White supremacist William Pierce (September 11, 1933-July 23, 2002) established his headquarters at a rural compound near Hillsboro in 1984.
Pierce was born in Portland, Oregon. A former physics professor, Pierce was co-founder in 1974 of the National Alliance, at its peak the largest neo-Nazi organization in the United States. He is best remembered as the author of the racist novel, The Turner Diaries, published under a pseudonym in 1978. The novel, which features the violent overthrow of the U.S. government by white racists, includes a truck bombing of a federal building. It is believed to have been an inspiration to 1995 Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh and to have sparked other bloodshed as well.
Pierce’s West Virginia compound was located on 400 acres in southern Pocahontas County. He lived there with some of his followers, managing National Alliance political affairs and business operations. The group distributed hate literature and supremacist music from this headquarters, netting an estimated million dollars annually from worldwide sales. By the turn of the 21st century the National Alliance made extensive use of the Internet in its sales and propaganda operations.
William Pierce lived quietly at the National Alliance headquarters, occasionally appearing in local and statewide media reports. He became more famous after the Oklahoma City bombing on April 19, 1995, when it was learned that bomber Timothy McVeigh may have been influenced by The Turner Diaries. Pierce’s activities were followed closely by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Anti-Defamation League, and other groups that monitor extremist organizations.
Pierce died in Pocahontas County. The National Alliance has dwindled in size and influence since Pierce’s death, according to a 2012 report from the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Last Revised on December 08, 2015
Cite This Article
e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia "William Pierce." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 08 December 2015. Web. 23 February 2017.