Jacob Castle and Sowega "Gliding Swan"; Fact or Fiction?

Have you ever played fantasy football? If not, I'm sure you know what it is. Each fantasy football participant chooses the best football players from different teams to put together their own personal fantasy team. You can pick a quarterback from Seattle, a running back from Dallas and a defensive lineman from Houston. Any imaginary combination you want. It's a lot of fun, if you like football. I like football.

Have you every played fantasy genealogy? Have you every heard of fantasy genealogy? Fantasy genealogy is a not a game per sea  but,  it is played everyday on the internet. This is how it happens. I want to put together my family tree, but I don't know exactly who my ancestors were, so just like in fantasy football, I pick and choose my ancestors. They can come from anywhere and heck they don't even have to be real. So, say my ancestor's name was Castle; I find a guy whose name is Cassel, close enough. Bam he's my ancestor's father. Someone said this Cassel guy might have been married to a Catherine Elizabeth; here's a woman named Elizabeth. Bam! She's my ancestor. No proof required, please, this is fantasy genealogy. That is how you play that game. I don't like fantasy genealogy.

By now you've put two and two together and see where this is heading.  I believe that much of what is written about Jacob Castle, who lived at one time in far western Virginia is false and that he has been the subject of the fantasy genealogy game. Most, if not all, of what is written about Jacob is unsourced. I would like see what I can find about him and put it to the test using the Genealogical Proof Standard. To use this standard we have to ask a genealogical question and try to answer it using evidence from available sources. The best evidence is original and primary, but this can hard to come by in pre-revolutionary America. So my questions are:

1. Who were the parents of Jacob Castle who lived in Augusta County, Virginia in about 1740.
2. Who was the wife of Jacob Castle who lived in Augusta County, Virginia in about 1740.

As with other articles I've written using this system I want to start with what is currently out on the internet about Jacob Castle and his wife Sowega.

wikitree bio for Jacob Castle as of 20 November 2016 [1]
(there are currently three bio's for this man so I am picking Castle-331
Name: Jacob "White Tassel, The Long Hunter, Taumee-Elenee" Castle Sr aka Cassell
father:  Peter Cassel b. 1673 in Kriegsheim, Pfalz, Bayern, Germany (unsourced)
mother: Catherine Elizabeth Hobart b. 16 Feb 1676 in Groton, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, USA (source is said to be findagrave, which is unsourced)
Birth: Jacob's birth is said to be in 1717 in Lancaster County, PA. (unsourced)
Wife: Sowega- a Shawnee Indian woman who was born in 1720 in Western Pennsylvania. This bio says that she and Jacob were married in 1736 in Lancaster, County. She is said to have changed her name to Mary Elizabeth. (source: a marriage record from 1764 for the marriage of Mary Swan, and findagrave, what Mary Swan's marriage has to do with Jacob Castle is not explained.)
Children: 1.Valentine Cassell Sr, 2. Cawakawachi (Castle) Shawnee, 3. Rachel (Castle) Vance,
4. Elijah Castle, 5. Catherine (Castle) Fulk, 6. Benjamin Castle, 7. Jacob Castle Jr, 8. Littleton Castle and 9. Joseph Castle.
Notes: Much of this information is based on the unsourced book by Don Greene. Genealogy is all about sourcing. 🚩marriage of a Massachusetts Puritan and a German Mennonite in Philadelphia,
🚩use of a middle name in 1676 Catherine Elizabeth.

Geni bio for Jacob Castle as of 21 November 2016 [2]
Name: Jacob 'The Hunter' Castle, b. 1717 Palatinate Germany, d. 17 Feb 1789 Holsten River Area, Russell County, Virginia. (unsourced)
Father: Peter Cassell b. 1673 Kriegsheim, Kreikesheim, Alzey-Worms, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, d. 1748 Lancaster, PA (unsourced)
Mother: Catherine Elizabeth Hobart, b. 16 Feb 1676 Groton, Massachusetts, d. 1748 New River, Pulaski County, Virginia, United States (unsourced)
Wife: Sowege Gliding Castle (unsourced) bio states that Jacob "had more than four Native wives and more than 20 known children." (but we don't know who all the known children are)
Children: 1. Valentine, 2. Jacob, 3. Joseph, 4. William, 5. Littleton, 6. Bazel, 7. Mary, 8. Elijah, 9. Benjamin, 10. Catherine, 11. Rachel. (mostly unsourced)

