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Notes for Robert Kilgore

The Washington County, VA. Tax Record of 1782 shows that Robert Kilgore had one tithable, 9 horses and 20 head of cattle as taxable personal property.

Robert Kilgore, husband of Winney Clayton was killed in what is now Wise County, VA at The Pound at a place called Warrior's Camp. Robert and Winney lived along Clinch River in what is now Scott Co., VA, then Russell Co. His property directly bordered that of his brother, Charles and was also located near that of Patrick Porter also of Orange Co., NC. Several of the families who settled this section of Scott Co. were originally Orange Co. natives.

On December 31, 1782, James Green and Robert Kilgore left their hunting camp at the mouth of Indian Creek and Pound River and crossed a ridge heading toward Kentucky. They left a man by the name of McKinney in camp. Two gunshots were heard by McKinney, followed by unearthy yells of the Indians. Before McKinney could grab his gun, he saw Robert Kilgore running for his life toward the encampment, shouting, "Run McKinney, leave all, save yourself!"

McKinney didn't wait to be told a second time. As he reached the crest of the ridge, he looked back, to see James Green fall, closely pursued by Mingoes. Green sprang up, grabbed out his hunting knife, but before the Indians reached him he collapsed. As the sun was sinking, McKinney reached Fort Blackmore.

By first light of the following day, the militia was on its way far up Stony Creek, reaching the hunters encampment long before sunrise of January 1, 1783. No Indians could be found, but the camp had been pillaged. Next morning, they found the scalped remains of Robert Kilgore and a few hundred yards away, the body of James Green, with an Indian arrowhead in his right eye. The bodies were buried in a hollow chestnut tree on the north bank of Pound River, a short distance above the mouth of Indian Creek.

We have no information as to what happened to Winney Clayton Kilgore after the death of Robert. Family legend says that she moved to Indiana with her oldest son Charles and died there, but no proof exists. (In 1998, we found evidence of Winnie Kilgore still being in Russell Co., Va., in 1811.)

Family tradition has it that all five of the Kilgore brothers fought at the Battle of King's during the Revolutionary War. Hiram Kilgore was killed. Robert and Charles Kilgore were both wounded, but recovered.

By Omer C. Addington

Any story coming down from the past, especially one popularly taken as historical though not verifiable, Is a legend.

Many legends have come down to us concerning the Kilgore family; especially how the name originated and its meaning, and the one who was killed by the Indians when James Green was killed on Indian Creek at the Pound in Wise County in 1782, and about Rev. Robert Kilgore's ancestry.

L. G. Paine, in his book "The Story of Surnames," says Douglas, or Douglass, is a place name being derived from the principal lands of the family in Lanorkshire, Scotland, and the name means the black water or dark stream.

Edward MacLysaght In his book, "Guide To Irish Surnames," says MacKilgore is the Irish form of the name of this northwest Ulster family and probably came from MacGillia. The name Kilgore has several different spellings: Kilgour, Killgore and Kilgore, and they were dwellers in the woods. The surname is found in Aberdeenshire from the Parish of Kilgour.

So much for legends and surnames, their origin and meaning.

Now for facts we can document.

Two brothers, Charles and Robert Kilgore, come from Orange County, North Carolina and settled on Falling Creek (now called Fall Creek) in Scott County, Virginia (then Fincastle County). According to land records, Robert Kilgore settled on 41 acres in 1772, and Charles Kilgore on 256 acres in 1773, said grants being located on the east side of Fall Creek.

Charles Kilgore paid the State of Virginia one pound, ten shillings for his land grant. He is listed as assignee of Bazel Boren, meaning that Boren had first entered the land. The land records of Fincastle and Washington Co., Va., show his entry.

Bazel Boren married Susanna Bryan, a first cousin of Rebecca Bryan, wife of Daniel Boone.

The Kilgore brothers settled near Porters Fort, which was the home of Patrick Porter, who emigrated from Guilford Co., N.C., in October, 1772 and built his fort house and grist mill on the waters of Fall Creek, near the present Dungannon, Virginia.

Further proof of James Green's death at the time cited above are entries in the court records of Washington and Russell counties, A court record of Washington Co., Va., dated July 15, 1783 states, On motion of Patrick Porter (James Green's father-in-law) administration is granted him on the estate of James Green, deceased, who made oath thereto and entered into and acknowledged his bond
with Samuel Ritchie and John Martin, his securities in the sum of one hundred pounds for the faithful administration of the said decedents estate.

