Appendix B

A Short Historical Genealogy of the Killgores

By Judge G. W. Kilgore
Wise, Virginia

(Jeff's note: This article was first presented to me by Allen D. Atkinson  in 1997. At that time Alan and I tried to verify the tradition of Killgore descent from Douglas as set out below. We were unable to do so. Since then I have been contacted by a number of members of the Kilgore family who have offered compelling evidence that many of Judge Kilgore 's  statements are genealogically incorrect. Please read "A Revised Version of Early Kilgores", by Vickie Miller , which is offered as a rebuttal to Judge Kilgore's article. Please bear in mind that this article is presented here not as a matter of historical fact but instead as a document of interest to the Kilgore family. You are encouraged with this article, as with all information on this web site, to do your own research and derive your own conclusions as to the validity of the information presented.)

The Killgores are of Scotch-Irish extraction. Their paternal ancestor being a Douglas of the House of Sir William Douglas , who was known as " William the Hardy. " He was the first man of note who joined William Wallace  in the terrible struggle against England , the object of which was to free Scotland .

Sir William Douglas  was born about the year 1250 A.D. and was of the sixteenth generation from the first Douglas of Scotland, Ireland , known to history, and dated back to about the year 950 A.D. ( Scotland and Ireland originally were one nation.)

Sir William Douglas  was succeeded by his oldest son, Sir James Douglas , called the "Black Douglas " because of his raven black hair and his dark complexion. Sir James Douglas was the Eighth Lord Douglas . In strength and suppleness, James Douglas was the Sampson of Scotland.

Douglasdale, in the western part of Scotland , was the principal landed estate of the House of Douglas. Upon this estate was the Douglas Castle and some two miles from the castle was the town of Douglas, in which stood the most beautiful church in Scotland. During the many wars between England and Scotland, which covered a period of some three hundred years, this castle was captured by the English a number of times, and was as often recaptured by the House of Douglas. During those bloody years, this castle was burned three times and each time rebuilt upon a still larger and grander scale. This castle was recaptured the third time by Sir James Douglas  (the Black Douglas) on a Palm Sunday, March 19, 1307, and its fall closed the second war headed by Robert Bruce , who at that time was King of Scotland, as Robert I .

A noted Scotch historian (Sir Walter Scott ) in speaking of the Bruce Wars says, "Among all the associates of Robert Bruce  in his great enterprise of rescuing Scotland from the power of Edward, the first place is universally conceded to James, the Eighth, Lord Douglas , to this day venerated by his countrymen as "The Good Sir James." Chambers Encyclopedia says, "Sir James Douglas , Bruce's greatest captain in the long war of the succession, was the hero of seventy fights and is said to have won them all but thirteen leaving the name of the "Black Douglas" as a word of fear by which English mothers stilled their children. Sir James Douglas was slain in Andalusia in 1330 on his way to the Holy Land with the heart of Robert Bruce who was killed in battle, and with his dying breath enjoined this sad duty on Sir James Douglas.

The Scotch-English Wars continued with but short cessation until 1707, at which time Scotland was permanently joined to England and the two were called "The Kingdom of Great Britain." (Sixteen years before this, England had completely subjugated Ireland ).


The better informed class of the Killgores (so far as the writer of this historical genealogy knows) throughout the U.S.A. have from the first to the present, had a tradition, that in one of the Scotch-English wars, most probably about the year 1650, when Crowell invaded and subjected Scotland, the General who commanded the Douglas forces, he being the Prince of the House of Douglas, fought under a black banner, neither giving nor asking quarters, his battles always being a fight to the death, with no surrender. So heart rending were his battles and so sanguinary his battlefields, that very soon both friend and foe began calling him "Kill and Gore," however, this bloody name came to him to stay. England in this war was victorious and a price was, by the English Government, placed on the head of Douglas the "Kill and Gore." "Kill and Gore," however, escaped and crossed over to Ireland . The Irish having also been for many years engaged in wars with England, "Kill and Gore" was very naturally befriended by the people and government of Ireland and was looked upon as a hero who deserved all honor, and as the English had paid the price with their own blood, for the coining of this new sanguinary name, no doubt but that Douglas, as well as the Irish, were proud of this new name "Kill and Gore" and by it he was still called for a time. But later on the "and" was dropped and he was called "Killgore" for short.

Douglas Killgore  finally married an Irish Lady. The children of this marriage were also called Killgore and this originated the name Killgore, their maternal ancestor being an Irish Lady. The writer of this knows that the Killgores of Texas, Ohio , Kentucky and Virginia all have and believe the foregoing tradition.

Some twenty years ago, while the writer was engaged in the practice of law, he had some land clients, who lived in Liverpool , England , who had purchased a large tract of land in Buchanan County , Virginia . These clients finally decided to come to Buchanan County and do some investigating of title themselves, not being satisfied with the report as to the title this writer had made to them. So they came to Wise Court House , Virginia . One of them, in conversation with the writer, asked if I were related to the Killgores of England and Ireland . I told him if our tradition were true all the Killgores were related, all being of Scotch-Irish extraction on the paternal side from the House of Douglas, Scotland, and that our maternal ancestor was an Irish Lady. My client said "You are then certainly related to the English and Irish Killgores." He then explained to me how the name Douglas was changed to Killgore and how Douglas happened to marry an Irish Lady. His explanation was precisely the same as set forth in the above tradition. He further stated that the English and Irish chronicles showed that our American tradition was historical fact. The writer, however, has never had an opportunity to examine either of these chronicles.