findagrave memorial for Jacob Castle as of 22 November 2016 [3]
Name: Jacob 'White Tassell' 'The Hunter' Castle Cassell Kassell, giving a birth date of 1 April 1717 and date of death as 26 Sept 1803 but the bio included a DOD of 1 April 1789. (unsourced)
Father: Peter Cassell (1673-1748) b. Germany d. USA
Mother: Catherine Elizabeth Hobart (1676-1748) b. Groton, MA d. Scott County, VA
Wife: Sowega b. 1720 Shawnee Nation Middle Ground Indian Territory Pellissippi River
Children: Valentine (1736-1804) and Jacob (1749-1849)
Notes: despite a lengthy bio there no sources for parents, birth, marriage or death. 🚩Birth and death dates on 1 April.

ancestry trees include all the same information as above in various combinations. One thing that all trees have in common is lack of sourcing for parents, birth, marriage, death and children.

what the records show; a timeline of jacob castle(s) in Virginia
1734 Orange County, Virginia formed
1738 Augusta County, Virginia formed
1738  Jacob Castle listed on the Orange County Tithe List of Delinquents for the year 1738; typically had to be 16 years old or older to be tithed. this would give Jacob and estimated birth of no later than 1722. [4]
1740 25 June; Jacob Cassell purchased 200 acres of land from Jacob Stover, a large land owner in Orange County. He paid £40.00 current money. He would have had to have been 21 to purchase land, this would give him a birth date of no later than 1719. [5] This property was at the mouth of Hawksbill Creek and the Shenandoah River. The closest town is Luray in Page County. This is in far Northwest Virginia some 300 miles from Castlewoods. [6]
1740 26 June; Jacob Cassell sold 75 acres of the land he just purchased to Jacob Coger, for £17.00 Pennsylvanian money. [7]
1740 NLT November; Jacob Stover, Sr. was dead and Jacob Castle was given guardianship of Abraham Stover, orphan of Jacob. The fact that Jacob was given guardianship of a young man whose father was a large land owner would seem to indicate that Jacob is a more mature adult man who could manage Abraham's share of his father's estate.
1740 27 November; Jacob purchased a female slave, a cow and a horse from the estate of Jacob Stover. [8]
1741 24 February, Alexander Thompson petitioned for a new road or bridleway from Jackson's Mill to over the ridge by way of Swift Run Gap. This road was in the Shenandoah Valley. Jacob Cassell and others were chosen to mark, view and  lay off the road. [9]
1741May; Jacob and Henry Dows paid £100 bond for the guardianship of Abraham Stover. [10]
1742 15 September, Jacob is on a list of men on Captain Hugh Thompson's list of delinquents presented at a Courts Martial for failing to appear for a general muster of militia.[11]
1742 23 September; Jacob leased the remaining 125 acres of land to Elizabeth Dows for £5.00 current money. [12]
1746 24 Feb. survey for Jacob Castel was recorded for property lying on the Woods River 180 acres.  [13] This land was near Ft. Chiswell as it was later described as on the lead mines.
1746 19 November, the settlement South and West of the Roanoke had become so important that the court ordered four roads to be built. The first was from Reed Creek to Eagle Bottom to the top of the ridge that parts the waters of the New River and the South Fork of the Roanoke. Various men were assigned to help build the road. A second road was ordered from Adam Harman's house on the New River to the North Branch of the Roanoke. Jacob Castle was a member of the crew assigned to build the road. [14]
1749 17 Feb 1748/9, attachment made against Jacob Costell and Philip Cable and John Lamme's estates, charged that these had announced that they were going to the French Dominions on the Mississippi and such desertion would be harmful to the English in the war with France. [15]