Russell County Order Book No. 3, page 266, dated 27th of December 1803, which states: "Ordered that it be certified to the Registrar of the Land Office that it is proven to this court that James Green is the son and heir at law of James Green, who was killed by the savages on the 31st of December 1782 and that the said James Green, the younger was born on the 12th of February, 1783."

Nowhere in the records do we have notice of Charles Kilgore having been killed by the Indians. To the contrary we have proof beyond a shadow of a doubt that he lived long after James Green's death by the Indians.

Charles Kilgore is listed on the roster of soldiers who fought at the battle of Kings Mountain from Washington County, Virginia. In all probability he, his brother Robert and Jonathan Wood and others from this part of Virginia, went to Sycamore Shoals near Elizabethton, Tennessee, and became part of the Overmountain men. He was wounded in the battle. His wife, Martha and daughter Mary, then about fourteen years old went to the battlefield and brought him home to Fall Creek by horseback.

A letter written to Hugh M. Addington, dated January 30, 1929 is further proof that Charles Kilgore was not killed by the Indians:

Mr. Hugh M. Addington
Nickelsville, Virginia

I advise you the Revolutionary war records of this bureau show that Charles Kilgore served in Captain James Dysart's Company in Colonel William Campbell's Virginia Regiment during the Revolution. He was pensioned from April 28, 1809 on account of disability incurred in service and was paid $48.00 per annum. In May, 1820 he was living in Green County, Tennessee.

Winfield Scott, Commissioner

Charles Kilgore left the Clinch River and Fall Creek region and went back to North Carolina. On the tax list of 1783 in Green County, North Carolina, he was taxed on 200 acres of land, three Negro slaves, seven horses and thirteen head of cattle. Later, Green County became part of Tennessee. His will in Green County, Tennessee, dated June 6, 1822 was probated July 1, 1823. He mentions his wife and eight children.
His will shows:

Item 1 - To wife Martha, a Negro girl Phyllis and Sarah, horse and saddle, two milk cows and all household and kitchen furniture, and all real and personal property. Two Negroes unreasonably held by Joseph Walker, and if recovered that they be willed to my wife, and after her death to my son, William.
Item 2 - To Mary Culbertson one Negro girl, Delila.
Item 3 - To Rebecca Sherrill two Negro girls, Hester and Sibelia.
Item 4 - To Martha Walker two Negro girls, Peg and Kate.
Item 5 - To William Kilgore a Negro woman, Nance,
Item 6 - To John Kilgore at decease of my wife Martha, my Negro boy, Elisha.
Item 7 - To Sarah Smith Hendersori a Negro boy, Allen.
Item 8 - To son-in-law (Joseph Walker a Negro boy, George
Item 9 - To James Kilgore, Negro boy, Jerry, together with the plantation whereon I now live at the decease of my wife, Martha.
(Will Book A, page 16-A, Green County, Tennessee)
The eight children mentioned in his will were all his children.
Mary Culbertson is the only child mentioned in the list that Hugh M. Addington says were the children of Charles Kilgore, Sr. Mary Culbertson was born February 3, 1766 and married December 15, 1785 to James Culbertson, Mary was the only child of Charles Kilgore, Sr., to remain in Scott County, Virginia, and lived and died and is buried near Fort Blackmore, Virginia.

Rebecca Sherrill was born circa 1765 (85 years old 1850 census). She married Adam Sherrill who appears on the Russell County, Virginia tax list, 1797 to 1800.

Martha Walker was born in Green County, Tennessee circa 1788(?), and married Daniel Walker, son of John Walker.

William Kilgore (birth date unknown) married Jane Henderson November 15, 1796, daughter of John Henderson.

John Kilgore, born October 16, 1775. Died June 30, 1848. Married September 8, 1800 to Lydia Henderson, daughter of John Henderson.

Sarah Smith Henderson (birth date not known), married August 16, 1800 to Samuel Henderson, son of John Henderson.

Elizabeth Kilgore married Joseph Walker, August 26, 1794. Elizabeth was dead at the time of the Charles Kilgore's will.

James Kilgore was born July 7, 1787. Died April, 1824. Married July 25, 1809 to Margaret "Peggy" Walker, daughter of Anderson Walker and a brother of Daniel Walker.

The story has been told and written that Charles Kilgore first married Winney Clayton, who died in 1784, but no source for the date or the place where she died was ever given. It was further told that he married a second time to a Miss Mclllhaney, the daughter of James Mcillhaney. The daughter of James Mcillhaney was Louise Mclilhaney born January 29, 1799. She married May 20, 1822, to Charles Jourdan Kilgore, who was born 1790 and died in 1837 (Orange Co., N. C. records). These dates are too late for Charles Kilgore of Kings Mountain fame.

Charles Kilgore, Sr., never had but one wife and she was Martha Mclllhaney. She was still living at the death of Charles Kilgore in 1823, and lived on in Greene County, Tennessee until her death on July 5,1832.

Now we come to Robert Kilgore, the brother of Charles and father of Rev. Robert Kilgore. What proof do we have of him? In the records of Orange County, North Carolina there are several entries pertaining to Robert Kilgore. The 1755 tax lists Robert Kilgore and two sons. January, 1755 Robert Kilgore, Petit Juror. Feb., 1759 Robert Kilgore, 243 acres adjoining his property. 1765 Robert Kilgore to be tax exempt. Robert Kilgore, Jr., and wife, Winney, to Thomas Kilgore, 210 acres.

Orange County, N. C., Deed Book 3, pages 331 and 548, dated Feb. 3, 1770, reads as follows:

"This indenture made this third day of February, in the year of our Lord, 1770.
Between Robert Kilgore, Jr., of the County of Orange and Province of North Carolina of the one part, and Thomas Kilgore of the other part. Witnesseth: That for value received in hand before the sealing and delivering of these presents, the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged, hath given, granted, bargained and sold by these presents cloth fully, freely and absolutely give, grant, bargain, sell, release and confirm to the said Thomas Kilgore, a certain tract of land lying and being in the County and Province aforesaid, and on the head of Reedy Fork Creek, which said creek is a fork of North - ? beginning, etc. (Description of survey follows).

Signed, sealed and delivered in presence of James Roan and Thomas Phelps, Orange, July lst, 1771.

Robert X Kilgore
Winney X Kilgore

The within deed was duly acknowledged by Robert Kilgore in open court and
ordered to be registered.

Teste: F. Nash, C. C.

Further proof of Robert Kilgore is found in the old Death Register In the Clerks Office at Gate City, Va. Upon the death of his son, Rev. Robert "Robin" Kilgore, where this statement is entered:

"Rev. Robert Kilgore, age 86, died May 29, 1854. Residence Copper Creek, place of birth unknown. Parents Robert and Milly Kilgore. Reported by his son Robert Kilgore, Jr."

Either the grandson had forgotten his grandmothers name or the recorder had entered it erroneously, or it could have been a nickname and this is all he had ever heard. It also seems strange he did not know the birthplace of his father. Perhaps he had never heard or he did not know the place in North Carolina, and just said he did not know.

It was not Charles Kilgore who married Winney Clayton, but his brother, Robert Kilgore married Winney Clayton as the Orange County, North Carolina deed and other records plainly show.

It was not Charles Kilgore who was killed by the Indians, but his brother, Robert. His widow, Winney Kilgore, along with Jane Green, widow of James Green, both appear on the tax list of Washington County, Virginia, in the year 1783. The Washington County, Virginia tax list the "Estate of Robert Kilgore," and only dead men had estates.

It has always been told that Charles Kilgore, Jr., Mary Kilgore, William Kilgore, Hiram Kilgore and Ralph Kilgore were the children of Charles Kilgore, Sr. Only one of these children was mentioned in Charles Kilgore's will, and that was Mary who married James Culbertson. Logically she was the only one that was a child of Charles Kilgore, Sr., and the others had to be the children of Robert and Winney Clayton Kilgore.

The children of Robert and Winney Clayton Kilgore were:
Charles Kilgore, Jr., born Orange Co., N. C., January 4, 1764. Married Avarilia Simpson. It was probably assumed that since he was a "Junior" that he was a son of Charles Kilgore, Sr., but in early days a nephew who had the same name as an uncle was referred to as Junior. (He named a daughter, Winney.)

Rev. Robert Kilgore born Orange County, N.C. in 1765. Died in Scott Co., Va., May 29, 1854. Married Jane Porter Green, the young widow of James Green. (Named a daughter Winney.)

William Kilgore born in Orange Co., N.C., in 1769, died 1857. Married Virginia Jane Osborne. (Named a son Clayton.)

Hiram Kilgore born in 1771, probably Orange Co. N.C. Married Rebecca Renfro. (Named a daughter, Winney.)

