When I was younger, I remember driving down Nickelsville Highway many times. My brother and I were either traveling with our dad to visit family in Coeburn, Virginia, or we were returning from a visit in Coeburn. Other times I would have been with my mom traveling that road to play Scott County Recreational League basketball at either Dungannon Intermediate or Nickelsville Elementary. The road has many ascending and descending hills to travel, with some sections containing bending curves and others incremental straight-of-ways. There was something pleasant about those trips, despite occasional uneasiness of stomach. The scenery is beautiful, with the roads tucked within and between hills, mountains, and valleys. Yet there was one thing I missed on those trips. Blame it on the borderline unsafe speed limit but I blame it on my youthful lack of interest. Although, I did always think it was cool that house was named after me.
What Hath Come Before?
At the bottom of one of those deep gaps in between two neighboring hills on Nickelsville Highway stood something deeper than my young mind could have considered in those days. The house, or fort as it is referred to, was named after me. Or should I say before me? The historical marker standing beside the road reads in bold and all caps, “KILGORE FORT HOUSE.” The Fort, located beside Copper Creek, was built around the year 1786, two hundred and twenty six years ago. The man behind the structure went by the name of Robert Kilgore. He was known by many as “Robin” and reverend. He was simultaneously a pioneer and a preacher, using the fort as both protection from possible Indian attacks and occasional meeting house for religious services.