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Tom Dula

In July of 1866 a man came up to Lt. Col. James W. M. Graysonís home near Trade, Tennessee. He had come from Wilkes County. The man told Col. Grayson that his name was Tom Hall. He wanted to work on Graysonís farm to earn money for a new pair of boots. His were falling apart. Grayson put Tom to work as a hired hand. After he worked long enough to earn the new pair of boots which was about a week Tom took off.About July 10 just a few hours after Tom left Graysonís home the authories from Wilkes County came to Graysonís looking for a man named Tom Dula. Grayson knew from the description they were looking for his hired man who had called himself Tom Hall. Dula was accused of the murder of Laura Foster. She had died on June 18. Grayson said he would help the posse find Dula. Grayson rode with the posse to Taylorsville (now Mountain City) to get the sheriff. The sheriff was in Shady Valley some miles away. Grayson decided to keep looking for Dula without the help of an official.

The posse found Tom Dula nine miles west of Taylorsville at a place called Pandora.

Tom was sitting on a rock in the creek soaking his feet because his new boots had rubbed blisters. Grayson dismounted and picked up a rock. He told Tom he was under arrest. Grayson didnít have to remove his gun during the arrest. It wasnít until the members of the posse wanted to hang Tom, that Grayson took out his gun. Grayson told the posse that he wanted Tom to get a fair trial. Grayson took Tom back to his farm in Trade. He put Tom in the barn and had his son W. F. Grayson who was a young boy at the time guard Tom during the night. The next day Grayson put Tom on a horse. He tied his hands and tied his feet underneath the belly of the horse. They headed to Wilkes County.

The trial took place in 1868 in Statesville. Tom was found guilty. On May 1, 1869 Tom was hanged in Statesville, North Carolina. Tomís casket was placed on a wagon for Tom to stand on during the hanging. He was given a chance to say some last words. Tom said, ďI want everybody to know that I did not harm a single hair on that fair ladyís head.Ē




Two Markers mark the grave of Tom Dula

















Lt. Col. James W. M. Grayson was buried in the graveyard at the Zionville Baptist Church. This is in North Carolina just before you reach the Tennessee state line.

Gillam Bannon Grayson, Col. Grayson nephew from Laurel Bloomery, along with Henry Whittier went to Memphis to record the Ballad of Tom Dooley for Victor Records on October 1, 1929. It became popular in the late 1950s when the Kingston Trio re-released the song.This ballad tells the story.

Chorus
Hang down your head Tom Dooley Hang down your head and cry Hang down your head Tom Dooley Poor boy youíre bound to die.
I met her on the mountain And there I tuck her life; I met her on the mountain And stobbed her with my knife
Chorus
Hang down your head Tom Dooley Hang down your head and cry Hang down your head Tom Dooley Poor boy youíre bound to die.
This time tomorrer Reckon where IĒll be?- If it hadní -a been for Grayson Iíd be-a been in Tennessee.
Chorus
Hang down your head Tom Dooley Hang down your head and cry Hang down your head Tom Dooley Poor boy youíre bound to die.
This time tomorrer Reckon where Iíll be?- In some lonesome valley A-hanginí on a white oak tree.
Chorus
Hang down your head Tom Dooley Hang down your head and cry Hang down your head Tom Dooley Poor boy youíre bound to die.