Ralph Kilgore, born 1773 in what is today Scott Co., Va. Married Nancy Gray. (Named a daughter, Winney.)

Esther Kilgore married circa 1783 to Lewis Green, Jr. He was a brother to the James Green who was killed by the Indians, and they were the sons of Lewis Green, Sr. (The descendants at Lewis and Esther Green claim that she was a daughter of Robert and Winney Clayton Kilgore. Esther is not mentioned in the History of the Kilgore Family, by H. M. Addington.)

Robert and Winney Clayton Kilgore had four granddaughters named Winney, and one grandson named Clayton, but not one of Charles Kilgore's grandchildren has the name of Winney or Clayton.

This should be further proof of Robert and Winney Clayton Kilgore, as the above named children wanted to honor their parents by naming a child for them.

Now we come to Rev. Robert Kilgore who among his friends was affectionately known as "Robin", married Jane Porter Green in 1785. She was the widow of James Green, Sr., who was killed by the Indians. After their marriage they began to look for a place to make their home, and a home for Jane's young son, James Green, Jr.

As a young girl, Jane had lived in her father's forthouse called Porter's Fort, situated about a mile up from the mouth of Fall Creek on the western side, therefore, it is likely that she, having lived during her girlhood in the Porter Forthouse, and since her husband, James Green, had been killed by the Indians, insisted that her new home be a forthouse. Robert and Jane built their forthouse in 1786. It is often erroneously called Dorton's Fort, and is pictured in Robert L. Kincaid's, "The Wilderness Road" as the Dorton Forthouse.

The Kilgore Fort house and the Dorton Fort were in two separte locations. The Dorton Fort house was located about one mile southeast of Nickelsville, Virginia on what is known as the Combs farm. This was the home of William Dorton, Sr., who was killed by the Indians in July 1780. it was probably built in the 1770s. The Court records at the 1780s refer to it as Dorton's old fort.

The Kilgore Fort House is located on Highway No. 71, about two miles west of Nickelsville, Virginia, on the east side of Copper Creek. It was here at the fort house that Rev. Robert Kilgore and his wife, Jane, reared their eight children whose many descendants have graced all walks of life.

Robert Kilgore was ordained to preach April 16, 1808. He began his ministry at the Regular Primitive Baptist Church on Copper Creek two miles east of Nickelsville, Virginia, where he was one of the original members. He was pastor of the church for more than forty years. At that time meetings were held outside when the weather permitted and in the home of members during inclement weather. After the Good Intent Schoolhouse was built, meetings were held in it, as the congregation grew and prospered they built their own church.

Rev, Kilgore was known far beyond his community as a minister in the Primitive Baptist Church. In 1820 a delegation with a petition from the Stony Creek Primitive Baptist Church asked the Copper Creek Primitive Baptist Church if they would give up part of Rev. Kilgore's time to attend them with the ministry of the word of God. The Copper Creek church agreed for him to attend them on the fourth Saturday and Sunday in each month.

He rode horseback a distance of sixteen or eighteen miles from his forthouse to the Stony Creek Church over hills without roads, only paths that had been widened by the pioneers, crossing streams without bridges. He crossed Clinch River by ferry. He held services on Saturday afternoon, spending the night with some member of the church, and then holding church on Sunday morning, returning to his forthouse on Sunday afternoon.

Rev. Kilgore in his declining years often held services at the Forthouse. It was here between the dates of 1815 and 1853 that he performed wedding ceremonies for 285 couples.

Rev. Kilgore on May 29, 1854. His wife, Jane Porter Green, had preceded him in death by twelve years. They are buried in the Nickelsville cemetery. An emblem on Rev. Kilgore's gravestone shows he was a Mason. In all probability he first joined the Masons at a lodge held in the loft of Patrick Porters old grist mill on Fall Creek. He was the son-in-law of Patrick Porter, and Porter was the second Worshipful Master of the Lodge.

H. M. Addington in his book, "Charles Kilgore of Kings Mountain," says he was the first mason to be buried in Scott County, but we know this is not true. The first minute book of Catlett Lodge No. 35, at Gate City, Virginia, has been preserved and it is recorded in it of masons who died between 1843 and 1854, The first recorded death bears the date September 16, 1843.

"How can a tangled web that appears so open be so impregnable as when we try to pierce it when we delve into genealogy!"
-Jerry A. Penley-

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