Documenting my family's past for future generations. My family tree includes the Smith/Mansell families of Alabama and Oklahoma, the Castle/Day families of Kentucky and Oklahoma, the Wheat/Ming families of Texas and Oklahoma, and the Bell/Roberts families of Mississippi, Tennessee, and Oklahoma.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Genealogy on the Road: Castlewood, Virginia

While my brother and I were this far east, we decided we would visit the town named for our ancestor, Jacob Castle.  Castlewood, Virginia, is located in Russell County in southwestern Virginia.  From West Liberty, Kentucky, where many of Jacob’s descendants migrated, it was about a 3-hour drive.

According to legend, Jacob traded the local Indians a butcher knife and rusty musket (or “a hound dog, a shotgun, and a drink of whiskey”) for forested land that became known as “Castle’s Woods,” while still maintaining his permanent residence in Montgomery County.  While Castle’s life in Montgomery County can be proven by tax and court records, his life in Castle’s Woods has little to document it, except for the name of the area.  In any case, the area was known by this name long before Daniel Boone set forth from the settlement for Kentucky in 1774.

Since no statue of Jacob Castle exists to visit (although there really should be), my brother and I did our best to find some locales associated with our ancestor Jacob.  A nice drive to the country outside of town took us to an area known as Castle Run.  The story is that the area got its name because Jacob was chased there by an Indian upon whose hunting lands he was trespassing. 


  
We had no directions specific enough to find either site that has been proposed as the grave of Jacob Castle.  My cousin Fred Castle had described on a genealogy message board a site on Copper Creek that he felt to be Jacob’s resting place, but no directions were given.  A very nice history of Jacob Castle by a descendant named Ron Hall includes Mr. Hall’s description of a gravesite in a field near the Scott County line, but again, we had no directions specific enough to get us there.  The best we could do was gaze into the woods on either side of the road as we drove, imagining Jacob in his longhunter garb, blazing a trail through the forest.

On the way out of Virginia to our next stop in Tennessee, we stopped near Nickelsville on Highway 71 to read a historical marker entitled “Early Settlers in Russell County.”  It said: “In 1787, Isaiah Salyer (1752-1818), son of Zachariah Salyer (1750-1789) of North Carolina, settled on Copper Creek, two miles southeast of here.  Isaiah’s brothers, John, Benjamin, and Zachariah, and sisters Sarah, wife of Solomon Saylor, and Rebecca, wife of Stephen Kilgore, settled on nearby land.  The Salyer land was officially surveyed in 1790.  The Salyers intermarried with other Virginia pioneer families – Castle, Isaacs, Nickels, Stapleton, Vicars, and Byerley.” 



The marker stood in front of a church and graveyard where we found several Castle graves, undoubtedly from the Virginia branch of the family descended from Jacob Castle.


For more information about Jacob Castle, see my post "Jacob Castle the Longhunter."

14 comments:

  1. Thank-you very much for your articles on the Castle Family Heritage James Bert Castle Jr and James Robert Castle of Chesterfield Virginia

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    1. You're welcome! I was raised to be a proud Castle descendant. My grandmother, Fannie Castle Smith, coined the phrase, "the Castle lick"--the exact right way to do something, as in "You are not sweeping that floor with the Castle lick!" She was very proud of her Castle heritage and would be so happy that I am making contact with her kin.

      Are you descendants of Jacob Castle?

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    2. May I say Becky you are true Castle speaking from your words only thing I ever had was a Cow Lick on the top of my head which my father always tryed to use his tonic to smooth it down when I was small. ~Smiles~as far as we know my son traced our heritage back to Germany to Pennsylvania we are descendants of Jacob. Iam 52 James Bert my hair always been silk like Jacob's

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  4. My great grandmother was a Castle living in Sneedville, Tn who is a descendant of Jacob Castle. I am trying so hard to find who he was really married too. Some said it was Gliding Swan. Then some say it is not true. Any idea?

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    1. So much about Jacob the Longhunter is legendary that it's hard to know what is true. I have heard that he had several wives, both English and native. There is a record for a marriage with an Elizabeth, who many people think is Gliding Swan with an English name. I don't know how to prove it at this point.
      DNA might be some help in determining the descendants of Jacob, but in my case, it was so long ago that I don't show any native American ancestry, even though I supposedly have more than one native American ancestor.
      Sorry to not be more help, but I truly don't know what to suggest.

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  6. Becky: We found this of interest...http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=139043975

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    1. Thanks for this information. I think some of what is posted is unproven (ie. Jacob being albino, name of wife, etc.), but it's nice to see what is historical, like the treason charge and Jacob's appearance in court documents, all in one place.

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  7. I'm a descendent of Jacob Castle. I find this so interesting. I live in Jonesborough, TN and my Cassell family came from the Dante and St. Paul areas of Virginia.

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  9. Hi Becky, I am searching for information for my family tree. My grandfather was C.C. Castle (Calvin or Callighan Castle 1183-1972) who lived with his wife Martha (Beaver) Castle in St. Paul, Virginia. I am particularly interested in his father and grandfather, Lafayette and Samuel Castle. Lafayette (possibly Laysette) was married to Martha Salyers and Samuel was married to Sallie Jeans. That's as far back as I can find good info. Can you shed any additional light?
    Thanks,
    Gene Castle
    gcastle321@gmail.com

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