Saturday, March 19, 2011

Colonel Laurence Allen's House - repost



January, 1863.

Fifty armed and desperate men from the community of Shelton Laurel enter the town of Marshall in search of the essential salt which they, as suspected Unionists, had not been allowed to buy. They ransack stores and plunder homes -- even pounding up the stairs of Col. Allen's house to rip blankets from the beds of his sick children.

Retaliation is swift; a few days later a troop of Confederate soldiers makes its way to Shelton Laurel in search of the raiders. The result is the Shelton Laurel Massacre, in which 13 men and boys (some as young as 13 and 14; most, if not all, non-participants in the raid) are rounded up and executed. Women, some elderly, are tied to trees and whipped when they will not say where their men are; an infant is laid in the snow in an attempt to force the wretched mother to name the raiders and their hiding places.

Civil war -- brother against brother, neighbor against neighbor. The families of the victims of the massacre knew the killers. And for years, bitter resentment simmered, breaking out now and then in private vengeance. Over a hundred years after the Civil War and the Shelton Laurel Massacre, our county still was known to many as "Bloody Madison."

Do the old feuds and hatreds remain? Probably not -- though I wouldn't presume to say for sure. But the old house endures, new furbished and landscaped, a private home adorning our little town and inflaming the imagination of at least one novelist.


11 comments:

Bernie said...

Great post Vicki, I love reading anything historical. Have a great weekend....:-)Hugs

Martin H. said...

Wonderful slice of history, Vicki. I missed this the first time around.

You know, we once owned a little Cornish cottage. It was built in 1864, during America's civil war. To think, a year before work started, the Shelton Laurel Massacre was taking place. Both houses are still standing, and in good repair.

GrandmaK said...

Difficult to understand how this could have happened killing the innocent, with nothing really achieved by it. But I guess some things don't change as these horror stories continue even today.

Thank you for reposting this! Cathy

My Carolina Kitchen said...

With stories such as this, no wonder there are so many people interested in Civil War history. This story in particular is very sad.

When we lived in Vicksburg, Mississippi, we went to a Civil War reenactment where Grant took the city. It was so well done that it felt quite real to me. I've heard many stories from my grandmother, whose father fought in the Civil War in Arkansas.
Sam

Brian Miller said...

wow. it is amazing to the depths we will go in anger...in war...

Bouncin' Barb said...

A very interesting and learning post to read. Thanks for the history lesson!

Deanna said...

What a sad time in our history. Thanks for the repost.

Vicki Lane said...

Martin -- I was struck, when we visited England, at how we Americans consider anything over a hundred years old as ancient while you all live amidst houses and such that date back many centuries.

It's amazing to think that such a thing as the Civil War could have happened -- but as Grandma K points out, it still goes on. Human nature is frightening.

NCmountainwoman said...

I have always been fascinated by the dynamics of the war, especially in western NC. Such divided loyalties led to amazingly horrific acts among neighbors.

I just read an older Ron Rash book in which the Shelton Laurel Massacre plays a large role. Interesting.

Mama-Bug said...

Wonderful post Vicki. I love stories of a historical nature. There's always something to be learned from our country's past.

Brenda said...

This is a bit of area history I'd never heard. Whew...hard to believe such things happened in these mountains. A sobering thought.