On March 14, 1912, the Floyd Allen Clan carried out one of the most brutal attacks in Appalachian history. In the space of 90 seconds, 57 bullets were fired into the Hillsville courthouse, killing five men and wounding three more. The Allens were a notorious family from Carroll County, Virginia, who had a long history of criminal activity. This act of violence shocked the nation and brought attention to the lawless nature of Appalachia.
The brothers Floyd, Sidna, and Bernie Allen, along with their cousin Claude Davis and two other men, opened fire on a crowded courtroom in Hillsville, Virginia on March 14, 1912. The target of their attack was Judge Massie after he had sentenced Floyd to 20 years in prison for robbing a store. The Allens then turned their guns on the rest of the court personnel and anyone else who happened to be in the line of fire. In less than 90 seconds, they had fired 57 shots and killed five men.
This act of violence sent shockwaves throughout Appalachia and the rest of the country. The Allens were already known as a notorious clan from Carroll County, Virginia. They were involved in moonshining, illegal gambling, and various other crimes. This massacre was just another example of their willingness to resort to violence to get what they wanted.
After the shooting stopped, the Allens tried to escape but were quickly apprehended by a posse of angry townspeople. Bernie and Claude were lynched on the spot, while Floyd and Sidna were tried and convicted for their roles in the massacre. They were both sentenced to death by electric chair and executed in 1913.
The story of the 1912 Courthouse Massacre is a tragic example of Appalachian justice gone wrong. The Allen Clan was a notorious family of criminals who resorted to violence to get what they wanted. In just90 seconds, they shot 57 bullets into a crowded courtroom, killing five men and wounding three more. This act shocked the nation and brought attention to the lawless nature of Appalachia. Although the Allens paid for their crime with their lives, this tragic event still casts a shadow over Appalachian culture today.