The Legend of Tom Dula and Laura Foster

By Richard Hunter Hill

In everyone's family there is always some kind of story to be told. This story is just one of the many that caught my eye. This story takes place in the mid 1800's.

Tom Dula (pronounced Dooley) was born in 1845, in a small town called Elkville, NC (now known as Ferguson). Tom enlisted in the civil war at age seventeen. After the war he came back home to Elkville, and planned to court Ann, and her cousin Laura Foster. Tom loved Ann but she married James Melton. Tom also loved Laura and they planned to elope and get married. On the morning of the day they were to run off together Laura disappeared. Weeks later Laura was found buried in a shallow grave. She had been stabbed in the heart. Tom knowing he was the last to see her fled to Watauga County. He worked until he had enough money to get a pair of boots. Then he fled to Trade Tennessee, were a posse found him and brought him to Wilkes County. His trial was held in Statesville because everyone hated him in Wilkes County. He was defended in trail by Col. Zebulon Vance. Tom lost his case and was to be hung. Ann and her cousin Pauline were also arrested but, they were successfully defended by Vance and set free. Ann stated "There would never be a rope around this pretty neck." Tom's last words were "Gentlemen, do you see this hand? I didn't harm a hair on the girl's head." That was the end of Tom he was then hung.

This story is about my third great grandaunt. She was Laura Foster. At the time everyone believed that Tom killed Laura. Now most of the Family believes that Ann killed Laura. This story stands out from the rest because there was a song made. This song was about how everyone believed Tom killed Laura and that he should feel remorse for what he had done. Still now no one knows who killed her and it will always be a mystery.