The Hillsville tragedy: Appalachian stereotypes as examined through the Carroll County Courtroom Shootout of 1912

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Virginia Tech


This thesis is a community study that centers on the Carroll County Courtroom Shootout of 1912. The shootout provides an opportunity to examine the dynamics of a small Appalachian community by looking at the years leading up to 1912. This study focuses on issues of causality, including a series of intense political feuds, land disputes, and general hostilities between certain members of the court administration and members of a particular family within the county. This thesis adds to revisionist histories on Appalachia and serves as a corrective to views of the region as monolithic, isolated, and impoverished. By placing the Hillsville Shootout in a historical framework for the first time, one can explain and deconstruct some of the myths surrounding the Carroll County tragedy and more generally Appalachia itself.



Carroll County, violence, stereotypes, Appalachia