Indians Capture Samuel
Porter of Castlewood
Samuel Porter settled
at Castlewood with the first settlers in 1769. He is not to be confused
with another Samuel Porter, son of Patrick Porter, who lived at Porter's
Fort, on Fall Creek, near Dungannon.
Samuel Porter who
was captured by the Indians and carried to Canada, lived at Temple Hill
in Castlewood. According to family tradition he was a sort of lay or local
Methodist minister, and had four sons, all of whom became Methodist ministers
and moved to Missouri.
It is not known
to this writer just when and under what conditions Samuel Porter was captured.
He may have been taken in 1778 at the time Captain John Dunkin and the
Solomon Litton family were captured near Glade Hollow Fort. That he remained
in captivity sometimes, is shown by a letter written by his former neighbor.
Captain William Russell, from Aspenvale, to the Governor of Virginia, on
the 25th of September, 1783, wherein he says:
"In behalf of Patrick
Porter a returned prisoner from Detroit, who has been a worthy citizen
of Virginia since 1769, and had proved his attachment to the American cause.
Col. Arthur Campbell, since his return home had caused his arrest upon
charge of adhering to the enemy (British) while in captivity at Detroit,
and had ordered him to report for trial on several occasions, but had postponed
his examination, from time to time, without giving reason thereof. Col.
Russell thinks he is unjustly charged, and begs leave to say to the Governor,
'I fear Col. Campbell's present close attention to affect a new state in
this part of the country, will engage his time to the neglect of any individual
among us.'" (Virginia State Papers, Vol. 3, page 532)
to this charge of treason by Col. Arthur Campbell against Porter is unknown
to me, but apparently the charge was, as Russell says, unjust, for he resided
on at Castlewood until his death. His will recorded March 8, 1820, in Russell
County, mentions his wife, Elizabeth, sons James, Thomas D., Samuel and
John Porter. Daughters, Peggy, who married a Dickenson and Tabitha, who
married a Smith. He mentions his grandchildren, the children of daughter
Peggy as Nathaniel, Betsy, Tabitha and Duncan G. Dickenson.
A traditional story
of the Porter family was told to Dr. Goodridge Wilson, by the late Mr.
S. N. Dickenson, great-grandson of Samuel Porter and published in the Roanoke
Times several years ago, which goes as follows:
"Once while Samuel
Porter was erecting a house his four sons were working on the rafters when
a party of Indians came upon them and would have captured them had not
some great bear dogs attacked them and engaged their whole attention while
the boys made their escape."
That one of his
daughters, Margaret, was red headed and the other, Tabitha was black headed,
and that the family was refugeeing in Castlewood Fort one time when Benge
and his marauders were abroad. Margaret Porter and her sister went to the
spring one night for a bucket of water and passed by a hemp shock close
by the road. Benge, himself, spying on the fort, was hiding behind the
shock of hemp and could have touched them as they passed, but allowed them
to go and come unmolested, not caring to make an alarm. Benge in telling
about it said, "that a black haired squaw and a red haired squaw went to
the spring and back, passing so close to him that he could have seized
them both without moving his feet."