© 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.