Historical Background of The Killough Family

by Stephen P. Killough


It is with considerable pride that I offer this preface to the second edition of The Killough Family. The fact that interest in the subject has been sustained since the appearance of the first edition, compelling a new and updated version, is a source of great personal satisfaction to me.

I do not know if it was by accident or design that gave me the interest and education in history before placing me into the region that had been the heartland of the Killough clan in colonial America. Putting this background to work, I at first collected much family data at random for no serious motive other than the novelty of identifying information relating to the family.

Arriving in Amarillo after a tour in the army, my second stroke of fortune was the discovery at the Bivins Library of one of the finest genealogical collections available to the public. In the days when much of my time was spent in courtrooms, it was a pleasant distraction to spend a lunch hour cranking a census microfilm or poring over topical indexes before returning to legal combat.

I might have continued aimlessly gathering miscellaneous facts with no definite purpose in mind but this all changed when I began to discover previously unreported data about the migrations and the original cohesiveness of the family. At first it was harmless enough, finding a line of Killoughs that disappeared from one state reappearing in another, locating biographical material and discovering the names that matched frequently-used initials.

As the evidence grew and the patterns of the family history in its totality began to emerge, I knew that I had become a prisoner of my own curiosity. The part time hobby had become a full scale avocation. I did not slacken until I had amassed and organized all the facts I could lay my hands on to complete the picture of the family's past.

In any such endeavor it is impossible to work alone. To bring this second edition to print, particular thanks are owed Walter Killough of Arlington, Texas, and Jerry Killough of Grants, New Mexico. The primary goal of any genealogy is to preserve records for later generations. For their efforts I owe them a special debt of gratitude.

Stephen P. Killough

The material reproduced here is from The Killough Family genealogy, published in 1969 by Stephen P. Killough.

Historical Background


"Though Scotland boasts a thousand

names of patriot, king and peer,

The noblest, grandest of them all

was loved and cradled here."

In ancient times, in that part of northeast Ireland now called Ulster, there dwelled a Goidelic Celtic tribe, the Scots. From 498 A. D. to 503 A. D. Fergus Mor, their leader, with his brothers, directed a migration of his people across the sea to the west central portion of modern Scotland. The reasons for the move are unknown; however, we do know that the arrivals created a new kingdom called Dalriada, the modern boundary of which is Argyll, Islay and Jura. In Caledonia at this time were four great races: the Scots, Angles, Britons and Picts. It was the destiny of the aggressive Scots to prevail in the tribal wars of the early centuries and to give their name to the entire area by the mid-ninth century.

In 563 St. Columba had landed in Iona and began at once to convert the Picts, Scots and Britons to Christianity. He had no success with the Angles, who remained savage and pagan. The historians of this age recount the tales of blood and violence in those dark and brutal days. Christianity and clan war would occupy the attention of the Scots until 793 when a new peril arrived: the Vikings began to raid the Kingdom of Northumbria. By 799 the Norsemen were on the other side of the island and were conquering and occupying the Western Isles of Scotland.

So great was the terror inflicted by the unwelcome visitors that "Good Lord, deliver us from the fury of the Norsemen" was a regular part of the liturgy in the early Christian Church. The Norse had reached Ireland by 795 and in 802 burned Iona. For centuries the Vikings held much of the coast of England, Scotland and Ireland.

It was only a matter of time before a leader arose among the Scots. Gillebride, an exiled chieftain from Morvern, led the opposition to the foreigners until his death in 1040. His son Somerled attacked the Norse in their island strongholds and succeeded in expelling them from Western Scotland. Somerled crowned himself "King of Argyll" and secured his new title by marriage to Princess Ragnhild, daughter of Olaf, Norse king of the Isle of Man.

By Ragnhild Somerled had three sons. The eldest, Ranald, or Reginald, inherited the titles "Of the Isles" and "Lord of Argyll and Kintyre." In turn, Ranald's eldest son Donald "of the Isles" took the title "King of Man" and ruled the Manx, another Celtic tribe. Donald married well, taking as his bride a daughter of Walter, the High Steward of Scotland and ancestor of the Royal House of Stuart. From this time all sons of Donald in the senior line took "MacDonald" as their last name. As a sign of their dominance of the sea around the Western Isles, the MacDonalds put a galley on their crest.

For a thousand years Scotland was the home of the MacKellochs, forerunners of the Killough family. While this treatment will permit only a short account of the age, a brief description of the major events to affect the West Highlands is in order. To tell of those deeds important to the MacKelloch family is a part of the family heritage. The following is an indication of what the clan discussed at their gatherings and retold to their children and how it touched the lives of the MacDonalds and the MacKellochs.

Related to the MacDonalds, generally by blood and often for purposes of common defense, were several families called "septs." One such sept was the MacKelloch family, inhabitants of the old kingdom of Dalriada. The MacKellochs were a mainland family and the name itself identifies the origin as a church lake in the Loch Linnhe region. There were many spellings of the name, including "MacKellaigh" and "MacKellaig;" however, all lived in West Central Scotland and all owed allegiance to the MacDonalds. In some instances in West Scotland the prefix "Mac" was dropped and thus the family in Inverness was called "Kellough" and in Argyll became the "Kelloch" family.

In tracing the name "Killough," it is obvious that it is a combination of the two Irish words, "kil," meaning church, and "lough," meaning lake. The earlier Scottish version of this is Kelloch or Culloch. In Supplement to Irish Families, Edward MacLysaght, M. A., D. Litt., states that "Though as a surname Killough is rarely found outside northern Ulster, it is not derived from the County Down place name, Killough, but is the form used in Ireland for the Scottish MacKelloch, a sept of the Clan MacDonald . . . There are six Killoughs in or near Ballymena (Antrim County) in the telephone directory and the few earlier references to the name I have met are . . . all to persons in that area of North Antrim and Derry." Without much doubt, before 1600 A. D. the Killoughs went by the original name, MacKelloch, and after their migration to Ulster changed the spelling to conform to the local usage and became "Killoughs."

The MacDonalds maintained several churches on their lands. Usually these kirks were located on "holy ground;" that is, on sites that had a religious significance generally dating from pagan times. The records show that the MacKellochs were hereditary guardians of an ecclesiastical structure in the MacDonald domain and the surrounding estate.

The importance of the church in this age can hardly be underestimated. To the Scot of the Dark Ages, it was not only important to protect the church building but of special importance was the holy relic which each church tried to maintain, usually in the sanctuary. In Ross a branch of the family settled at Nigg to guard St. Duthus Church in Tain. In the latter church was kept the sacred shirt of St. Duthac, removed only when the medieval Earls of Ross went into battle.

For centuries the history of the Killoughs, or MacKellochs, is intertwined with that of the MacDonalds. The experiences of the sept can be understood by a study of the fortunes of the MacDonalds. The fierce MacDonalds extended their territory to the wild and remote regions of western Scotland. Soon they controlled an area as vast as a duchy. After they dispatched the Norse, the people of West Scotland indulged in petty fratricidal wars until still another menace appeared.

The Normans had invaded England in 1066 and by 1100 began to make their presence felt in Scotland. After four decades the Normans had the Britons under sufficient control and began to look elsewhere for spoils. The actions of the acquisitive Normans had the beneficial effect of uniting the Scots for common defense.

The Normans settled in Moray with the intention of subjection of all the land. The Scottish Earl of Moray was Donald MacHeth and Donald's father-in-law was Somerled MacDonald, grandson of the original Somerled. The MacDonalds and their septs fought the Normans from 1153 to 1156, when a truce concluded the hostilities.

With the Norman question settled, Somerled waged war against Malcolm IV, King of Scotland. This was the first of many disputes between the MacDonalds and the crown. It was resolved with another truce in 1159. The MacDonalds were at peace until 1164 when the clan was compelled to invade Renfrewshire with the Army of the Isles. The battle progressed favorably until Somerled and his son were slain. The record says only that they died by treachery.

The next notable Laird of the clan was Angus Mhor MacDonald. In 1266 he became a vassal of Robert Bruce. Alexander MacDonald, the son of Angus, opposed Bruce, becoming an Admiral of the pro-English Balliol party in the western waters. At first the septs were divided, then gradually they united under the Bruce banner and carried Scotland's colors when the climax came at the Battle of Bannockburn. The night before the battle, the Scots were at prayer and the British at revelry. The next day the Gaelic militia won a resounding victory. The MacDonalds shared in one of the finest hours of Scottish history.

In 1350 the Black Plague came to Scotland; devastation took one-third of the people. It appears that remoteness has some virtue, for the MacDonald septs in the Western Highlands escaped the illness that ravaged Scotland for a full year.

By 1369 John MacDonald had allied the clan with the King of Scotland. In this age it is difficult to follow the plots and counterplots. It was a time of sudden and violent death. Pirates patrolled the sea in an era of strong and weak kings.

John MacDonald took as his second wife Princess Margaret, daughter of Robert Bruce II, King of Scotland. The MacDonalds enjoyed better relations with the house of Bruce than they ever did with the Stuarts. The clan was in royal favor until 1387 when John MacDonald died at Ardtornish castle.

Light was coming to the Dark Ages. In 1414 the University of St. Andrews was founded. In this time, the Lollards, the forerunners of the Protestant reform, were preaching up and down the land.

In 1411 Donald MacDonald demanded of the Regent, the Duke of Albany, the title "Earl of Ross" in right of his wife. Why he wanted additional titles of glory is hard to understand. As one historian put it, the MacDonalds were independent potentates; they ruled, made war and effected treaties without consulting the crown. It was said "the writ of the king of Scotland did not run to the western highlands."

Donald found that he would have to fight for the title. At Inverness he assembled 10,000 men and marched his army to Aberdeen, which he plundered. Donald's victories continued and he grew more ambitious, expanding his plans to a scheme whereby he would rule all of northern Scotland to the Tay River and make himself supreme in the west.

Unfortunately for the MacDonalds, their opponent was the very capable Alexander Stewart, Earl of Mar and son of the famous Wolf of Badenoch. At Harlaw, Stewart checked the MacDonald tide in one of the bloodiest battles in Scotland's history. After heavy loss Donald retreated, pursued by Albany. The Royalists captured Castle Dingwall and overran Ross, both MacDonald strongholds. The ascendancy of the clan was in temporary eclipse.

The Stewarts are not remembered with kindness by history. They did preserve timber, encourage agriculture and the destruction of wolves in Scotland, but they have little else to their credit. The Stewarts had bitter relations with many of the clans. The MacDonalds, being a very powerful family, were a threat to the Stewarts, who employed every device from subterfuge to brute force to destroy the clan and their allies. The MacDonalds soon learned that the Stewart word was most unreliable. After granting a safe conduct pass to the Earl of Douglas, the king, James I, personally stabbed the Earl to death and imprisoned Alexander MacDonald. The MacDonald lands were confiscated.

MacDonald escaped and "raised the Isles." King James then summoned him for a meeting; however, MacDonald had learned how the game was played by Stewart rules and politely declined to appear. The Gordons, blood enemies of the MacDonalds, were given a commission to exterminate the "wicked wild men of the Isles." The warfare between crown and clan lasted for the balance of the fifteenth century.

From 1499 to 1500 Scotland suffered a terrible pestilence. Crops failed and starvation was common. The Stewarts debased coinage and religion was at a low ebb as the clergy were in moral decline. The people suffered from a lack of religious instruction; the sale of benefices was common as was the practice of appointment of unfit persons to high church positions. The stage was set for reform.

The next event of interest in Scottish history was the Battle of Flodden. The MacDonalds turned out to fight for the country. King James proved as foolish a soldier as he was a ruler. It was said that, to Scotland, Flodden was not a disgrace but a disaster.

Just to keep things from getting dull the MacDonalds began to raid Ireland. In 1532 they went all the way to England to stir things up between the two nations. Diplomacy kept the countries out of war.

In 1539 Donald Gorm MacDonald led an uprising among the Highlanders. For his actions, the Estates, the Scottish parliament, annexed his title. Until 1660 the Lordship of the Isles became a royal title. To subdue the boisterous MacDonalds it took the usual combination of the church (Cardinal Beaton), the crown (James V), and the nobility (Earls of Arran and Huntley). The king was able to retain Kintire as his prize. While the Stewarts were at their best when dealing with the MacDonalds, they lost their courage when opposing the English. At Solway Moss in 1542 the Stewarts took a severe beating from the Tudors.

Smarting from the loss of their title, in 1546 the MacDonalds joined the Lords of Lennox and Glen Courie and attacked the western holdings of the Stewarts. With the MacDonalds in control in the west and the English holding the south and east of the country, for a time only the north was safe for King James.

In June of 1554 the Earls of Argyle and Huntley were sent with the royal fleet to the Isles to "conquer with fire and sword the MacDonalds." The clan had other plans. With their kin, the Clan Ranald MacDonalds, and their neighbors, the clan MacLeod of Lewis, they repulsed the invading army. They accused the raiders of being "bought off" and dealt with them accordingly.

Observers in Scotland in 1558 noted the influence of many Frenchmen, present as advisors to the Stewart court. These foreigners were despised cordially by the people and by most of the nobility. This was the age of Luther and the Reformation grew in force almost daily. Years later Sir Walter Scott would write of the "Old Religion;" however, at the time, the Church was not held in great affection. In truth, by 1550 the Church was internally decayed. To clean out the corruption, Scotland was fortunate to have John Knox, a remarkable zealot. The MacDonalds and their septs accepted the Protestant faith with much enthusiasm.

On the throne at this time was Mary, Queen of Scots, a bad ruler even for the Stuarts. Mary was hostile to changes in the kingdom and she enlisted the aid of the French and Italian favorites at court to block progress of the "New Religion." Mary was so out of touch with the people that even the nobility allowed her to be made a prisoner. She remained in comfortable captivity until 1587 when she was executed for her part in a plot to kill Elizabeth of England.

From 1540 to the end of the century the MacDonalds and their septs enjoyed peaceful years. But in 1599 James VI of Scotland, who became James I of England, demanded that all landowners produce title to their property. Many in the West Highlands were unable to do so. In highhanded fashion the king removed the residents and installed "gentlemen adventurers of Fife." These much-despised opportunists arrived with a grant of 74 years free rent. Harassed by the MacDonalds and their septs, by 1607 most of the gentlemen had abandoned efforts to colonize the Isles. In 1610 James sold the land to his old allies, the MacKenzies of Kintail.

To subdue the Isles, in 1608 James sent Lowland swordsmen and Irish foot troops. Andrew, Lord Stewart of Ochiltree, was sent to maintain order. In 1609 the Statutes of Icolmkill were passed to improve conditions in the west. The new law required area churches to be repaired; inns were to be constructed; vagrants and beggars were to be deemed criminals and expelled from the Isles. To improve temperance, the importation of wine was halted. All firearms were forbidden. Every yeoman and gentleman had to send the eldest son to school in the Lowlands until the boy could speak English as well as the native Gaelic. The bards were deported and the west of Scotland lost the source of preservation of Celtic history and the poetry of their forefathers. The statutes were the shrewd effort by the king to replace Gaelic tradition with English culture.

