NOTE: Since this article was written it
been established that Winney Clayton Kilgore was NOT married to Charles
Kilgore, but was the wife of his brother, Robert Kilgore, killed by the
Indians in 1782.
Rev. Robert Kilgore,
known as Robin, married Mrs. Jane Porter Green in 1785. She was the
of Patrick Porter who lived on Fall Creek (near present Dungannon) and
built a fort and a grist mill there. She was the widow of James Green
was killed by Indians December 31, 1782. (1)
A traditional story
come down to us concerning this Indian killing, but now we know it is
untrue. Here is the story as related in the History of Scott County:
March 1783 Charles Kilgore, James Green, and a man by the name of
left Fort Blackmore and went to the Pound River (in present Wise
to hunt, and while there they were surprised by Indians, and Charles
and James Green were killed. McKinney made his escape and returned to
fort. A search party led by McKinney found the bodies of Kilgore and
and buried them in the hollow of a large chestnut tree on the north
of the Pound River, a short distance above the mouth of Indian Creek."
Further proof of
Green's death at the time cited above is an entry in the court records
of Washington County, Virginia, July 15, 1783: "On motion of Patrick
(James' father-in-law) administration is granted him on the estate of
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
But nowhere in these
do we have notice of Charles Kilgore's having been killed by Indians.
the contrary we have explicit proof that he lived long after James
massacre by the Indians. His Revolutionary War pension statement is
"January 30, 1929
Mr. Hugh M. Addington
I advise you the Revolutionary War
of this bureau shows that Charles Kilgore served in Captain James
Company in Colonel William Campbell's Virginia Regiment during the
He was pensioned from April 28, 1809 on
of disability incurred in service.
In May 1820 he was living in Green
Winfield Scott, Commissioner." (4)
The fact that
name was not on the 1783 Washington County taxable list but his wife's
name Winnie was (error: Winnie was married to Robert Kilgore, brother
Charles), can easily lead one to believe that Charles was actually
by Indians immediately prior to this date: however, one must take into
consideration that Charles could have been away from home and the
of making a tax report fell to his wife. Jane Porter Green's name also
appears on this list but this is understandable since we know her
James had been killed by Indians.
By why was not
at his home on Fall Creek (near present Dungannon) to take care of the
tax report of that year?
A good guess is that
was in Green County, North Carolina (now Tennessee) for his pension
in the archives at Washington, D. C. shows, according to a copy in the
hands of this writer, that it was written near Greenville, Tennessee to
suffice for a previous statement which had been destroyed by a War
fire in 1814. According to the records he was still receiving a pension
in 1820. The book "King's Mountain Men" by White, page 197 states:
Kilgore was a private under Campbell, and was wounded. In the pension
of Green County, Tennessee, in 1820, he is named as an invalid with an
allowance of $48 per year."
Since the 1820
payment was the last one made it seems safe to assume that Charles died
about that time. Some genealogists place his death in the year 1823
in the archives of the Green County Court is a will made in the year
by one Charles Kilgore. This will (examined by this writer) leaves
to sons John M. and James M. which led Hugh M. Addington, author of
Kilgore of King's Mountain" to conclude that Charles had married in
after his first wife's death (Winnie Clayton). (Error: Winnie Clayton
the wife of Robert Kilgore).
But an examination
the book "Virginia Soldiers of the Revolution", by Burgess shows
that the will was made by a different Charles Kilgore. Even his name
a middle initial J. Therefore, this eliminates Washington County
But what happened to
real family? We know that Charles, Jr. the eldest son, moved from the
Creek area of Russell County, (formerly Washington County, later Scott
County), to Green County, Tennessee in 1787. It is logical to conclude
that the father Charles, Sr., went with him or even preceded him since
he didn't make a tax report in 1783, but left it to Winnie, his wife.
he nor Winnie is on the Virginia 1784 tax report.
So, what happened to
and the 400 acre farm Charles owned on Fall Creek? Hugh M. Addington in
his book, "Charles Kilgore of King's Mountain" says Winnie died in
He does not document the statement. Where did she die? In the bounds of
present Scott County (Virginia) or Green County, Tennessee? From
Jr.'s pension statement we learn that Charles, Jr. moved from Green
into South Carolina, thence back to Virginia. According to his pension
statement he was born in Orange County, North Carolina, which means, of
course, that most of Charles, Sr.'s children were born in Orange
North Carolina. Charles, Sr. took up 400 acres of land on Fall Creek in
It seems that all of
Sr.'s children, except Charles, Jr., remained in the bounds of present
Scott County, since they are known to have married and reared families
Jane Porter Green in 1785 (5) and began to look for a place to call
for her and her son James Green, Jr., born February 12, 1783. (6)
As a girl Jane
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
that Jane, having lived during her girlhood in the Porter forthouse and
since her husband James Green had been killed by Indians, insisted that
her new home be a forthouse.
And that is
Robert Kilgore did, build a forthouse. He built it near Copper Creek
and a half miles southwest of a cluster of houses which later, with
of James Nickels from Tazewell County, became known as Nickelsville. (7)
This house was built
the year 1786 (8) of hewn logs and the cracks between them chinked with
limestone. In case of Indian attack the inmates could go upstairs, and
let down a trap door over the stairway. Three port holes, one in the
end and one in each side, made it possible to shoot out at Indians
any ever appear.
It is said that the
was never attacked, however a band of Shawnees camped for a short while
on the cliff tops to the south.
Over the years the
deteriorated. So long as a roof was kept on it the interior remained in
fairly good condition, but of recent years the roof was neglected and
whole structure rapidly went to ruin. The big chimney began to slump
Then fortunately the
County government secured funds to restore it to its original condition.
Now we come to Rev.
Kilgore, the builder of the forthouse. There is a mystery about his
which came to light only recently.
In his book,
Kilgore of King's Mountain", Hugh M. Addington placed Robert in
Sr.'s list of children as number two. But Robert, Jr., who lived in the
forthouse with his father, went to Gate City upon his father's death
in the courthouse entered in the death register the following:
age 88, died May 29, 1854. Residence: Copper Creek, Place of Birth:
Parents: Robert and Milly Kilgore. Reported by his son Robert Kilgore,
This leads us
believe that Rev. Robert was not the son of Charles, Sr., as has been
but instead the son of Robert, who was a brother of Charles.
This we know about
elder Robert; he acquired 41 acres of land near Clinch River in 1772
settled on it. (9) It was probably in the Fall Creek area where a year
later his brother Charles settled.
It seems quite
for us to believe that Robert, Jr., or may we say Robert III who made
death entry would surely have known his grandfather's and grandmother's
names. Had they been Charles and Winnie he would have said so.
The last time we
Robert the settler's name in print is on the Virginia tax report 1782.
But after that he vanishes.
Could it be possible
he went with his brother Charles into North Carolina (now Tennessee)?
Rev. Robert Kilgore
the forthouse was known far beyond his residence as a minister in the
Baptist church. He began his ministry at the Regular Primitive Baptist
Church on Copper Creek two miles east of Nickelsville where he was one
of the original members. (10) At that time the meetings were held in
houses and sometimes in the Good Intent schoolhouse.
It was here that
Robin was ordained to preach April 16, 1808. (11)
Later he often held
at the forthouse. It was here between the dates of 1815 and 1853 that
performed wedding ceremonies for 285 couples. (12)
And here at
beloved forthouse he died May 29, 1854. His wife Jane Porter Green had
preceded him in death by 12 years. (14) They were buried in the
Cemetery. An emblem on Rev. Robin's stone shows he was a mason. In all
probability he first joined the masons at a lodge held in the loft of
old grist mill on Fall Creek, for as a young man he lived in that
(1) In the Russell County, Virginia
order book No. 3, page 266. Entered 1803. Ordered to be certified to
registrar of the land office that it is proved by this court that James
Green who is the son and heir at law of James Green who was killed by
savages December 31, 1782 and that said James Green the younger was
February 12, 1783.
(2) Addington, R. M., History of Scott
Virginia, p. 303.
(3) Summers, Lew, Annals of Southwest
(4) Charles Kilgore pension statement,
(5) Addington, H. M., Charles Kilgore
King's Mountain, p. 141.
(6) Russell County, Virginia, Order
No. 3, p. 266.
(7) Addington, H. M. op. Cit., p. 41
ibid, p. 141
(9) Summers, Louis, op. Cit., p.
(10) Copy of original Copper Creek
Baptist minute book, p. 1, Date 1807.
(11) Ibid, p. 2
(12) Addington, H. M., op. Cit., p.
(13) Robert Kilgore, Jr.'s statement in
register at Gate City.
(14) Addington, H. M., op. Cit., p. 18
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