Shelton Laurel Massacre North Carolina Civil War Facts
The Shelton Laurel Massacre occurred in January 1863 during the Civil War in Madison County, North Carolina. Madison county is in WNC located in the mountains and about 30 minutes away from in the Asheville area.
Most Western North Carolinians were union sympathizers during the civil war. There were many bushwhackers who harassed and raided the Confederate troops.
At Shelton Laurel, many of the Shelton family were accused of being union sympathizers aiding union troops and they were executed in what is known as the Shelton Laurel Massacre.
The Confederate stronghold for this area of the mountains was at Marshall. However, the area had a large amount of union sympathizers. The people here were poor and had no slaves. The Confederates punished Union sympathizers by withholding salt. Salt was needed for the preservation of meat which insured enough to eat during the winter months. Unionists from nearby Tennessee made a raid on Marshall looting stores and homes there to get salt, as they did throughout the war. The Confederate home guard in Madison County retaliated. Some of the home guard had grudges against families in Shelton Laurel. These home guard troops used the raid as an excuse to strike against these families. They rounded up thirteen old men and young boys and executed them.
The masacre at Shelton Laurel had consequences. North Carolina, Governor Zeb Vance was appalled. The families who had been targeted were his neighbors. An investigation was conducted. Up until 1890, seeking revenge, people from Shelton Laurel killed many of the CSA troops responsible for the massacre. The act left many in the region bitter towards the Confederate Army.
This is the incident that gave Madison county its nickname, Bloody Madison. This story is documented in Victims : A True Story of the Civil War.