In Scotland for the year 1600 A. D., we are able to study contemporary sources and get a picture of how the people lived. The Killoughs lived in a poor farming area and probably relied on cattle for income. Like their kin they were militiamen in the true sense of the word. When they were not fighting, they farmed. When they were not farming, they fought.

In those days there were no fences and this bred insecurity and violence. There was constant war between clans. The private avenging of wrongs was a way of life; thus men went armed for self protection. The only law and order came from the "Laird," as the Scots called their Barons. In 1603 James I of England, who had been James VI of Scotland, put an end to the border wars by virtue of the fact that he ruled both kingdoms. Cattle raids and feuds became the only diversions for clansmen.

In the feudal ages the economic conditions were poor. The people used turf, stone peat and coal for fuel. The best farms were in the Eastern Lowlands, the invasion route of the English-Scottish border wars, where the farmers were never sure if they would be able to finish a crop. The West Highlands, where the Killoughs lived, was an area dotted with small lakes and marshes. Life there was often drab and isolated. Small wonder they enjoyed an occasional war to break the monotony. The Macdonald septs were known to be proud men, loyal to the clan chieftain, ready to fight the English or clan enemies on short notice. To them it was held to be a base man who died in bed.

In 1600 most of the people were satisfied with the social structure. Scotland never had a serious revolt of the lower orders as did most of Europe. The Scots' life had been set down in detail by observers who noted that in this age a man could construct a house in three days. Clay, driftwood and straw made up the exterior; the roof was straw, turf and heath; the floor was sod and there was no chimney, a hole in the roof providing ventilation. A man's wealth was measured in his cattle; thus these expensive animals were often tethered inside at night. Sanitation was very poor and illness common. Wood was a scarce and valuable commodity. A visitor to the region noted that the life expectancy was only thirty-five years. If disease did not carry off the head of the household then war often did. Ale and beer were brewed in the home; pork was not eaten.

Our ancestors' staple crops were oats and barley. These were made into a malt and mixed with heather for nourishment. The Scots wore plaids and bonnets and often went barefoot. A number of people did use shoes or hides for their feet. In the home there was little furniture; straw served for a bed and a boulder might become the family easy chair.

In 1614 Sir James MacDonald led one more effort to capture the family lands. The Stuarts won but their days were numbered.


"He turned him right and 'round about

Upon the Irish shore

And gae his bridle reins a shake

With adieu forevermore."

--Robert Burns

North Ireland and Scotland have always had a close kinship and after James took the English throne the connection was to have a greater tie of both culture and religion. Antrim County in Ireland had little warfare in its past history. Perhaps its remote position and small population had cultivated this happy circumstance. Being the part of Ireland nearest to Scotland and the MacDonald lands it received a continual migration of both MacDonalds and Scots.

In 1603 Hugh Montgomery, a laird of Northern Ayrshire in Scotland, learned that Con O'Neill and his followers of Antrim and Down were in prison. Hugh arranged for Con to escape and gain a pardon in exchange for half of Con's land. King James refused to ratify this agreement until James Hamilton intervened with a new plan. Hamilton, O'Neill and Montgomery each got a third of the land and O'Neill was knighted. Later Con sold his share to Hamilton and Montgomery. The king had learned that North Ireland was a good flank to distract the dissident Irish. In the first days of the seventeenth century he stimulated the migration of Protestant Scots to Ulster.

In 1606 and 1607 the crops were plentiful in North Ireland and the word spread in Scotland. By 1614 the population of Ulster grew to ten thousand. To the Scot of 1606 Ireland was the "wild west." It was not fear of religious persecution that stimulated the migration but a conviction that they were coming to a free land where opportunities were wide and prospects were likely to be more satisfying. Happily, the Scots were correct in both assumptions.

Most of the new arrivals came from Ayr, Galloway and Lanark, but all of Scotland contributed to the exodus. Already in the area were a number of settlers from Northumberland in England who had migrated a few decades before the Scots came. It is interesting to note that Ulster, which in the sixth century had given Scotland her dynastic race, received after 1600 the descendants of the "Scots" who had settled Dalhriada. By the year 1618 the population of North Ireland had increased to eighteen thousand Scots.

It took a while for civilization to take hold in Ulster. At this time the area had its share of "kerns" or highwaymen. Bloodhounds were kept for protection; wolves were a menace in this dangerous age. Ulster was heavily wooded and a bounty on predators existed until 1710. It was not until 1770 that the last wolves were killed.

The new arrivals from Scotland included many young bloods, the younger sons and daughters of people who had larger families than their acres could support. There were a fair number of ne'er-do-wells, outlaws and Pirates. It was also reported that Lowland Scots "hived out of every port from the Solway to the Clyde, making for Lame, Carrickfergus, Belfast, Bangor and Donaghedee."

Before the Scots came, the north of Ireland was very sparsely settled and the few who did live there had a very isolated life. The industrious Scots arrived in numbers and at once began to construct rush-thatched homes, drain swamps and bogs and in general make the area habitable. They soon commenced the production of potatoes and they raised sheep. For years after the first migrations by the Scots the crops were excellent. Also it was a time of religious freedom.

This ideal existence soon ended. The difficulties began when Thomas Wentworth, Lord Stafford, the King's Deputy in Ireland, attempted to compel all Ulster Scots over the age of eighteen to swear an oath that they would obey the King's royal commands and disapprove of the rebellion against the King's episcopal ordinances. The Scots called it the "Black Oath." Those who refused to take it were punished. Instead of unifying the Protestants, Stafford widened the gulf.

The Black Oath forced the Presbyterians to go underground. The fondness of the Ulster Scot for church-going and sermons found expression in secret meetings where lay members led the congregation in song and instruction. Their faith had been hard won and it was a valuable thing to these serious people. From sea coast towns of Ulster they even crossed twenty miles to Scotland to have their children baptized by regular clergy of the Presbyterian Church.

In England at this time there had grown to prominence a group of Anglicans who desired to "purify" the form of worship in the Church of England. The "Puritans" preferred a simple congregational form of religion. Their activity was the first foreboding of a civil war. In time the Stuarts became so embroiled with these non-conforming churchmen that they had little time for their favorite pastime, the conversion of the Presbyterians of Scotland and Ulster. To add to the royal problems, in October of 1641 the Irish Catholics commenced a rebellion that would last for eleven years.

For years Charles I of England kept the Scots in a turmoil over religious matters. The principals in the Scottish counter-movement were the Rev. Alexander Henderson and two famous attorneys, Sir Thomas and Archibald Johnston of Warriston. In 1638 they produced the National Covenant, a document that set out the principles of the Presbyterian faith. "Covenantors" became the term used to denote those who ascribed to the conditions of this remarkable article of religion.

The common people of England sympathized with the Scots in their struggle with Charles I. The King was equally determined to destroy any resistance to the English church. The results of this conflict brought two "Bishop's Wars" in 1639 and 1640, both very unpopular in England. In time the sentiment was such that Charles was no longer master of the situation. Civil war was imminent in Britain and a burning question was which side Scotland would support.

In England on October 23, 1642, the first battle of the civil war occurred. The Puritans appealed to the Scots for help on the grounds of a common Calvinistic religion. After a short period of consideration the Estates decided to join the forces of Parliament. David Leslie forced the Stuarts into the Battle of Marston Moor on July 2, 1643, and the Royal army suffered its first defeat on the soil of Scotland. They had not joined the early migration to Ulster but remained in Glencoe and tended their farms. The civil war in England resulted in a victory for the party of Parliament. The victors were faced with the problem of what to do with the King and what to do about the religious war still simmering in Ireland.

The Puritans concluded that they must first dispose of Charles--to extinguish his claim to the throne--and then end the conflict in Ireland. Of all the foolish Stuarts, Charles I least deserved to die; however, he went manfully to his fate on January 30, 1649. The Commonwealth of England then began a remarkable chapter of reform. The Scots were overjoyed at the turn of events and felt that they could only prosper with the Roundheads in charge. With regret the Scots learned that after the Stuarts were evicted their usefulness to the Puritans was at an end. The Puritans were as aggressive in the promotion of the Congregationalist form of worship as the Stuarts had ever been on behalf of the Church of England. Although the tenure of the Cromwells resulted in many problems, in general England and Scotland both benefitted from their progressive programs.

Cromwell recruited many Scots for his army. The New Model Army was one of the finest military units ever to engage in combat. Its members were noted for high personal moral standards and for outstanding discipline. At the time there was nothing like it in Europe. This relatively small, well-drilled group of men, trusting God as their Protector, became a military machine that pulverized all opposition. Oliver Cromwell used Scots in this Army because he felt that they made ideal soldiers. They were products of a hard environment and quite early in life learned to take the worst that life can send, to fight back, to give blow for blow, and when they had done their best, to endure. Observers of the Scots in the New Model Army said that they were stubborn, proud, ignorant of science and in particular they were notoriously argumentative. It was admitted that they were devout, logical, kindly and hospitable. They loved freedom and believed the Bible literally. It was this breed that would carry civilization to the frontier in America while their softer cousin resided in security in sea coast towns and cities.

Appearing in the ranks of the New Model Army at this time was John Killough, the ancestor of the Killough family of North America. The records indicate that John Killough went to Ireland with this Corps and landed August 13, 1649. At this time Cromwell had matters in England under control and he desired to bring the Irish wars to an end. No doubt John Killough crossed Glenluce Bay in an open boat, for that was the custom. Thereafter he followed the fortunes of the cause, marching from city to city in Ireland, keeping peace and order over the rebellious Irish. For this matter the Irish have always respected the stern Scot more than the easy going English. In 1659 John Killough appears as a "gentleman" or "private gentleman" in the census of the rebel city of Droghega in Louth County, Ireland. He is also numbered among the Cromwell garrison of the city. From the title "gentlemen," as understood in that age, it appears that John Killough was a man of some breeding and learning in a class of society just below the nobility.

After Cromwell arrived in Ireland he immediately set out to destroy all pockets of resistance. Chief among these sore spots was the city of Drogheda, garrisoned by 2800 men, the pick of Ormonde's Army. The commander was a one-legged Catholic, Sir Arthur Aston, a testy and imperious veteran. Aston had once been the detested Royalist Governor of Oxford.

At Droghega on September 3, 1649, Cromwell arrived and asked Aston to capitulate. The Irish refused and the siege began. Soon Cromwell had two breaches in the wall; after the third breach on September 11, Cromwell himself led his troops into the city which he captured after one of the most gruesome battles in English history. The Irish suffered the fate of all garrisons of the seventeenth century which refused to surrender and after desperate battle, were taken. There was no Geneva Convention to protect the Irish. The victor's report stated that "the Protestant Saints of Piedmont (who had been massacred earlier) were now avenged." With Ireland subdued, Cromwell left for Scotland on May 15, 1650, to settle new problems.

The members of the New Model Army, called "Ironsides," were rewarded for their services. They were given tracts of land that formerly had been the property of the Irish aristocracy. It was said that at this time two-thirds of all land in Ireland changed hands. Thousands of Irish were sent to the West Indies. Thousands more were resettled west of the Shannon. John Killough accepted his grant of land in Antrim County and left military service for the sober life of a farmer. Understandably the Irish were bitter about this experience and continued an undercover hit and run offence against the English. Even today the Irish speak of "the curse of Cromwell."

It must have been exciting to have lived in the second half of the seventeenth century. The famous Gunpowder Plot, the London fire, and the Dutch War of 1652-54 were events that touched the lives of every man. It was the age of giants like Cromwell, Marlborough and William of Orange.

On September 5, 1655, Oliver Cromwell died. Few men had been pleased by his rule and destiny had mocked his dreams of a peaceful and prosperous government. No man could have repaired the wreckage of religion and politics left by the first Stuarts; however, what Cromwell accomplished was nothing short of a miracle. At no time since Elizabeth I had English prestige been so high. The Empire had been saved from division and by force this very remarkable man kept as much toleration as possible. It is true that he used the sword but he also maintained order.

Richard Cromwell succeeded his father as Protector. Richard was a mere shadow of his famous father. In a short time the government was hopelessly immobile. In 1660 the English clamored for a king and Charles II of the House of Stuart was summoned. From 1661 to 1679 Charles had a congress known to history as the "Cavalier Parliament." These men were so pleasing to the king that they held office for a record number of years.

The religious settlement passed by the Parliament was called the Act of Uniformity of 1662. It made reunion of the Episcopal, Congregationalist and Presbyterians within the Church of England impossible. No longer was a broad based church possible.

The king was a member of the Church of England although in private he considered himself Catholic. On his deathbed he announced himself a communicant of Rome. In his lifetime Charles had little love for either the Puritans or the Presbyterians; however, he did grant them amnesty for their activities against the crown. Charles felt that toleration would benefit the English Catholics even though it also helped the growth of dissenting denominations. In time the hopes of the Congregationalists and Presbyterians were in eclipse. These dissenters found a new champion in the Whig party, created to oppose the Tory or Cavalier party. For two hundred years, until the American Civil War, the Killoughs considered themselves Whigs.

On February 6, 1685, Charles II died, to be succeeded by his brother James II. The new king was an open and avowed Catholic. James thought the popular displeasure with the Puritans was a sign that the people were ready to return to Rome. He was mistaken. James put Catholic officers in key army posts and sent priests among the troops. His efforts failed to find any converts. Next James replaced the Episcopal Deans of Cambridge and Oxford with Catholics. In Scotland and Ireland he reopened the chapels and attempted to force the people to attend mass. The reaction was a "Protestant wind."

The two daughters of James II were Protestant. On July, 1688, the Queen gave birth to a son who became the heir to the throne in place of Mary and Anne. The boy was christened in the Catholic Church. The Stuarts had reached the point of no return. Seven prominent Whigs and Tories dispatched a formal invitation to Mary and her husband, William of Orange, to come with an army to England and aid in the restoration of English liberties.

John Churchill, soon to be the Duke of Marlborough, left the Royalist side and joined Orange. William reached England on November 5, 1688. In December of 1688 James left the court in anarchy. He disbanded the army, burned the official government documents and threw the great seal of England in the Thames. He sailed for France and found sanctuary in the court of Louis XIV. He never saw England again.

Louis supplied his new visitor with men and equipment and sent James forward in an effort to recapture his throne. James set out for Ireland where he correctly assumed he would be supported. The Irish Catholics outnumbered the Ulster Scots four to one. James figured to sweep the island, then use it as a base for an invasion of England. The only thing standing between James and his purpose was the Presbyterian population of North Ireland.

James spent fifteen weeks in siege of Londonderry, the Protestant stronghold. William of Orange hurriedly put together an army and rushed to the rescue with an Anglo-Dutch force. Joined by the Ulstermen, William met James on July 12, 1690, at the river Boyne. The Protestants won a stunning victory. James, foreseeing the result, left before the day was over. To this day Orangemen celebrate July 12, the anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne.

The Irish Catholics continued guerilla warfare until 1696. With the Treaty of Limerick the Irish capitulated. For punishment the English Parliament passed restrictive acts which in effect punished all of Ireland--Catholic and Protestant alike. The Presbyterians were astonished that their former allies would be guilty of an act that would collectively destroy the economy of Ireland. The English imposed export limitations on wool. At this time the wool trade was Ireland's largest industry. The action was extreme and to the people it was ruinous.

