Elisha and Elijah Kilpatrick
Elisha and Elijah Kilpatrick were twin brothers and the youngest of ten children born to Balis J. and Mary Kilpatrick.  They were born September 15, 1841 in Union County.  Georgia, and moved to Cherokee County, N.C., with their parents in the 1850s.  Elisha was my grandfather, My father and his brothers and sisters always thought that their father (Elisha) was born in Cherokee County. and I didn't know different until I started doing the family genealogy.

Elisha and Elijah both served in the Civil War, on opposite sides.  Elisha was the first to enlist, enlisting in the Confederate States Army in Cherokee County as a private on June 18, 1861.  He was assigned to Company A, Eighth Regiment, N.C. Troops (2nd Regiment, N.C. Cavalry).  He served through October 1863, when he was furloughed home because of a wound which he received, almost certainly at the Battle of Gettysburg.  He did not return to the army because of his wound.

Elijah fought on the side of the North, enlisting in the Volunteers as a Soldier in the army of the United States of America on August 10, 1864, at Cleveland, Tennessee.  He enlisted as a private and was assigned to Company C, 5th Regiment, Tennessee Mounted Infantry.  He was sick in the hospital in Nashville during March and April 1865, but the nature of his illness is not known.  He was mustered out on July 16, 1865.

Apparently the fact that Elisha and Elijah served on different sides in the Civil War caused no family bitterness.  In their old age,  Elijah lived for a time with Elisha and his wife.  In the early 1900s, they had farms about one mile from each other, and Aunt Icy, Elisha's only living child in 1980, recalled "we were always going over to Uncle Elijah's."

Elisha and Elijah were farmers by occupation.  They lived most of their adult lives in the Liberty Community of Cherokee County, although Elisha and his wife bought a farm in Polk County at Farner, adjoining the North Carolina boundary, and moved there about 1897, ten years before his death.

Elijah was married two times.  His first wife, Mary Coffee, the daughter of Rice and Jane Coffee, was born in 1852.  Her date of death is not known.  They were married September 6, 1877 in Shoal Greek Township, Cherokee County, by  J.T. Burnett, Justice of Peace, in the home of Elijah's brother, Abner Kilpatrick.  His second marriage on November 24. 1901 was to Mrs. Vina Adams, a widow, in the bride's home in Shoal Creek Township.  Elijah had no children by either wife.

Elisha was also married two times.  His first wife, Lucinda Adams, was born about 1845 and died April 12. 1868.  Lucinda was pregnant and injured herself trying to help a cow out of a ditch.  She died as a result of the injury.  Lucinda and Elisha were married September 1, 1867 in Cherokee County.  Later. on March 20, 1879, he and Elizabeth Columbine Hood were married in Cherokee County in the home of Dorcus Uranus Dewese Hood, mother of the bride.  Elizabeth C. Hood was born March 27, 1857, in Cherokee County and died March 24, 1940, in Monroe County,  Tennessee. 

It is believed that Elijah and both his wives are buried in Liberty Cemetery,  Cherokee County, but no headstones nor records have been found to substantiate this belief.  Elisha and his first wife, Lucinda, are buried in Liberty Cemetery, with headstones marking the grave sites.  Elisha's second wife, Elizabeth, is buried in Christianburg Cemetery.  Monroe County, Tennessee, with a headstone marking the site.

Elisha had no children by his first wife.  He had twelve children by his second wife: Mary Alice (died in infancy), George Washington, Clara Melvina, William Joseph, Jerry Theodore, John (died in infancy), Elias, Stacy, Benjamin, James Edmond (died in infancy),Claud and Icy Uranus.

After the death of my father and all of his brothers and sisters except Aunt Icy, the youngest of Elisha's children, Aunt Icy took a special place in my heart as the last of the "older" generation.  She was a remarkable woman.  One event will serve to illustrate what I mean.  In 1983, when she was 81 years old, she attended the family reunion in Tampa, Florida.  She traveled from Diana, Texas to Tampa, a trip of about 18 hours, straight through.  When she got to Tampa she put on her bathing suit and spent as much time in the swimming pool as some of the younger generation.  She said that she was going to live to be 100, but didn't make it, having passed away on November 30, 1985.

My father was Elias Kilpatrick, the seventh of Elisha's children.  Elias was born October 6, 1890 in the Liberty Community, Cherokee County, and died February 27, 1978 at Niota, Tennessee.  He and Elizabeth Jane Shoemaker were married August 22, 1915.  Elizabeth was born December 25, 1891 and died September 30, 1980.  They have seven children: George Alvin (died in infancy), Minnie Velvie (died in infancy), Arnett Elias, Mabel Easter,Vicy Lorene, Ernest Briston and Julia Mae. 

I am the third child of Elias and Elizabeth Kilpatrick.  I was born April 28, 1918, in McMinn County, Tennessee.  I graduated from Sweetwater High School, Sweetwater, Tennessee, in 1938, attended Hiwassee College, Madisonville, Tennessee in 1939-1941, and graduated from Trinity University.  San Antonio, Texas in 1955.  I served twenty years in the Air Force, retiring May 31, 1963, as a Lt.  Colonel.  While in the Air Force I flew thirty combat missions over Germany and enemy occupied territory during World War II, including the second and last Shuttle mission from England to Poltava, Russia.  Awards include the Purple Heart, the Air Modal with 4 Oak Leaf Clusters, the European- African Mediterranean Combat Medal with 1 Silver and 1 Bronze Service Stars, and the Air Force Commendation Medal.  Later in my career I was transferred to the Research and Development Command as a Research and Development Administrative Officer, working on Project Mercury at Patrick Air Force Base, Florida.  Upon retiring from the Air Force I went to work for the NASA Johnson Space Center at Houston, Texas, where I worked on the Gemini, Apollo, ASTP, and the early part of the Shuttle Space Programs.  I am now fully retired.

My first wife was Ottie Marie Cox of Denton Texas.  My second wife is Joyce Webb, born May 6, 1934, in McMinn County, Tennessee.  I have two children, both by my first wife: Darla Marie and Cheryl Annette.

Darla Marie Kilpatrick was born June 3. 1950, on MacDill Air Force Base, Florida.  She attended the University of Texas and graduated from Texas Women's University on May 15. 1976 as a Registered Nurse.  Upon graduation she was commissioned as a  1st Lieutenant in the U.S. Army, with the Oath of Office being administered by her father.  She stayed in the Army for 11 years, receiving the Defense Meritorious Service Medal and the Army Commendation Medal with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters.  She now lives at Taylor Lake, Texas, where she and her husband, Herbert F. Forsberg, are in the house construction business.  Darla and Herb have two children, Jason and Cody.

Cheryl Annette Kilpatrick was born June 2. 1954 on Lackland Air Force Base, Texas.  Cheryl graduated from the University of Texas with a B.S. degree in Computer Sciences.  She now works for the IRS in Austin, Texas.  She is married to Rodney Brown.  They have one child, Aaron Brown.

Sources National Archives of Veterans Affairs in Washington, D.C., census records, family Bible of Elisha Kilpatrick, personal knowledge

Arnett Elias Kilpatrick


From the Cherokee County, North Carolina, Historical Society
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