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Samuel Handley, born September 17, 1751, on the Staunton River, Botetourt County, Virginia. A short time after his birth, his family moved to Greenbrier County, where he spent his boyhood. His father, William Handley died in 1756, when Samuel was five years old. In 1764, there was an outbreak of Indian hostilities and Samuel enlisted in in a unit commanded by Colonel William Fleming. They proceed to a site at the junction of the Ohio River and the Kanawha River, where the Indians entrapped them. The only alternative was to fight their way out. Samuel got his first taste of battle. The battle lasted eight hours and finally the Indians gave way in confusion, leaving about 400 of their warriors dead. The loss for the settlers was 75 killed and 240 wounded. All of the officers of the unit were killed. After the battle, Samuel returned to farming and going to school.
Samuel married first, Mary Adams, daughter of John and Agnes Adams. Mary died about 1779. As far as we know, there was no children from this marriage.
When the Revolutionary War began, Samuel enlisted in the service of the colonies. He was in Christian's campaign of 1776. In 1777 and 1778, Samuel was engaged in fighting Indians. In 1779, he was in Evan Shelby's expedition. He was private in Colonel William Campbell's command at the Battle of Kings Mountain on October 7, 1780. He was a sergeant in General Daniel Morgan's command in the Battle of Cowpens on January 17, 1781. Later that year he was in Colonel John Sevier's command.
At the close of the war, Samuel went to South Carolina and married, second, Susannah (Susan) Cowan, daughter of Robert Cowan and Susan Wood, on February 4, 1782. He had met Susannah while he was in Sevier's command. A short time after their marriage, Samuel and Susannah moved to Washington County in East Tennesse on the banks of the Chucky River. They lived there until 1797.
When the War with the Cherokee Indians and the Spaniards broke out in 1788, Samuel was chosen to command a company in the territorial militia In 1792, his company of 42 men were patrolling the stations along the Cumberland Trail. The Indians, 56 strong, created a diversion and attacked. Samuel's horse was shot from under him. He took refuge behind a large oak tree. Here he was met by an Indian with raised tomahawk. He caught the warrior's arm and uttered an Indian word meaning "I surrender". The brave captured Samuel and took him to the chief. Every Indian along the way struck Samuel with the flat side of their tomahawk. This diversion was a benefit for Samuel's panic-stricken men. Only three of Samuel's men were killed in this fray. 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 was last seen, 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, located on Will's Creek in what is now Dekalb County, Alabama. where his fate was in suspense for three days. He was made to run the gauntlet three times. During the second time that he had to run the gauntlet, there was another white man that had to run it with him. The other man begged for mercy, but Samuel did not beg and accepted all the punishment that the Indians gave him without a word of protest. The Indians brutally killed the other man saying that he acted like a woman. Samuel was held prisoner for about three months. In the end his life was spared and he was adopted into the wolf clan of the Cherokees Indian Nation at the direction of John Watt, the principal chief of the town. He remained with the tribe for three more months and was treated very kindly. General Sevier send word to John Watt, that he would lay waste to the Cherokee Indian Nation if Captain Handley was not returned. The Indians wanted peace, so about the first of June, six of the braves escorted Samuel to General Sevier's fort. 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.
In 1797, Samuel and his family moved to a farm on Little River in Blount County. During the summer of 1800, he moved to further west in Blount County. He resided for some time near the Telico Blockhouse, where the Indians came to trade. In 1808, Samuel and his family finally settled in Franklin County near Winchester, Tennessee. He was a member of the first convention that formed the State of Tennessee He is buried in Woods Cemetery, near Mingo Swamp, northwest of Belvidere, Tennessee in Franklin county. As far as we know, Samuel and Susannah had eight children. They were;
a. Nancy Handley, born in 1782. When she was qabout seven years old, she was captured by the Indians and held prisoner for about seven years. She was released when she was about fourteen years old. She married a man name Hall and they lived in South Carolina. b. Sarah Handley, born in 1783, married Thomas Ross. He died in Lee County, Mississippi. c. Samuel Handley. He may have lived in Pontatoc County, Mississippi. d. John Handley, born February 22, 1786, married Nancy Cowan, died August 9, 1855 at Belvidere, Tennessee. e. Mary Handley, married William S. Foster. f. Lucinda (Betsey) Handley, married John Bell. g. Robert Cowan Handley, born July 6, 1792, married Elizabeth Bell, died August 27, 1841 in Pontotoc County, Mississippi. h. William Clairborne Handley, married Nancy Reeves, They lived near Salem, Tennessee. They are buried in Beans Creek Cemetery, Salem, Tennessee.