Origins of the Kilgore Family
The following information was found at www.jkilgo.com
Short Historical Genealogy of the Killgores
by G. W. Kilgore, Wise, VA.
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 , in a second war with England, after the death of William Wallace, was made a prisoner
by the English and carried to England where he was confined in prison until he died, which was in the year 1302.
Sir William Douglas was succeeded by his eldest 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 Scottish 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 in seventy fights and is said to have won them all but thirteen, leaving the name of the
"Black Douglas" as words 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 Growell invaded 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 quarter, his battles
always being a fight to the death, with no surrender. So heat rending were his battles and so sanguinary his
battlefields, that very soon both friend and foe began calling him "Kill and Gone". "Kill and Gone", however,
escaped and crossed over to Ireland. The Irish having also been for many years engaged in wars with England,
"Kill and Gone" 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 Gone" 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 Killgores and this
originated the name Killgore, their maternal ancestor being an Irish lady. The writer of this knows that Killgores
of Texas, Ohio, Kentucky and Virginia all have and believe the foregoing tradition.
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 Killgore. He said that his wife's maiden name was also 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.
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 some land in Bucannan County, VA. One of them asked if I were related to the
the Killgores of England and Ireland. I told him if our tradition were true all the Killgores were related, all being of
the Scotch-Irish extraction on the paternal side from the House of Douglas, Scotland. He then explained to me how
the name Douglas was changed to Killgore (Kill and Gone) and how Douglas happened to marry an Irish lady.
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.
All five of them were in the memorable Battle of Kings Mountain which was fought October 7, 1780 on the edge of
North Carolina near the Virginia line, which battle was the turning point in the Revolutionary War. In this battle,
Hiram Killgore was killed, Charles Killgore was shot through the body, and Robert was seriously wounded. In an old
history of the Battle of Kings Mountain, the names of the five Killgores were given honorable mention for their lead
in the last charge that won the battle.
This writer has more carefully and with more pains looked up the history of Charles Killgore and his progeny than that
of his brothers since Charles was the writer's great, great, grandfather.
Charles Killgore was born in Ireland about the year 1744, married in Ireland and came to American with his four
brothers about the year 1763. After the Revolutionary War Charles, together with two of his brothers,
William and Robert, moved to Ft. Blackmore on the Clinch River near the town of Dungannon, VA. About
March 20, 1783 Charles Killgore, James Green, and a man named McKenney, left the fort and went out
to the wilds of the Pound River to kill deer. While they were out they were attacked by a band of Indians and
Charles Killgore and James Green were killed. McKenney managed to escape back to the fort and inform the
others of the attack. A party of men immediately left the fort to search for the bodies of Killgore and Green.
The search party found the bodies at the mouth of a creek which emptied into the Pound River. The search party gave
the creek the name of Indian Creek by which it is know to this day. They buried the bodies of Killgore and Green
in a grave which they dug in the hollow of a very large chestnut tree standing on the north side of Pound River and
within about 100 to 150 yards up the mouth of Indian Creek. This grave is near Pound, Wise County, VA. about 12
miles west of Wise Court House, VA. 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.