ALLENS TRIAL.
However, Floyd Allen, on that occasion, restrained his wrath and allowed this younger member of his clan to go quietly to jail. Then it came to a question of trying Floyd Allen himself. This was another proposition.. The case was continued at the last term of court on account of a witness who had been scared out of the State by the Allens.
The case then came up again at the present term of court. There had been numerous threats made by the Allens against Judge Massie and the other court officials. The Judge had been advised to go armed, but he emphatically stated that he would not so demean his office as judge as to wear a pistol while sitting on the bench, and that he was going to bring the Allens to justice, if it was in the power of the law to do so.
JUDGE MASSIES COURAGE.
Judge Massie was a man of superb courage absolutely without fear of any person or thing, and no doubt it was his fearlessness in backing up the prosecution that finally brought Floyd Allen to conviction.
The case against Floyd Allen had been heard yesterday. Early this morning the jury brought in a verdict against him, sentencing him to one year in the penitentiary. Thereupon Allen said to Judge Massie: "If you sentence me on that verdict, I will kill you." Judge Massie at once proceeded to sentence him and Floyd Allen shot Judge Massie. The sheriff then shot Floyd Allen and thereupon the fusillade became general.
After the shooting, it is said the Allen crowd took charge of Hillsville, shooting up the town and terrorizing the inhabitants. Some of them, at this writing, are still said to be going about the streets, while others have left for home.
CAREERS OF THE SLAIN MEN
JUDGE THORNTON L. MASSIE.
Judge Thornton L. Massie succeeded Judge R. C. Jackson on the twenty-first circuit in 1908, being appointed by Governor Swanson to fill the vacancy. He was forty-eight years old and a resident of Pulaski. He is survived by a widow, two sons and a daughter, Miss Mary Massie, who is very popular in social circles throughout Southwest Virginia. Miss Massie frequently visits in Roanoke and was in this city last week as the guest of friends.
Judge Massie was one of the most prominent jurists in the State and was widely spoken of in connection with the vacancy on the State Supreme Court to succeed Judge Buchanan.
COMMONWEALTHS ATTORNEY WILLIAM FOSTER.
Commonwealths Attorney William Foster was forty years old and married Miss Tipton, a sister of Attorney Walter Tipton, of Hillsville. He had been Commonwealths attorney of Carroll County for eight years, having been elected first on the Democratic ticket. Later, Mr. Foster turned Republican and was a prominent leader of the Republican party in Carroll County, being elected the last time on the Republican ticket. He has a brother who is a practicing attorney of Hillsville. He left several children.
SHERIFF LEW WEBB
Sheriff Lew Webb was elected on the Republican ticket last November. He was fifty years old. Mr. Webb was a farmer and took an active part in politics. He filled the office of deputy sheriff for fifteen or twenty years before becoming sheriff.
ALLEN FAMILY REAL FIGHTERS
Considered Desperate and Men Frequently Clashed With Officers.
BROTHERS FOUGHT BLOODY BATTLE
Floyd and Relative While Prostrate, Emptied Their Revolvers into Each Other--
Both Later Settled Differences--Believed to Have Planned a
Demonstration in Greensboro, N. C., Court.
Greensboro, N. C., March 14.--But for a combination of circumstances, United States officers here believe that the Allen brothers, who figured in the court room tragedy at Hillsville, Va., today, would have attempted a demonstration in the United States court here a year ago, when Judge Boyd sentenced Sidna Allen to a term of two and a half years in the federal prison at Atlanta for perjury. Attorneys made an appeal and only recently the circuit court of appeals, sitting at Richmond, ordered a new trial. The case was to be retried here in April.
ON WATCH IN COURT.
Sidna Allen, a brother of Floyd Allen, was first tried with Preston
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ALLENS READY TO RESIST CAPTURE
GUN BATTLE EXPECTED WHEN DETECTIVES TRY TO TAKE SLAYERS
HAVE BIG SUPPLY OF GUNS AND RIFLES
It is Believed They Will Kill as Many Men as Possible and Make Last
Stand for Their Lives--Sidney Allens Bullet Struck Judge Massie
Just Above the Heart--Scene of Death of Victims
Galax, Va., March 14--Special-- It looks as if there is to be a man size fight in or near Hillsville. Mr. Felts, of the Baldwin-Felts Detective Agency, is on hand with full authority from Governor Mann to do whatever is necessary to capture the Allens and bring them to punishment. He has with him about twenty-five picked men with volunteers from Roanoke, Montgomery, Smyth, and Pulaski, all armed with Winchester rifles, army rifles and shot guns. He is starting his force for Hillsville tonight and will be there before day break.
