Kingsport Times News
March 21, 1948, page 5
Big Laurel, Va (Spl) Women and girls who screech at the sight of a mouse could well take lessons in courage from Milly Wheatley. So let’s peep back through one hundred twenty eight years and see what manner of girl and woman this Milly Wheatley was.
It was a Sunday morning. The year was 1820. Little Rafe Kilgore trudged over the Scott County, Virginia hills and arrived at his home from a Saturday night’s courting of 18 year old Milly.
“Had bear-meat for supper an’ breakfast over to Bill’s, he told his folks.
“Huh!” said Big Rafe, his father, “Bill kill a bear?”
“Unh-unh,” said Little Rafe, “Bill didn’t kill no bear." Milly kilt it.”
And, as the story came out, Milly had been very unorthodox and fearless in the killing of the bear.
William Wheatley and his wife had gone on a visit to a neighboring settler, leaving young Milly and her two or three grown brothers at home. Deep in the night the young folks had been awakened by the squealing of their fattening hog which was penned not far from the house.
Milly told her brothers to get up and take a gun and see what as worrying the hog. She believed it was a bear. The boys refused to venture into the unknown. So Milly although unfamiliar with firearms, grabbed up a handled-skillet and ran out to
the pen. Sure enough it was a bear. And with one well placed lick she brought it down, and she never stopped flailing until the animal was dead.
Not long after her adventure with the bear, Milly Wheatley became the wife of Little Rafe Kilgore and they moved to the Rocky Fork of Guests River, in Wise County, and settled at what is now Big Laurel. They were the first settlers there.
They built a fairly comfortable hewed beech log house and lived in it for several years. Finally, after all their children had been raised and had married off, they began to ramble. They moved dozens of times. To Poor House Branch of the Beaver Dam Fork of Guests River; to the bend of the Pound; to Wheatley Branch near Wise; to Greasy Gap, near present Glamorgan, and then, in their old age, they returned to their first home, which had stood here, deserted, but waiting for them and here they lived out their days and both died in the very same house in which they had started housekeeping.