Business along Main Street (US 52)
Location in Virginia
|• Mayor||Gregory N. Crowder|
|• Total||9.75 sq mi (25.25 km2)|
|• Land||9.74 sq mi (25.22 km2)|
|• Water||0.01 sq mi (0.03 km2)|
|Elevation||2,516 ft (767 m)|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||273.26/sq mi (105.51/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−5 (Eastern (EST))|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−4 (EDT)|
|GNIS feature ID||1498493|
Hillsville is a town in Carroll County, Virginia, United States. The population was 2,681 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Carroll County.
Hillsville is located in central Carroll County at(36.758814, −80.734510). U.S. Routes 52 and 221 intersect in the center of town, while U.S. Route 58 bypasses the town to the south. US 52 leads northwest 28 miles (45 km) to Wytheville and south 22 miles (35 km) to Mount Airy, North Carolina, while US 221 leads northeast 70 miles (110 km) to Roanoke and southwest 13 miles (21 km) to Galax. US 58 leads east 63 miles (101 km) to Martinsville and west to Galax with US 221. The Hillsville town limits extend west along US 221 and 58 2.5 miles (4.0 km) to Interstate 77, which leads north 17 miles (27 km) to Interstate 81 east of Wytheville and south 20 miles (32 km) to Interstate 74 in North Carolina.
According to the United States Census Bureau, Hillsville has a total area of 8.9 square miles (23.0 km2), of which 0.01 square miles (0.03 km2), or 0.11%, is water.
Carroll County is located within the Blue Ridge Mountain range of the Appalachian Mountains. The Blue Ridge Parkway runs through Carroll County 9 miles (14 km) south of Hillsville.
The climate in this area has mild differences between highs and lows, and there is adequate rainfall year-round. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Hillsville has a marine west coast climate, abbreviated "Cfb" on climate maps.
|U.S. Decennial Census|
As of the census of 2000, there were 2,607 people, 1,207 households, and 731 families residing in the town. The population density was 457.6 people per square mile (176.6/km2). There were 1,352 housing units at an average density of 237.3 per square mile (91.6/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 96.39% White, 0.19% African American, 0.15% Native American, 0.42% Asian, 1.76% from other races, and 1.07% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.34% of the population.
There were 1,207 households, out of which 23.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.3% were married couples living together, 13.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.4% were non-families. 35.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 18.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.11 and the average family size was 2.71.
In the town, the population was spread out, with 18.8% under the age of 18, 9.7% from 18 to 24, 23.8% from 25 to 44, 24.4% from 45 to 64, and 23.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43 years. For every 100 females, there were 84.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 78.6 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $27,148, and the median income for a family was $36,117. Males had a median income of $26,625 versus $18,194 for females. The per capita income for the town was $16,633. About 12.9% of families and 16.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 26.3% of those under age 18 and 11.4% of those age 65 or over.
According to the Modern Language Association, there are (in descending order) 2,372 English speakers, 55 Spanish speakers, 18 Vietnamese speakers, 5 German speakers, 4 Italian speakers, 3 Portuguese speakers, and 3 Russian speakers. Thus, less than 4% of the town of Hillsville speaks a non-English language at home.
The town's primary claim to fame is its Hillsville Flea Market (more properly known as the VFW Flea Market & Gun Show), which has been called the largest American flea market to the east of the Mississippi River. It is held twice a year; in 2004, the Labor Day show attracted 650,000 visitors, and the Memorial Day show attracted 250,000 visitors. Vendors and customers have arrived from as far away as Germany, Africa, and South Korea.
Main article: Floyd Allen
On March 12, 1912, a gunfight broke out in the Carroll County Courthouse after the conviction of Floyd Allen, wealthy landowner and patriarch of the then-powerful Allen clan. The story made national headlines until it was eclipsed by the sinking of the Titanic on April 12, 1912. Floyd Allen was on trial for illegal rescue of prisoners, assault and battery, and interfering with deputies. The charges stemmed from an altercation during which he freed his nephews—who had been arrested for brawling and disrupting a religious service, fled to North Carolina, but were recaptured and being taken to the Carroll county jail—and pistol-whipped a deputy sheriff with his own malfunctioning gun, leaving the officer unconscious.
Arrogant and short-tempered, Floyd had vowed he would never spend a day in jail. He had previously avoided jail time for other crimes, including killing a black man in North Carolina, nearly killing the successful purchaser of a farm he wanted, and even attempting to kill his own brother. Prosecutor William Foster (who had won his elective office by defeating another Allen clan member) received death threats, but proceeded to trial beginning on March 12. However, the jury was deadlocked and therefore kept overnight in a local hotel. The next morning, after Floyd was convicted, Judge Thornton Massie refused to set aside the verdict (as had happened in an earlier case), and sentenced Floyd Allen to a year in jail and a $1000 fine, at which point Allen stood up and openly refused to go.
Gunfire erupted between lawmen and Floyd and several Allen family members present at the trial who came to his "aid". Researchers continue to disagree as to who fired the first shot. An estimated fifty shots were exchanged before more than 100 witnesses; Judge Massie, prosecutor Foster, Sheriff Lewis Webb, and the jury foreman were shot dead, and a witness died of her wounds the following day. Floyd, his brother Sidna, the court clerk, a deputy, another juror and two spectators were wounded.
Floyd and his family initially escaped. Because Virginia law at the time said deputies' law enforcement powers depended on their sheriff being alive, the assistant court clerk S. Floyd Landreth telegraphed Governor William Hodges Mann, who sent deputies employed by the Baldwin–Felts Detective Agency by train from Roanoke.
The wounded Floyd Allen and his son Victor had stayed in a Hillsville hotel overnight and were arrested the next morning. Other members of the Allen clan were soon captured. However, Sidna Allen and his cousin Wesley Edwards escaped, and were captured months later in Des Moines, Iowa.
For their parts in the fatal melee, Floyd and Claude Allen eventually received the death penalty, and were electrocuted in late March 1913. Victor Allen was later acquitted: Governor Elbert Lee Trinkle pardoned two Allen cousins in 1922, and Governor Harry F. Byrd pardoned Sidna Allen and Wesley Edwards in 1926.