Reports just received from Hillsville, which is thirteen miles from here, say the Allens rode back into town this evening declaring their purpose to kill Dexter Goad, Clerk of the court, whom they shot and badly wounded this morning. Mr. Goad is in his home and is being guarded by his friends, but a battle may occur tonight, and it is very probable that a desperate fight will come tomorrow when the Felts posse arrives.
WILL RESIST CAPTURE.
The Allens may take to the mountains and conduct a long campaign of bushwhacking and pot hunting but those who know them best believe they have determined to make one last stand and die together, killing as many men as possible before they go. There are seven of the Allen brothers, all sons of old Jerry Allen, born and brought up in these mountains. All are big, powerful men and all have been thrifty. Among them they represent considerable property, perhaps some forty or fifty thousand dollars. Through years they have ruled and terrorized their part of the country.
IN MANY OFFENSES.
They are typical mountaineer desperadoes and fighters. They have mixed in many offenses against the laws, more or less, implicated in making and selling moonshine whiskey. Long ago the brothers made a compact that all of them would die before any of them should wear stripes.
In 1910 Sidney Allen, one of the brothers, was tried in the United States court at Greensboro, N. C., for making twenty dollar counterfeit coins. It is said the whole seven got together just before the trial, made their wills, and decided if Sid was convicted to shoot their way out of court and defy arrest to the last. So Sid was acquitted by a close squeeze and was indicted for perjury and yet awaits a hearing on that case.
CAUSE OF THE TROUBLE.
The present trouble grew from some of the younger Allens disturbing religious worship four or five months ago. A deputy sheriff named Samuels undertook to arrest them and Floyd Allen beat the officer badly. Judges and other public officers here have been warned frequently against the Allens. Judge Jackson, now of Roanoke, once or twice was in deadly danger of being killed by them. Judge Massie was told again and again to take precautions against them in case he had to deal with them in court, but he ignored the caution, evidently thinking the fearful character of the family was exaggerated.
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DEATH FUSILLADE IN COURT ROOM
Judge Massie Sustained Fatal Shots After Sentencing Floyd Allen.
FELL BLEEDING FROM THE BENCH
Scene of Wild Disorder and Fatality Follows in Hillsville Court--
Companions and Relatives of the Assassins Flee to the Hills--Details
of the Tragedy Difficult to Obtain, Owing to Remoteness of Place
Dexter Goad, clerk of the court, Floyd Allen, who shot and killed Judge Massie.
Floyd Allen, who shot and killed Judge Massie
Ridney Allen, brother of Floyd
A.T. Howlett, spectator
Bruce Marshall, spectator
Stuart Worrell, spectator
By Associated Press
Hillsville, Va., March 14 Mountain outlaws came out of the Blue Ridge today in the Carroll county courthouse where they murdered the judge behind the bench, the prosecutor upon the bar, and the sheriff at the door in. . .pronounced upon Floyd Allen, one of their number. When the crack of the rifles died away each member of the. . .of the court--Dexter Goad , the clerk--was alive but had been wounded. Jurymen and onlookers were struck in the fusillade.
MANN OFFERS $2,000 REWARD
Governor Mann has offered a $3,000 reward for the capture of the assassins and holds state troops under arms for... as Lynchburg and Roanoke.
Judge Thorton I. Massie had risen from his chair as the bullets attack him and fell. . .his desk in bleeding corpse. Commonwealths Attorney William Foster, with a half dozen bullets in his brain crumpled down to the floor. Sheriff Lewis Webb was shot and killed as he reached for his revolver and sprang forward. Bullets padded Clerk Goad and in the confusion he was reported killed. Jurors who had been slightly wounded were reported dead and by the that indefinable method of communication which prevails in the woodland country, reports of a wholesale, slaughter shot out of the countryside.
Floyd Allen was before the bar this morning, convicted of taking a prisoner from a deputy sheriff. Allen had struck the sheriff over the head with the butt of a rifle and the prisoner escaped. Sheriff Webb had gone up into the mountains and taken Allen, despite the warnings of what such a venture might mean. Attorney Foster had prosecuted him. . .and a mountaineer jury gathered from the inland section, for no man in Carroll county cared to sit on the trial of an Allen, had convicted him.