The Killoughs shared this deplorable condition. With their neighbors they were faced with the distasteful alternative; they could stick it out and hope for the best or they could emigrate. John Killough of Droghega, his son John Killough of Antrim and a grandson, James Killough, remained in Ireland. The two elder sons of John Killough of Antrim, John and Robert Killough, elected to migrate to America and seek their fortunes.



There was some Scotch-Irish migration to America in the seventeenth century but the great exodus did not begin until about 1718. From that time until the end of the colonial period there was an almost constant stream of migration from Ulster to America. The immigrants of this stock were Presbyterian and as a class, energetic, intelligent, with strong moral and religious convictions. They usually proved a valuable addition to the communities where they lived.

The end of the wool trade in 1699 was the prime reason for migration; however, the Ulster Scots had other problems. A good many Scots had gone to Ulster because land could be leased for long terms at low rentals. By 1717 the term of the leases began to expire and the landlords would not renew without a great increase in the rental amounts. Sometimes the rent was double and treble the original figure. In addition to economic difficulties the Ulster Scot had to pay ten per cent tax to the Anglican Church as well as attempt to support his own Presbyterian Church. In 1704 an act was passed which debarred Presbyterians from holding office. The Scots ministers were prohibited from celebrating Presbyterian marriages. Many Scotch-Irish decided it was time to move.

During the 1714-1720 period the emigrants selected New England as their destination. Their religious kinship with the Congregational Church there was the reason. The Scotch-Irish were to find no warm welcome, however, from their Puritan brethren in Massachusetts. The Congregationalists were suspicious of foreigners and alarmed at the number of arrivals. After 1720 most Ulstermen found a home in Pennsylvania.

In January or February of 1718 three English ships landed in Belfast to pick up passengers. One hundred Ulster families were divided among the three vessels. Two brothers, John and Robert Killough and their families, boarded the William, a new large craft with one hundred guns and three decks. The boat touched Cork and then turned west for Boston. A winter crossing of the Atlantic in that age must have been an experience of great rigor and hardship. After landing in the New World the Ulstermen dispersed to Rhode Island, New Hampshire and the western part of Massachusetts. The Killoughs joined the immigrants that elected to go to Worcester. No doubt the new "Americans" were exhausted physically and mentally after their ordeal; nevertheless, the Worcester contingent set out for the forty mile trek inland to the little village on the then frontier of Massachusetts.

The Killoughs were literate and well-to-do by the standards of the other families. Cotton Mather had directed them to Worcester as a buffer against the Indians. When the new arrivals came at last to the tiny village the welcome they expected was missing. The local inhabitants offered insults and abuse as a greeting to the weary little company, laden with blankets, tools, flaxwheels and bay cradles. Those who made the march recalled that they went largely on foot over a sandy path through woodland and meadow, stopping at night at the garrison houses which dotted the route.

The leader of the new families from North Ireland was James McClellan. His lieutenants were James Hamilton, Alexander McConkey, John Killough and Robert Lothridge. Their minister was Rev. Edward FitzGerald of Londonderry.

In 1718 Worcester had 58 dwellings and 200 people. In the fall of 1718 the Presbyterians started to build a church. Deacon Daniel Haywood, a Congregationalist, led a group of his churchmen in building the new structure. This reminded the new neighbors that Presbyterians were still very much in the minority. Disheartened, Rev. FitzGerald led 40 families to Rutland, Massachusetts, to start anew.

John Killough stayed in Worcester determined to make the best of the situation. Robert Killough took his family to the town of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, where an earlier group had gone. From these two men are descended the great majority of those who bear the name Killough.

John and his wife Jean had two sons during the years that they lived in Massachusetts. The first was named Samuel, born December 8, 1718. The second son, born May 3, 1720, was named John after his father and grandfather.

The Scotch-Irish who remained in Worcester had to attend the Congregational Church, or "orthodox church" as they called it, if they desired to attend church at all. When they arrived the church had no Ulster members on the seating committee and no pews were granted to the new settlers. By 1724 the situation had changed. In that year it is recorded that in the foreseat of the church they had placed John Gray, John Duncan and Matthew Grey. In the fifth bench sat James Hamilton, Alexander McConkey and John Killough, as well as Robert Lothridge. All of those named were Scots.

In time the Presbyterians recognized that at best they would always be a minority in New England. With the exception of Rhode Island the English Congregationalists held control of the entire northeast. The majority sect had no use for the newcomers and were blind to the advantages of the Scots as a frontier people. The historian, O. Hamilton Hand, admitted "by intolerance the citizens of Worcester drove from her borders many who would have been among the most valuable of her early inhabitants."

The Killoughs were among those who left New England. They joined their fellow Presbyterians on the migration to Pennsylvania where they were to find a better sort of religious toleration. The records show that the families moved southwest through Connecticut and then by sea to Pennsylvania.


"In the second decade of the eighteenth century a great stream of Scotch-Irish Presbyterians began to flow to America; Pennsylvania received a large share of them. These newcomers did not always maintain cordial relations with their Quaker neighbors for they did not accept the doctrine of inner illumination held by the latter nor did they endorse the Indians in the same light that the old Hebrews looked upon the pagan Canaanites and felt that they ought not to buy land from them but should exterminate them. Such an attitude meant war. As they were usually on the frontier, they served not only to stir up the Indians but also to act as a buffer to protect the rest of the settlements from attacks by the savages. They were brave fighters, were fond of liberty, and sometimes rather impatient of the restraints of law." --Oliver Chitwood: A History of Colonial America.

"The Scotch-Irish settlements, being further inland, retained longer the pioneer ways of life. In 1790 the population was as follows: 200,000 English, 120,000 German, 80,000 Scotch-Irish in Pennsylvania. The Scots were a hardy, self-reliant, adventuresome race, well adapted to the conquest of the wilderness. They came to the frontier as farmers although many were skilled craftsmen. They avoided the cities. Being restless, they often sold their lands and moved further out on the frontier. The Cumberland valley (Cumberland and Franklin Counties) became the new headquarters of the Scotch-Irish, not just in Pennsylvanians but in America. From this area they left to occupy Southwest Pennsylvania and the Uplands of the South. It was the seed-plot and nursery of the race.

"As time passed, the Scotch-Irish entered the cities and displayed an aptitude for trade and the professions. James Logan, a Scotch-Irish Quaker, served as Governor of Pennsylvania and was an early leader in the colony. The Quakers in East Pennsylvania were in no danger of the Indians and were indifferent to the sufferings of the Scotch-Irish who bore the brunt of the attacks. In January of 1764 the Scots learned that the Lehigh Indians, the hostile accomplices of Pontiac" War, had been taken under the protection of the Quaker government. The Ulstermen were incensed. Their rising wrath led to protest meetings. The indignant Scots denounced the assembly, Eastern aristocrats and the Quakers in particular. In a rebellious mood, 600 Scots set off to capture Philadelphians and the 140 Moravian Indians it sheltered. They got as far as Germantown where they met Benjamin Franklin and a group of commissioners appointed by John Penn. The Scots demanded a redress of their wrongs, preparing a memorial in temperate language. This experience caused the Scots, who had been busy conquering the frontier and fighting Indians, to cultivate an interest in Politic. Soon political ability would become a characteristic of the race. The Germans and Quakers formed the Anti-Proprietary Party. The Scotch-Irish, led by Joseph Galloway, and the Episcopalians, led by Benjamin Franklin, formed the Proprietary Party.

"When the American Revolution came, the Scotch-Irish were the only race in uniform support of the American cause. With great enthusiasm they espoused the fight for Independence, meeting each crisis and marching to the battlefield. There were no Pacifists and few Loyalists among them. From first to last, their voice was raised for war.

"After the war, the Scots, Lutherans, Reformed, low and middle classes of Philadelphia formed the Constitution Party, later to become the Anti-Federalists. The Anti-Constitution Party, later to become the Federalists Party, included Pacifists, Germans, Quakers and Anglicans.

"In the Cumberland valley the Scots developed a distinctive social life. A hardy, fearless, self-reliant people, they had bold countenances and stalwart figures. They combined a restless, excitable disposition with an independent turn of mind. Staunch as friends, they made bitter enemies, quick to revenge insult or injury. They were serious in their outlook on life. Brave, venturesome, clannish, they were also hospitable and sagacious. The Scotch-Irish men were tall and strongly built, as were the women. They had fair complexions, light-colored eyes, high cheekbones and had muscles hardened by constant toil. Many women could wield an axe with a will and helped their husbands clear land for crops. Without complaint they endured the hardships of pioneer life and cradled a great race.

"The customary dress of the Scotch-Irish consisted of a hunting shirt, woolen or leather breeches and moccasins. The shirt ran halfway down the thighs and was worn with a belt to carry an axe or knife. The women wore a short gown and a petticoat made of linsey-woolsey for summer and pure wool for winter. They had wool hats or hoods for winter and platted sunbonnets in summer. They were barefoot in summer and in winter wore moccasins or shoe jacks. They ate porridge, mush and wild honey as well as pone bread, johnny cake, meal griddle cakes, roasting ears, succotash, sassafras tea sweetened with maple sugar, hoy and hominy, dried apple pie and pork, their principal meat.

"For sports, they enjoyed running, jumping, wrestling, throwing the tomahawk and shooting at marks. They excelled at hunting and were ardent fishermen. For amusement they had housewarmings, log-rolling, cornhuskings, quilting parties, dancing, etc.

"A wedding was a huge frolic. An elaborate dinner followed the ceremony. The bottle was passed and the dour Scots let hilarity prevail. After dinner, dancing jigs and reels lasted until dawn. The Scotch-Irish loved good whiskey and introduced it to America. Each farm had a still and barrels of the brew in the cellar. Two vices the Scots avoided were cards and dice, which were absent in every Gaelic community."-- ___ Dunaway, History of Pennsylvania, Second Edition, Prentice-Hall.


The great center of Scotch-Irish activities in Pennsylvania was the township of Donegal. It was here that the vast majority of Ulster Scots came. Donegal had been created in 1772 a few miles inland on the east bank of the Susquehanna River. Before 1729 Donegal was in Chester County; however, after that date it became a part of Lancaster County.

In 1730 the Provincial Secretary wrote the proprietors that "it looks as if Ireland is to send us all her inhabitants. Last week not less than six ships arrived. Every day there are two or three also." Many Orangemen went first to Maryland. Both states shared the common practice of settling these Presbyterians on the frontier. As the limit of the original grant to Lord Baltimore penetrated some nineteen miles into Pennsylvania, beyond the present boundaries, many settlers under the Maryland warrants erroneously located in Penn's colony.

The controversy between Maryland and Pennsylvania was carried on for almost three quarters of a century. In 1760 the dispute was finally settled by agreement of the proprietors of the two provinces. A line was run in accordance with this agreement by two English surveyors, Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon. The southern boundary of Pennsylvania was fixed at nineteen miles south of the fortieth parallel.

William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania, died in 1718. His son Thomas Penn took control of the proprietary interests. While William Penn lived, his interest in his colony was primarily religious. Thomas was dominated by economic motives. By very sharp practices Thomas managed to increase his wealth. He also aggravated the Indian residents by less than ethical tactics. The profit motive was manifested when Thomas determined to settle the lands west of the Susquehanna. In January of 1733 he composed a letter to his able secretary Logan in Philadelphia. Penn stated that he wanted to relocate the Scotch-Irish of Donegal and put them in the Cumberland valley.

Penn set out stiff terms for the land. The "Donnagallians" were to elect their choice of payment by March 1, 1735. Penn's mercenary soul was much disturbed by those settlers already in the valley without formal title. This time he determined not to miss any chance of revenue. His "last answer" offered three elections to prospective settlers.

The next day Thomas Penn considered the effect of the "last answer" and admitted its harsh content. A letter was sent to Logan that altered the terms to meet the moderate abilities of the inhabitants. It is likely that Penn was aware of the conservative spending habits of the dour yeomen. Later high land prices would drive many people from Pennsylvania.

The Board of Property in Philadelphia followed the instructions of Penn and entered the program in their minute book. On May 28, 1734, they sent the plan to Samuel Blunston, Sr., the agent in Lancaster.

"This is to let you know that the inhabitants about the Great Marsh where Edmund Cartledge does live (north of Donegal) have met and made a general conclusion to get grants from you to settle anywhere on the waters of the Conehechegue."

The Killoughs rode into the kirkyard at Donegal to await the coming of the Proprietor's agent. Down below the fine double structured church existed a remarkable spring which furnished water to the Presbyterian community and offered refreshment to those who awaited their business. Donegal Church was the town hall as well as the house of worship for the whole region. When the agent arrived the citizens assembled as was the custom under a massive oak tree some twenty steps from the church entrance.

Samuel Blunston drove over from Lancaster and duly read the proclamation which had originated in London. After hearing the proposal the Killoughs discussed the offer and its merits. The new price was fair and Robert Killough signed the roll at once. Robert gathered the family together and left at once to prepare for the journey. John Killough was more cautious. Finally convinced, John appeared at Donegal on October 31, 1734, and signed. Samuel Blunston issued John the standard license. In a short time John was on the way to join his brother Robert and the rest of the family.

Robert was granted one hundred acres on the north side of Conedoguinet Creek, which is in Cumberland County today. Robert's neighbor was Daniel Williams who had settled the past summer. Robert and his sons worked fast to complete the home before the winter of 1734-45 set in and covered the fields and hills with snow. During November they finished the cabin and had a roof before the first bad cold days.

As the Killoughs crossed the strong currents of the Susquehannah, they brought with them seeds, farm implements and furniture, packed in Lancaster County's famous "Conestoga wagons. The women and small children rode in the wagons while the men and boys drove the cattle. Having arrived at the Conoduiguinet, they surveyed the small, clear freshwater creek and the virgin soil of the meadows. The creek was narrow, no more than thirty feet across, but full rich and rapid. After a short walk one could see the blurred outline of the Allegheny Mountains miles away but looking much closer. Beyond there was the unknown world of 1734. Indians and game populated the short, deep, mountainous valleys.

With the help of the Williams family the cabin had been finished in two days after the fashion of hasty construction. Then, the work done, the first order of the day was a jug of cider or whiskey to make merry. Logs cut from the forests, rough hewn and fitted into place, became the walls. Often the floor was merely packed earth. A single door swung lopsidedly on leather hinges. A loophole or two let in the winter sunshine. The rear wall was composed of a large stone chimney. Up in the loft beyond the ladder was the children's bedroom. Within easy reach the faithful rifle hung in the chimney corner. On the table lay the single book of the house, the Bible, King James version, in Gaelic.

Winter came and passed. With spring John Killough and his brood arrived from Donegal. They also crossed the Conedoguinet and settled on the north bank. Pioneer fashion, the head of the family set up his sons with farms of their own. Robert helped his sons Allen, John and David get a start. Allen Killough built along a ridge by the "Allegheny path." His brother David built next to him in May of 1735. On May 20, 1735, David acquired the standard one hundred acres between Allen on the west an John Parker's farm on the east. The second son, John, stayed at home until March 23, 1737, then joined David in taking two hundred acres on Andrew Mackee's Run on "the South side of the Allegheny Path, among the Barrens."

