Tom Dooley PowerPoint

Tom Dooley
PowerPoint by Meredith Harley Inserra from various sources on the internet.
A Civil War soldier
This is the
story of a
young Civil
War soldier.
He was tried
and found
guilty of the
murder of
Laura Foster,
but some say
he didn’t do it.
His real name
was Tom Dula,
Dooley, so
most people
now know him
as Tom
photo from the outdoor drama
by the Wilkes Playmakers.
There are many versions to the story, so
we don’t know exactly what happened,
and we probably never will, but we do
know it happened right here in North
Carolina, in Wilkes County, in 1866.
Before the war, two of Tom’s girlfriends
were Laura Foster and Ann Melton.
They were cousins.
Ann got married to
someone else before
the war ended, so
Laura thought she
could have Tom
all to herself.
But after the war
Ann Melton saw
Tom and fell in love
with him again,
although she was
married to
someone else!
Ann Melton
Laura had
Tom told Laura to gather up her things,
sneak out at night,
and meet him.
They planned to run
away to get married.
She was never
seen alive again.
photo from the outdoor drama
by the Wilkes Playmakers.
After weeks of searching, her body
was finally found in a shallow grave.
Her legs were broken and she’d
been stabbed in the chest. A small
bag of her clothes were also found.
No one knew where Tom was.
Laura’s other boyfriend,
Bob Grayson, led a
search party for Tom.
They found him in
Tennessee and brought
him back in chains.
As a crowd gathered Tom
asked to be unchained.
Tom sat and played a
song on his banjo, or was
it a fiddle? It depends on
who you ask.
Bob Grayson
Tom’s lawyer asked for the case to be moved to
Tom was
in Wilkesboro
in Iredell
Tom was charged
actual his
and Ann Melton, Laura’s cousin,
was charged with "influencing him to commit murder.”
This is the actual jail where Tom Dooley was held.
Tom was tried in court in Statesville
and found guilty for the murder of
Laura Foster.
Tom’s lawyer was
Zebulon Vance,
who had been
governor of
North Carolina.
Our neighboring
town, Vanceboro,
is named after
On the night before his execution Tom wrote a
note: Statement of Thomas C. Dula-"I declare
that I am the only person that had any hand in
the murder of Laura Foster." Ann was
released from jail based on this confession.
But was he confessing to help
Ann? Some people believe Ann
actually killed Laura so she could
marry Tom.
On May 1st, 1866 Tom Dooley rode through
the streets of Statesville in a wagon. He sat
on the top of his coffin with his banjo on his
knee, joking with the people walking along.
He played his banjo, laughing as the wagon
neared the gallows. When the rope was
placed around his neck, he joked with Sheriff
Watson, "I would have washed my neck if I
had known you were using such a nice clean
new rope". Asked if he had any last words to say, Tom held
his right hand and replied, “Gentlemen, do you see this
hand? Do you see it tremble? Do you see it shake? I never
hurt a hair on the girl's head". And he was hung.
Laura was buried on what is now
known as “Laura Foster Hill” in
Caldwell County, NC.
Tom is buried by the Yadkin River
marker on
268 in
Tom Dula’s gravestone is on private property on the
Tom Dula Road in Elkville, NC, now known as
Ferguson, NC. The access road has been closed.
People have chipped away at the stone to keep a souvenir.
What do you think?
Did Tom really kill
Laura Foster
or did Ann do it?
Or both?
Could there be more
to this story?...
Notes, Links, and Sources
The photo on the second slide may be an actual photo of Tom Dooley,
although I cannot verify this. This photo is associated with Tom Dooley on at
least two web sites on the internet, but that is not a definitive verification.
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