Yelles “Jules, Julius Cassel” Kassel: Biography

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Yelles “Jules, Julius Cassel” Kassel; born abt. 1590 and died abt. 1681 of Krisheim, Germany, “Krisheim is located between Manheim and Worms in the Palatinate (Pfalz)”, had at least two sons, ; Johannes “John” Cassel, born abt. 1639 and died April 17, 1692 in Philadelphia, Pa. and Arnold Cassel, born abt. 1642 and died abt. 1687. These were the first Cassel, Cassell, Kassel, Kassell, Castle’s to come to America. They came to America under the terms of a promise by William Penn. Penn on his third visit to Germany, met Julius on Sunday, August 26, 1681.

I do not know the reason or reasons for this departure from Germany. Johannes, and Arnold arrived in Germantown Pennsylvannia on November 20, 1686 after a seven month journey aboard the ship “Jeffries”. Naturalization papers for both brothers dated March 7, 1691-1692, are presently in the Library of Jaunita College, Huntington, PA. Johannes was 47-years old when he immigrated to America and had five children who accompanied him and his wife Mary, 2-boys and 3-girls, “Arnold 16, Peter 13, Elizabeth 11, Mary-9, and Sarah-6.

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Johannes Cassel, shortly after arriving in Germantown learned that a large legacy was left to his family through the death of a relative wich amounted to nearly one million dollars. It was necessary for them to return to Germany to claim the legacy. A church council was called and the matter was discussed. It was decided however, by a unanimous vote not to receive the money as it would have a tendency to make them proud, which, was at odds with their religious beliefs. “Which may have been Judaism, Mennonite or Lutheran”.

Johannes Cassel also signed the original charter of Germantown, Pennsylvania, where he settled and spent the rest of his natural life. An interesting note, Cassel; Cassell; Kassel; Kassell; Castle;, are only a few of the spellings of our last name. It is not a German surname but a place name, “Hesse-Kassel”. “Coming from Germany converted to Judaism”. There are Jewish Cassels, and it is possible that the name has been derived from a contracted version of the Hebrew name “Katriel”. There is a story in our history of two brothers in a Jewish family married Gentile women and got booted out.

That trail leads to the US and Canada, and one branch of the Jewish family to England, the mst famous one being “Sir Ernest Cassel, and Sir Ian Cassel. a man of great wealth and friend of royalty. Our line decends from Yelles “Jules, Julius Cassel” Kassel to his son, Johannes “John” Cassel to his son, Peter Cassel. I have no further information on Peter other than he married Catherine Elizabeth, her last name is unknown at the time of this writting. Peter Cassel, had at least two children I know of and possibly more.

Peter by my calulation would have been about 44-yrs old when he and Catherine Elizabeth bore their son Jacob Cassel who was born about the year 1717. And married a Shawnee Indian named, Sowege “Gliding Swan”. And Basil Joseph Castle Jacob Cassel for whom “Castlewoods, Virginia” is named, is one of the most mysterious and intriguing characters of the early frontier in Russell County, Virginia. Historians, as well as court records, indicate that Jacob Castle was a “long hunter” and lived for great periods of time with the Indians in the vicinity of what, today, is Castlewood in the western part of Russell County, Virginia.

Jacob Cassel/Castle, had at least eight wives all Cherokee except Sowege, who was his first wife. Sowege was a Shawnee Indian fromPennsylvania and the mother of his first born Jacob, Jr.. Castle dressed in Buckskin moccasins and leggings, a leather hunting shirt and “breeches” and a cap made of beaver or otter skin. He carried a hatchet, knife, shotpouch, powder horn, rifle (or musket) and enough food for at least 2 days. Castlewood takes it name from “Castle’s Woods”, the vast expansion of forest land that Jacob Castle acquired from the Indians.

There are many stories regarding Castle’s acquisition of the land. Some historians say that he traded the Indians a butcher knife and a musket for the expanse of woodland that later took his name. Some say that he disposed of it for “a hound dog, a shotgun and a drink of whiskey”. An area known as Castle Run, as legend goes, was so named because Jacob Castle was once chased by an Indian chief for hunting on his land. Castle settled in what later became Russell County because he was hounded by Adam Harman in Augusta and Montgomery Counties, Virginia. Jacob Castle was detailed with other ettlersto build a road from Adam Harman’s house “to the river” and over the Ridge to the north branch of Roanoke River. Castle, being the free spirit that he was, apparently objected to building the road for Harman, who was captain of the Fort in his precinct and overseer of the main road through the community. According to some accounts, Harman suspected that Castle was in league with some Indians who were living in Russell County and raiding the older settlements in Augusta County. At one time, they reportedly robbed Harman and he believed that Castle had instigated the attacks on him.

In 1749, Harman charged Jacob Castle with threatening to aid the French. Since this was before the French and Indian war broke out and French and English relations were bad, the charge was considered to be treason. Harman took a posse to Castle’s Woods to arrest Castle and return him to Montgomery County. Apparently Castle resisted and according to the accepted legend, the Clinch river got its name from a lame man named Clinch who was in the posse. “During the battle, in which the Indians were assisting Castle, Clinch got separated from the posse while it was retreating across the river.

He was either shot by an Indian or fell from his horse. An Indian, seeing that he had difficulty moving in the water, rushed forward to scalp him and was himself killed. For his participation in the incident, the others named the river “Clinch” in his honor”. Indeed, Dr. Thomas Walker (for whom Walker Mountain is named) in his journal of his trip through southwest Virginia in 1750, said “Clinch River was named for a hunter whose name was Clinch. ” Castle was either arrested or, as some say, turned himself in . At any rate, he was tried and acquitted of the charge.

Thereafter, he spent more and more time in Castle’s Woods. He went west permanently about 1750 according to James W. Hagy in his book “Castle’s Woods and Early Russell County 1769 – 1799”, but he also retained residence in Montgomery County. It is quite probable that he had a family in the New River Area in addition to his Indian family in Castle’s Woods. Jacob is mentioned in the “Chronicles of Southwest, VA”, as well as his son Jacob, Jr.. It is often hard to figure out which Jacob they were referring to in the records themselves.

It is not clear how many children Jacob Sr. had, besides Jacob Jr. there is thought to be several more sons and daughters, many of which lived in the Cherokee communities and may have forsaken the Castle name for there given Indian names. Two other sons have some evidence as being a descendent of Jacob. Benjamin Castle and Joseph Castle but it is unclear if they were his sons with Sowege also known as Mary Elizabeth, or one of his other wives. The time span would suggest Sowege as their mother. Change Date: 22 MAR 2003 at 11:18:51

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Yelles “Jules, Julius Cassel” Kassel: Biography. (2017, Mar 28). Retrieved from

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