Monday, July 25, 2011


SOWEGE "Gliding Swan" a Pekowi Shawnee  married JACOB CASTLE, the famous Longhunter, known as WHITE TASSEL, 1736 in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. She changed her name to MARY ELIZABETH CASTLE. She was a Kispokotha ( Warrior Clan) Shawnee. Waupaathee is swan in Shawnee, therefore Sowega must denote some effeminant action of a swan.,perhaps "Gliding Swan" or "Swimming Swan". The Shawnee had 34 tribes (gens or clans) or name groups, as they are sometimes refered by. The Shawnee child is named by the elder of the tribe or gen of that particular division of the nation. In this case it would be the Kispokotha (Warrior Clan). "They generally bestow a name descriptive of some act of the animal or bird which is the totem of the infant named". (Trowbridge:1939,p.26)."   "Women receive names within their totem tha convey an idea of softness or effeminacy".  In general Shawnee "names are always more or less descriptive of some event which has occured,or of particular anticipated points in the character of the person, or of the animal which is their totem or name group." ( Towbridge:1939,p.27) Therefore it is fairly safe to assume that Sowege is a name that identifies some effeminate nature of behavior of a swan.

Sowege's husband JACOB CASSELL/CASTLE was born 1717 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania to German immigrant PETER KASSEL/CASSEL of Kriegsheim, Alzey-Worms, Palitinate and CATHERINE ELIZABETH HOBART of Germantown, Pennsylvania.  Peter Cassel was the son of German immigrants, Johannes Cassel (1639-1691) and Mary Op Den Graeff of  Kreigsheim and were original settlers of Germantown.   Jacob Cassell was a famous Longhunter, believed to be an albino who was more comfortable among Native Americans than the whites.  Jacob had more than four native wives and twenty known children, though Sowege was his primary wife.

Sowege and Jacob Cassell/Castle together had nine children:
  1. VALENTINE CASSEL who was born 1736 in Lancaster Co., PA; died 4 Sep 1804 in Augusta County, Virginia' married 15 October 1751 to Maria Margaretha Wilfong in Lancaster, PA.
  2. MARY CAWAKAWACHI CASTLE who was born 1738 in Lancaster Co., PA; died after 1765; she married in 1755 a Pekowi Shawnee and lived among the Shawnee.
  3. RACHEL CASTLE who was born 1740 in Orange County, Virginia; was living in 1755 in Virginia; married c1754 to JOHN PATRICK VANCE in Lee County, Virginia.
  4. ELIJAH CASTLE, born 1742 in Orange County, Virginia.
  5. CATHERINE CASTLE, born 1744 in Lee County, Virginia; living in 1773 possibly in Augusta County, Virginia; married 1760 to John "Old John" FULK in Rockingham County, Virginia.
  6. BENJAMIN CASTLE, born 1746 in Castle's Woods, Russell County, Virginia; died bef 5 Aug 1779 in Montgomery County, Virginia.
  7. JACOB CASTLE, JR., born 1749 in Augusta County, Virginia; died 1848 at Copper Creek, Russell County, Virginia at age 99; married MARY SHANE (Shawnee/Cherokee) in 1769 at Lee County, Virginia.
  8. LITTLETON CASTLE, born 1752 possibly at Augusta County, Virginia' living 20 Feb 1800 in Lee County Virginia; married to Mrs. Rebeccah Castle.
  9. JOSEPH CASTLE, born 1755 in Castle's Woods, Russell County, virginia; died c 28 Feb 1804 in Russell County.
On 6 January 1750 a letter from SAMUEL ECKERLIN to ALEXANDER MACK, was published in The Pennsylvania Berichte, a Germantown newspaper, and includes a reference to a family named KASSEL on the Little River and probably refers to JACOB CASTLE:    "Upon this occasion I want to report to you about the great inundations which occurred on the 25th of August, a little past midnight, on the Roanoke and the area northeast of it. Our river as well as the Little River were also very high but nobody here suffered mentionable damage. On the Roanoke, however, and other nearby places there was much damage. At several spots entire hills were swept down and leveled and several tracts of bottom land, all inhabited, were filled with so much gravel and sand that they can no longer be lived on. This I have seen myself. Also, houses and barns were carried away and with them a great deal of the crop. The Roanoke was a mile wide at several places and the water rose to 15 feet above otherwise dry land. Since you are familiar with this area, I want to give you details about several places as follows: One mile below TOBIAS BREIT a man and a child were drowned; a woman managed to save herself on a tree; livestock was practically all drowned because the water rose so suddenly and right at midnight that none could have been driven away. The house of HENRICH BRAUN with whom we stayed has been torn up. Clad in nothing but their shirts they got away with their children, the water reaching up to their arms. His three cows in the field were carried 3 miles downstream by the waters where they gained firm land alive. PETER KINTER and his wife found a horrible end. They were not yet asleep but had been drinking together, were in good cheer and thought of no danger till the water suddenly rose up to the house and no more escape was possible. So they retreated to the attic. No sooner had they reached it than the water rose up to them. They placed boards on the collar beam and sat on them. When the water reached up to their arms and no more flight seemed possible, he lost heart and told his people: He believed that this was another deluge and the Last Judgment had come. He asked his wife to give him a kiss. As he grabbed her, both slid from the board and away with the waters. Those who were with them on the boards saw no more of them.  KASSEL's wife and children and their old mother were in the house at the same time. They all survived up on the collar beam save for a small child whom PETER KINTER's wife had on her lap. It drowned with them. After daybreak, the others found out that they had been carried with the upper part of the house for a mile into some woods. They found a rope and tied it to a tree so that they would not be carried any further until the waters subsided or someone would come to their rescue. After a few days, PETER KINTER's wife was found dead and naked hanging on a tree with one arm. And several days later he was also found. But he had no more head and only one arm. Maybe some wild animal had already feasted on him."   The Kassel mentioned above was more than likely Jacob Castle.

