Captain James Estill pioneered westward with Daniel Boone in the late 1700's, along the Wilderness Road through the Cumberland Gap from Virginia into what later became the state of Kentucky. He was a resident of Boonesboro, one of the first English speaking settlements beyond the Appalachian Mountains, from approximately 1777 until 1779. In 1780 he and his brother Colonel Samuel Estill established Fort Estill and Estill's Station, southeast of present-day Richmond, Kentucky. They were both officers in the Virginia Militia.
West of the Appalachian Mountains the American Revolutionary War was an "Indian War". The British supplied their Native American Indian allies with muskets and gunpowder and advised raids against civilian settlements. Fort Estill was attacked by Wyandot Indians in March 1782. Captain Etill organized a company of 25 men, followed the Indians, and suffered what is known as "Estill's Defeat", later known as the Battle of Little Mountain. He was killed in hand-to-hand combat.
One of the first historical monuments erected in Kentucky was in memory of Captain James Estill. It was erected in 1870 by his grandchildren and is located here in the Richmond Cemetery. One of his grandsons, who was said to have borne a striking likeness to the Captain, posed for the more than life sized figure atop the monument. Dressed in a hunting shirt, leggings, moccasins of deerskin and a cap of undressed coonskin he was sculpted with rifle in hand and a hunting knife in his belt. He stands on a tall shaft of granite mounted on a limestone base.
The monument has deteriorated over the years and is in dire need of repair and restoration. James Estill was born November 9, 1750 in Augusta County, Commonwealth of Virginia. He died March 22, 1782 near present day Mt. Sterling, Kentucky. He married Rachel Wright in 1772 in Virginia and made his home in Greenbrier Co., VA untill 1777. The children of James Estill and Rachel Wright Estill were:
BENJAMIN ESTILL - b. 1773 in VA married Ann Kavanaugh in 1794
WALLACE ESTILL - b. 1774 in VA married Mary Harden and Elizabeth Rodes
JAMES ESTILL - b. 1777 in VA married Mary Rodes in 1800
JONATHAN ESTILL - b. 1781 in Fort Boonesboro, KY married Lucy Shelton in 1798
*Jonathan inherited the land on which Fort Etill stood. He was a merchant in Richmond, KY
and erected the building now used by the Elks Club.
SARAH ANN ESTILL - b. 1782 at Fort Estill, KY married Robert Miller in 1798
If you are descended from one of the Estill children, we need help to restore your family monument. Anyone, descendant or not who is interested in preserving our history may make a contribution to this fund. We appreciate your help in this endeavor. See the restoration page for more information on how to make a donation!