On June 20, 1736, John Killough gained a new neighbor, John McFarland, who took a patent on two hundred acres. John assisted his two bachelor sons, Samuel and John Killough, to acquire farms of their own. On March 23, 1737, the boys took up work on some property at Abram's Branch of the Conedoguinet. Their two hundred acres were held in common title. The soil was fertile but not so much so as the land to the east. The boys' farm had more than its share of rock. Many a plow was bent discovering subsurface stone.


Cumberland County was created January 27, 1750. Before this date the records of the area are found in the parent county, Lancaster. In this area preaching services were recorded as early as 1736; however it was not until 1738 that Middle Spring Presbyterian Church was founded. The new church was a source of spiritual comfort to the new arrivals. The Killoughs were numbered in the small congregation. In the remote frontier by 1742 the Presbyterians were numerous enough to select their own elders. They elected John McKee, David Herron and Allen Killough "of Ridge Road." Thereafter, John Reynolds joined the group of elders. Thomas Creaghead served as the first pastor in 1737, leaving in 1739. The post was vacant until 1742 when John Blair, D. D., assumed the duties.

The building was of log construction, thirty-five feet square, with an earth floor, no heat and slab benches. The pulpit stood high against the wall with the precentor's desk below. The church was situated near the bank of Middle Spring, a small stream.

Political maturity developed with religion in the Cumberland valley. Lurgan township was created in 1743 and in 1745 the township of Pennsboro was divided into eastern and western sections. In general the modern boundaries of the area were beginning to form.

Robert Killough did not long survive the rigors of pioneer life. In 1749 Samuel Killough also died after first drawing his will. In 1750 John Killough moved his family north of the Blue Mountains. The soil was fertile, game abounded and there was no serious problem with the Indians. Best of all, the land was free--or so he thought, but the Indian claimed the Blue Mountain valley as his own hunting preserve.

The first inhabitant of Perry County was a German named Star. Sherman's Creek was named for an Indian trader who lost his life attempting to ford the stream near Gibbon's crossing. In 1750 it was still a wilderness. The History of Perry County, by Siles Wright of Misserstown, Pennsylvania, recounts the adventure that followed. In 1750 Lt. Gov. Morris sent a posse with the under-sheriff to Cumberland County to remove the persons who had settled in the Blue Mountain valley. Morris acted because the Indians had threatened summary vengeance if the settlers were not removed and prevented from returning.

The posse found six cabins occupied by William White, George Cahoon, George Galloway, and William Galloway and one not finished occupied by David Middleston. Some distance away they located a new cabin owned by Andrew Lycan. The families and their possessions were removed from the cabins and the lawmen started a fire that burned all the new homes. The posse then decided to burn the household goods, which they did. The settlers were bound in recognizance of one hundred pounds to appear in Shippensburg and answer for their trespass.

Benjamin Chambers and George Groghan, having separated from the others, reported upon their return that about six miles north of the Blue Hills on Sherman's Creek, they had found James Parker, Thomas Parker, Owen McKeib, John McClure, Richard Kilpatrick, James Murray, John Scott, Henry Gass, John McCowan, Simon Girty and John Killough. The settlers had given bonds of five hundred pounds to remove immediately with their families and all their effects. They also agreed to give their cabins to the Proprietaries through their agent, George Stephenson. To prevent resettlement some of the cabins were burned.

This satisfied the Indians, who were holding the land under a treaty. In 1754 the Penn family purchased this land from the Indians under the Albany treaty. New settlers entered Perry County to finish a settlement initiated by John Killough and his fellow adventurers.

In Cumberland County in 1751 David Killough was found in West Pennsboro duly paying taxes and keeping his name on the rolls. John Killough "of Sherman's Creek" became ill and passed away in 1753. His will, probated in Cumberland County on November 14, 1753, left one half of his estate to his step-daughter, Margaret Boston (Baslan), and the other half to his own child, Mary Killough. To his father he left his straight body coat; to his brother Allen he left a jacket and beaver hat. The last male to be born in the county, Samuel Killough, was delivered to David and Mary Killough in 1756. Undoubtedly, he was named for his kinsman, Samuel.

For a dozen years peace promoted a happy agricultural life on the Cumberland County frontier. Then on July 4, 1754, Colonel George Washington was compelled to surrender Fort Necessity in western Pennsylvania to the French. After this date the inhabitants of the frontier were open to the immediate danger of attack from the French and the Indians. The English had only 1500 men under George Washington and he had four hundred miles of Virginia, Pennsylvania and Maryland border to protect.

The citizens of Cumberland County petitioned the Pennsylvania government for protection from the Indians' depredations. Their plea drew no response. The Quakers were pacifists and would take no action. The frontier families were left to protect themselves. The inaction of the Quakers was to create an enmity between the two groups which soon resulted in Presbyterian migration.

In Engle's History of Pennsylvania, I. Daniel Rupp wrote of the terror of the war as it spread along the Conedonguinet. Great numbers of Upper Cumberland County inhabitants fled. Others, who found that it was not within the power of the government troops to prevent the ravages of the restless, barbarous enemy prepared to go. Those who delayed leaving were the victims of the vicious Indian attacks. Many of the Scotch-Irish families were completely destroyed. In the summer of 1761, after a particularly cruel assault, the balance of the white population fled for shelter in Shippensburg, Carlisle, or found safety in the lower end of the County.

By July of 1763 some 1,384 distressed, homeless refugees had been added to the population of Shippensburg. Many had to live in barns and stables. They filled the roads, moving south. The minds of these grim farmers were taken by grief and distraction. These people had lost friends and members of their own families. They had lost horses, cattle and their harvest. Farms which had been the promise of a future in 1734 were lost forever. In this time of sadness, horror and doubt, these people determined to start anew.

Reverend Blair fled in 1757 due to the Indian troubles. It was not until 1765, when sufficient numbers were able to return to Middle Spring, that the post was again filled. Robert Cooper, D. D., was the new pastor.

The Indians had made short work of the church and the graveyard. They overturned, smashed and scattered the markers in the kirkyard. The savages burned the little church to the ground. On its foundation in 1765 the work began to rebuild Middle Spring Presbyterian Church; however the destruction of the graveyard was total. Today the tombs of the early Killoughs are unmarked. Those frontiersmen sleep in common with hundreds of other pioneers whose names are lost forever.

The Killoughs left a record of their presence in Cumberland County during their twenty-two year tenure. Many, like Allen Killough who had added one hundred acres to his farm in 1744, had to find new land to farm in another location.


After 1756 no mention of the Killough family exists in the area of the Conedoguinet. It is very apparent that the family migrated south with their neighbors. They went to the section which is today the south of Franklin County, Pennsylvania. They settled around Mercersburg Township. First in Peters then in Montgomery Township they began the agrarian life anew. The land was at peace now; the French and Indian War, The American version of the Seven Years War, was ended in 1763 by the Treaty of Paris.

In 1757 Alexander Hamilton was born in the West Indies. That same year George Washington acquired his home in Mount Vernon. Far away on the frontier of civilization the Killoughs hewed trees and carved a new home in the forests of the southern Cumberland valley.

Between 1763 and 1767 the Mason-Dixon line was settled. The evidence would indicate that the line ran through farmland owned by Allen Killough. The will of Hannah Killough, dated May 3, 1785, stated that her late husband Allen was in his lifetime seized of 1080 acres of land, all then in Maryland and held by Maryland rights and grants, being a part of a large tract of land known by the name "Three Cousins." At Allen's death, three fourths of that land was in Montgomery Township, Pennsylvania.

On August 1, 1766, Francis Killough is recorded in the purchase of one hundred acres. Other Killoughs added to their Franklin County farms.

Allen Killough's name is recorded in two real estate transfers where he added to and sold property in connection with his Three Cousins tract. The first record is with Neal McFall on November 19, 1767, and the later transaction is with Nathaniel Alexander on June 29, 1769. Both conveyances were recorded in Frederick County, Maryland. This same Allen Killough, who had been elder of the Middle Spring Church in 1742 and took his civic responsibilities seriously. His respect in the community is demonstrated by his appointments of an equitable nature. In 1770 he was asked to settle a dispute regarding the minority of Archibald. With his fellow referees, he joined in the award and sent the results to the Secretary of the Board of Property the same year.

After the loss of their church at Middle Spring the Killoughs selected a new house of worship in Mercersburg. A little church with a long name, The Upper West Concocheague Presbyterian Church, served the local Presbyterians. There, on March 14, 1771, Hannah Killough, daughter of Allen and Hannah, married Alexander McConnell.

This church is in ruins today. A brief attempt was made by the Methodists in 1900 to use the cemetery but the project failed. A cornfield is the modern boundary and no tablet marks its location.

In an age marked by turmoil the 1770's produced the earthquake that severed England from its colonies. The Revolutionary War had a great impact on the Scotch-Irish communities. With conservative understatement it may be said that, of all the national groups in America, no other gave such a majority support to the cause of the colonies as did the Scotch-Irish.

In 1776 John Killough of Lurgan township entered the American army. That year he moved with his unit in Pennsylvania to join Washington in New York. In August of 1776 the troops crossed from Manhattan to Brooklyn. At sunrise after the troops landed a nor'easter struck and the men, who had no shelter, received a pitiless pelting. Food was eaten raw. Muskets were drenched and useless. General Howe seized the advantage and pushed closer. Washington dared not hold his position.

Boats were ordered for the Brooklyn wharves, supposedly to evacuate the sick and wounded. Fresh regiments were being brought in to relieve regiments in the line. This was necessary as any hint of evacuation would bring an attack by Howe. With open flanks and no reserves, Shee's and Magaw's Pennsylvanians, with John Chester's Connecticut command, covered the outer lines and were the last to be evacuated.

John Killough, in the 5th Battalion, commanded by Col. Robert Magaw, reached Manhattan where the force was informed that the English controlled the waterways and evacuation was imperative. Washington at last agreed to escape with his army to Westchester. In deference to a civilian suggestion, he left some men to garrison Fort Washington in north Manhattan and withdrew across King's Bridge.

The works were to remain like an island deep in British territory, cut off from reinforcements, supplies and intelligence. After considerable delay Howe moved on the offensive and left a small containing force to watch the little garrison at Fort Washington. Col. Robert Magaw and his 3,000 men were outnumbered and helpless. Howe then turned and threw 8,000 troops against the little post. The result was predictable; Howe gained control of the Hudson. It cost Howe 700 casualties but netted him 2800 prisoners as well as muskets, blankets and stores. Most of the Americans were marched to rotting hulks anchored in New York harbor.

Among those taken prisoner, John Killough was held in the most sordid conditions in the winter of 1776-77. In an exchange of prisoners on January 11, 1777, John was returned to his unit then quartered in Philadelphia. His clothing was meager and he was short of shoes and blankets. The war had taken its toll; mortally ill, John Killough was sent home to Lurgan township. There on January 20, 1777, he made out his will. He mentioned his brother Francis and advised his executor to divide the balance of his estate to his wife Margaret and his son Allen. Shortly afterward John was dead, the first Killough to fall in the service of his new country.

Other Killoughs were in the ranks of the American army. In the Carolinas and in Pennsylvania they put on the uniform. David Killough of Little Britain is listed in the muster roll of Captain Robert Campbell's Lancaster militia company. This unit, a part of Col. Thomas Porter's Battalion, was destined for camp in the Jerseys in 1780. Other men of the family joined units with their neighbors and marched to the War for Independence.


Before 1738 the entire section of south Lancaster County east of the Susquehanna River was called Drumore Township. On February 7, 1738, the land closest to Cecil County in Maryland was created and called "Little Britain Township." After the Killoughs moved from Cumberland County, the majority followed the valley to Franklin County and settled. David Killough went along with the family and located in this area. In Frederick County, Maryland, on November 1, 1752, David purchased land from Nathaniel Alexander but thereafter chose to return east and live in more civilized surroundings at Little Britain. Perhaps David had lost his taste for the frontier and the Indians or it might have been that he remembered the misty green hill country of Lancaster County of his boyhood days. Named for its resemblance to the English countryside, Little Britain lay between the great Scotch-Irish arrival point, Port Deposit, Maryland, and Donegal, Pennsylvania.

David and his family came in 1760 to Cecil County, Maryland where he purchased 223 1/2 acres from Stephen Haert. As the property lay only four miles north of the Maryland line, it may have had questionable venue. But by 1760 it is likely that David knew that his farm was in Pennsylvania. Years later, as death grew near, David took steps to protect his purchase, recording the deed on January 26, 1768.

The Killoughs were not among the first Scotch-Irish in Little Britain. The Scots had come as early as 1710 and were typical of the breed. Most of them passed on to Donegal; however, enough stayed to form a good percent of the community. An observer of the day notes that they were outspoken and independent although they did unite for defense and religion. They founded the Little Britain Presbyterian Church in 1732. Years later, in 1844, the community would be renamed and divided again. The Killough farm would be claimed by Fulton Township, named for a former neighbor, the famous inventor Robert Fulton.

The Scots had a habit of selecting farms on the highest ground available, being more lightly covered with timber and thus more easily cleared. The Killough farm was no exception; it had "two barren hills," as the description went. The farmhouse was constructed with local timber on a few acres south of an intersecting road. The balance of the acreage sloped downward to form a valley with the two barren hills marking the northeast border. On another hill a neighbor's farm set off the northeast corner. A small creek called Carter's Run ran north and south from the middle of the property.

David Killough enjoyed his farm for only a few years. In 1761 he drew his will and died in 1767. He was buried in Sidwell's Cemetery, the site of the original Little Britain Presbyterian Church. David's will, later probated, provided for his widow Mary, granted one-third of his estate. The children were all in the will. David Killough II and Thomas Killough were to share the balance of the farm. Thomas decided that he would move rather than farm in Pennsylvania. In 1768 Thomas and his wife Margaret conveyed their interest in the homestead to David Killough II.

David Killough, Sr.'s daughters were married by this time. Mary Ann had become Mrs. Sidwell and Ann was Mrs. Edmiston. Of the five sons of David Killough, Sr., only one was destined to remain in Pennsylvania. The Little Britain Branch of the family is descended from David Killough II, the son who stayed on the farm. Other sons moved south; Allen and Ebenezer to Georgia and Samuel to North Carolina.

David Killough II married Margaret Stinson and settled down to run the farm. He was also actively a participant in civic affairs. He and Margaret began to raise a large family; of their ten children, eight survived to adulthood.

At some uncertain time the Presbyterian Church of Little Britain moved from its original site in Drumore Township to its modern location. Later rebuilt as a solid red brick edifice, it found itself in Fulton Township in 1844, although only a few miles from the village of Little Britain.

Agriculture, including the culture of tobacco, was the main occupation of Little Britain. Other pursuits existed; at Pine Grove a forge had been built on Octoraro Creek in 1800 by Jonathan Webb. A few years later a flour mill was built there. Near the Presbyterian Church there was some mining activity.

John Killough, son of David Killough II, was the son who stayed on the farm. He married twice and died young leaving a good-sized family. His first wife, Margaret Guy, married him on April 10, 1800. She died on October 5, 1805 after the birth of their daughter, also named Margaret. On November 10, 1808, John married Margaret Porter.

