North Carolina's Black Sheep



  • Campbell, Charles - Charles Campbell was accused of murdering "Silver Creek" Sam Pearson. While awaiting trial in Morganton, he was being held in the Catawba County Jail, where he escaped 10 Mar 1904. Burke and Catawba Counties.


  • Daniels, Alfred - A negro convicted of murdering F G Simmons 12 Sep 1903 in Jones County, He was tried in Nov 1903 at Trenton, North Carolina. He appealed based upon the fact that the jury was all white, but lost his appeal. He was hung 19 May 1904. Jones County.


  • Dula, Tom C (aka Tom Dooley) - Tom C Dula was a charismatic young man who tendered the affections of two cousins, Laura and Ann Foster. While Tom was serving in the Confederate Army, Ann's heart wandered and she married James Milton. After the war, when Tom returned, Laura hoped that her cousin's marriage would make her way clear with Tom. However, it seems that Tom and Ann rekindled their romance, despite her marriage after his return. Tom had arranged with Laura to run away and marry her. She took a small bag of clothing and left with her horse in the night. Three weeks later, her horse returned, gaunt and with a broken halter. A search was made and the location where the horse had been tied was discovered, but no sign of Laura was found. Ann was heard arguing with her sister Perline and suspicions were aroused. In an interrogation, Perline broke down and said that Tom had killed Laura and that Ann had showed her where Laura was buried. Perline showed the authorities the location, and when the makeshift grave was exhumed, a body of a young woman with both legs broken and a stab wound in her breast, with the small bag of Laura's clothing was discovered. The body was taken and funeral arrangements were made. Tom was convicted of her murder. Ann was acquitted. On 1 May 1868, Tom C Dula was hanged. While the official source of the song is debated, some say that Tom himself sung the words in the jail during his trial and also riding on his coffin to his sentence. Wilkes County.


  • Herring, Clifford & James - On 30 sep 1930, Harvey M Propes, was ambushed while tending to his crops. The Herring Brothers were charged with the crime, believed to be in retaliation for Mr Propes assistance to Federal Revenuers. The Herring Brothers were preparing to make a run with their still. Although there was much sentiment against the two brothers, they were acquitted in a trial by jury later that fall. Rutherford County.


  • Lewis, Jonathan - In 1808, Naomi Wise, an orphan, cook, and occasional field hand, was pushed off a bluff into the Deep River, where she drowned. It is thought that she was pregnant. She lived in the household of William Adams and Lewis was a frequent visitor. Lewis was arrested 8 Apr 1808 for the murder and jailed in Asheboro. He escaped to Ohio, where he was tracked down by a bounty hunter. Due to lack of evidence, Lewis was acquitted. Legend has it that he confessed on his deathbed. A song, "Naomi Wise", was written and performed by Doc Watson romanticizing the story. The location where she was pushed is now known as Naomi Falls. Randolph County.


  • Silver, Frankie - A young wife with an infant daughter, she was convicted of murdering her husband with an axe, dismembering his body and hiding and burning it near their remote cabin while he slept. She was hung 12 Jul 1833. There are many tales about this young woman. Some say that she practiced witchcraft. Some say she attempted to poison her husband with hemlock first. Frankie was a young mountain woman and her husband, Charles, was part of a well to do family. Lore says that her father dug three graves for her before her execution, hoping to make it to their home, but with the heat, he was unable to. Some claim that she is not truly buried in the location known as her grave. Burke County.


  • Teach, Edward (aka Blackbeard) - born in England in the 1680s, named himself Blackbeard midway through his career as a pirate. Starting in the early 1700s, he and his crew in the Queen Anne's Revenge attacked ships in the Caribbean and Atlantic. Braiding his black beard with ribbons and placing lit cannon fuses under his hat, Blackbeard terrorized both his victims and crew. Pardoned by Governor Eden of North Carolina for a share of his booty, Blackbeard openly sold his captured goods in the town of Bath on the Pamlico River.
    Sent by Governor Spotswood of Virginia, Lt Robert Maynard attacked Blackbeard near Ocracoke Inlet, on 22 Nov 1718. During the brief, bloody fight that followed, Blackbeard and ten of his crew were killed. His head was cut off and displayed from the bow of Maynard's ship as a warning to other pirates. Legend has it that his headless body swam around his ship three times before sinking in an area now called Teach's Hole.


  • Turner, Cordi - Charged and acquitted twice with infanticide. Cleveland and Rutherford Counties.


  • Wood, Otto - A notorious prison breaker and outlaw was shot to death during a shoot-out with police in Salisbury. Police Chief R L Rankin fired the killing shot in the business section of Salisbury 2 Jan 1931. Iredell County.




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