Murder in the Southern Appalachians


The mountain people of the Southern Appalachians have been documented to incorporate retributive justice to handle conflicts. Within this framework for justice, violence, even murder, was used. This document is to be used as an introduction to the literature about murder in the Southern Appalachian Mountains. All of the sources are available in the Belk Library or the W. L. Eury Appalachian Collection.

Introductory Text: 

Montell, William. Killings: Folk Justice in the Upper South. Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky, 1986. ASU App Coll HV 6533.54 M66.

Library of Congress Subject Headings: 

Highly Relevant:

  • Murder (May Subdivide Geographically)
  • Manslaughter
  • Homicide (May Subdivide Geographically)
  • Murder victims (May Subdivide Geographically)
  • Murderees
  • --Victims of murder
  • --Dead
  • Murderers (May Subdivide Geographically)

Also Relevant:

  • Assassination (May Subdivide Geographically)
  • Trials (Murder) (May Subdivide Geographically)
  • --Bibliography
  • Murder Literature
  • --Investigation
  • Homicide Investigation (May Subdivide Geographically)
  • Victims of crimes (May Subdivide Geographically)
  • Criminals (May Subdivide Geographically)
  • Assassins (May Subdivide Geographically)
  • Women murderers

More General:

  • Violent Deaths (May Subdivide Geographically)
  • Filicide (May Subdivide Geographically)
  • Fratricide (May Subdivide Geographically)
  • Infanticide (May Subdivide Geographically)
  • Mass Murder (May Subdivide Geographically)
  • Parricide (May Subdivide Geographically)
  • Poisoning (May Subdivide Geographically)
  • Police Murder (May Subdivide Geographically)
  • Serial Murders (May Subdivide Geographically)
  • Strangling (May Subdivide Geographically)
  • Uxoricide (May Subdivide Geographically)


  • Crimes against humanity
  • Offenses against the Person (May Subdivide Geographically)
  • Aged, Killing of
  • Attempted Murder (May Subdivide Geographically)
  • Murder in literature (May Subdivide Geographically)
Clipping Files Subject Headings – W. L. Eury Appalachian Collection: 
  • Gray, Jeni
  • Crime
  • Frankie Silver
Library of Congress Call Numbers: 
  • HD 5325
  • HD 5326
  • HD 6509
  • HD 6515.M615 A66 - HD 6515.M72 U554
  • HV 6248
  • HV 6452
  • HV 6533

Johnson, Lewis F. Famous Kentucky Tragedies and Trials. Cleveland, OH: Banks-Baldwin Law Publishing Company, 1933. ASU App Coll HV 6793.K4.

Parker, G.M.N. The Mountain Massacre. Bluefield, WV: Author, 1930. ASU App Coll HV 6795.H5 P3.

Rhyne, Nancy. More Murder in the Carolinas. Winston-Salem, NC: John Blair, 1990. ASU App Coll HV 6533.N8 R47.

Sturgill, Roy. Crimes, Criminals and Characters of the Cumberlands and Southwest Virginia. Bristol, VA: Author, 1970. ASU App Coll HV 6452.V5

Wright, George. Racial Violence in Kentucky, 1865-1940. Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press, 1990. ASU Main Stacks HV 6465.K4 W 75

Guides, Encyclopedias, and Dictionaries: 

Powell, William, Ed. Dictionary of North Carolina Biography. Chapel Hill, NC: University Of North Carolina Press, 1994. Vol 5. P. 346 App Coll CT 252. D5 V5

Waller, Altina. “Feuds.” Encyclopedia of Appalachia. Eds. Rudy Abramson and Jean Haskell. Knoxville, TN: University of Tennessee Press, 2006. P. 1592-1593 App Coll F106.E53

Gastil, Raymond. “Violence, Crime and Punishment.” Eds. Charles Wilson and William Ferris. Encyclopedia of Southern Culture. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina, 1989. P. 1482, 1504-5 ASU App Coll Oversize F 209. E53


Boger, Louise. The Southern Mountaineer in Literature: An Annotated Bibliography. Pages 19-20. Morgantown, WV: West Virginia University Library, 1964. ASU App Coll Z1231F4 B6.

Forbes, Harold. West Virginia History, A Bibliography and Guide to Research. Page 141. Morgantown, WV: West Virginia University Press, 1981. ASU App Coll Z 1349.1 F6 W6

McDade, Thomas. The Annals of Murder, a Bibliography of Books and Pamphlets on American Murders from Colonial Times to 1900. University of Oklahoma Press, 1961. ASU Main Stacks KF9305.A1 (can look up indiv. States in index)

Abstracts and Indices: 

Criminal Justice Abstract. Published by the National Council on Crime and Delinquency that covers a broad array of issues in the Criminal Justice Field and Criminology. ASU Periodicals Bound v.9 (1977) to the present. Quarterly.
Highly Relevant
Also Relevant
More General

Criminal Justice Periodical Index. Contains a broad array of issues in the Criminal Justice fields and Criminology. ASU Periodicals Bound 1977, 1979 to the present. Annual.
Highly Relevant

Sociological Abstracts. Contains information on sociology, social work and other social sciences. ASU Periodicals Bound 1963 (indexing)- 1974 (abstracting). Bimonthly. Also available through the university library homepage.
Crime Rates
Mortality Rates
Criminal Justice
Forensic Psychiatry


American Sociological Review ASU Periodicals Bound; v.1-1936-

Microfilm: v.4, 1940-v.10,1945; v.19, 1954-v.32, 1967. Bimonthly.

Appalachian Journal W.L. Eury App. Coll.: Semiannual 1972-1974. Quarterly Fall1974- present.

Journal of American History ASU Periodicals Bound: v.51 (1964/65)- present.

Websites: (Federal Bureau of Investigation Homepage)

Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics. Available online through the university library Homepage.

Other Sources: 

Uniform Crime Report. Annual Report, West Virginia Uniform Crime Reporting
Section. South Charleston, WV: West Virginia Department of Public Safety, 1981. ASU App Coll HV 7293-A4

Compiled by: 

Compiler: Mandy Deal, 29 October 1998

Updated by: 

Updated: Joshua Noah, 9 December 2008