My Sources

During my research I have used several different sources. Some of these are written, some are oral. Some I have used intensively, others I just glanced at. These are the main sources I have used, but there have been several. For example, I have spoken with several local people in the area, where the case took place.

The Case

The orginal casefiles from the Supreme Court cases is archived in the North Carolina State Archives in Raleigh, but an electronic copy of the two cases can be seen on the internet. It is accessible via From the front page click Search. Choose Research by location. Click on USA on the map on the right hand side. In the pop-up window, choose "North Carolina". Choose "North Caroline Supreme Court State Files 1800 - 1909". Choose  "Browse through 876,445 images" (as of October 2014). Locate and click on "1867 - 1868" a little down the page. Click on "Box 355". The papers from the first appeal to Supreme court is Case 8922, starting with image 214, ending with image 281. The second appeal is Case 8923, starting on image 282 and ending with image 335.

A copy of the page from New Herald, that brings the often mentioned article from May 2nd 1868, the day after the excution, can be found at Use the Search function to seach for "New York NY Herald 1868 1242". The easiest way is probably to follow the folllowing link to the New York Hearld archive pages as long as it still works. Scroll down and choose 1868. The pdf.document containing the page with thee article is found on page 5, document # 1242.


My to major sources for Newspaper articles and more were including transcripts of trial records:

  • West, John Foster: The Ballad of Tom Dula, Parkway Publishers, Inc, Boone, North Carolina, Third printing, 2002
  • West, John Foster, Lift up your head, Tom Dooley , Down Home Press, Asheboro, North Carolina, Second Printing, 1996

I found additional material in:

  • Arthur, John Preston: A History of Watauga County on Google Books
  • Barefoot, Daniel W.: Haints of the Hills, volume 3, from Google Books.
  • Carter, Edith Ferguson: Laura Foster, an undated booklet, written after 2001. It mentions the play, Tom Dooley- A Wilkes County Legend, which was performed for the first time this year. Published by author.
  • Crouch, John: Historical Sketches of Wilkes County, 1902 (Can be retrived from
  • Ferguson, Thomas W.: Tom Dooley, an undated booklet, probably written around 1960. The author mentions that the murder took place more than  90 years ago, and also mentions the hit song by the Kingston Trio, which was published in 1958.The booklet is referred to in John Foster West's first book from 1970. Published by author.
  • Fletcher, John Edward, PhD: The True Story of Tom Dooley, History Press, C harleston, South Carolina, 2013
  • Isbell, Dr. Robert L.: The world of My Childhood, Lenoir News-Topic, Lenoir, Northn Carolina, 1955
  • Wellman, Manly Wade: Dead and Gone, University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, Paper Edition, 1980

And finally I read two novels, based on material from the case.

  • McCrumb, Sharyn: The Ballad of Tom Dooley, Thomas Dunn Books, New York, 2011
  • Wheeling, Karen Reynolds: Tom Dooley - The Story behind the ballad, Little Creek Books, Bristol, Virginia, 2011 edition

Internet pages

I have been reading a lot on the Internet as well, some good, some better and some not worth reading at all. This is some of the pages I have used. The pages are grouped, but are not shown in any prioritized order:

The Story of Tom Dooley

The Civil war

Census records and the like

Assorted homepages:

- Return to Tom Dooley page -
- Return to English Pages -