The third child of the family was named Robert, born in the war year 1812 and raised in the Presbyterian faith. At the age of eight Robert lost his father. Margaret Porter Killough had two older children, David and Margaret. In 1820 when John died, the eldest, David, was only seventeen. John's widow and the children faced hard times on the farm. As the eldest son, David took on the burden of supporting the family. As an apparent consequence he never married, spending his seventy-two years on the family farm working beside his brother Robert.

On January 2, 1845, Robert married Sidney Hoopes. She was the daughter of Thomas and Mary Moore Hoopes, an old Chester County Quaker family. The ceremony was performed by Rev. John McNair. The couple settled on the Killough farm. Thereafter Robert Killough became the first recorded member of the family to accept the Quaker religion. With Sidney, he attended the Penn Hill Meeting House. William Penn was the grantor of the small red brick structure. The church was a very simple affair resembling a farm house. The graveyard was unique for the very small markers. The Friends had omitted one feature that the Presbyterians retained; they had no source of heat for the building. In winter Robert Killough may have given this fact an occasional thought.

On January 2, 1886, Robert and Sidney celebrated their forty-first wedding anniversary. Three days later Robert died and was laid to rest at Penn Hill, four miles north of the Killough farm. Sidney lived until 1890 and was buried beside Robert. Robert's sons, John and Elmer Ellsworth Killough, had since moved to Clinton, Illinois. They chose to remain there and pursue their business. By this time John's hardware store was beginning to prosper.

The countryside around the Killough farm had grown. A mile west was a small crossroads village named Lyle, later changed to New Texas. It boasted a store, several small homes, the Hotel Thomas Anderson and served as the area post office.

It is unknown which of the Killoughs first migrated to Illinois. Where the Carolinas held an attraction for the family in Colonial times, Illinois took this place by 1845. Of the eight children of David Killough II, four went west and four remained in Pennsylvania. John, Ebenezer and Samuel were the sons who kept the family name alive in the Keystone state.

Ebenezer married Ann McConkey on September 24, 1807. The wedding was promptly reported in The Lancaster Journal. Ebenezer and Ann had a large family and kept the Presbyterian faith but little else is known of the branch. Samuel located near Harrisburg and his children married into Pennsylvania Dutch families. Samuel's line abandoned farming and demonstrated an aptitude for engineering. Samuel's grandson, Edward Matthis Killough, Sr., was city engineer of Harrisburg. Edward Matthis Killough, Jr., followed his father's profession, retiring from the Army Corps of Engineers as a lieutenant colonel and accepting an executive position with the Western Maryland Railroad. He moved to Baltimore and fathered only one child, a daughter, Patricia Ridgely Killough. She married Adrian Hastings Merriman. Thus the male line from Samuel Killough came to an end.

On April 23, 1888, the administrators of the estate of Robert Killough conveyed title to the estate to John Killough of Clinton, Illinois, who sold the farm to former Quaker neighbors, the Browns. By marriage the Eckman family in 1910 acquired the farm which they still own. Hardship had reduced the farm from its original size to 83 acres at the time of Robert's death. The original homesite and the two "barren hills" are still a part of the basic unit.

A few of Robert's daughters remained in Pennsylvania. Phebe Roberta Killough never married but raised orphan children. She was known as "Aunt Birdy" and was a beloved figure well known for her good works. She died in 1946 at the age of 88. Her marker in Penn Hill ends the Quaker chapter and extinguishes the name of Killough in Little Britain. The farm had been in the Killough family one hundred twenty-three years when Robert died. With the death of Aunt Birdy Killough, we close a two-century episode in the history of the family in Pennsylvania. To follow the course of the Killoughs, we must turn to the south and west. Pennsylvania will remain, however, the cradle of the clan in America.



The great Scotch-Irish migration to North Carolina began in the 1727-28 period. The Ulstermen did not move inland from the coast but in a stream from Pennsylvania, came down the Valley of Virginia, setting a pattern for trade routes. The Scots chose to settle the "Piedmont" or "back country." They had little contact with the cities on the Atlantic--Edenton, New Bern and Wilmington.

The Royal Period of North Carolina, from 1729 to 1775, was a time of rapid development of population. At the close of proprietary rule there were about 30,000 whites and 6,000 negroes in the Colony. The whites were chiefly of English stock, living in the Tidewater area. By 1740 there were a "few families" along the Hyco, Eno and Haw Rivers. Six years later historians noted a few settlers west of the Yadkin. In 1751 the governor reported that "Inhabitants flock in here (the Piedmont) daily, mostly from Pennsylvania. They commonly seat themselves in the west and have got near the mountains."

As the population of Pennsylvania grew, rents increased until they were twice as much as in Virginia or North Carolina. Land agents from the south advertised in Pennsylvania and they got results. The thrifty Scots commenced a mass migration. By 1740 they had settled the Haw and Eno Rivers. By 1764 some were west of the Yadkin.

The Pennsylvania Scots with their horses, wagons and cattle reached the Carolinas by the "Great Philadelphia Wagon Road," also known by the less grandiose name "The Bad Road." It began at the Schuylkill River opposite Philadelphia, thence west through Lancaster to Harris Ferry (Harrisburg) on the Susquehanna, then down to York and Williams Ferry on the Potomac. In Virginia the Scotch-Irish followed the "Great Valley" from Winchester to the site of modern Buchanan. At this point the road turned south to present day Roanoke. Eastward they went through the Staunton gap of the Blue Ridge, then southward again, crossing the Blackwater, Irvine and Dan Rivers to Wachovia, a tributary of the Yadkin. After 1756 the route went to Salisbury.

Those who noted the Ulstermen wrote down their observations. In general, the years in America had not changed the Scots. They were alleged to be clannish, contentious, hard to get along with, set in their ways, religious and great politicians, though not given to compromise. They married early and often; most homes were filled with children. Their minister was Alexander Craighead, who in 1758 became pastor of the Sugar Creek Church in Mecklenburg County. From this date until 1766, he was the only regular Presbyterian minister between the Yadkin and the Catawba.

In 1761 the advance guard of the Killough family probed into the Catawba valley of North Carolina. For four decades the clan would pour into this region. Although some tarried in Virginia and others remained in Pennsylvania, the great majority of the family moved to the Carolina Piedmont in hopes of better economic opportunity. The Carolinas in the last half of the eighteenth century acted as a great clearing house for the Killoughs. Later, regardless of where the Killoughs are found, it is almost inevitable that their tracks lead back to Old Carolina. The Revolutionary War brought members of the Little Britain branch to the south. Service in the American army was rewarded with land, an item much desired by the Killoughs.

The arrival of the brothers Isaac and John Killough with the first immigrants to the Piedmont laid the cornerstone of the Old South Branch of the Family. Together with members of the Little Britain line they would populate with their descendants the states of the central south--Kentucky, Alabama, Tennessee and Mississippi. Young Isaac Killough and his wife Mary took up farming on the south side of the Catawba. A son, Samuel Killough, was born to the couple on September 10, 1763. Soon there would be brothers and sisters to join the growing family. On April 8, 1764, Isaac and Mary deeded their 140 acre farm to John Armstrong and moved a few miles south to Chester County, South Carolina. John remained in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, for a few years. On April 27, 1774, John bought a farm between McCalpin and McMichael Creeks. Thereafter he erected a tavern by the main road. John was held in esteem by his neighbors and was elected constable of Mecklenburg County.

On July 6, 1785, Francis Killough sold his Franklin County farm to a Dutchman, Jacob Crow, and packed his family and possessions into wagons and struck out for Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. It must have been lonely for Francis in Pennsylvania at that time. While some Killoughs still lived in Little Britain, miles away, most had moved south. As the frontier moved, so moved the Orangemen. Central Pennsylvania was civilized and safe. The cautious Dutch felt secure now in locating in this region and began to populate Franklin and Cumberland Counties. Once a member of the majority, Francis found himself with no relations and few of the old friends who had crossed the Conedoguinet with his father. Clannishness is inbred in the Scotch-Irish and it was natural for Francis to desire to see again the old familiar faces. He pulled up stakes, crossed the Potomac and joined the lines of wagons moving south.

Francis and his family shared one distinction from the other Killoughs: they followed the Covenantor form of the Presbyterian religion. The best estimate in this age would be that nine of ten Presbyterians followed the regular form of worship. In the Killough family the division was about the same. The Covenantors belief could be summed up as a stricter view of the Bible. The difference resulted in a wholesale division of friends and families. Rival churches were created and often sat across the road from one another as the controversy spread. One of the major issues in the dispute concerned slavery. The Covenantors lined up with the Congregationalists and opposed the practice. The regular Presbyterians accepted the situation as a universal condition. In general the Killoughs accepted the latter view whether they owned slaves or not.

Although it would be many years before the slavery question would erupt in the Civil War, it was a matter of very real moment to the citizens of this era. The Covenantors came to realize that they lived in a part of America perfectly suited to the plantation economy. Outnumbered and disillusioned, they sold their farms and started the trek north to the small farm and industry environment of the north. Apparently Francis Killough died somewhere en route for his widow and children appear on the tax roll of Bourbon County, Kentucky, in 1791. By the year 1800 most of the Covenantor Killoughs had collected across the river in Ohio.

About the same time that the Covenantors were drifting north, another band of Killoughs departed from the Carolinas. They were after the fertile lands of northeastern Georgia. They took their slaves with them to expand their operation. In 1784 Isaac Killough, who called himself "the planter," deeded 257 acres on Turkey Creek in the Camden District of Chester County, South Carolina, to Daniel Williams. Isaac and Mary's oldest son Samuel had been drafted into the army in South Carolina and had continued to serve with the American forces until the surrender of Cornwallis. After this event, in the fall of 1782, the family migrated to Wilkes County, Georgia. There in 1787 Isaac took a land grant of 300 acres on "the waters of Long Creek."

John Killough of Lurgan Township in Pennsylvania had two sons, Richard and Isaac. They had left Pennsylvania before the Revolution and settled in southeastern Virginia. William Killough, a member of this group and the ancestor of the Rhea County, Tennessee and North Carolina-Arkansas lines of the family, as well as the Killoughs of Montgomery, Alabama, moved across the border to settle in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. Richard was a well-known figure in Southhampton County, Virginia. He held the rank of Colonel in the Revolution and was prominent in local politics.

The first Killough to come to Georgia was a veteran of the Revolutionary War, Ebenezer Killough of Little Britain, Pennsylvania. By 1778 he was in Washington County, Georgia. In 1778, 1779 and 1783 he requested land as his bounty for his military service. Ebenezer died a bachelor in 1784 at his home at Rockfish Landing in Wilkes County, Georgia. His brother John was living in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. John went to Georgia to be administrator of the estate. He returned home and told the family of the opportunities in this corner of Georgia. Another brother, Allen, went with him in 1785 when John decided to make Georgia his home. John had planted the seeds of unrest which the Scotch-Irish find hard to resist. Soon Georgia was very much on the minds of those left behind.

Restless, unsatisfied, the Carolina Killoughs had watched civilization come to the region. They counted the new settlers passing in their wagons, crowding closer until the wilderness had disappeared. Plowed fields replaced virgin timber and meadows. Towns prospered where yesterday fields had been. Even the price of land rose. These pioneers felt that they had done their work; let others pave roads and construct cities; the Killoughs longed for the edge of the forest.

They had come from the north and it would be unthinkable to return. To the east Tidewater was even more civilized than the Piedmont. Also the people of the coast were alien with different religions and different customs. To the west lay the Smoky Mountains and the Cherokee Nation. Thus the only course open to these hardy settlers was to the south. The Carolinas had been good to the family but they felt that it was time to move and Georgia would be their destination.

It was a short trip to Georgia--less than a week. The wagons were soon ferried across the Savannah River and the Killoughs determined that they would settle as near as possible to the point of crossing. Thereafter Wilkes and Oglethorpe Counties in Georgia would be the home of the clan, with their allied families, the McCartneys, the Wallaces, the Thompsons and the McCrees.

In addition to Washington, Wilkes and Oglethorpe Counties, the Killoughs would also later be found in Jackson, Franklin and Clarke Counties. While the Killoughs lived in Georgia, from 1790 to 1805, they would almost entirely be found in the east-central part of the state.

Many Little Britain Killoughs continued to come to Georgia. Young David Killough married Sophia Gardner on December 4, 1793 in Cabarrus County, North Carolina. David and his bride then joined the caravans south. At this time David was a farmer but soon he would decide to dedicate himself to God and to carry the Gospel west as a Presbyterian minister.

As mentioned, the progenitors of the Old South group, Isaac "the planter" and John Killough, forefathers of the Rutherford and Livingston Branches, were in Georgia at this time. These Killoughs were active in politics, setting a pattern for later years. We can trace the presence of the family by the numerous lawsuits; they were a litigious group: will probates, pension and military service lists.

The eldest son of Isaac "the planter," Samuel Killough, had additional duty after service in the Revolution. With John Ramey he was an Indian spy, ranging over wide areas and living in the wilderness, only occasionally coming into civilization. After this duty Samuel was created a Captain of the Jackson County militia and was given a tax district.

In 1785 in Olgethorpe County David Killough is listed as a juror in a civil matter. By 1799 he is identified as a Jackson County farmer with Lewis McKee, his indentured servant.

The well-known itch to move manifested itself in 1803. Captain Samuel Killough, now a resident of Clarke County, Georgia, requested and was granted a permit to travel through the territory of Tennessee to the north. He took his brothers, Allen and Isaac, with him. They got their permits at Southwest Point (now Kingston) Tennessee, from the local Indian agent. The brothers were searching for suitable lands for their families. One hundred miles to the west, near Stone River, they found fertile soil in Rutherford County, Tennessee. It was a verdant land abounding in bluegrass and cedar. The brothers hastened home.

Upon their return they learned that the great land lotteries of Georgia were about to commence. The drawing was to be the next year so the impatient men tarried a while longer. It is known that the Killoughs registered for land; however, the results must have been disappointing. In 1805, en masse, the clan left for Tennessee. After that year few if any Killoughs are found in Georgia.

Reverend David Killough and his wife, Sophia, with their growing family, stayed in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for a few years. Before 1809 David moved to Hopkins County, Kentucky. This group of Little Britain Killoughs became the basis of the family in Hopkins, Webster and Graves Counties, Kentucky.

Other Killoughs crossed into Kentucky; John Killough, one of the co-founders of the Old South Branch, had a number of his brood located in Livingston County, Kentucky, near the Ohio River. They lived in Livingston County from about 1810 to 1820. After 1820 most of them filtered south into Tennessee, Alabama and later Mississippi. Although little trace is found of this line in Kentucky after 1820, their presence as a unit in this county identifies them as a distinguishable part of the Old South clan. The Killoughs who remained in Kentucky were with few exceptions of the Little Britain-Basic Branch group.

Even the Livingston County Killoughs split into two camps. The larger family, heirs of Allen Killough, went to Alabama. The smaller group, James Killough and his sons, James, Thomas and Isaac, settled in West Tennessee. In particular, the latter branch has become identified with Carroll County in Tennessee where they had gone many years before the descendants of Allen Killough migrated out of Livingston County, Kentucky. John and Thomas Killough served in the War of 1812, a conflict that was distinguished by Tennessee participation and a Tennessee hero, Andrew Jackson. Soon Tennessee would be known as the "Volunteer State."