1749 There is an unsourced story about the naming of the Clinch River. In his Scotch-Irish Book (Vol. 1) Chalkley states that the undocumented story was told to him by the Grandson of the magistrate (George Robins?) who issued a warrant for Castle's apprehension after Harman was robbed by Indian's, who took his animal skins. Chalkley does not give first names, but others have assumed the men to be Jacob Castle and Adam Harman. There is no source to back up this story, that I can find. Jacob was never charged or brought to court for this misdeed, despite his appearing in court later in the year for other offences. The event also occurred 180 years prior to the printing of the book, a lot of time for a good yarn to evolve, from a grain of truth. [unsourced]
1749 22 April, commitment of Valentine and Adam Herman for violent robbery of the goods of Jacob Castlean, by warrant of George Robins. [16]
1749 17 May, charged by Adam Harman with threatening to aid the French. ordered arrested and brought before the court on the following Monday.
1749 22 May, Jacob Castle acquitted. [17]
1749 undated, letter petition calling for the building of a road from Zachariah Calhoun's to New River. One of the signers was Jacob Costell. [18]
1749 August, In a letter printed in 1750, Samuel Eckerlin described to a Alexander Mack a great flood that took many lives along the Roanoke River.He mentioned the names of fellow Dunkards who had been affected including Kassel's wife and children and one or the others mother. This is believed to have been Jacob Castle's family, but there is no definite proof.
1750 Dr. Thomas Walker, a surveyor for the Loyal Company, entered and surveyed over 800,000 acres in Southwestern Virginia. During this time he kept a diary. On 16 March they stayed with the Dunkards on New River and learned of the flood the prior summer that had 'swept away houses, fences, and crops. On 9 April they reached Clinches River, "We traveled to a river, which I suppose to be that which the Hunters call Clinches River from one Clinch a Hunter, who first found it." [19]
1750 May, Court order, residents of Reed Creek named as workers on a road includes Alexander Sayers, John Miller and Jacob Castle at the Lead Mine....[20]
1753 Jacob Castle is mentioned in a letter from Robert Jackson, this letter is in the Preston Papers, I do not know the contents. [21]
1754 Beginning of the French and Indian War
1758 Jacob Castle is listed in an account book, part of the Preston Papers. [22]
1762 Entry for Jacob Castle 100 acres between Weltshire and the Great Falls. (Foster Falls) [23] 
1762 Jacob Castle and others including Alexander Sayer were appointed to view and report on the valuation and improvements made by John Staunton on the New River. [24]
1764 22 June; Jacob Carsell no longer an inhabitant of Augusta County. [25] This is the last entry for Jacob Castle in the Augusta County records. Of note; despite being almost 50 years old, no adult male sons are mentioned in the Augusta County Records.
1764  A Mr. Wiltshire and others visited Bethabara, North Carolina....[26]
1768 A Jacob Castle was taxed in Rowan County, North Carolina
1769 The first settlers arrive in Castle Woods. The first tithe is taken in 1770. [27]
1780 October 7, the men of Castle Woods who took part in the battle of King Mountain were under the command of Col. William Campbell. The fight took place following a 45 day forced march from Virginia to North Carolina some 200 or so miles away. 
1780 Robert Sayer, son of Alexander Sayer, given 400 acres of land including that which he inherited from his father. Alexander Sayer was the 'assignee' of Jacob Castle. Robert Sayer's land included Jacob's land along the New River near the lead mines that he bought in 1746. Did Jacob sell his land to Alexander Sayer?
1789 Feb 17, Russell County Court, Jacob Cassell motion to be appointed administrator of the estate of Joseph Cassell approved. Also ordered that the estate be inventoried. [28]
1782  A John Donoho purchased 701 acres of land, Treasury Warrant 14292 on 16 September 1782, he paid £1182.02 for the land, which he resold to others including 13 acres to a Jacob Castle. [29]
1786 Russell County, VA created.
1798 A Jacob Castle registered his land purchased from Treasury Warrant 14292. The land is on Copper Creek. [30]

