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by Jerry L. Haynes
The old adage says “A watched pot never boils”, but I feel there are also times when “An unwatched pot always boils over”.
Such was the case in Carroll County, Virginia at the turn of the twentieth century.
By 1900 the water was simmering between the mostly Democratic Allens and the Republican led court system. Cries of illegalities from the Allens against the court officials were met with claims of Allen bullying that led to unfulfilled jail sentences.
Heat was turned up in 1911 when nephews of the Allens were involved in a fight that ordinarily would have been interpreted as “boys being boys”. Instead numerous charges were brought against the nephews, while no charges were brought by the parties that initiated the skirmish. The water reached a boiling point when the nephews were extradited in a manner in which the Allens felt was improper. New charges of interfering with the duties of an officer then resulted in numerous charges against the Allen men themselves.
Although the Allens, and the court officials, had been in hot water before, it took a March day in 1912 for the pot to boil over and become what will forever be known as “The Carroll County Shootout”.
This is the story of the aftermath of that shooting. Follow Jeremiah Haynes, a Richmond journalist, as he comes to the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia to “find the truth,” a truth that no one wanted told.
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