The sons of Isaac "the Planter" selected farms to the east of Murfreesboro. Samuel and the twins, James and Isaac, tilled the soil as their forefathers had done until word came that the Livingston County Killoughs were going to Alabama. Isaac was caught up in the enthusiasm and joined the expedition. James lingered for four years before the mood caused him to join the trek to Alabama.

Tennessee was ever a favorite home of the family. In Rhea County, Tennessee, Killoughs had lived at Old Washington from the time of the first settlement. Years later they would move to Chattanooga. Ebenezer Killough of the Basic Branch left Hopkins County, Kentucky, and took up residence in Hickman County, Tennessee. Isaac B. Killough, son of Captain Samuel Killough, the old Indian spy, moved from Rutherford County and found a home in Weakely County, Tennessee. Years later he took his family to Johnson County, Texas.

By 1830 the twins, James and Isaac, were well settled in Alabama. James would spend his life there, leaving many descendants. Other of his children went on to Texas. Isaac was the leader of the ill-fated Texas expedition to Cherokee County.

The Livingston Killoughs had quietly assembled in Alabama before 1820. Allen had died on July 3, 1814, in Kentucky. His place was taken by his eldest son, John. When John died in 1840 his place was taken by his eldest son Richmond. In common with others, these Killoughs lived in Talladega and Jefferson Counties in Alabama.

Richmond's brothers Allen and William caught "Texas fever" and nothing would do but that they had to go there. Around 1850 they set out on the journey to the Lone Star State. It is said that Richmond went with them; however, it appears that he went only as far as Choctaw County, Mississippi, then bade the others goodbye. It is likely that Allen and William were in Louisiana in 1850 making final plans for the proposed "invasion" of Texas the following year.

Isaac Killough, youngest son of James and brother to the Carroll County, Tennessee, founder, became a physician. After a time in Alabama Isaac and his wife, Nancy, moved to Fayette County, Tennessee, where he practiced medicine for many years. The couple had no children and this line ended.

Other Carroll County Killoughs also migrated. They settled in adjacent Gibson County at the village of Rutherford Station. The Killough and Canada steam cotton gin was a local landmark there. In Obion County was founded Evans & Killough, a family grocery. In general the Carroll County Killoughs were well-educated and very energetic. They are also noted for producing a number of attorneys-at-law.

Most of the Killoughs who went to Alabama found homes in Talladega and Jefferson Counties. Thomas Killough of Carroll County took his family to Alabama after 1815. His son, Thomas O. Killough, was a well-known Methodist minister in west central Alabama in the nineteenth century. In Alabama, by accident or design, the paths of the Old South Killoughs, both Livingston and Rutherford lines, crossed many times. No doubt there were many happy reunions after years of separation. We can only imagine the joy of their meeting after such a time as cousins met cousins and little ones were introduced to their kin while they sat about the fires and exchanged stories of their lives and told of births, deaths and marriages.

The Killoughs were among the first settlers of Alabama. They were in Lauderdale County by 1810 and in Blount and Jefferson Counties by 1819. In the 1820's they were prominent citizens of Elyton long before that Jefferson County village became Birmingham. The Elyton clan showed an aptitude for law enforcement. In 1826 Isaac Killough became the county constable, a post held by Charles Killough in 1844. Abner Killough was sheriff of Jefferson County from 1852 to 1862. Besides police work and farming, the family had men in other professions. Francis Killough was a teacher and John Killough was a Cumberland Presbyterian minister. The Alabama records of the hog and cattle market show that agriculture still held first place in family occupations.

Although many Killoughs were destined to leave Alabama, the state held sufficient affection and attraction for others who remained. Their descendants still live there and Alabama is one of the few states where the name Killough is not uncommon.

Untimely deaths of the heads of household in the Livingston Killough family left many orphans. Samuel Killough died at age 36 and left his wife Parthaney with small children. Isaac Killough died when he was 26 and left two very small children including Adella A. Killough, known as "A. A.," who drifted to Texas with his cousins. David Killough of Hardeman County, Tennessee, died in 1848, leaving three sons. James became a lawyer and stayed in Mississippi as did his brother David, Jr. The third brother, Ira G., went to Texas to seek his fortune.

Following the trend, many of Richmond Killough's children went to Texas. James, the attorney, had heirs who also went to Texas at a later date. Not all the Killoughs were leaving Mississippi. Via west Kentucky, the Basic Branch moved into northeast Mississippi. James Gardner Killough, second son of Rev. David Killough, after years in middle Tennessee, selected Waterford Township, Marshall County, Mississippi, as his home. His family later located in Rienze, south of Corinth, Alcorn County.

The last major migration of the family into the south took place two decades before the Civil War. As early as 1830 some North Carolina Killoughs had been attracted by Arkansas. Most Killoughs found in Arkansas and North Carolina after 1830 are of the same distinct branch. They encountered many hardships and sufferings but somehow endured. They were and are found all over Arkansas. They favored Pulaski, White, Faulkner, and Cross (formerly St. Francis) Counties. Their rugged desire to exist prevailed and the whole family must have shared in the pride of the Arkansas family when one of their number, Oliver Newton Killough of Wynne was elected lieutenant governor of the state.


"Men told of a land where the green grass swept down to the sea, with only a line of foam to show where one ended and the other began. Men told of a sea of green grass that swept straight to the horizon and rolled into great waves when the wind blew. Men told of nights, bright as day, when huge stars and glittering fireflies turned the prairie into blue fire and bathed every wild rose and geranium, every blade of fine wiry grass, in effervescent light. Men told of a lone star hanging over the horizon, leading them on to new dreams and new hopes. Men told of a great country, fresh from the hand of God . . . Texas. --Margaret L. Coit

In time the stories began to circulate about the abundant opportunities in Texas. No doubt it was soon a favorite topic in Talladega County, Alabama, where Isaac Killough, Sr., the twin, and his family had moved from Tennessee. After some consideration of the merits of the project they decided to find a new home in Texas. The optimistic Killoughs felt that they would prosper and grow in this new land. The Republic of Texas had offered free land to stimulate migration and the response had been healthy.

Isaac was the head of several households. In addition to his own family, the group included those of his own sons, Isaac Jr., Samuel, Allen and Nathaniel, as well as the families of his daughters, Jane, the wife of George Wood, and Polly, wife of Owen Williams. Also in the convoy to Texas would be two other Williams boys, Elbert and Kias ("Barakias"). Elizabeth, the seventeen-year-old daughter of Isaac, Sr., was engaged to Kias. They were to marry in Texas.

The group gathered after selling their Alabama land and in 1837 started the six hundred mile trip to Texas. The family had been given land grants in Erath, Commanche, Ford, Hill and Ellis Counties, all of which were still plagued with Indians. After reaching Texas the clan elected to stop in Nacogdoches in the fall of 1837. They located a few miles south of the Neches-Saline, some six miles north of modern Jacksonville and used gold to buy land. The Cherokees of the area had been hospitable during the Texas Revolution and the Killoughs made friends with them. The Kickapoo tribe had a village six miles away, across the Neches River. The Kickapoo, while not overtly hostile, nursed a hatred of white men dating from the War of 1812.

The Killoughs took possession of their new home on December 24, 1837. They set about erecting houses and clearing the land. With the coming of spring, crops were planted and by the middle of summer there were prospects for an unusually good crop. It seemed that all the dreams of the Killoughs were to come true. In August of 1838 the peaceful, pastoral existence was shattered by a mutinous band of Mexican rebels who, with a few renegade Cherokees, were terrorizing the farms west of Nacogdoches. The Killoughs sensed trouble and moved to Nacogdoches.

The Mexicans, former rulers of Texas, were bitter about the loss of power and position. They could not accept the rule of the Anglo, their former servant. Prominent among the Mexicans of Nacogdoches was an intelligent fellow called Vincente Cordova. He was deeply involved in a plot to restore Texas to Mexico. Cordova hoped to incite the East Texas Indians to a rebellion against the whites while simultaneously Mexico would invade from the Rio Grande.

On August 4, 1838, the trouble started. Increased Indian activity was noticed. Friendly Indians were now cool to the white man. A series of skirmishes betrayed the tension. The Texans learned that the Biloxi, Ione, Caddo and Kickapoo tribes were allied in this effort.

President Sam Houston, an old friend of the Indian, arrived in Nacogdoches and issued a proclamation requiring the Mexicans to return to their homes. The Mexicans protested, swearing that they would not molest the Texans. General Houston directed the Texans to withhold action and to honor the Cherokee boundaries.

The Mexicans banded together and set up camp at Chief Bowles' Cherokee village. General Rusk with an army of Texans was in pursuit and the Mexicans hoped for assistance. Some Texas scouts slipped through the Mexican lines and visited the Chief, who promised to remain neutral. The next day Bowles warned the Mexicans that Rusk was near and Cordova fled with his renegade army. When Rusk arrived at the Indian village the rebels had escaped. The Texas army chased them across the Neches-Saline but could not catch them. The soldiers returned home after deciding that the enemy was gone. They were mistaken. Cordova and the Mexicans were in hiding on Caddo Creek, two or three miles north of the Kickapoo village. When next they appeared it would be to attack the Killough family.

The Killoughs assumed that Cordova had fled the territory and that the threat to their homes was over. The planned to return to their farms and save what they could of the harvest and livestock before returning to Nacogdoches. There is some evidence that the Killoughs made an agreement with the Indians that would have permitted them to stay on their land until the "first white frost."

En route to their property the Killoughs met a friendly Indian who warned them of the danger still existing. The Killoughs did not feel the warning was serious or trustworthy and proceeded to their homes. On arrival they found that the fences had been burned and the crops had suffered. There were signs of Indians; however the family felt that it was the Cherokees or other friendly tribes.

Life seemed to return to normal. Except for the fact that the men went armed to gather the harvest, the days passed without event. After a time it seemed that all was well and it was unnecessary to continue with precautions. No hostile Indians had been observed and the nights were tranquil. The Killoughs had a false sense of security, setting the stage for the approaching tragedy.

On the afternoon of October 5, 1838, most of the group started for the cornfield to finish the harvest. As they would be only a short time, they made the mistake of leaving their guns behind. While passing through a swamp, just before reaching the creek, they were suddenly attacked. All present were killed or taken into captivity.

The noise of the shooting alerted the other members of the family; the renegades rapidly spread among the survivors. Nathaniel Killough, who lived on that side of the creek, was watering his horses when he heard the shouts and hurriedly mounted and raced to his home.

He found his wife and baby girl unharmed and rushed them on foot into the cane and waited for the Indians to spend their fury. Later they made their way to the home of a friendly Indian who gave them a horse which they used to reach Lacy's fort and safety.

Isaac, Sr., was killed in his yard. His murderers refused to kill his wife Urcey although she asked them to do so. In broken English, they cursed her and ordered her into the house.

Samuel Killough lived on the northeast side of the creek. When Narcissa, his wife, heard the shooting, she took her year-old son William into her arms and went to see what had happened. Barakias Williams and Jane Killough, wife of Isaac, Jr., joined Narcissa. Together they had gone a short distance with Barakias carrying the baby when Indians approached. As it was apparent that the raiders were after only the men, Barakias handed the baby to his mother and attempted to escape but was killed as he entered the woods.

George Wood secreted his family and started back to his house for food but was discovered and killed. The Indians found his family and they were never heard from again.

Owen Williams and his wife Polly lived on the edge of the settlement. Owen, suffering from rheumatism, was at home with three of the children when the attack began. Polly, with her daughter Elizabeth, was on the way to visit the home of Isaac Sr. when they met Allen Killough's family fleeing the attack. While Elizabeth fled with the others, Polly returned home and found that Elbert had rounded up some horses. After the massacre Elizabeth was never found. Polly, Owen, Elbert and the three children escaped under heavy fire from the Indians and Mexicans.

Eighteen were dead; eight had escaped. It was the largest Indian atrocity in the history of east Texas. At the scene only four Killoughs were alive--Narcissa, her son William, Urcey and Jane Killough. The women attempted to move the body of Isaac, Sr., from the yard into the house. Because of the weight of his body the women were unable to move him and had to cover him with quilts weighted with fence rails.

The helpless women planned their escape. While they were conferring, an Indian known as Dog Shoot approached with two of his fellows. The Indians were not armed; they asked the women to follow them to the chief, Samuel Benge, who was two miles north. Narcissus refused. One Indian became angry, stating that if he had a weapon he would shoot them. Narcissus defiantly advised him to get his gun if that was his intent. After the Indians left, the women hid in the grass at the site of the future Larissa College. They remained until after dark, watching smoke from burning homes and listening to the shouts of the savages.

The bold plan of the women was to strike out for Lacy's Fort, forty miles to the south, over land infested by wild animals and Indians. They remained hidden by day and moved by dark, followed always by a small mongrel dog. There was thus the danger that the barking of the dog or the cries of the baby would betray the brave women. The Indians came close during the journey but the women were never discovered.

After two days and three nights without food the women elected to walk during the daytime. They had gone only a short distance when they were accosted by an armed Indian who ordered them to a nearby hut. As they approached the hut the women could see beyond some two hundred armed savages with war paint, busy killing beef. The women were then attended by a Negro woman who evaded all questions.

The Killough women were fed and an interpreter arrived. He explained that the painted Indians were from a village a mile and a half away. If the women had not been intercepted they would have walked into sudden death. The next morning the refugees were given horses and made their way to Lacy's Fort.

News of the massacre spread like wildfire, creating a sensation. General Thomas J. Rusk issued an urgent call for volunteers to meet at Lacy's Fort to organize a march to the marauders' stronghold. The excitement was so great that in a few days an army of several hundred was ready to go. To keep his movements secret, Rusk left Lacy's Fort at night and moved west across the Neches River heading for Fort Houston. On the way he was joined by reinforcements who had themselves been attacked.

After Rusk arrived at Fort Houston, word came that the enemy was encamped at a Kickapoo village to the northeast. On October 14, 1838, Rusk marched his men out of the fort and by sunset the army had reached the Indian village. Spies had noted his presence and the enemy was warned. The next morning, misty with occasional rain, the rebels opened an attack on the camp of the Texans. Rusk rallied the men, ordered a devastating charge and the rebels fled.

The motley crew of rebels included Caddos, Coushatta, Negroes, Mexicans and possibly some Keechi. There were a few Cherokee renegades and this tribe was blamed for the tragedy at the time. Cordova and his followers left for Mexico. Four years later Cordova was killed at the battle of Salado when he returned to Texas with an invasion force.

After the battle of Kickapoo Nathaniel Killough led General Rusk to the scene of the massacre. They gathered the few bodies that could be found and buried them under a large old oak tree.

Several months after the massacre all of the Indians were removed from East Texas. A few Killoughs returned to their land. Eighty years after the massacre, on October 5, 1918, William B. Killough, the "Child of the Massacre," passed away and was buried at Larissa, only a mile from the scene of the attack.