These are the entries that I can find and confirm concerning Jacob Castle. Although there is no proof that the Jacob Castle first found in the Shenandoah Valley is the same as the Jacob Castle on the New River, it seems highly likely. No mention of children's names or any mention of a wife was made in any reference to Jacob. The only reference to a parent is in the letter concerning the flood of August 1749, when Samuel Ecklin states that Mrs. Kassel and their old mother survived the flood. We do not know if the woman was Mrs. Kassel's mother or her mother in law. So, with the above information at hand, I will try to answer my genealogical questions concerning the identity of Jacob's parents and wife.

who was jacob's father?
The first genealogical question that I am trying to answer is who was Jacob's father (and mother). There is absolutely nothing in the known documented records that would indicate where or when Jacob was born, other than an estimated age based on adult actions, such as being of an age to be tithed. But we do not know if in 1738 he was a very young man or a man in his thirties.

In the records, Jacob's surname is spelled in various ways. Most often it is Castle but it is also spelled Cassell, Kassel, Casel, and any other way you can think of to spell it. It probably depended on the nationality of the writer; the English would most likely spell it Castle and the Germans and Swiss would write Cassell. Many of the men who Jacob knew were German or of German descendant. Most of these German men came to Virginia via the German settlements in Pennsylvania. the first men on the New River were Adam Harman, the German Eckerlin brothers and their religious group the Dunkards as well as many others. [31] Does this mean that Jacob was also a German? There is certainly a strong possibility that he was and this opens the door for those fantasy ancestors.

There was a family in Germantown, Pennslyvania by the name of Cassel who had immigrated in 1686 from Kreigsheim to Philadelphia aboard the ship the Jeffries. Johannes Cassel and his wife Mary had several children including a son named Peter. [32] The only information known about Peter, is that he lived in Germantown and was a court crier. His date of birth, date of death, and, if he married, the date of his marriage are all unknown. If he did marry, I guarantee you his wife was not a Puritan gal from Groton, Massachusetts. Cultural and religious differences aside, the 325 mile geographic divide between these two makes it clearly impossible for them to have met, not to mention married.

Despite this, as seen in the internet information above, many people believe that Jacob was the son of Peter Cassel of Germantown and Catherine Elizabeth Hobart of Groton, Massachusetts. A little bit about "Catherine Elizabeth," This woman is said to be the daughter of the puritan minister Reverend Gershom Hobart of Hingham and his wife Sarah Aldis. Gershom and Sarah are known to have had eight children, none by the name of Catherine Elizabeth. [33] [34] In fact, the double name 'Catherine Elizabeth' is a genealogical red flag. Middle names were not used by the English colonists until closer to the time of the American Revolution. Gershom Hobart would not have given a child a middle name.

So far, YDNA testing on FamilyTreeDNA does not back up the claim of descent from Peter Cassel.

Genealogical Question #1: Who were the parents of Jacob Castle of New River Virginia?
Answer: The parents of Jacob Castle are unknown.

who was jacob's wife?
My second genealogical question is who was the wife/wives of Jacob Castle. Again there is nothing in the record which connects a specific woman to Jacob Castle. We cannot be confident of any children either. Many online ancestries state that Jacob was married in Pennsylvania prior to his move to Virginia. He was tithed in Virginia in 1738 so the marriage, if he was in fact married in 1738, presumable occurred by 1737. No marriage can be found for Jacob in Pennsylvania or Virginia. No record gives any clue who she might be.

DNA testing by several Castle descendants show no Native American ancestry. See the comments on this blog post and the post called DNA circles Jacob Castle.

Genealogical Question #2: Who was the wife of Jacob Castle of New River Virginia?
Answer: Unknown.

so who was sowega?
But wait, I hear you saying, Jacob was married to Sowega and a passle of other native women. Was he? Where does this information come from? Where was it recorded? Who remembered it? No one knows.

Sowega, it is said, was a Shawnee woman who married Jacob Castle in Pennsylvania. Her name supposedly means 'Gliding Swan.' Sowega took the English names of Mary Elizabeth when she married Jacob.(SOWEGA is also an acronym frequently used for Southwest Georgia) Some sites say she was born in Western Pennsylvania and others in a very odd sounding place they call 'Shawnee Nation, Middle Ground, Indian Terr., Pellissippi River.' The Pellissippi River is the Clinch River which runs from Tazewell, Virginia down into Tennessee. It is possible that 'middle ground' refers to the Ohio Valley, which became a quazi melting pot of Native Americans pushed west out of the Eastern Woodlands. But, the Clinch River is not in the Ohio Valley. The Shawnee Nation did in fact live in the Ohio Valley, Pennsylvania, into Virginia and Kentucky. So basically this tells us exactly nothing about where Sowega was born.

If and I mean a hypothetical 'if,' Sowega was born in Ohio or Tennessee, why did her family migrate to the Philadelphia area when the majority of her tribe was headed west away from the encroaching white colonists? This does not make sense to me.

According to her wikitree profile, Sowega died 1 April 1789 in "Pellissippi River Indiana Virginia." Make of that what you will. The date of her death has no source and tellingly is the same date of death as her husband Jacob Castle. According to her find a grave bio she died in Pennsylvania, no explanation given as to why she had returned to PA. However at the bottom of her bio it states she was buried in the Castle Indian Cemetery in Russell County, VA. Hum...

a kispokatha pekowi shawnee
Sowega, it is written, was a Kispokotha [Kispoko]. The Kispoko were one of the five major divisions or political units of the Shawnee people. She is also said to be a Pekowi Shawnee. Pekowi is also one of the five divisions. I'm no expert but I don't think you can belong to more than one.   In some of her bios the names Hokolesqua (Cornstalk), and Waupaathee are also attached to her. Waupaathee is supposed to mean swan in Shawnee.  The 'Cornstalk' name appears to be an attempt by Don Greene to tie virtually every Native American on the Eastern seaboard to his Powhatan/Shawnee theory and get you to buy his books. 

According to a rootsweb bio, Sowega, was "probably a playmate of Tecumseh's sister, Tecumapese." [35] Since Sowega was supposedly born about 1720  and Tecumapese was likely born around 1750 or later, this is clearly not true. This false information is also found on an ancestry.com message board. This is just another example of why you need to do your own independent research, and by research I do not mean copying stuff off the internet. I encourage you to make a copy of my citations below and look them all up for yourself!

shawnee heritage
If you are reading this, there is a pretty good chance that you have either read or heard of the Shawnee Heritage books written by Don Greene, Chief of the Appalachian Shawnee. The information about Jacob and Sowege (sp) begins on page 111 of Volume VI of his books. What better source for a book on the Shawnee than an actual Shawnee Chief! Well, he isn't really an Indian Chief, at least not in any official sense. There are only three federally recognized Shawnee tribes in the United States and his is not one of them. If you Google the Appalachian Tribe today you will find them on Facebook. The page is managed by Larry Buffalo Spirit Warstler who resides in Goshen, Indiana, a long way from Appalachia.

The Appalachian Shawnee Tribe is one of over 30 fake Shawnee Tribes, and by 'fake' I mean not recognized by the Federal Government.  While seemingly harmless on the surface (just grown ups indulging in their Indian fantasies) these 'fake' tribes are actually highly detrimental to the legitimate Shawnee Tribes. These 'pretendians,' as they are known, spread misinformation about the Shawnee, they appropriate and distort the culture and customs of the legitimate Shawnee, and they lobby for recognition and benefits to which they are not entitled.

conversation with a real chief
During my research for this article I had the pleasure of talking with a real Indian Chief; 2nd Chief Ben Barnes of the Shawnee Tribe, headquartered in Miami, Oklahoma.  He is actively involved with both cultural and language preservation for his tribe. Chief Barnes said that the word Sowega/Sowege not only does not mean Gilding Swan it is not even a Shawnee word.

Chief Barnes did not deny the possibility that there may have been Shawnee Indians living near Philadelphia in 1740 and that it is not out of the realm of reason to suggest that Jacob had a Native American wife, just not a woman named Sowega. However, since we do not know where or when Jacob married, we cannot say who he married.

Many of these Castle/Sowega bios state that Jacob Castle made a legal marriage with Sowega. Chief Barnes states that there is no such thing as a legal Shawnee marriage. Barnes said, you know you're married to a Shawnee woman when you come home and her stuff is in your house, and you know you're divorced when you come home and your stuff is in the yard. This is not to say that there were no legitimate marriages between Whites and Indians because there were. But to state that somehow we know that Jacob 'legally' married his Indian wife is not the truth.

other women
According to the Wikitree bio Jacob had as many as 7 or 8 wives. The ultimate source for these women is the Shawnee Heritage. They are said to be:

1. Sowege of the Pekowi Shawnee (the clan in charge of warfare-this is wrong) whom he legally married in 1736, he had nine known children. (Valentine, Rachel, Elijah, Catherine, Benjamin, Jacob Jr., Littleton, Joseph, and others)

2. Wapehti, a Kishpoko Shawnee, by whom he had six known children, married in 1759. Bazel, Mary, Henry, John and another Rachel)

3. Waupahathee, a Kishpoko Shawnee Cherokee Metis woman, by whom he had four known children, married 1772. (Abraham, another Joseph, George)

4. Chalakatha-Kishpoko-Cherokee Metis woman whose name is unknown by whom he had one known child, married in 1785.(David)

5. Other unknown Indian women who had unknown children. (if the women are unknown and the children are unknown, how do we know about them? How can anyone possibly know what tribe they were from?)

