Andrew Howlett, Appalachia, Augustus Fowler, Ben Bartram, Bill Driver, Boone County, C.S. Wilson, Carroll County, constable, crime, Delbarton, Floyd Allen, Frank Adams, Frank Allen, genealogy, Harts Creek, Hillsville, history, Kirk, Leonard Conley, Lew Webb, Logan, Logan Banner, Logan County, McDowell County, Mingo County, moonshining, Moundsville, Nancy E. Ayres, Shanklin Creek, Sidna Allen, T.L. Massie, Virginia, W.M. Foster, W.M. Ray, Wallace Dillon, Welch, West Virginia, West Virginia State Penitentiary, Williamson, Wythe County
In 1912, Floyd Allen and other members of his family participated in a sensational gunfight during a trial at the Carroll County Courthouse in Hillsville, Carroll County, Virginia. The incident resulted in the death of Judge T.L. Massie, Prosecutor W.M. Foster, Sheriff L.F. Webb, juror Augustus Fowler, and witness Nancy E. Ayres, while seven others were wounded. In 1927, Frank Allen–a reputed relative of Carroll County Allens–was captured on Harts Creek in Logan County, WV.
Frank Allen Caught On Murder Charge
“Bad Frank” Allen was captured on Harts Creek last night and was lodged in jail here at 6 o’clock this morning. An hour or so later he was taken to Williamson to answer to a murder charge.
State police from Williamson, accompanied by Trooper Wilson and Constable Frank Adams, made the capture. They went to a house where he was known to be and called him to the door. As he appeared in view he was “covered” by high powered rifle and was commanded to drop a pistol he held in his hand. He refused to let go but one of the officers walked up to him and took possession.
Source: Logan (WV) Banner, 11 November 1927.
“Bad” Frank Allen Moved to Welch Jail for Safe-Keeping
Charged With Murder, He Eluded Officers from October 1 Until Captured on Harts Creek Week Ago–Kinsmen of Allens of Carroll Court House Fame.
“Bad Frank” Allen, who was captured on Harts Creek a week ago last night, to answer to a murder charge in Mingo county, was subsequently moved from the Williamson jail to the Welch jail for safe-keeping. Boys with hard heads or big feet are in the habit of kicking holes in the Williamson bastile, but a ball bearing nutmeg grater will be presented to the first one who bumps his way to freedom through the thick walls of the McDowell prison.
Allen is accused of killing Wallace Dillon at a horsetrading carnival held near the Baptist Association meeting on Shanklin Creek October 1. Stories of the affray are conflicting. It is said Dillon and others had a whale of a fight, after there had been much imbibing of strong liquor. In the free-for-all Dillon was a star performer, upsetting friends and foes with little regard for consequences. Allen missed the “party,” but when he heard that Dillon had beat up the other participants in the affray, he is said to have construed it as a challenge. Saddling his horse he rode to the scene of the fight and presumably without any provocation fired at Dillon with fatal effect. He escaped after the shooting and officials of both Mingo and Logan county waged a strenuous man hunt in an effort to capture him.
The arrest was made at the home of Leonard Conley in a wild and isolated corner of Harts Creek. His captors were Deputy Sheriffs Bill Driver and Ben Bartram, of Williamson; State Police Wamsley and McClure, of Delbarton, and State Trooper C.S. Wilson, of the Logan detachment.
Conley, wanted on a liquor charge, was not at home, but the officers had a tip that “Bad Frank” was there. One yelled for him to come out and he appeared in the doorway, pistol in hand, and ready to “shoot it out,” until he saw several high-powered rifles leveled at him. Even then he ignored the command to drop his gun, but stood motionless as an officer approached him and took possession of the weapon, which proved to be of 45-calibre.
Allen told his captors that during the six weeks he was a fugitive he had slept in caves and barns and had nearly starved at times. It is thought he fared much better in the hospitable hills of Harts, altho he said that was the first night he had sought shelter in a human habitation.
Big Shoot Recalled
Allen hails from Wythe county, Virginia, and is said to be a kinsmen of the Allens who shot up the Hillsville court house on March 14, 1912. Two of the clan were executed for the crime and Sidney Allen was released from prison on a conditional pardon a year or more ago, the first fusillade in the court upon Judge T.L. Massie and Sheriff Lew F. Webb fell dead. Augustus Fowler, a juror was shot through the head and died two days later. Commonwealth’s Attorney Forst was also shot. Andrew Howlett, another juror, was shot through the _____st. Another juror and Clerk of the court Dextor Goad were wounded but recovered. Miss Elizabeth Ayres received a death wound. Sidna and Allen Floyd were wounded also.
Source: Logan (WV) Banner, 18 November 1927.
Penitentiary Awaits “Bad” Frank Allen
“Bad” Frank Allen, whose recent capture under dramatic circumstances on Harts Creek, will be recalled by Banner readers, was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter in the circuit court at Williamson this week. Sentence has not been pronounced but that offense is punishable by from one to five years in the penitentiary.
This desperado of a picturesque type killed Wallace Dillon at a horse-trading gathering near Kirk, on October 1. State’s evidence indicated he rode on the scene when the crowd was watching a fight between Dillon’s brother and another man and shot Dillon without any provocation. Allen testified he shot in self-defense, claiming there was no ill feeling between them and that they were unacquainted.
Allen is 28 and said to be related to the Allens of Hillsville court house fame.
Source: Logan (WV) Banner, 16 December 1927.
“Bad” Frank Allen Escapes from Pen
“Bad” Frank Allen, said to be one of the Hillsville Allens and known in these parts, has escaped from the penitentiary and is at large. W.M. Ray, a Boone county man serving a two-year sentence for moonshining, escaped with him. They were missed at the prison mine Monday.
The usual reward of $50 has been offered for Allen’s recapture, but those familiar with his record are likely to believe the reward is too small to be tempting.
Allen entered the pen last December 26 to serve a term for shooting and killing Wallace Dillon at a horse-trading carnival near the Baptist Association meeting on Shanklin Creek, Mingo county, October 1. After that affray he escaped but late in November was captured at the isolated home of Leonard Conley on Harts Creek. State policemen armed with rifles and pistols surrounded the house and several were pointed at the front door when Conley, .45 pistol in hand, opened the door in response to a knock. He ignored commands to drop his gun but allowed an officer to seize it.
During the six weeks preceding his capture, Allen stayed in the wilds, subsisting on nuts and fruits largely, he told his captors, though he fared better after getting into the hospitable Harts Creek country.
Source: Logan (WV) Banner, 24 April 1928.
Katherine Wikoff said:
What is a “ball bearing nutmeg grater”? I mean I known what a nutmeg grater is, literally, but surely that’s not what they meant. Is it slang for a gun maybe?