Killough Family Historical Introduction

From "The Killough/Kellough Family in Ireland, Canada and the United States,"
by Zora (Killough) Cunningham.

Scotch-Irish (Ulster-Scots) Links

The earliest mention of any variant of the name Killough found by professional genealogists of the Ulster Historic Foundation, and other genealogists hired, shows that there was a John Kellogh on Sir Thomas Phillips' 3000 acre estate in Kenaught Barony near Limavady, Co. Londonderry, Ireland, in 1611-1616. This was the only privately owned estate in what, since 1922, is known as Northern Ireland. Phillips, a Scots soldier of fortune, had received this estate for his service in Ulster when he raised a "company of foot" in 1600. We can only surmise why John was there as a servitor, a person receiving land in exchange for military service. He might have came to Ulster from Scotland with waves of the McDonalds during the age of Elizabeth I and somehow linked up with Phillips. Hundreds of unemployed Clan Donald men swarmed into Ulster from Scotland about 1600 as mercenaries for the Irish nobles. John Kellog, possessing a "sword and pike," on Sir Thomas Phillips' estate in 1631 appears on a list of all protestant men fit to bear arms in the local militia. Nothing more is known of him.

The second John Killough to show up in records appears on the 1659 census of Drogheda, County Louth, Ireland. He did not come to Ireland with Cromwell's troops in 1649; he was born in Ireland in 1630. He joined them and was later paid in Irish land in Louth. In 1654, this John had married Mary Hyde. By about 1660, John and Mary, with son John (the third), left County Louth, which was Catholic, to go north to the Bann River valley in Ulster. He probably sold his debenture to acquire cash for new land and a business. Here they would be close to their co-religionists. John Killough of Drogheda died in Antrim about 1715.

Their son John (the third), born in Louth in 1657, married Anne McNeil and had at least three children, Robert, John (the fourth) and James. They were living in the County Antrim area. These and possibly other of their children and other Killoughs coming from Scotland account for the Killoughs found in Ireland presently.

In the early 1700's, due to laws affecting religion in Ulster, the marriages of the Presbyterian Ulster Scots became invalid, their churches became illegal, their ministers could not preach or hold office, and they had to be buried by Episcopal prelates. A severe drought and a smallpox epidemic swept the land. At the urging of their ministers and accompanied by them, their congregations emigrated to Maine and New Hampshire. Three boatloads of them left Coleraine early in 1718. Robert and his wife, Margaret Finley, their sons, Finley (Finlay), David, John and possibly Allen, along with Robert's brother John and wife, Jean Young, departed on the "William" and arrived in Boston August 4, 1718. The captain of this ship was Archibald Hunter from Coleraine. The families on this ship had attended the Macosquin Church and followed their minister, Rev. Thomas Craighead to America.  Rev. Craighead made other trips to America to bring Scottish Presbyterians.

Their brother James remained in County Antrim and is believed to be the ancestor of the Killoughs who lived at Gortahar, some of whom came to Canada in 1834. Due to lack of old records, many Killoughs living in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland do not now know their direct ancestry or their relationship to one another. They still have close ties to Scotland.

Since land had not been determined for them and the Boston Calvinists would not tolerate them, they were forced to move to Worcester, Massachusetts, and then about ten miles northwest to Rutland, Massachusetts. In time, Robert is found in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, involved in the oil and sturgeon trade until his business mysteriously burned down.

The John Young family came to Portsmouth and worked in the fishing industry also. The lack of land and attitude of the people toward them made living in Massachusetts or New Hampshire a poor choice. The Youngs and Robert Killough's family traveled through Connecticut and down to Philadelphia by sea to await developments so to learn where they could settle. It depended on the Indian situation, what grants could be secured, etc. There the Youngs participated in the drawing of lots for land in the Warren, Maine, area. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts included Maine at that time. Their daughter Mary married Robert's son Finley, who was only about 14 when their first child, David, was born in Philadelphia in 1725. His wife was eleven years his senior. This may explain why he and his wife went north in 1735, to what was then still the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, with the Youngs instead of staying with the Killough family. For several generations none of the Maine Kellochs named their children after Finley's father Robert, indicating it likely that a family dispute was associated with this move.

Robert's brother John's two sons, Samuel and John "of Sherman's Creek" were born in Massachusetts. Later, Mary, Ann, and Allen were born to John and Jean Killough. The Presbyterians who remained in Worcester had to attend the Congregational church if they attended church any. They finally realized they would never be granted the religious liberty they wanted if they continued to stay in Worcester. John eventually followed Robert to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and then on to Cumberland County.

The Killough contingent established themselves near a series of springs in what is now Cumberland County, Pennsylvania. Big Springs, now the town of Newville, was the center of this community. The earliest burials clustered around an old oak tree in the southeast portion of the yard near the first log church they built in 1737. In one of these graves lies Robert the immigrant. The Rev. Thomas Craighead, the same one who organized the Bann migration, became the minister. He dropped dead in the pulpit shouting, "Farewell! Farewell!" By the late 1760's the Killoughs pushed on to new frontiers of civilization in the mid-western and southern states. The rest of the story follows.

Scotch-Irish (Ulster-Scots) Links

Boyds and Kalloch's - pdf file of the 2007 Kalloch reunion presentation, by Dianne Bergstedt Boyd.  The shared Ulster-Scots history of the Boyd and Kalloch families from Northern Ireland to Maine.  Handouts from presentation (pdf files): The Scots in Maine, Scottish Place-Names in Maine.

Maine Ulster Scots Project - The Maine Ulster Scots Project (MUSP) has been created to promote awareness of Maine's Scots-Irish heritage and to gather and archive the histories of Maine's Ulster-Scots families, up to and including the time of the American Revolution. That information will be periodically published and also taken directly to Maine's school children with volunteer programs sponsored by the St. Andrews Society of Maine.

Old Bushmills Distillery (Discover Northern Ireland)  - Located in County Antrim, this is the oldest licensed distillery in the world. The first permit was granted by James VI and I to Sir Thomas Phillipps, a local landowner, in 1608.  Our ancestor John Killough shared a bit of history with Sir Thomas, see: Early Killough/Kalloch History, by Dean Mayhew.

On the Trail of Scotch-Irish Ancestors - A interesting article by Myra Vanderpool Gormley, CG, from "The Los Angeles Times Syndicate".

Ulster American Folk Park -  is an open-air museum in Castletown, just outside Omagh, in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland. The Park explores the historical link between Ulster and America, focusing particularly on the lifestyle and experiences of those immigrants who sailed from Ulster to America in the 18th and 19th centuries. It is one of three national museums of Northern Ireland.

Scotch-Irish Emigration to America

The Scotch-Irish Killoughs - Of special interest to Killoughs and their descendants to see how their ancestors fit in to the big picture in the formation of the United States.

Sue's Genealogy Recipes - Recipe #13, part Four: The Scotch-Irish.

Maine Scot



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