possible children/Grandchildren or otherwise related 
1. Benjamin Cassel; listed on the New River tithables in 1773, administration of his estate by Robert Sayer on 5 August 1779.
2. Bazel/Bazle Castle; lived in Kentucky, in 1832 claimed a pension for serving during the American Revolution, stated his father Jacob Castle fought at King's Mountain. Based on his various stated  ages he was born between 1751 and 1761.  He had one living son, John, when he died.
3. Jacob (Jr.) lived in Russell County and is found in the census records up to 1840 when he was enumerated as being over 100 years of age giving him a birth year of 1740.
4. Joseph, died in Russell County in 1789, Jacob Castle was for a time admin of his estate, relationship unknown.

jacob in print
Jacob Castle was undeniably a real man, but as one writer warns, the sum is greater than the whole.
The first real article I can find on him was published on January 29, 1965 and printed in The Bristol Herald Courier, a local newspaper in Bristol Virginia, authored by Gordon Aronhime. Aronhime was a writer and historian who specialized in the Holston-Clinch river area from 1770-1795. In his article on Jacob Castle he states that "no claim is made for it's historical accuracy." He says that Jacob was probably born around 1715, his place of birth and ancestry are unknown, but he admits that he might have been born in Germany and come to America as a young boy. He notes all the usual findings about Jacob as listed in my timetable above and says that the last mention of him in Augusta County was in 1764 when he basically falls off the grid, living in the wilderness off the fat of the land. Aronhime, himself, goes off the grid at this point. He muses that perhaps Jacob encountered Daniel Boone out in the wilderness and told him about the land named for him, Castle Woods. For this tip he might have been given a gun or a horse for his 'rights to the land. He does state that Jacob never owned any of the land along the Clinch River, including Castle Woods. He notes that many years later there was a man named Jacob Castle who lived on Copper Creek and was possibly the father of Bazle Castle. He wonders if this could possibly be the same Jacob. Clearly there is no proof and no one who could confirm these details. [36]

Two years later another article was written about Castle Woods, by James W. Hagy. It was published in The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography. Hagy states outright that "fact and fiction make Jacob an interesting man." According to tradition, he says, Castle was an albino who spent a lot of time off on his own. He says that Castle bought the land from the Indians for a rusty rifle and a butcher knife. He repeats an old story about the naming of the Clinch River,  in which Adam Harman was attempting to arrest Jacob for stealing his furs and a man named Clinch fell into the river. He says that the story could be true but there is no proof. Hagy also wonders if the Jacob Castle who received a land warrant in 1782 and claimed in 1798, was the same man. Again, no proof exists to confirm or deny.  [37] Note: Jacob bought the land from John Donoho who was the owner of the land which he bought on 16 September 1782. Treasury warrant 14292 belonged to him, not Jacob Castle.

These two stories are entertaining, but both authors admit that it is impossible to tell where the facts end and the fiction begins. The problem is that readers have taken it all for fact. One author which had kept her bio of Jacob to the bare facts is noted researcher Mary Kegley. She gives us the same documented information as other sources including his leaving Augusta County in 1764. She then says that he is not mentioned in any of the New River tithable lists, but there was a Jacob Castle in Russell County in 1782 (this would be a reference to the land warrant which belonged to John Donoho). She says that Russell County history contends that Jacob had at least two sons, Jacob Jr. and Joseph. If he indeed had a namesake son then it is impossible to distinguish which man the records reflect; the father or the son. [38]


1. From an historical standpoint there is quite a bit of information on Jacob Castle. He lived a tough frontier life at the edge of the 'white world.' There is no doubt that he would have encountered Native Americans during his hunting trips. But, there is no proof that he married an Indian woman. Some DNA results from possible descendants show no NA DNA. While this does not rule out native ancestry, it doesn't help either.

One big problem with the historical record is that it is unclear if the information after 1764 belongs to Jacob Castle or a son Jacob (Jr). For instance, who was it that fought at the Battle of King's Mountain, Jacob or a son. Jacob would have been almost 65 years old at the time, a bit long in the tooth for a forced march through the mountains. Who was the Jacob who bought land from John Donoho and his land warrant  in 1782? This is most likely the man who is enumerated in the census' of 1830 and 1840 and not the elder Jacob.

A Jacob Castle was recorded as paying taxes in Rowan County, North Carolina in 1768. Was this our Jacob Castle? Whoever he was he had established a homestead there. The name Jacob Castle was not rare, searching ancestry show quite a few men of that name.