THRONG IN THE COURT.
This morning the sentence of Allen attracted an unusually large gathering to the quaint old red brick court house which stands on a ground square well in the center of village. Those who could not enter the court room peered through the windows opened to the first day of spring.
Just as Allen was about to be called. . .
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THE ROANOKE TIMES
Roanoke, VA., Saturday Morning, March 16 1912--10 Pages
FIVE DEAD, HILLSVILLE COURT HOUSE TRAGEDYS TOLL;
TWO WOMEN VICTIMS OF SHOTS
Sidna Allens Wife Shot to Death in a Pitched Battle With a Posse While Aiding in Defense of Her Outlaw Husband---Miss Nancy Ayres, Who Was Wounded While in the Court House, Succumbs to Her Injuries---Desperadoes Take Refuge in the Surrounding Mountain Regions.
SIDNA AND FLOYD ALLEN ARE CAPTURED;
FEARED OUTLAWS WILL TRY TO RESCUE THEM
The Days Developments In Hillsville
Sidna Allen and Floyd Allen, Outlaw Chiefs, Arrested,
Sidna Allens Wife Dead,
Miss Nancy Ayres Dead.
Court Opened At Hillsville.
Allen Gang, Well Armed, Flees into Mountains.
COURT OPENS IN EFFORT TO RESTORE ORDER
Hillsville, Va., March 15--The end of the days chase of the Hillsville raiders brought the death list of the court house tragedy and its sequel up to five.
Sidna and Floyd Allen, two of the chiefs of the band which rode down on the Carroll court house yesterday and assassinated the judge, the prosecutor and the sheriff, are in captivity, both wounded severely. Sidna Allens wife is dead, shot in a pitched battle with a posse in the mountains, while helping defend her outlaw husband. The fifth death was that of Nancy Ayres, 19 years old, accidentally shot during the fusillade in the court house yesterday.
GANG IN MOUNTAINS , WELL ARMED.
All the other members of the gang, probably 18, are up in the mountains off toward the North Carolina line, well armed, well supplied, and determined not to be taken.
Through a relay station at Pulaski, Governor Mann late tonight talked over the long distance telephone with Attorney General Williams at Hillsville and corroborated the earlier reports that Sidna Allen had been seriously wounded and captured.
"Court opened today," said the attorney general, "and all officers reported for duty. Posses are on hand and order prevails. Four prisoners are now under arrest and we are endeavoring to arrest others. Proper steps have been taken to guard prisoners. I have the situation well in hand, but can not discuss it over the telephone. No detectives have been killed."
FEAR ATTEMPT TO RESCUE ALLEN
It is feared by men higher up in the militia service will make an attempt during the night to rescue the Allens. The attorney general made no reference in his message to the reported killing of Mrs. Sidna Allen.
Shortly after his arrival here late today, Judge Staples, who had been designated by Governor Mann to take charge of the court situation, summoned special grand jury to indict the murderers of Judge Thornton L. Massie, Commonwealths Attorney W.M. Foster and Sheriff L. S. Webb, who were killed by the Allen outlaws yesterday.
This act had a wonderful effect in restoring public confidence. The grand jury is to appear in court tomorrow morning at 9 oclock to be charged by Judge Staples.
Warrants already are in the hands of deputies for the arrest of the slayers, but the summoning of a grand jury has aided materially in allaying the intense feeling.
CARROLL COUNTY REORGANIZED
The circuit court of Carroll county, which was wiped out of existence yesterday was re-organized today and the citizens witnessed its proceedings with the due and orderly execution of justice.
The surprise of the day in Hillsville was the death of Miss Ayres. No one in the town seemed to know that she had been wounded until her death was announced this morning at 9 oclock. When she left Hillsville for her home yesterday she did not know she had been shot, but complained of bruises which she thought she had received in the mad rush from the court room. Without a doubt, Miss Ayres who was a witness in the Allen case was shot accidentally.
(Continued on page ?)
SIDNA ALLEN IS TAKEN IN A HOT FIGHT
Hillsville, Va., March 15--The storming of Sidna Allens house late today was the next thing to a bombardment. The posse trailed through the bush four miles up the ridge and surrounded his cabin in a grove. Allen, expecting their coming, was barricaded, well supplied with rifles and ammunition which he had brought from a store in which he was a partner.
From behind stumps, rocks, trees, and other natural fortresses of the mountainside the posse blazed at the house and Allen blazed at the posse, as fast as the women of his family could reload his rifles. In a lull the posse rushed the house, broke down the doors and found Allens wife shot dead and Allen himself groaning in a heap, bleeding profusely.
"I COULD NOT FIGHT NO LONGER."
"You got me, because I could not fight longer," he is reported to have said to the men who brought him back to Hillsville more dead than alive. Attorney General Williams, of the State, who is here today, said that Sidna Allens bullets killed Judge Massie on the bench yesterday.
Floyd Allen, the cause of the tragedy, was taken to the lockup this morning under a heavy guard and immediately whipped out a pocket knife and slashed his throat. His wounds, however, are not serious. Allens son Victor, Cabel Strickland and Byrd Marion were also locked up as witnesses. Juror Fowler, who was wounded in the firing, is not expected to live through the night. The wounds of Jurors Kane and Worrell and Clerk Goad are not serious.
RESUME THE MAN HUNT TODAY.
Tonight the man hunt is in abeyance waiting for daylight. No native, let alone a stranger, will travel these mountain roads at dark with the Allen gang loose. At day break one set of detectives, which had reached Hillsville, joined a party of deputy sheriffs from the neighborhood and set off up the mountainside. The traveling was slow and tedious. The other party which went up the north side of the ridge stormed the Allen house.
With the arrival of help, confidence began to take the place of terror which prevailed unrestrained for twenty-four hours. Judge Staples, designated by Governor Mann to come here and hold court, took the bench and summoned a special grand jury to indict the murderers. This one act had more to do with the restoration of quiet than any other. The reorganization of the court, which was all but wiped out yesterday by the work of the assassins, had a great influence.
GANG RAIDS MOUNT AIRY STORE.
Early in the day, a report came from Mount Airy, N. C., that the Allen gang had raided a hardware store there and stocked up with guns and bullets. That probably is partially true. Sidna Allen was part owner of the store and the gang probably found supplies ready.
Reports have been coming down the mountain all day that the outlaws have recruited a big band to their defense. Officers think this is not unlikely. A lawless element in which the Allens were ring leaders has ruled the mountain fastness for years. There is a saying among the revenue officers that every pine tree shelters a whiskey still. A battle between law and crime is sure to draw recruits here.
SHARPSHOOTERS SURROUND THE JAIL.
Tonight, a guard of mountain sharpshooters surrounds the jail ready for any attempt to take off the two prisoners. The officers think, however, that with both the Allens wounded the outlaws may have loss stomach for a fight.
The outlaws could not have picked a better time to make a stand against their pursuers. Every mountain brook is a little creek, every creek is a small river. The heavy rains of the last few weeks melted the mountain snows, washed out the roads, carried off the bridges and made mud knee deep. The hardiest ponies flounder up the grades with great effort.
REINFORCEMENTS EXPECTED TODAY.
With daylight, the pursuit will be renewed with reinforcements that yet are coming from the countryside.
Features of the tragedy have been so many that all probably never will be told. One came to light today. Walter Tipton, a lawyer, who was defending Floyd Allen in court yesterday, was a brother-in-law of Commonwealths Attorney Foster, who was killed. Tipton stood beside his relative when Allen, poking his gun under Tiptons arm, shot down Foster. Who killed Sheriff Webb is not definitely known.
WITNESS DESCRIBES THE SCENES IN HILLSVILLE AFTER COURT TRADGEDY
The best account of the Hillsville tragedy that has reached Roanoke was brought to this city last evening by a man who was in the little town Thursday when the Allen gang killed Judge Massie, Commonwealths Attorney Foster, and Sheriff Webb. He was not on the court room at the time of the shooting but his information was gathered at first hand immediately after. His story follows:
"I was ... distance from the court house, when the quiet of Hillsville was broken by the sounds of shooting. The reports of shot after shot echoed along the streets. People ran from their houses and from the stores to seek the cause of the trouble. The first shots were followed a perfect fusillade which died away and finally ceased with a few scattered shots."
THE SCENE OF CONFUSION.
"What followed would be hard to describe. People rushed to the court house whence the sounds of the shooting came. It was a scene of utter confusion and panic. . .
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