Kilcrease family in Oak Grove

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 29, 2003

Descendants of the Kilcrease family who reside in Covington County have ancestry from the Kilcrease family who came from Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, Scotland. The earliest identified ancestor is Benjamin Kilcrease who immigrated from Scotland to the United States circa 1770. It is understandable that he located in the large Scots settlement in Edgefield, South Carolina.

Benjamin was the father of at least two sons who were both born in Scotland. Robert Sr. was born circa 1750 and died before 1804 in Edgefield. He was married twice, but the name of his first wife is unknown. His was married to his second wife, Martha, before 1775. Daniel, also born in Kilmarnock, was born a few years later than Robert Sr.

Robert Sr. and Martha had at least two sons who were given the traditional names of Daniel and Robert Jr. Daniel was b. 1788, d. 1850, m. Elizabeth White (1798-1880). Robert Jr. was b. 1790, d. 1854, m. Lucy ?. Robert Jr. began a migration south and was in Marion, Georgia, when he died in 1854.

Robert Jr. and Lucy had the following children: Elizabeth, b. ca 1817, m. 1831 Mathew Varnadore; Ritzy Ann, b. ca 1819, m. 1834, m. John W. Whitt; Male infant, b. ca 1820; John Jackson, b. 1821, d. 1895, m. (1) 1840 Sarah Elizabeth Payne (1820-1879) (2) 1880 Henrietta Elizabeth Easter; Robert James, b. 1826, d. 1913, m. ca 1848 Arta Mary Frances Brazile; William Franklin, b. 1829, d. 1869, m. Martha Clements; and Andrew Washington, b. ca 1833, m. 1856 Katherine E. Marshall. At least the earlier children, if not all of them, were born in Lincoln County, Georgia. Most of them later migrated to Covington and Crenshaw Counties, Alabama.

In the special 1866 Alabama State Census for Covington County, there were at least three Kilcrease households enumerated: J.J. (John Jackson), Martha (Mrs. William Franklin ?), and Robert. There is a notation of J.J. and Martha's households having lost a male member to sickness during the war. This was probably one of J.J.'s older sons, George W. or Henry E., and Martha's husband, William Franklin; however, there is a record of William Franklin having died three years later in 1869. There is an older couple of adults, probably her parents, living with Martha and her young children. This census confirms the Kilcrease families were residing in this area as early as 1866.

The oldest daughter, Elizabeth, and her husband, Mathew Varnadore, had one daughter, Rachel Morning who married James Franklin Morris. It is not clear if they came to this area, but there were members of the Varnadore family who resided in the same Oak Grove community as the Kilcreases.

The oldest living son, John Jackson, homesteaded 160 acres of land in 1890 in Crenshaw County, which was earlier a part of Covington. He settled his family there and was buried in the local Oak Grove Cemetery at his death. He and his wife, Sarah, reared the following children: George W., b. 1842; Henry E., b. 1844; Elizabeth Nancy "Sis," b. 1846, m. 1862 Rubin Battle; Andrew Jackson, b. 1848, m. (1) 1868 Mary Jane Stallings (2) 1871 Mary E. Cox; William Franklin, b. 1849, m. 1868 Nancy Ann Hannah Jones; Madison, b. ca 1850, m. Nora Grimes; Robert James "Rob," b. 1853, d. 1909, m. (1) Mary Frances B. Parker (2) Molly Sasser; Charles Edward, b. 1857, d. 1954, m 1881 Susan Francis "Fannie" Kilcrease; Neoner Frances "Fannie," b. ca 1859, m. 1879 Ashley Parker; Jerimiah Bell, b. 1860, d. 1906, m. 1882 Mary Elizabeth nelson; and Laura, b. ca 1862, m. 1882 J. Thomas Nelson.

The next son, Robert James Sr., owned a 1600-acre farm before the War Between the States. He rendered service in the Confederate Army and lost all his land during the war. He was reduced to being a sharecropper after this misfortune. Either he or his nephew, Robert James "Rob," homesteaded two tracts of land in the 1890s. In 1892, a Robert acquired 169 acres in the Brantley Township, and in 1895, Robert J. homesteaded 40 acres in the Union Township. It is unclear if this was the same person or which relative it was. The older Robert was involved in his community and became an active Mason. At his death, he was buried in the New Home Cemetery in Samson, Alabama.

Robert James Sr. and his wife, Arta, reared the following children: Nancy Jane, b. 1848, d. 1921, m. (1) 1871 Coleman Butler (2) 1885 Charles Irvin Maloy, her brother-in-law; James W., b. 1849; Robert James Jr., b. ca 1850, m. (1) 1871 Louisa J. Payne (2) 1906 Mary Petry; Elizabeth, b. ca 1852, d. 1889, m. 1882 James David Ramick; Jackson, b. 1854, m. Fannie ?; William M., b 1857; Joseph, b. 1859; Susan Frances, b. 1861; Sarah Ann, b. 1862; Louisa (Laura?) Ann, b. 1863, m. 1885 James Oliver Morgan; Ida, b. 1869, d. before 1880; and E.B., b. 1873.

The next son, William Franklin, and his wife, Martha Clements, only had two children before his untimely death in 1869. He died in Crenshaw County in 1869 and was buried either in the Oak Grove or Morgan Cemetery, which are located near each other a short distance from the Covington County line. Their children, both born in Georgia, were Elizabeth, b. ca 1857; and Robert Nelson, b. 1861, d. 1910, m. Sarah Jane Nelson. That means the family moved to this area a short time after the end of the war.

The next son, Andrew Washington, served as a private in the Company of Covington County Militia (Second Class). He was 16 years of age when he enlisted in August 1864. There are records of him homesteading 80 acres of land in the Union Township in 1871. He and his wife, Katherine, had two sons: John J., b. 1857; and Robert, b. 1859.

There are many Kilcrease descendants who currently reside in Covington and Crenshaw Counties. The primary source for today's family story were the records of Albert "Buddy" Blackwell of Las Vegas, Nevada. Additional information on these families would help further the family's genealogy.

Anyone who might have corrections to the above or additional history of the Kilcrease family is requested to contact Curtis Thomasson at 21361 Rabren Road, Andalusia, AL 36420 or Email: