George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Captain David Kilgore, 10 March 1778

From Captain David Kilgore

[10 March 1778]

The Petition of Capt. David Kilgore Sheweth That Your Petitioner had the Honor to be appointed a Captain in the 8th Pennsylvania Regiment, but finding it most inconvenient, as he has a large Family on the Western Frontiers who are now exposed to the mercy of the Savage Enemy, who have lately commited several ravages within a few Miles of Your Petitioners Plantation.1 He therefore begs Your Excellency’s permission to Resign, as he may thereby be enabled to assist ⟨his⟩ distress’d family, should the Indians make any further progress in that Country.2 Should Your Petitioner be so happy as to obtain that favour Your Petitioner as in duty bound shall ever Pray.

David Kilgore

LS, DNA: RG 93, manuscript file no. 31365.

David Kilgore (1745–1814) was commissioned a captain of the 8th Pennsylvania in August 1776. The docket on this letter states that he “resignd 12th March 1778.” On the same sheet of paper, Col. Daniel Brodhead wrote a note to GW, dated 10 Mar., certifying that Kilgore was “not indebted to the Regt to the best of my knowledge.”

1Kilgore resided in Mount Pleasant Township, Westmoreland County. The residents of that county had been pleading for protection for some time. On 4 Nov. 1777 Westmoreland County lieutenant Archibald Lochry painted a particularly bleak picture in a letter to the Pennsylvania council of safety president Thomas Wharton, Jr.: “The Distressed Situation of Our Cuntery is such, that we Have No Prospect But Disolation and Distruction. the whole County On the North side of the Rode from the Alegany Mountains to the River Is all Keept Close in forts: And Can Get No Subsistance from their Plantations. . . . Lieut. Coll Charls Campble And fore Other Persons is Maide Prisenors On the watters of Blackleegs Creek fore other Men Kill’d and scalped Near the same pleace One Man Kill’d Near Wallaces fort on Cunnemoch, Eleven other persons Kill’d and Scalped at Palmers fort & Near Logenear. . . . In short there is very few Days there is Not Some Murder Committed On Some Part of Our fruntears” (PHarH: Records of Pennsylvania’s Revolutionary Governments, 1775–1790; see also Pa. Archives description begins Samuel Hazard et al., eds. Pennsylvania Archives. 9 ser., 138 vols. Philadelphia and Harrisburg, 1852–1949. description ends , 1st ser., 5:741–42). The council transmitted a copy of Lochry’s letter to Pennsylvania’s delegates in Congress, citing “the most alarming complaints of Indian depredations” from Westmoreland County to request that Congress assist in supplying arms to Westmoreland and Bedford Counties and “intreat the attention of Congress to the general defence of the frontiers” (DNA:PCC, item 69; see also ibid., 6:3–4). Lochry sent a still more alarming report to Wharton on 6 Dec. (ibid., 68–69), and scattered depredations continued to plague Pennsylvania frontier settlements during the winter months, becoming more intense again in April 1778. In May, GW responded to “Indian ravages upon the Western Frontier” by ordering the 8th Pennsylvania Regiment and a portion of the 13th Virginia Regiment to march to Fort Pitt (GW to Board of War, 23 May 1778, DLC:GW).

2At about this time another officer, Lt. William McCall of Col. Oliver Spencer’s Additional Continental Regiment, sought to resign because his “Family is on the frontiers, and Exposed to the Indians” (Spencer to GW, 3 Mar., DNA: RG 93, manuscript file no. 18366); his resignation was also accepted.

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