During the summer of 1907 an Irishman came to this writer and after inquiring about some work, asked my name. I told him my name was Kilgore. He said that was nearly his wife's maiden name and then he said that her name was Killgore. I then asked him if he knew anything about his wife's family history as to how she got the name Killgore. He said yes he knew how they said they got the name. He then told me substantially the same that I have stated in the above tradition. He further stated that he and his wife were both born and raised in Ireland .

The American Killgores

About the year 1763, five of the great, great grandsons of Lord Douglas  Killgore , together with a number of other Scotch and Irish emigrants came to America . The names of the five Killgore brothers were Robert , Charles , William , Hiram , and James . They all seemed to have originally settled in the northwestern part of North Carolina . Some of them at least, if not all, were married in Ireland before they came to America . All five of them were in the memorable Battle of King's Mountain, which was fought October 7, 1780 in the edge of North Carolina near the Virginia line, which battle was the turning point in the Revolutionary War. In this battle, all the British that were not killed on the battlefield were taken prisoners. In this battle Hiram Killgore was killed, Charles Killgore  was shot through the body, and Robert Killgore  was seriously wounded and Charles  and Robert  both got well. In an old history of the Battle of King's Mountain, names of many of the soldiers and officers whose daring days of bravery deserved special notice, among those were the names of the five Killgore brothers who were given honorable mention for their lead in the last charge that won the battle. The writer found this history some years ago in the library of Judge Johnson , then living in Bluefield , West Virginia , with whom the writer was stopping by for a few days. I do not remember the name of the author of this history.

Soon after the close of the Revolutionary War, James Killgore most probably located in South Carolina and Charles , Robert and William moved to Ft. Blackmore , Virginia on the Clinch river near where the town of Dungannon is in Scott County . William was the ancestor of the Rye Cove Killgores, while Robert  was the ancestor of another branch of the Killgore family that settled in Scott County , but when William and Robert Killgore  died, this writer does not know. The names of two of William's sons were William  and Hiram . William made a trip to Palestine and Jerusalem . After he returned, the writer though then but a child about six years old remembers seeing him and hearing him talk about Jerusalem and the river Jordan . Hiram  was made a Colonel, most probably in the War of 1812. He also represented Scott County , Virginia two or three terms in the Legislature of Virginia.

This writer has more carefully and with more pains looked up the history of Charles Killgore  and his progeny than he has the history of either of the other four brothers, Hiram , William , Robert  and James . Charles Killgore having been the great, great grandfather on the father's side of this writer.

Charles Killgore  was born in Ireland about the year 1744, married in Ireland and came to America with his other four brothers about the year 1763.

After the Revolutionary War, Charles , together with two of his brothers, William Charles Killgore  and Robert , moved to Ft. Blackmore on the Clinch River near the town of Dungannon , Virginia. About March 20, 1783, Charles Killgore, James Green , and a man by the name of McKinney , left the fort and went out to the wilds and mountains of the Pound River Section to kill deer and other wild animals, and while they were hunting, they were attacked by a company of Indians and Charles Killgore and James Green were killed, but McKinney  made his escape returning to Ft. Blackmore bearing the sad news of the killing of Charles Killgore and James Green. A party of men immediately left the fort, with McKinney as their guide, to search for the bodies of Killgore and Green. The searching party found the two bodies at the mouth of a creek which emptied into the Pound River . The searching party gave the creek the name of Indian Creek by which name it has ever since been called. They buried the bodies of Killgore and Green in a grave which they dug in the hollow of a very large chestnut standing on the north side of Pound River and within about 50 to 60 feet of the river and about 100 to 150 yards up the mouth of Indian Creek. This grave is near Pound, Wise County , Virginia about 12 miles west of Wise Court House , Virginia . The writer has seen this large chestnut tree and with uncovered head has gazed upon the earth beneath which sleeps the dust of his great, great grandfather and James Green. The writer does not know whether the chestnut tree is still standing or not. It was one of the largest chestnut trees I have ever seen. This tree was pointed out to me by Esquire W. H. Dean , who was among one of the first settlers of that vicinity. Esquire Dean said the tree was pointed out to him, as the grave of Killgore and Green, by an old man that had been living in that vicinity for a great number of years. As I remember, the name of the old man was Justice. The tree stands, or did stand, near the north edge of the Pound Gap Road .

This writer some 35 or 40 years ago, obtained most of the above detailed facts as to the date of the death of Charles Killgore  and James Green , etc. from Aunt Betsy Culbertson , who was a girl about 5 years old, living near Ft. Blackmore when Killgore and Green were killed. She said that Green had been married about one year and his wife had a young boy not more than one or two months old. Mrs. Culbertson was something near 100 years old when she told me this. She was so old she was entirely blind, but she seemed to remember accurately everything of importance that occurred in all that country during her childhood days. She told me about a raid the Indians made through that section, passing by where the town of Nichelsville , Virginia now stands and the names of all the persons the Indians captured. This raid was made a few years after Killgore and Green were killed.

The records show that James Green 's baby boy was born February 12, 1783. His name was called James after his father's name. Charles Killgore  left but one living child, his name was Robert. He was the father of Charles Kilgore , my father's father. Robert Kilgore  was a Baptist preacher and so was his son, Charles, and so was my father. I do not remember of seeing my great grandfather, Robert Kilgore, but once. I, at the time, was a very small boy. He came to my grandfather's, Charles Kilgore's, one evening while I was there and took after me snapping his tin tobacco box at me which scared me right much and I ran into the house where my grandfather was. He told his living children the very day and hour he would die, that he would die at sunset on a certain day. He was living at his son's, Robert, on Cooper Creek , in Scott County . As the sun was setting on the day he had told them he would die, he walked into the yard where he could see the sunset. He watched the sun until it was setting and said to his children that were there, "The sun is setting, my time to leave you has come, meet me in Heaven," and walked into the house and laid down on his bed and died at once.