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.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Bazle Castle, Part 1: Floyd County, Kentucky

I recently got a comment on the blog post I wrote about Jacob Castle, son of Jacob "the Longhunter." (See "DNA Circle: Jacob Castle.") The commenter was justifiably skeptical about the undocumented stories concerning the original Jacob. I could tell by looking at her blog that she doesn't write it if she can't document it! She wondered what I knew about Bazle Castle, another son of Jacob Sr., according to many Castle family researchers. I had Bazle in my tree and had mentioned him in the blog post about Jacob Jr., but I haven't done a lot of research on him. It turns out that he is the reason we know that his father Jacob was at the Battle of Kings Mountain.

Jacob the Longhunter's life has been so mythologized, that I find it hard to determine what is the truth about his marriages and children. I discount any trees that list his children with named native wives, because I think this information comes from Shawnee Heritage by Don Greene and Noel Schutz. The authors give no documentation for any of the names they have come up with. I'm not sure there is documentation for any of Jacob's children. I think the best we can do is look for Castles in the right area of Virginia, born in the right time period to be Jacob's children. Many researchers include Basil/Bazle, Jacob Jr., maybe a Joseph, maybe a Benjamin.

Another complication arises because we don't know which documents refer to Jacob Sr. (the Longhunter) or Jacob Jr. (the one who lived to be 100.) Jacob Jr. died in Virginia, but it appears that many of his children made the move to Kentucky, including these probable sons: Benjamin, Inman, Nathan, William, Zachariah, and Zedekiah.

As far as I can tell, Bazle (AKA Basil, Baswell) was the first Castle to move permanently from southwestern Virginia to Kentucky. He appears on the 1810 census in Floyd County, Kentucky, as Basil Caswell. His family consists of one male 26-44, one female 16-25, and one male under 10. Also listed on this census is a J. Joseph Castile, a single man between 16 and 25, who may or may not be one of our Castles. The heads of households on this census are listed alphabetically, not geographically, so it's hard to know if these two families are related. Many Ancestry trees list Basil as "Basil Joseph" Castle. I don't know where this comes from. I have never seen any document that lists him as Basil Joseph. It makes me wonder if some past Castle researcher confused the two men, perhaps combining them, and other Ancestry users have followed suit.

The 1820 census records Bazil Castle on page 34 with a family that includes one male 45 and over, one female 26-44, and one female under 10. Also on page 34 is Nathan Castle, aged 16-25 with wife, aged 16-25, and son under 10. On page 21 of the same census are two other Castles, Zedekiah and John. Zedekiah has a large family that includes one male 26-44, one female 16-25, one male 16-25 (son or brother?), three males under 10, and three females under 10. John, who may be Bazle's son (more about him later), is aged 16-25. Other members of his household include two females, aged 16 to 25, one male under 10, and two females under 10.

1820 census, Floyd County KY

By the time of the 1830 census these Castles have been joined in Floyd County by Benjamin Castle, aged 30-39; Inman Castle, aged 20-29; and James Castle, aged 20-29. John is listed on the Floyd County census, while Bazle, Benjamin, Inman, James, and Nathan are enumerated within the limits of Paintsville, Floyd County. Records exist for 50 acres granted to Benjamin Castle, who is listed on the 1820 census in Scott County, Virginia. The land, on Sycamore Fork of Tom's Creek in Floyd County, was surveyed 22 September 1824, so it would appear that Benjamin moved to Kentucky between 1820 and 1830. Benjamin continued to buy land: 200 acres on Sycamore Fork in Floyd County in 1836; 100 acres on Sycamore Fork in Johnson County in 1848; and 100 acres on Sycamore Fork in Johnson County in 1855. In 1830 Zedekiah is enumerated in Lawrence County.

1830 census, Floyd County KY

I think an explanation of the history of Floyd County's boundaries might help here. It was very enlightening to me to realize that Floyd was the parent county for nearly all the counties in which my ancestors lived. According to Annals of Floyd County, Kentucky 1800-1828 by Charles C.Wells, Floyd County originally consisted of over 3,600 square miles. Here is his description of the original boundaries of the county:

The original boundary of Floyd County began in its northern point at the junction of the Levisa and Tug Forks of the Big Sandy River, or Sandy River which the original settlers referred to it. The line traveled westward for approximately 50 miles before turning south. Following mountain ridges and streams as a natural boundary for 60 miles, the line then turned eastward in a meandering course to the Virginia border.

From this large area, all or parts of 15 other counties were formed, among them Johnson, Lawrence, Magoffin, and Morgan counties. Lawrence County was formed in 1821, so it's possible that Zedekiah never moved, because his residence was in the part of Floyd that became Lawrence. The same thing happened when Johnson County was formed in 1843. Benjamin's land on Sycamore Fork was now located in Johnson instead of Floyd.

Boundaries of Floyd Co., 1800-1804

I guess I always assumed that once the Castles branched off to live in different counties in Kentucky that they didn't have much contact with each other. However, I just Mapquested the distance from Paintsville to West Liberty. Today it is 39 miles by highway and takes less than an hour to drive. In the 1800s it could be traveled in two days, whether by horsedrawn wagon or on horseback. Not to say they did it a lot, but it was do-able.

William Castle, my ancestor, doesn't show up in Kentucky until 1850, in Pulaski County, along with his grown sons, Goldman and James. That is considerably west of the original Floyd Co., almost 150 miles by highway today. William died in Pulaski Co., but by 1860 his son, Goldman Davidson Castle, was in Morgan County, closer to the other Castle families. (By the way, there is documentation that William is the son of Jacob Castle Jr. The death register for Pulaski Co. records his parents as Jacob and Martha Castle.)

Kentucky Death Records, Pulaski Co.

There is more to the Bazle Castle story. Stay tuned for "Bazle Castle, Part 2: Indian Spy."


  1. This blog is all about Floyd County, Kentucky. My mother belongs to Kentucky and i remember we used to visit this place as my grandmother lives there and we do visit in holidays

  2. greetings! i found your page...thank you! my grandmother was a Castle... direct line to Jacob Castle. they were from the Paintsville area. i believe some may still be in Castlewood Virginia. if my research is correct, i am 6 generations from Jacob...