Carroll County

Carroll County, highlighted in map of Virginia

Carroll County was created in 1842 by carving out a section of Grayson County.

The choice of the county's name reportedly was affected by a personal rivalry between two local members of the General Assembly, John Carroll and James Blair. John Carroll got the bill passed to create the new county, and wanted it to be named after himself. His political rival, James Blair had the bill amended to state that the name honored a Maryland official, Charles Carroll of Carrollton.

When Charles Carroll died in 1832, he was the last person who had signed the Declaration of Independence. Carroll and Pulaski counties are the only Virginia counties named after a Catholic.

John Carroll tried again two years later. The General Assembly renamed the county seat as "Carrollton," but everyone continued to call it by the traditional name of "Hillsville."1

The most famous house in Carroll County was owned by Sidna Allen. In 1912, Allen's brother was being tried in the county courthouse in Hillsville when a gun battle erupted inside the courtroom. It resulted in the death of the judge, commonwealth's attorney, sheriff, and two others. The event known by the Allen family as the Hillsville Massacre, and by others as the Carroll County shootout.

In a subsequent trial, Sidna Allen was sent to jail and his brother executed for his role in the shootout. In 2014, the house was donated to the Carroll County Historical Society and it assumed responsibility for maintaining the wooden structure.2



1. Ninevah J. Willis, "A Brief History Of Carroll County, Virginia," The Mountain Laurel, October 1984,; "Charles Carroll," (last checked July 31, 2023)
2. "Historic house in Fancy Gap becomes gift to posterity," The Roanoke Times, April 4, 2014,

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