The Killoughs felt the massacre was instigated by a man named Hawkins whom they had known in Alabama. Indeed, a white man, painted and disguised as an Indian, had been among the raiders. Hawkins returned to Alabama before the Killoughs and was found to be giving out details of the massacre. His part, if any, in the crime is a mystery.

The Killoughs did not leave the area after the tragedy but remained and made a name for themselves as useful citizens. As members of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, they helped initiate their denomination's first institution of higher learning in Texas. Larissa College was named for the province in Greece as the school was dedicated to the classics. It started as "a little log house outside the village" in 1848 where it flourished until 1855. That year Nathaniel Killough and Thomas H. McKee each pledged a thousand dollars to make Larissa a first rate college. Later, when $7,000 had been collected, the Brazos Synod of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church incorporated the new college. The citizens of Cherokee County, Texas, were to be a real help by subscribing to the college during its first years. Nathaniel gave a thousand dollars each year. He served as president of the Board of Directors and is regarded as one of the founding fathers of the enterprise.

The faculty of Larissa came from Cumberland University of Lebanon, Tennessee, the parent Presbyterian University of the south. Many Killoughs, including William B. Killough, "the child of the massacre," Julia and Eliza Killough, were listed in the school catalogue. Larissa boasted a famous telescope.

The Civil War caused the school to close its doors in 1866. Many of the young men had been killed or wounded in the conflict and postwar poverty was a problem in the south. After two years of Reconstruction the Synod re-opened operations as Trinity University at Tehuacana where the school functioned from 1869 to 1902. Trinity moved to a larger campus at Waxahachie in 1902 and in 1930 moved to San Antonio where it continues to offer a fine education to young Texans. The existence of Trinity is a credit to those Cherokee County pioneers who gave unselfishly to bring culture to Texas.

The Old South group of the Killough clan contributed much to the early settlement of Texas. Later, descendants of all branches would be represented in the Lone Star State.

As previously described, the family of Isaac Killough, Sr., "the twin," went to Cherokee and Nacogdoches Counties. The massacre left few of the line to pass on the family name. Isaac's twin, James Killough of Alabama, donated his share to the growing population of Texas; however it was the elder brother Samuel who became the ancestor of most Killoughs in modern Texas.

The first census of Texas was taken in 1850. Other records indicate Killoughs present in the counties of Anderson, Burleson, Cherokee, Fayette, Johnson, Leon, Milam, Nacogdoches, Robertson and Washington. Most came from Tennessee and Alabama.

Isaac Killough, Sr., brought two nephews with him on his migration to Texas. Newton Cannon Killough and Isaac Killough were sons of James Killough, "the twin." Apparently the boys left Cherokee County and moved west to other parts of Texas before the massacre. Isaac went first to Washington County, then in 1839 moved to Fayette County and finally to Milam County. In 1868 Isaac was elected a county commissioner in Milam County. Newton Cannon Killough was a school teacher and a Methodist minister. He lived in Leon County until the Civil War, then located in Hays County where he spent his last days preaching. Isaac Killough sent his children to the famous Rutersville College, a forerunner of Georgetown's Southwestern University.

William Henry Killough, son of Newton Cannon Killough, was also a Methodist minister. The Blanco Quarterly Methodist Conference recommended him as minister to the Methodist Church in Blanco, Texas. On October 14, 1883, he gave the first sermon in the new church and the congregation then joined in singing "All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name."

The Rhea County, Tennessee, Killoughs provided a share of the migration to Texas. William B. Killough left his home to locate at Cleburne in Johnson County, the home of many other Killoughs. He did not live long after the move. After his death in 1878 his family moved to Wood County in East Texas. His sons, Joe and Jack, would become pioneers in the Texas Panhandle.

From Carroll County, Tennessee, came descendants of the brothers John and Thomas Killough. John's heirs, Joseph and John Robert Killough, went to northeast Texas. John Robert went to Hunt County in 1900 after a sojourn in Missouri. His son Earl is a popular Dallas football coach and high school assistant principal. Joseph's son James Sevier Killough, Sr., and his grandsons James Sevier Killough, Jr., and Michael Vance Killough are all Dallas attorneys.

Thomas Killough of Carroll County, Tennessee, had a grandson Marcus L. "Mark" Killough who moved to Washington County around 1859. Mark was a farmer; however his descendants have shown an aptitude for the trades. Most of this branch live in west Texas.

Those Killoughs in Texas who trace their line to Samuel Killough of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, find that they are connected through three of Samuel's sons: James McCartney, Isaac B. and William Allen Killough. James did not come to Texas but his sons, Josiah Martin, Robert Blackburn and Samuel Allen Killough moved to Waco by 1859. Robert Blackburn was a merchant from 1869 to 1878, then was a special agent for The Insurance Company of North America for thirty years until 1908. His office, the Killough Building, stood on Austin Avenue in Waco until 1963. His son Robert was a respected attorney. The family was Presbyterian.

The other sons of Samuel Killough of Tennessee, Isaac B. and William Allen, went to Johnson County. His sixth son and namesake went to Old Franklin in Robertson County. Samuel, the Texan, married Annette Wheelock and moved to Wheelock.

The Wheelock Killoughs were a numerous and aggressive group. They must have taken their vigor from the founder. Samuel was a merchant, a county judge and a member of the Constitutional Convention of 1875, representing Robertson, Milam and Brazos Counties. During the Civil War, a Home Guard was created to protect the citizens against possible slave uprisings, marauders and cattle thieves and he was elected its captain. In 1840, in his younger days, Samuel is mentioned as a member of a posse which engaged in a bloody battle with Indian horse thieves.

Other Killoughs of this Robertson County family have left a mark on the affairs of Texas. In 1921 C. W. Killough moved to Mexia to enter the oil business. His son, C. W. Killough, is a commissioned field grade officer and career military man.

Roy DeLafayette Killough moved from Wheelock to Vernon, Texas, after graduating from law school. He practiced with the firm of Berry, Stokes and Killough until 1927 when he was elected county Judge of Wilbarger County, Texas. He invested his money in the advertising business and made a small fortune from the venture.

Most Killoughs selecting a profession pursue a law practice; however, there have been a few physicians. Dr. John Harvey Killough is a distinguished example. Dr. Killough was born in Dallas where he graduated from S. M. U. in 1931. He took a masters degree at the University of Virginia in 1941 and a Ph. D. degree from Johns Hopkins in zoology in 1942. He obtained a M. D. degree from Yale in 1945. Dr. Killough is an associate fellow of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. He has an interest in the field of cardiovascular physiology.

Isaac Jefferson ("Ike") Killough, then a young man, started his career as a farmer near Bowie, Texas. Later he spent many years as a salesman for a flour company. He was a familiar sight to merchants all over West Texas. In the 1920's the governor appointed him to the Oil and Gas Division of the Railroad Commission. Friendly newspapers headlined "Ike gets the plum," while sour grapes anti-administration journals scorned the appointment of a flour salesman to the important post. Ike rode out the storm and did a good job in the Ranger oil field. Later he ran a feed store and became a well-known and well-loved figure in the Eastland, Texas, area. He died in 1946.

Edna, in Jackson County, is another spot favored by the Killoughs. S. B. Killough, a Confederate veteran, is buried there. Adella A. ("A. A.") Killough was an elder of the Texana Methodist Church from 1876 to 1879. James Blackman Killough ran a grocery store in downtown Edna for many years. His widow, Agnes, a very spry lady, now runs the store.

Other important branches of the Old South group also migrated to Texas. From Mississippi and Louisiana they came to take up farms in Anderson, Navarro and Hill Counties. A short space will describe their arrival; however they are numerous and widespread over modern Texas.

Allen Killough died in Kentucky in 1814. Many of his descendants were among the first of the clan to move to Texas. His son, Allen Jr., moved to Anderson County before 1850 as did his daughter, Sarah, the wife of James Holmes. A second wave of this branch came at a later date from Mississippi. Allen Killough's eldest son, John, was most prolific. In addition to Hill and Navarro, the Livingston County Killoughs also had members of the family in Freestone and Limestone Counties. The descendants of Richmond, William H. and Dicey Killough, are still found in this area as well as the other parts of the state. Hubbard might be considered their capital.

Allen Killough's sixth child, David, was in turn the father of Ira G. Killough. Ira was a captain in the Confederate Army and a respected citizen of Fayette County. His brother, James Thornton, is the ancestor of the family in Bryan and Galveston.

A. A. Killough, mentioned before, was the only child of Isaac Killough, youngest son of Allen Killough, to come to Texas. A. A. had no close family and we find him a lonely figure moving about where other Killoughs lived, never a real part of anyone's family. He had a sister who married and remained in Alabama. Both of the children were small when their father died.

As stated, the senior line of the Livingston County, Kentucky, Killoughs had many representatives in North Central Texas. Under the rule of primogeniture, it is fitting that Thornton Henry Killough, a Dallas businessman and a member of the senior line of this branch, served as president of the Killough Reunion, meeting in Jacksonville and Mt. Selman, Texas, each year.

The Livingston Killoughs formed connections with many other families in Texas, including the Carlton, Lucky (Luckie), Carter and Walkers. Above the others, however, the Tanner family seemed to enjoy even greater ties with the Killoughs. One cannot review the history of the Killoughs of Choctaw County, Mississippi, without finding the affiliations with the Tanners, which was true in Central Texas.


The Texas Panhandle seemed to have a special attraction for the Killough family. From the time it opened for settlement, the Killoughs were among the first settlers in the High Plains. From Rhea County, Tennessee, William B. Killough and his family had moved to Cleburne, Texas. He was a merchant tailor. His children were the first of the clan to cross the Red River into northwest Texas.

In 1885 W. J. "Jack" Killough, son of William, had a good job working for Colonel R. E. Montgomery, the right-of-way agent for the Fort Worth and Denver Railroad Company. The rails were pushing north into cattle country, linking Denver with the small cow town, Fort Worth. Jack Killough located the town of Washburn in Armstrong County and filed on sections of land to help start the town in 1886. He had a livery stable, called a "wagon yard" and several teams. For six years he was very prominent in promoting the little village. He operated the first water works in the area. Rigging an old float of barrels, he sold water all over the county. As the settlers increased, he added boards to lengthen the wagon and carried as many as twelve barrels at a time.

As his fortunes improved, he sent for his younger brother Joe, then fifteen years old. He arrived in Washburn on October 25, 1888. For sixty-five years, until his death in 1953, the Panhandle would be his home. Together the brothers toiled in Washburn to make a living.

In 1890 Joe got the opportunity to go to work for the legendary XIT Ranch. He located in the Badger and Tombstone districts of Deaf Smith County. In 1892 Jack also moved to Deaf Smith County and became a rancher. His spread was northwest of the site of Hereford.

An interesting story is told about Joe Killough in the life of Ira Aten, the "last of the old Texas Rangers," in Harold Preece's book, Lone Star Man. In 1895 young Joe, a political leader of the small farmers, was forced to take a job with the XIT Ranch, his bitter enemy in local politics. Ira Aten was the foreman of the massive spread and made the young puncher a windmill sentinel--a particularly confining post for a man used to the plow and stirrup. On one moonlit night one summer the disgusted Joe Killough decided that he had had enough. He started to make the eighty mile trip east, leaving Divine Providence to take care of the windmill. After he had gone a short distance he spotted a solitary rider approaching fast. Joe made out the moonlight dancing on the extended barrel of a .45 in the rider's hand. "Where in the hell are you going?" came the challenging demand. The cowboy recognized the voice of Boss Aten and made a hurried self-identification and said, "I'm leaving the XIT and your goddamn windmills." Aten replaced his gun and said in a kindly tone, "Go back to your job, Joe. I'll put you to riding herd tomorrow."

Later Ira was chosen a county commissioner of Deaf Smith County. His electorate consisted of twenty XIT cowboys. In the eight years Ira served in this post, he collected nineteen votes in each election and one voter consistently scratched his name. That voter was probably Joe Killough, making a defiant individual gesture against the agrarian monopoly of the XIT. Although on different sides of the issue, Joe and Ira became good friends in later years.

The Amarillo Globe-News in its Golden Year issue in 1938 interviewed Joe, "one of Amarillo's most colorful pioneer citizens." After a short time in Deaf Smith County, Joe had been elected county treasurer, defeating W. A. Witherspoon. In 1890 he was re-elected. At the end of his second term, he took on the additional responsibility of marriage. In June of 1892 he moved to Amarillo, a boom city, to seek his fortune. By 1898 Joe moved to Hereford, the county seat, taking his mother and three sisters. His brother Jack stayed in Deaf Smith County, residing in Ayr.

The railroad, seeking a northern route around Palo Duro Canyon, laid tracks for the little village of Amarillo. In time the small cow town began to grow until it was clear it was destined to become a large city. Joe abandoned his activities in cattle and politics and turned to the occupation of trade. First he was a salesman in a clothing store, then he bought out the boss and took on a partner. "Killough and Davis" became a well-known Amarillo emporium. For five decades Joe was a well-known citizen and a regular at the old timers' reunions.

Around 1900 a young physician, Robert Swan Killough, with a group of Graves County, Kentucky, businessmen, arrived in Amarillo by train en route to New Mexico on a hunting trip. Doctor Killough walked around the town and saw its potential. After first purchasing a house in Amarillo, he returned home to collect his family. Until 1939 when he died, Doctor Killough had a very respectable eye, ear, nose and throat practice.

A cousin of Robert Swan Killough, Vodra W. Killough, also moved to the Panhandle, locating in Amarillo. Vodra operated an auto garage across from the imposing Herring Hotel. Later he managed a real estate office.

Different branches of the family continued to contribute to the growth of the region. Cecil King Killough moved to the area in 1926, then in 1940 settled in Amarillo. For most of his life he was in the restaurant business, owning or operating Batson's, the Sagebrush Inn and Cecil's Steak House. He found time to be deputy sheriff of Potter County from 1965 to 1966 and was a candidate for the Amarillo City Commission in 1955 and 1957.

Donley County received its share of this migration. John Carter Killough of Hill County, Texas, and Livingston County, Kentucky, settled in Clarendon. A lawyer, he became county judge from 1916 to 1917. Judge Killough's son, Charles Eugene, was the county surveyor in 1916 and founded the Donley County Abstract Company.

The attraction of the Panhandle has not faded. Several Killoughs have settled in the area. In 1960, en route to Camp Carson, Colorado, Stephen Killough visited Amarillo and returned after his tour of duty with the army was completed. Steve was city attorney of Amarillo from 1964 to 1965. Later he engaged in the private practice of law.

Edward Franklin Killough, the only brother of Steve Killough, was also an attorney. After his admission to the bar in 1966, he was the assistant county attorney of Potter County from 1966 to 1968. Prior to this time the brothers lived in Waco.

Thus the Panhandle of Texas became an area where the name Killough was not a novelty. There are Killoughs in Pampa and Bovina. Sidney Killough of Hereford is with Pioneer Natural Gas Company. The City Drug of Tulia is run by a member of the clan. In banks, on ranches and elsewhere you will meet many people who are direct or indirectly related to the Killough family.

