Portal:Indian Captivity Stories/Samuel Handley

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Sources:The Samuel Handley story is recorded in Ramsey's 1853 work Annals of Tennessee, p571. This work is available on Google Books. Ramsay's account does not give a specific source, but the context of his presentation suggests that it is based on Governor John Seviers correspondance.

The following version is based on a presentation by Randall J. Handly. Handly's version is clearly drawn from Ramsay, but is substantially reduced. Handley has also added information of genealogical interest not contained in Ramsay's account. The verson shown here has been modified to correct spelling, adjust paragraphing, and slight rearrangements of text to improve information flow. Bill 14:05, 20 January 2007 (UTC).

Story:Samuel Handley (1751-1840) was born near Ashville, N.C. He first married Mary Adams, daughter of John and Agnes Adams. After Mary's death in 1779 he married Susannah Cowan, daughter of Robert Cowan and Susan Woods.

Samuel was a Captain during the Indian War. In 1792, his company of 42 men were attacked near Crab Orchard while defending the stations in the Cumberland. The Indians, 56 strong, attacked and created a panic among Samuel's men. One of these men was unhorsed near the Indian line and Samuel at once seized the horse and led it near him, so his man might mount again. In the process Samuel's own horse was shot from under him and he took to a tree, where he was met by an Indian with uplifted tomahawk. He caught the warrior's arm and uttered an Indian word meaning friendship, which the brave eased off and led him to the chief where for a time he was free from danger. While this was being done, every Indian near enough struck him with the flat side of his tomahawk.

This diversion was in favor of Samuel's panic-stricken men, only three others were killed. A relief party was set out to find Samuel's body, because he was believed to have been killed. When they arrived at the tree where Samuel had hidden, they found fragments of some paper. This paper contained the roll of the company and had been torn to pieces by Samuel. Samuel was taken to Willtown where his fate was in suspense for three days. He was made to run the gauntlet, his feet and hands made fast and the Indians threw him over their heads to see what the effect would be on his nose, but his life was spared and he was adopted into the wolf clan of the Cherokees. The Indians wanted peace, so 8 of the braves escorted Samuel to his home in Blount Co., Tn. The only ransom they asked was a key of whiskey.

Samuel was about forty at the time he was captured and his hair being brown, but on his return his hair was gray and his body was scarred and beaten severely. He resided for some time near the Telico Blockhouse, where the Indians came to trade. When a native from Willtown came across the river, he would say "Cananla, Cananla" meaning Peace, Peace and then spend days with their brother of the wolf caln. Samuel and his family finally settled at Winchester, Tn. He was a member of the first convention that formed the State of Tn. He is buried in Woods Cemetery, near Mingo Swamp, northwest of Belvidere, Tn.

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