The Tom Dooley Legend

– Taken from the pages of The Tom Dooley Files –

The murder of Laura Foster was one of the most coldblooded and fiendish crimes in the history of North Carolina.  Though it happened many years ago, it still appears fresh in the memory of the old mountaineers as an incident never to be forgotten.”             

From a 1952 Statesville, NC Record & Landmark newspaper article written by a Mr. Brown and discovered in the “Tom Dooley Files” at the Iredell/Statesville Public Library.


“She [Laura] thought she was going to get married.  Ann Melton had this peach brandy and told Laura to get off and rest a spell.  I’ve forgotten how long she [Laura] had been dead before they discovered her body.  Old Dr. Carter, my father-in-law’s father…had to examine her [Laura] to find out that she’d been stabbed.”                                    

Margaret Hartley Carter, Caldwell County historian


On Monday, June 25, 1866, Tom fled.  Laura had disappeared and some people were pointing a finger at Tom and he fled and went over into Tennessee.”                                                                                          

John Foster West, Author “The Ballad of Tom Dula” & “Lift Up Your Head, Tom Dooley”


“Col. Grayson, who captured Tom Dooley was my great grandfather…shortly after the Civil War, Tom Dula come to his place with his shoes worn out.  My Great Aunt Becky liked Tom.  Described him as nice looking and kind.  The whole family liked him.”  

Frank Grayson, great grandson of Union Col. James W. M. Grayson


“Here we have something in my family that says he may not have been altogether guilty.  This is something that goes back into our family.  Whether it’s my sister, or whoever, if they’ve committed a crime, the truth should still be brought out about it.” 

Morgan Shepherd, NASCAR driver & great great-grandson of Ann Foster Melton

 The Tom Dooley Files, 500-pages of research dedicated to sorting out the facts and burying the myths. 


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