Sheriff Lewis F. Webb

Sheriff Lewis F. Webb

Carroll County Sheriff's Office, Virginia

End of Watch Thursday, March 14, 1912

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Lewis F. Webb

Sheriff Lewis Webb was shot and killed in the Carroll County Courthouse by a band of approximately 20 mountaineers who were attempting to free a prisoner.

The mountaineers, led by two brothers of the prisoner, had attended the court hearing armed with rifles and handguns.

As the judge read the sentence of one year at hard labor, the group opened fire on the courtroom, killing the judge, the prosecuting attorney, Sheriff Webb, one juror, and one witness. Several jurors and observers were also wounded, as well as two suspects. Although the suspects fled back into the mountains, the prisoner they were attempting to free remained in custody after being wounded in the gunfire.

The prisoner and his son were convicted of Sheriff Webb's murder and were both executed in 1913. Seven additional suspects were apprehended: three were acquitted; two were pardoned in 1922; two were pardoned in 1926.

Sheriff Webb had previously served with the honor guard during the Civil War and was survived by his wife and three children. He is buried in Louis Webb Cemetery in Carroll County, Virginia.


  • Age 64
  • Tour Not available
  • Badge Not available
  • Military Veteran

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun; .38 caliber
  • Offender Executed in 1913

escape attempt

Most Recent Reflection

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It is always horrible when a good man dies. Rest in peace, Sheriff Webb. I must say however that the facts are still out on exactly who may have shot whom during this fiasco inside the Carroll County Courthouse. I am intimately familiar with both this story and the Courthouse, Courtroom and knew some of the principals since I grew up there and followed my Father around the Courthouse as a child and learned the story from Dad and others while putting my young fingers into the bullet holes in the Courthouse. I even wrote a book about it. Firstly, there was never a band of "20 mountaineers" from the Allen family present in the Courtroom; and it was never clearly established through ballistics exactly who shot the Sheriff or others who died. A "Death-bed Confession" from a Deputy Clerk Quessinberry, as evinced from an Affidavit sworn to by two men who supposedly heard him, stated that he went to Court that day with the purpose of killing Floyd Allen, who was on trial even though he himself was apparently still a sworn County Special Police Force Officer appointed by the same Democratic Judge he was later accused of killing. According to the Affidavit, Quessinberry confessed that he fired the first shot in the Courtroom that day, thus starting the fracas that resulted in the horrible deaths of Sheriff Webb, the Judge, Commonwealth's Attorney, a Juror and a Witness in another trial, as well as the wounding of Floyd Allen and several other people. The later pardons of several Allen family members speaks volumes in as much as no Governor would ever pardon anyone who had been convicted appropriately of murdering such high officials if they were indeed guilty. This case is still hotly debated within Carroll County and throughout the rest of Virginia as well. While we may never know for sure who actually killed Sheriff Webb on that horrible day one thing is certain, a good man died long before his time.

Special Agent-in-Charge [Retired] Jerry
Department of Defense

April 21, 2019

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