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The following is based on a detailed and well documented discussion of the early Stalnaker family by Robert Helfer and Lisa DeGruyter at http://www.io.com/~degh/deGruyter-Hersman/index.html (10 October 2007)
Samuel Stalnaker is believed to have immigrated from German sometime before 1745. He settled in southwest Virginia about that time, as an Indian trader. He established his home at modern Chilhowie, in Smyth County Va by 1748 when Dr. Thomas Walker met him during his journey to the Cumberland Gap. "Stalnakers" became a well known placename in the western frontier of Viriginia, being listed on the Fry-Jefferson Map of 1755 as the furthest west settlement in Virginia. Stalnakers wife and family were killed by Indians at the start of the French and Indian War in 1756. Stalnaker himself was taken captive, though he escaped a year later, returning to eastern Virginia. He is believed to have settled eventually in South Carolina, where he continued as an Indian trader, dying sometime after 1769. The location of his original settlement became known as "The Town House". It eventually became a stagecoach stop under the name Chillhowie Springs by 1815. The community incorporated in 1913 as "Chilhowie", said to be a Cherokee word for "Land of Many Deer".