Season 1, Episode 1


On this episode of the Life in the Carolinas podcast, our guests are Charlotte and Bill Barnes of Matthews and Jen Krenzelof Denmark. Despite their very different cultural backgrounds, Charlotte and Jenboth became familiar with Tom Dooley’s (more accurately: Dula’s) story after hearing the Kingston Trio song in the 1950s on the topic. They both became more than merely interested in Tom’s story and did their own research to find out the truth.  

Charlotte and Bill were operating their video production business outside of Charlotte when they heard that a Tom Dooley museum was opening in the mountains, which they promptly visited. There, they met Edith Carter who put them in touch with descendants of those involved in Tom’s story as well as others who had done significant research on Tom. Over the past 30 years, Charlotte has acquired so much content through these interviews and by visiting the archives of local libraries that in 2016 she published “The Tom Dooley Files” book containing every detail that she had found in an attempt to uncover the truth. She is currently working on a novel from the point of view of the New York reporter who came down to cover the trial.

Jenbecame enamored with Tom’s story after a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway many years ago, where he saw the plaque about Tom Dooley, who he had always assumed was fictitious. In 2004, Jenand his wife visited the Tom Dooley museum and met Edith, and in 2016, Jen purchased Charlotte’s book. Additionally, he read records from the census, the trial, Iredell County’s archives, and genealogies to try to find out the truth.

Tom Dooley’s story continues to be one that captivates the generations, those near and far.

For more information:

The Tom Dooley Files Book:

The Tom Dooley Outdoor Drama (Play)

"The Tom Dooley Files with Charlotte Corbin Barnes" is a segment of Carl White's Life in the Carolinas. Carl visits with Charlotte Corbin Barnes at Whippoorwill Academy in Ferguson NC in this episode:

Carl White