Early Settlers of Castle’s Woods

© Jerry F. Couch

The pioneer era house pictured above was located near Temple Hill Cemetery.  Taking the name of a later owner, it was referred to as “The Samuel Porter Home.”  When built, it was a modest log cabin located at the edge of a wilderness.  As the years rolled by the house was enlarged and “modernized.”  Finally, like too many of its contemporaries, it departed from the landscape.  Few 18th century homes survive in Russell County today.

When the earliest settlers from points east, north, and south arrived in what would become Castle’s Woods, actual settlement was prohibited by law.  Thus, the first settlers were squatters, living beyond what was known as the “proclamation line” and the protection of the law.  Although some of these squatters were able buy the land upon which they were living, most were evicted when the legal owners took possession of their land.

Several years ago, Tom Rudder (who grew up in St. Paul) did extensive research concerning the subject of early Castlewood landowners.  He and I had several very interesting conversations and he shared his research with me for publication in the Clinch Valley Times.  However, Tom’s material didn’t work well in our printed edition due to size limitations, etc.  Fortunately there are no such limitations on this page so I am now able to share his material with you.

Click on any of the images below to see a larger view.  I have worked on the map a bit to make it easier to read.







11 thoughts on “Early Settlers of Castle’s Woods

  1. Thank you for this article! It’s extremely interesting to see the land boundaries of many of my ancestors. I knew that Frederick Fraley helped in the building of Moore’s and other forts; I didn’t know his land was so close to the Fort itself. He was my 5 times great Grandfather and I often see his name spelled different ways. I believe that the James Friley listed is one of his sons, James Fraley. Regardless, it’s a wonderful article that I plan on keeping! Thank you for sharing it with us!

  2. Very interesting article and photograph. Was this house before or after Daniel Boone’s stay in the Castlewood area?

  3. Well when you talk about the Boones, were all family. Daniel did more then just visit the old homestead. He lived there for a while.

    James Fraley

    1. Hi James: Can you tell me more about the homestead? Is it still standing? I’d like to see it. My husband and I are driving down from Michigan in October. We’d love to know more about the family and the Boone connection. Frederick Sr. is my 6th GGF. Thank you! Greta

  4. Did your research turn up anything on the McCoy families? They weren’t in the first wave of Castle’s Woods settlers but were not far behind.

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