In his book, History of Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786, Washington County, 1777-1870, Lewis Preston Summers writes, “The writer is a native born son of Southwest Virginia, and has always felt a great pride in his country, and since reaching maturity has been interested in the history of this section.” Summers seems to have written this work in the year 1903 partly motivated by this “great pride in his country.” Further, he states, “In the schools but little has been taught in regard to the history of this portion of Virginia, as but a small part of its history has been preserved” and “scarcely any effort has been made to preserve it.” While other portions of the state had seen a preservation of its history up to the point of Summers’ work, the far western section had experienced the opposite. Summers then explains, “Being impressed with this fact, and prompted by a desire to preserve the past history of our people, he determined, a few years since, to collect the history of Southwest Virginia, in so far as it was possible, and to rescue the same from oblivion.” For his attempt to “rescue the same from oblivion” I am thankful. I am thankful because tucked within the pages of his historical account lies imprinted with old, black ink the names of a couple of the earliest Kilgores.
A History of Washington County: Charles Kilgore & King’s Mountain
A history of Washington County is important for use here because Scott County, Virginia, was at one point nonexistent as a county. The land was simply Washington County. Robert Addington notes, “In 1814 a petition was presented to the General Assembly, asking that parts of the counties of Washington, Lee, and Russell be formed into a new county…In accordance with the wishes of the petitioners a bill was introduced in the General Assembly authorizing the formation of a new county. This bill was enacted into law November 24, 1814.” Therefore, any history from the land of the present Scott County occurring prior to its conception will be contained within the history of Washington County.
One of the Kilgores mentioned in Summer’s book is Charles Kilgore. Charles Kilgore fought in the Battle of King’s Mountain in 1780. Summers writes, “The killed and wounded in the army of the mountain men were thirty killed and sixty wounded. Colonel Campbell's regiment of Virginians from Washington County met with greater losses than any other regiment engaged in this battle.” According to Lyman Draper, this regiment of Virginians under William Campbell was unique. He describes the men as “a very different class of men.” He continues,