Floyd Allen, son of Jeremiah Allen, was a farmer, head of a gang, and all around idiot. This gang, known as the Allen clan, was notorious for violence, murder, and just being terrible people. The bloody and ridiculous story of Floyd Allen’s massacre and the last years of his life begin in 1911. One day, in 1911 a peace officer was arresting a member of the Allen’s for moonshining. Moonshining, for those of you who don’t know, is the process of creating moonshine, an illegally distilled liquor. Floyd, not going to let one of his own get arrested, tackled the officer and rescued his clansman in the most heroic and gallant manner.
The Arrest and Court Hearing of Floyd Allen
Much to the surprise of Floyd Allen, the Allens, and many of the locals, Floyd Allen was charged with assaulting an officer and subsequently arrested. This caused the Allens to go out and as politely as they could, let the county know that Floyd Allen was innocent and better be found innocent … or else. I’m assuming there was an ‘or else’ because this scared everyone and it was very clear that Floyd wasn’t going to be found guilty. This caused the state to import jurors from the rest of Virginia and Floyd Allen was found guilty.
On March 14, 1912 at 9 A.M., the court gathered for sentencing. Little did they know, that the clever Floyd Allen, had one more trick up his sleeve. Seventeen Allens entered the courtroom, as Judge Thornton Massie, began his sentence. A whole year in prison. That’s it, a single year, not five, not ten or twenty, one year. Floyd, not knowing how long a year is, sent his clever plan into action.
Rising from his chair, he began his speech: “Gentlemen, I ain’t goin’.” With that he drew two pistols and opened fire. Floyd’s shooting being the signal, the rest of the Allens began firing as well. Accounts vary as to who fired where, who shot who, but in the end six people where killed. Judge Massie, who is believed to have been the first murdered, was most likely shot by Floyd himself, but some accounts credit Sidna Allen. After Floyd is wounded, the Allens retreat leaving the judge, sheriff, commonwealth attorney, a juror, a spectator, and a witness (who was on the defense’s side) dead, and eight others wounded.
It might be worth noting that Sidna Allen, who may or may not have murdered Judge Massie, ran out of bullets and walked across the street to buy more. Unfortunately, the hardware store was closed, since the owner was attending the court hearing.
Floyd Allen’s Surprise Ending
The Allens were quickly arrested, which surprised them to no end, believing that no one would dare arrest them after their show of force and mastery over clever, evil plans. Floyd Allen and his son Claude were sentenced to death and were executed on March 28, 1913. Sidna was sentenced to 15 years in prison and the rest of the Allens received lesser sentences, stating they only shot at the floor and roof to create panic. One or two of them may have built a defense on the fact that the gun smoke was too thick to aim through and if they killed someone, it was an honest accident.
Floyd Allen, farmer, positive role model and father figure, gunfighter with a flair for style, and evil genius, lies buried in the Wisler Cemetary in Carroll County, Virginia.
- The Encyclopedia of American Crime, Carl Sifakis, Facts on File Inc., 2001
- Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Rita O’Brien, 03/17/1912
- Encyclopedia Virginia, Ronald Heinemann