Ferguson, North Carolina: Graves of Tom "Dooley" Dula and Victim Laura Foster

Hang down your head Tom Dooley, your grave is a pain to find.

Address:
Tom Dula Rd, Ferguson, NC
Directions:
The Tom Dula marker is about ten miles southwest of Wilksboro on Hwy 268. When you see the marker, turn left on the unmarked road and go 1.1 miles, not 1.5 as the marker says. Pull into the entrance to an unused farm road that angles to the left. You'll see the path around the gate (Note: the headstone has been defaced). The Laura Foster marker is about five miles further southwest on Hwy 268. It's on the right and very easy to miss. Look for the pull-off. The grave is across the road, and visible from it. A path leads to the fenced-in burial site. Careful: the fence is electric!
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Visitor Tips and News About Graves of Tom "Dooley" Dula and Victim Laura Foster

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Tom Dooley sign.

Graves of Tom "Dooley" Dula and Victim Laura Foster

Couldn't find any signs or marker, 1 1/2 miles from the metal sign, indicating the grave. The Whippoorwill museum nearby is always closed when I'm in the area.

[Gregoire Chesaux, 06/11/2017]

Historical marker.

Tom Dooley's Grave

Actually I grew up not 15 miles from where this murder took place, in fact my great-great grandmother's home was searched when they began looking for Dooley. The grave is not by the tree where he was hanged, although locals will tell you it is. Dooley was hanged in Statesville; the area he is buried is actually an old, homemade cemetery, however no other graves are marked. The road has been closed to the public because many have desecrated the tombstone by chipping pieces off. The community of Ferguson is nothing more than some houses and a couple of stores on the outskirts of Wilkesboro.

[Gary Vance Nichols, 06/03/2005]

We've heard that there's an un-defaced Dooley headstone -- and a lock of Laura Foster's hair -- at the Tom Dooley Museum at Whippoorwill Village, which is northeast of the Dooley grave on Hwy 268. June 2017: Photo added.

Graves of Tom "Dooley" Dula and Victim Laura Foster

We took NC Route 268 from Patterson, to Moravian Falls, almost on NC 421. We were going to stop at Fort Defiance, a Revolutionary War outpost, but it was closed.

On up the road, we saw a historical marker indicating Laura Foster's grave site, the girl supposedly killed by Tom Dooley. His name was actually Tom Dula, by the way.

On up 268 several miles was a NC Historical Marker, one of the cast iron, silver & black kind, marking Tom Dula's grave! I'd just finished taking my pics when one of the locals stopped and said, " youall lookin' for Tom Dooley?" I admitted it and he said, "come on, I'll show ya! He's just down the road a piece, right by the tree where he 'as hung." He showed us and added, "This here is Tom Dula Road, but the State won't put up no mo signs, they keep gittin' stole!" Then he clattered off down the in a cloud of oil smoke.

About a hundred yards along the path past the posted signs, we came to the grave site in a small clearing. There are two markers and they disagree as to date. The local also told me that ol' Tom didn't do it. Tom was quite a stud and Laura was done in by one of his jilted girlfriends.

State records of the period show that he was actually hanged about 50 miles away in Statesville, or maybe 10 miles away in Wilkesboro, you choose. The "tree" looks good in the picture, though.

[Les Parker, 07/09/2003]
Tom "Dooley" Dula's grave

I didn't know folksong subject "Tom Dooley" was real. Apparently 'ol Tom Dula was convicted of stabbing his girlfriend to death back in 1868. Although he never confessed to the crime he was hanged all the same.

The events inspired the folksong "Tom Dooley" (Hang down your head Tom Dooley, hang down your head and cry. Killed poor Laura Foster, now you're going to die.)

[Greg Brown, 12/10/2000]

Nearby Offbeat Places

Igloo Sandwich ShopIgloo Sandwich Shop, Miller's Creek, NC - 12 mi.
The Witches' KeyholeThe Witches' Keyhole, Lenoir, NC - 13 mi.
Blowing Rock: Floating IndianBlowing Rock: Floating Indian, Blowing Rock, NC - 16 mi.
In the region:
Trading Up Churches, Thurmond, NC - 34 mi.

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