Was born in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, December 21, 1795. He removed with his parents, to Fairfield County Ohio, in December, 1809, when about fourteen years of age. In 1810, his father located in Franklin County, on Alum creek, about two miles east of the present site of Columbus. He resided in a cabin, at this point, when the city of Columbus was surveyed and numbered in lots, and helped erect the first cabin, in 1811. This cabin was owned by Adam Hare, and stood on the corner of Broad and High streets. The Kilgore’s helped cut the trees and roll the logs on Broad and High streets, and hauled the stone for the foundation of the old capitol building from Black Lick, nine miles east of Columbus. In 1812, after the surrender of General Hull at Detroit, a great panic took place in the country of Delaware, and extended to Franklin, resulting from what was then known as Drake’s defeat, in the southern part of what is now Marion County. Captain Drake was leading a new company of pioneer settlers from Delaware County, to recruit some advanced station near Upper Sandusky, to prevent surprise by the Indians, then largely in the interest of the British. By way of testing the courage and steadiness of the new troops, after the company had encamped, and placed a guard about the camp, and retired to rest, the captain managed to send out a few soldiers, who were to return from the forest in a short time, crying, “Indians! Indians!” and fire in quick succession, and thus arouse the soldiers from their slumber. In due time the false alarm took place. The new soldiers were greatly terrified, many taking the back track, and giving the alarm all along the road to Delaware, while the settlers immediately became panic stricken, and, almost in a body, fled toward the settlements in Franklinton and Chillicothe. John Brickel, who was engaged on the upper branches of the Scioto, six miles above Columbus, in the milling business, and others in the neighborhood, fled to Franklinton, then the capital of the State, to the stockade. A requisition was immediately made for the service of all able- bodied men and youth, who were notified to report for duty at the stockade. James Kilgore, then about seventeen years of age, took his father’s old gun and obeyed the call. In crossing the Scioto, at a ford near the site of the present National Bridge, he overtook a woman and three children on their way to the stockade. He remained at the stockade a few weeks on guard duty, and when the excitement over the Drake stampede had subsided, southern Ohio and Kentucky having sent forward a large number of troops, to recruit the army of the northwest, he returned home. At the close of the war, the Kilgores reoccupied their old cabin on Alum creek, and continued their improvements for six or eight years.After Columbus became the fixed capital of the State, the growth of the new city was quite rapid. The Kilgores participated in its improvement, and Mr. James Kilgore often stated that he saw the erection of the first cabin, in what is now the most valuable part of the city, and if nature had endowed him with a sufficient foresight, he might have owned some of the most valuable locations. Like General Cass (when asked how he made so much real estate in Detroit, responded: “Buy a farm, young man, and have them build a city on it”), he long since felt that the only mistake was that he did not purchase in the city, instead of in Ashland County. In 1818, he located in Stark County, where he married in 1821. In 1827, he purchased a half-quarter of land, then in Richland, but now of Ashland County, and removed to it, and continued to reside there until his decease. In 1873 he had the misfortune to lose, by death, his excellent lady. She deceased at the age of seventy-six years. At the time of her death their family consisted of one son and five daughters. One son fell in the battle of Chickamauga, in the war of 1862-5. The other, Silas, lives on the homestead, and with whom the old gentleman resided at the time of his demise, July 4, 1878. Mr. Kilgore is believed to have been a member of the Presbyterian Church for more than fifty years. In politics he was an old time Whig of the strictest order. He was in full possession of all his faculties to the last, and was very fond of relating his pioneer experiences.
Upon the organization of the Ashland County Pioneer and Historical society he became an active member, and retained a high regard for the society. Thus, one by one, the pioneers pass away. May their exemplary lives and great sacrifices long impress the rising generation. Peace to their ashes.
contributed and transcibed by Russ Shopbell firstname.lastname@example.org