Killoughs Celebrate 50th Historic Family Reunion - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

6/12/05-Cherokee County

Killoughs Celebrate 50th Historic Family Reunion

"My great-great-great-grandfather survived the massacre," Jean Cannon said. "He was the only one of the Killough men who survived the massacre. And he escaped with his wife and 11-month-old daughter. Her name was Eliza."

Cannon is one of at least hundreds of descendants of the Killough family from all over the United States. Each year, dozens of them gather at The Killough Monument in the former community of Old Larissa, northwest of Jacksonville. They come to see familiar faces, meet new relatives, and remember those from the past.

According to history, the Killoughs were able to settle there for about 10 months, before some 18 of them were killed, captured, or just never heard from again.

Some parts of their history have turned into legend. For instance, no one knows for sure who wiped out the original settlers.

"Our family believes that it was more renegade, probably Kickapoos, probably runaway slaves, probably whites that had been given the choice to move to Texas or go to jail in the state that they were in," William Killough said. "So we've never believed that it was the Cherokees."

Bodies of the few victims who were found are buried at the site. But vandals have made it hard for the Killoughs to maintain their ancestors' graves.

Nevertheless, much like their predecessors, the modern-day Killoughs have a pioneer spirit that leads them every year to reach out to find relatives they've never met before.

The Killough Monument was built in 1934. Another site where descendants are buried is an old cemetery nearby.

Julie Tam, reporting.


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