In 1779 a Jacob Cassell paid £240 for 600 acres of land, Treasury Warrant 945, on Pottinger Creek in what is now Nelson County, Kentucky. A year later he turned it over to his son Henry. Henry Cassell is found in subsequent census' in Kentucky. There was also a Henry Castle in West Virginia. There is nothing that ties these men together.

2. From a genealogical standpoint we know very little about Jacob Castle. There is no source for parents, wife or children. Maybe somewhere in some yet to be digitized archive there will be some document which will reveal some information that can help us identify his family.

3. DNA can help unravel the claims of descent from Jacob Castle. Familytree DNA has a Castle project. Two kits claim Yelles Cassell, grandfather of Peter Cassell, as their ancestor but these kits do not match. Nor do these match the kit who claims descent from Jacob Castle 1749-1849 who I believe is the man claimed to be the son of Jacob Castle. None of the DNA results match the kit which claims Elijah Castle of Russell County either. More men need to take the yDNA test to sort out potential relationships.

4. The Shawnee Heritage Books should be viewed as fiction. Chief Ben Barnes, to put it mildly, has a very low opinion of these books. If you believe that you have a Shawnee ancestor call the tribe headquarters in Miami, OK and they will help you if they can with your research.

5. Sowega "Gliding Swan" is an internet/Don Greene myth. If you are committed to a proven, well documented, well sourced genealogy, then she has no place in your tree.

Serious Questions, Comments Welcome 
No claims without sources will be published 


[1] Brian Ward and Jennifer Allison, 'Jacob Castle", Wikitree (http://www.wikitree.com : accessed 20 November 2016) profile Castle-331.

[2] Private User, "Jacob 'the hunter' Castle," Geni (http://https://www.geni.com/people/Jacob-The-Hunter-Castle/6000000001607202309 : accessed 21 November 2016)

[3] Find A Grave, database and images (http://findagrave.com : accessed 22 November 2016), memorial page for Jacob Castle  (1717-1803), Find A Grave Memorial no. 139043975, citing Castle Indian Cemetery, Russell County, Virginia.

[4] "Orange County Tithe Lists," William and Mary Quarterly, Vol. 27, No. 1 (July 1918) p. 19-20, digital images, Archive (https://archive.org/details/williamandmaryc00marygoog : accessed 22 November 2016).

[5] Orange County, VA Deed Book 4, p. 47-48

[6] Lyman Chalkley, Chronicles of the Scotch-Irish Settlement in Virginia, Vol. 3, (Rosslyn, Virginia : Mary S. Lockwood, 1912) 304.

[7] Orange County, VA Deed Book 4, p. 52-54.

[8] Orange County, VA Will Book 1, 202-206.

[9] John Houston Harrison, Settlers by the Long Grey Trail, Some Pioneers to Old Augusta County, (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1935-2007). Originally found in the Orange Court Order Book, 1741-1743, p. 109.

[10] Orange County, VA Will Book 2, 154-155.

[11] Joseph Kellogg, "Court Records of Augusta County, Virginia," National Genealogical Society Quarterly, Vol. 29, (March 1941) 31, digital images, Google Books (https:www.book.google.com : accessed 25 November 2016).

[12] Chalkley, Chronicles of the Scotch-Irish, Vol 3, 302.

[13] Mary B. Kegley and F. B. Kegley, Early Adventurers on the Western Waters: pts. 1-2. The New River of Virginia in pioneer days, 1745-1805,Vol. 3 (Green Publishers, Inc., 1995).

[14] Chalkley, Chronicles of the Scotch-Irish, Vol. 1, 23.

[15] Chalkley, Chronicles of the Scotch-Irish, Vol. 1, 434.

[16] Chalkley, Chronicles of the Scotch-Irish, Vol. 1, 433.

[17] Chalkley, Chronicles of the Scotch-Irish, Vol. 1, 38.

[18] Chalkley, Chronicles of the Scotch-Irish, Vol. 1, 434.

[19] "The Diary of Dr. Thomas Walker: Surveyor for the Loyal Company Virginia (1715-1794)," [diary] (March 1749-July 1750), transcription, The Land of our Ancestors (http://www.tngenweb.org/tnland/squabble/walker.html : accessed 7 December 2016).