For years William Arthur Killough was an Amarillo steelworker. Bob Killough ran a skating rink in Dimmitt. Sam Killough operated a television repair shop in Hereford. Jerry Killough was a cameraman for the Amarillo ABC television station. The presence of all these kinsmen in the "Golden Spread" of Texas demonstrates a diversity of occupation in the family and also that few geographic areas have such a concentration of the family as the North Plains of Texas.


of Waco, Texas

(From The Waco City Directory of 1876:)

The gentleman whose name heads this article is believed to have longer standing as a merchant than any other in the city of Waco. He came to Texas in 1852 from Tennessee while still a youth, landing first at Galveston; afterwards removing to Wheelock in Robertson County and in 1857, finally made a permanent settlement in Waco as a merchant.

The business then begun by him was attended by that success which ever follows close and careful attention; and when the bugle blast of war called our people from their varied occupations to beat back the invader, Mr. Killough was on the high road to fortune. He met that usual fate of the merchant of the day and when the black cloud of war lifted itself above the political horizon and he returned from the tented field to resume the avocations of peace, he found the business superstructure whose foundations he had laid so well in 1856 razed to the very ground. All gone except for the solid foundation of an honest name and solid business habits.

Upon this foundation he determined to build and in 1865 he resumed business and was very soon dealing out to the people far and near, the largest stock of goods that had ever before been brought to the Waco market. For ten years he had stood calmly and steadily at the helm, managing his business with increasing skill and today he is among the largest, if not the largest dealer in the city in his line of trade.

Honesty and frankness has always characterized Mr. Killough in his business transactions. From his creditor he has nothing to hide; to his customers he is candid and plain spoken and always endeavors to give them a quid pro quo.

Mr. Killough has flattering prospects of a long and brilliant business future before him. The sun of his life has barely reached its meridian and the expectation is most reasonable as it sinks into its setting, it will be less obscured by clouds than its ascent to the zenith. So (may) it be.


of Alpine, Alabama

(From The Anniston (Alabama) Star, September 17, 1967:)

TALLADEGA--Judge of Probate, William F. Killough of Alpine, died Saturday (September 16, 1967) in Birmingham. He had been ill recently . . . Judge Killough had served nine years as Probate Judge of Talladega County. It was his first political venture . . . He had been a postmaster, a farmer, civic leader and a businessman in his home town. He attended the old Alpine School and Marion Military Institute.

Before assuming the position of postmaster, which he held for 35 years, Judge Killough served as acting postmaster for two years. After resigning the position to enter politics, his wire, Ruby, became the community's postmaster. In 1924 Judge Killough took over the management of the general mercantile store established by his father, Charles A. Killough, in 1907.

Judge Killough had served as director of the Talladega Chamber of Commerce, the Coosa-Alabama River Development Co-Op, the Choccolocco Council of Boy Scouts of America, the United Fund of North Talladega County, the Talladega Kiwanis Club, the State Commissioners Court, the T. B. Hospital in Gadsden and the Talladega Public Library.

A member of the Exchange Club of Sylacauga, Judge Killough was . . . a member of the National Association of Postmasters, Alabama Cattlemen's Association, Rural Electric Association, Alabama Association of Probate Judges and County Commissioners, Talladega Industrial and Planning Board and the Talladega Country Club.

Judge Killough is survived by his widow, Mrs. Ruby H. Killough; two sons, William Forrest, Jr. and Robert; one daughter, Olive Bouler; five grandchildren; a sister, Miss Nan Killough; and a brother, E. C. Killough, all of Alpine. Funeral services will be held at 3:00 p. m. today. The body will lie at the Trinity Episcopal Church in Alpine . . . The Judge had been a life-long member of Trinity Parish. The Rev. James M. Stoney will officiate. Burial will follow in the Alpine Cemetery.


and his father


of Johnson County, Texas

(From Weldon I. Hudson, History of Johnson and Hill County; 1892, Chicago:)

Samuel B. Killough is the fortunate owner of a fine farm of 300 acres which are under cultivation. He has a good residence, barns and other outbuildings for shelter of his grain and stock. He is the son of Isaac Killough, who was born in Tennessee, June 6, 1802, but in 1857 became a resident of Texas, locating near Buchanan, which at that time was the county seat of Johnson County. In 1861 he moved to the present site of Cleburne and although he owned a good prairie farm near Buchanan, he resided where Cleburne is now located, where fuel and water could be more conveniently obtained. He died at his home here in 1867, his death being a source of deep regret to the many who admired him for his numerous worthy characteristics. He was well-educated and kept himself informed on all matters of general interest, an on all necessary occasions manifested a spirit of enterprise, benevolence and Christian charity. In politics he was a Whig.

In 1826 he espoused Mary D. McKeen, a Tennessean born in 1804, a daughter of Alexander and Mary (Doak) McKeen, and to their union the following children have been born: Samuel B.; Alexander M., deceased; Harriet A., wife of B. F. Chambers; John H., a merchant of Aurora, Texas; Allison W., who is associated with his brother John in the mercantile business; James H. (who died of wounds inflicted in the Civil War at Cabin Creek, Indian Territory); Nancy L., who is now the wife of John Hunter but was formerly married to a Mr. Clements; Mary E., the widow of a Mr. Norval of Wise County, Texas; Sarah E.; and two children who passed from life in infancy.

Samuel B. Killough was born in Rutherford County, Tennessee, December 17, 1827, two and one-half miles east of Murfreesboro, but in 1831 was taken by his parents to West Tennessee and from there to Texas in 1857, and until the death of his father in 1867, he made his home with his parents.

He enlisted in the year 1861 in the Confederate service, becoming a member of Company C, Twelfth Texas Cavalry, and was a participant in the engagement at Cotton Plant. He served until the war closed, taking part in some sharp battles and skirmishes, and at the time of the surrender was in southeastern Texas.

After residing one year in Cleburne, he purchased a farm east of the town, but in 1871 moved to Alvarado and embarked in the mercantile business, which calling received his attention until 1884 when he moved his stock of dry goods, valued at about $20,000, to Aurora, but disposed of it at the end of one year and returned to Alvarado.

For two years succeeding 1886, he resided in the town, but has since resided on his farm east of the town. He is a man of fair English education, for his advantages were tolerably good in his youth, and for two or three years he was engaged in teaching the "young idea." He is a Democrat, was Justice of the Peace for four years, is a member of the Farmers' Alliance and belongs to the Methodist Episcopal Church South. In 1866 he was married to Miss Mary E. Blair, born in Tennessee in 1843, a daughter of L. B. and Martha Blair, who, with her parents, moved to Texas in 1855. She was an active member of the Methodist Episcopal Church and upon her death-bed she expressed reliance on God's promise of salvation. She died January 25, 1885, having been the mother of six children: Mattie O.; James B.; Mary D.; Sarah B.; and two that died in infancy.



(Source unknown:)

Ira Griffin Killough (who was called "Griff") was born in Bolivar, Hardeman County, Tennessee, on March 14, 1830. He moved with his parents to Talladega County, Alabama, then to Choctaw County, Mississippi. Later he settled at Clear Creek in Washington County, Texas in 1851. On April 23, 1854, he married Tabitha Moore in Fayette County, Texas. Tabitha was the daughter of Colonel John Henry Moore, commanding officer of the Texans at the Battle of Gonzales, and Eliza Cummings Moore. Tabitha was the first white child born in Fayette County. She was born in 1832 and died there in 1895. The Moore home is now the site of the American Legion in La Grange.

Ira was commissioned by the Confederate States of America and joined the Fifth Regiment of Mounted Volunteers, Fourth Texas Cavalry. The unit was appropriated $100 by the Commissioners of Fayette County to aid the march to San Antonio. The unit was mustered there into Confederate service and moved to Uvalde. Ira held the rank of Captain. His unit, Battalion C., 22nd Brigade, was called the "Liberty Volunteers."

The Confederates set off for New Mexico, which the South desired to secure from Northern occupation. A good soldier who expected respect from him men and obedience to his orders, Captain Killough was struck in camp by a private who took exception to discipline. The private was sentenced to wear heavy irons for a month. While on the march the private was tied to the end of a baggage wagon, a severe and humiliating punishment for a cavalry man.

At Val Verde, M. M., Lt. Colonel William R. Scurry reported in his dispatches that in the last brilliant and successful charge, which decided the fortune of the day (February 22, 1862), Captain Killough was among the leaders of the battle. His bravery again came to the attention of the command. On February 27, 1862, Captain Trevanion T. Teel, Texas Light Artillery, at Camp Lockridge, New Mexico, noted Captain Killough' prompt and willing action in battle, in a letter to the Assistant Adjutant General of the Army.

The troops were needed for action in the East and they marched to join in the combat raging in Louisiana. At Paincourtville, on July 3, 1863, Ira was wounded by the enemy. Brigadier General Thomas Green reported from Camp La Fourche that Northern troops, when out of ammunition, had resorted to other means and Captain Killough was among those struck on the head by bricks.

Brig. Gen. Sul Ross, the old Ranger and Indian fighter in Texas, who would later become its governor, led his troops into battle in Middle Tennessee in 1864. In Corinth, Mississippi, on January 12th, 1865, Sul Ross summed up the major battle of October 24, 1864, and mentioned Ira Killough with others and expressed his debt for their earnest, zealous, efficient cooperation while they acquitted themselves with honor.

Months later, with the war over, Ira returned to La Grange. He passed his final, active years with Tabitha. He and C. P. Killough were Masons and members of the local Florida Lodge. Ira was a lifelong Presbyterian. He first professed religion at age twelve at a camp meeting (Richland Congregation, Choctaw County, Mississippi). About 1857 he was selected an Elder of the Clear Creek Congregation in Washington County, Texas. As soon as political disabilities were removed after the war, he offered himself as a candidate for the state legislature, being urged by his friends who knew his worth. He was elected and served in the 13th session.

Ira passed away on October 2, 1878, and was buried with his beloved wife in the Old La Grange Cemetery. A fine man, a grand soldier, he did indeed earn respect and honor. He was a credit to the Killough clan and a worthy descendant of the Scottish warriors.

The Texas Observer reported his death "In Memoriam," quoting a resolution of the Clear Creek Congregation dated January 26th, 1879, honoring the former Ruling Elder. It was signed by Rev. W. E. Copland, moderator, A. Spangler, the clerk, as well as the current elders, J. H. Wallace, J. C. Harwell, T. H. Ligon and J. A. Bell. It stated in conclusion, "Children, cherish the wishes of your sainted father. You know he only wished good and no evil. And no wish lay nearer his heart than that his family he so loved should (be) an unbroken one in heaven . . ."


of Gibson County, Tennessee

(Resolution of the Gibson County, Tennessee, Bar Association on the death of Algernon Killough, attorney-at-law:)

Algernon Killough was born in Carroll County, Tennessee, on the 21st day of March, 1859, and while quite young his parents, William H. Killough and Sarah Watson Killough removed to Gibson County, Tennessee, and this County was his home until his death on the 7th day of March, 1894 . . .

His father, W. H. Killough, was an industrious and well-to-do farmer, a descendant of Scotch parents who settled at an early day in the State of Virginia and was a man of strong convictions and sterling integrity . . .

Algernon inherited the strong and manly characteristics of his father and yet had blended in his nature the gentle, courteous, genial and Christian characteristics of his mother, a Virginian, making him a man of loveable nature.

His educational advantages were limited to schools convenient to his country home. He attended the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and was graduated with distinction in the class of 1881. After leaving college, he began to teach school in Elizabethtown, among the mountains of East Tennessee on the banks of the famed Wautanga River. After teaching in East Tennessee, he returned home to teach in the public schools of Gibson County and in a short time he stood first among the teachers in the schools. In January of 1885 he was elected Superintendent of Public Instruction for Gibson County and in a short time of four years made a faithful, competent and efficient officer.

In 1884 he began the study of law and in 1885 he was licensed and admitted to the bar. From (the time he got his) license to the date of his death he was engaged in his profession and had succeeded and when he was so suddenly cut off, he was enjoying a good practice that had been steadily growing all the while and he was making a reputation as a good lawyer, indeed, he was a splendid lawyer. Algie was a gifted, true-hearted man. He was fair and courteous in all matters. His word could be confidently relied upon and he had the love and the respect and the warm friendship of all the members of the bar. On August 11, 1866, he was married to Louise Lamb and they had three children, Martha, Jessie and Lucy, all of whom survive him.

Signed by J. P. Rhoades, T. J. Hays, L. H. Tyree, Albert W. Biggs, James R. Deason; Committee of the Gibson County Bar Association.


James Sevier Killough, Sr., was born in Dallas on February 4, 1910. He attended public schools in Dallas and graduated with B. A. and LL. B. degrees from the Jefferson University of Dallas. He practiced law for a time in Dallas with the firm of Ford and Killough and thereafter became a narcotics agent for the U. S. Treasury Department.

In January of 1941 he was called to active duty as a captain in the Infantry of the U. S. Army. He filled several posts in the field of military intelligence, including the duty of establishing a District Intelligence Office for the State of New Mexico and West Texas before the detonation of the Alamogordo atomic bomb as part of the famous Manhattan Project. Later, with the advance section of

G-1, Tenth Army, he was wounded in the invasion of Okinawa and was evacuated to Guam.

Immediately after the Japanese surrender, he headed a Provisional Military Government team bound for duty in Korea. Three days after the surrender, he hauled down the Japanese flag and hoisted the Stars and Stripes over the city hall of Seoul, Korea. He was the first Military Mayor of Seoul, a city of one million. For his work in rehabilitation of the city, he received a commendation.

From 1947 to 1950 he was an instructor at the School of Intelligence Command and General Staff College, Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas. Later, he commanded the 508th Military Police Battalion in Munich, Germany. Interesting assignments followed at Ft. Gordon, Georgia, and Redstone Arsenal, Huntsville, Alabama.

In November of 1957 he returned to Korea as the Provost Marshal of I Corps Group. After this he became the Provost Marshal of Ft. Carson, Colorado.

In 1962 he retired with the rank of Lt. Colonel, Military Police Corps. James S. Killough is a Protestant, a Mason and a Shriner and a member of the Texas Bar Association. He had graduate study in psychology at the University of Colorado. He is Dallas District Parole Officer for the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles. On his mother's side he is descended from John Sevier, the first Territorial Governor of Tennessee.


The Killoughs have not produced a giant of industry, a famous world leader or a captain of commerce but they have contributed many useful citizens to our society. The clan counts among its numbers many who have made their mark in the community and in their respective occupations. These people are the backbone of any thriving republic. The early Killoughs who died fighting for independence or against the Indian, and those who suffered from the elements as well as the harsh pioneer lives need to be remembered. The subject of our story is the men and women who helped develop America and expand our civilization--the farmers and merchants, the doctors and lawyers, the teachers who brought learning to the wilderness of North America, the ministers of the Gospel who carried Christianity westward and the men who have worn our nation's uniform protecting our country's security all share a role in this small saga.

To the end that they did not toil in vain this record is preserved. In respect to those who labored to make America a free and a prosperous land for their descendants this history is dedicated. With this edition, perhaps from time to time we can, with pride, read of the deeds and exploits of the past and honor those who have gone before us. So that they shall not be forgotten, this is their memorial.


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