I have jsut returned from a 4 day trip to Hillsville, Virginia and surrounding areas. I am doing family research for my "Allen" family. I recommend Ron Hall's book: "The Carroll County Courthouse Tragedy" as possibily the best product concerning an over all perspective of the Hillsville Courthouse tragedy. I have read several other works in relation to the Hillsville events of the early 20th century and consider Ron's work to be the most complete. There is another book that may be of interest to you titled: "Courthouse Tragedy" by: Rufus L. Gardner.
My Grandfather (John S. Allen) was a young boy of 13 when the Allen's were on trial. He died in 1990 but told the stories often. I was too young and dumb to realize the importance of his ramblings until after he was gone. However, I do remember in part at least some of his stories.
With regard to the young Ayers woman you mentioned. The story I have received is that when the gun battle was over she did not realize that she had been shot. She even traveled home before realizingshe had been shot in the lower back. She died at home. She evidendly did not realize she was wounded. This may have, in the sense of time passing, contributed to her death. As to who actually shot her?? I am not sure that information is out there to confirm.
I wish I had read your e-mail or posting before I went to Hillsville. If I had then I would have paid more attention to a discovery that may have great value for you. Please be advised that I am unsure of the following but believe it is likely becasue it was only a couple days ago I saw this.
There is a small museum on rt. 58 between Hillsville and Galax called Harmon's Museum. It has several exhabits, one in particular is the Court House tragedy and some relics and newspaper clippings of the time frame of the events. A fellow named Gooch Harmon owns and operates the museum. On display in the museum are 2 items that you may want to search out. (I beleive I have this correct)The Harom museum has on display a suit of cloths said to worn the day of the shooting by one of the jurors that was killed. Also on display is the clothing worn the day of the shooting by (I believe Ayers was the name) a young woman that was also killed by a gun shot wound in the court house shooting.
I am unsure how to get in touch with the museum maybe the phone directory ????? However, if the clothing displayedare those that the young Betty Ayers was wearing the day of the shooting ...What a find for you and your family!!!!
I hope this helpful to you. Please, don't just take my word for this. Check it out before you get to excitied. I am going from memory.