[20] Mary B. Kegley and F. B. Kegley, Early Adventurers on the Western Waters: pts. 1-2. The New River of Virginia in pioneer days, 1745-1805, (Green Publishers, Inc., 2004) 50.

[21] "Draper Manuscripts: William Preston Papers, 1731-1791," index, Wisconsin Historical Society
(http://digicoll.library.wisc.edu/cgi/f/findaid/findaid-idx?c=wiarchives;cc=wiarchives;view=text;rgn=main;didno=uw-whs-draper0qq : accessed 8 December 2016); entry for Jacob Castle.

[22] "Draper Manuscripts: William Preston Papers, 1731-1791," index, Wisconsin Historical Society
(http://digicoll.library.wisc.edu/cgi/f/findaid/findaid-idx?c=wiarchives;cc=wiarchives;view=text;rgn=main;didno=uw-whs-draper0qq : accessed 8 December 2016); entry for Jacob Castle.

[23] Mary B. Kegley and F. B. Kegley, Early Adventurers on the Western Waters: pts. 1-2. The New River of Virginia in pioneer days, 1745-1805,Vol. 3 (Green Publishers, Inc., 1995) 225.

[24] John Newton Harmon, Annals of Tazewell County, Virginia 1800-1922 Vol. 1, (Richmond, Virginia : W. C. Hill Printing, 1922) 31.

[25] Chalkley, Chronicles of the Scotch-Irish, Vol. 1, 114.

[26] Mary B. Kegley and F. B. Kegley, Early Adventurers on the Western Waters: pts. 1-2. The New River of Virginia in pioneer days, 1745-1805,Vol. 3 (Green Publishers, Inc., 1995) 361.

[27] James William Hagy, "Castle's Woods and Early Russell County," (Lebanon, Virginia : Russell County Historical Society, 1979) 14.

[28] "Russell County, Virginia Law Order Book 1, 1786-1791," database of abstracted records, Rootsweb (http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~varussel/court/ruscolobk1.html : accessed 10 December 2016).

[28] "Virginia Treasury Warrants," searchable database, Kentucky.gov (http://apps.sos.ky.gov/land/nonmilitary/LandOfficeVTW/ : accessed 10 December 2016) entry for John Donoho, warrant 14292.

[29]"Russell County, Virginia Surveyor's Book 1," digital image, transcription, Rootsweb (http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~varussel/landgrants/ruscosurvbk.html : accessed 10 December 2016). entry for Jacob Castle, transcribed by Rhonda Russell

[30]William D. Bennett, "Early Settlement Along the New River," National Park Service (https://www.nps.gov/parkhistory/online_books/symposia/newriver-84/sec3.htm : accessed 29 November 2016). This article was written for a New River Symposium in 1984.

[31] Daniel Kolb Cassel, A Genealogical History of the Cassel Family, (Norristown, Pennsylvania : Morgan R. Mills, 1896) 29-30; digital images, Archive (https://archive.org : accessed 29 November 2016).

[32] Samuel Abbott Green, Groton historical series. A collection of papers relating to the history of the town of Groton, Massachusetts, Vol. 3, (Cambridge: University Press, 1887), digital  images, Archive (https://archive.org : accessed 29 November 2016).

[33] Ezra S. Stearns, William Frederick Whitcher, Edward Everett Parker, Genealogical and Family History of the State of New Hampshire: A Record of the Achievements of Her People in the Making of a Commonwealth and the Founding of a Nation, Volume 2, (New Hampshire: Lewis Publishing Co., 1908) 862, digital images, Google Books (https://books.google.com : accessed 29 November 2016).

[34]  Brenda Keck Reed, "Sowega 'Gliding Swan' Pekowi Shawnee," database, Rootsweb (http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=bhreed&id=I9203 : accessed 8 December 2016), ID: I9203.

[35] Gordon Aronhime, "Jacob Castle: Clinch Father?," Bristol (Virginia) Herald Courier, January 29, 1965. print copy.

[36] James W. Hagy, "The Frontier at Castle's Woods, 1769-1786," The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 75, No. 4 (Oct., 1967), pp. 410-428; digital images, JSTOR ( http://www.jstor.org/stable/4247342 : accessed 9 December 2016).

[37] Mary B. Kegley and F. B. Kegley, Early Adventurers on the Western Waters: pts. 1-2. The New River of Virginia in pioneer days, 1745-1805,Vol. 3 (Green Publishers, Inc., 1995).

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