The name Shawnee means "southerner". It was said that the Shawnee, a large and united tribe were on of the early historic groups of southern Indiana, but this has been questioned due to conflicting reports. The Shawnee considered the Delaware the "grandfathers" of the Shawnee tribe and the source for all the Algonquin tribes.  Shawnee comes from the Algonquin word "shawun" (shawunogi) meaning "southerner."  However, this referred to their original location in the Ohio Valley relative to other Great Lakes Algonquin rather than a homeland in the American southeast. Shawnee usually prefer to call themselves the Shawano - sometimes given as Shawanoe or Shawanese. South Carolina colonists knew them as the Savannah or Savannuca. Other names: Ani-Sawanugi (Cherokee), Chaouanons (Chauenon) (French), Chaskpe (Chaouesnon) (French), Chiouanon (Seneca), Cumberland Indians, Ontwagnnn (Iroquois "one who stutters"), Oshawanoag (Ottawa), Satana (Iroquois), Shawala (Lakota), and Touguenha (Iroquois). More about the history of the Shawnee.

Pekowi  (Bicowetha or Pequa) was the name of one of the five divisions (or bands) of the Shawnee, a Native American people, during the 18th century. The other four divisions were the Chalahgawtha, Mekoche, Kispoko, and Hathawekela. Together these divisions formed the loose confederacy that was the Shawnee tribe.

All five Shawnee division names have been spelled in a great variety of ways. Variations of the name "Pekowi" are reflected in many place names in the United States, including Piqua, Pickawillany, Pickaway, and Pequea.

The Shawnee were living in northwestern Indiana by 1788, but some bands of the tribe roamed around Indiana and in April of that same year, Kakinathucca’s band were hunting and making sugar in the southwestern part of Indiana. When the sugar making was done they the moved toward Vincennes, near where the Ohio and White Rivers meet and here the women of the tribe planted their crops. The men of the tribe were warriors and the care of the crops was the responsibilities of the women. Many of the tribal ceremonies were centered around the agricultural cycle. In the spring when it was time to plant they performed the corn dance. When the crops were ripe they did the Green Corn Dance and at harvest time it was the Autumn Bread Dance to celebrate the harvest. When the harvest was done the band moved again, north toward Fort Wayne.  It was in the village near the White River where the Shawnee "Prophet" had his vision and he and his brother started their campaign among the central woodland tribes for the tribes return to the native way of life. The Prophet gained many followers but only a few Shawnee supported his ideas.

The Shawnee were divided into five divisions, the Pekowi, Chalakatha, the Theawikila, Kispola, and Miskohe. Each division had their own war chief, peace chief, woman chief, messenger and sacred bundle.

The Chalakatha and the Pekowi had established villages in Indiana and TECUMSEH and his brother the Prophet belonged by birth to the Kishpolo division.

The tribal chiefs were chosen from either the Chalakatha or the Thawikila divisions. Each division was divided into a number of partilatineal or gens groups. An individual’s name referred directly to some the animal or a characteristic of the animal that the gen took their name.

"So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people. Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide. Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, even a stranger, when in a lonely place. Show respect to all people and grovel to none. When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself. Abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision. When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home."

Chief Tecumseh, Shawnee Nation


  1. You have a beautiful website. Interesting, knowledgeable, and informative. I am a direct descendant of Jacob Castle, Jr. on my Skaggs line.

  2. I am also a descendant of Jacob Castle and Gliding Swan. Thank you for this information

    1. I am also a descendant of Jacob and Gliding Swan. Wht part of Utah do you live in? Are you a Latter Day Saint?

    2. Melissa, I am NOT LDS and do not live and have never lived in Utah. My blog has no connection to LDS whatsoever.

    3. I, too am a descendent of Jacob and Gliding Swan. I am from southern Ohio. I am Dora McFarland's great-granddaughter

    4. I'm a descendent of Sarah Jane Castle and John Spears (Tennessee). Thanks for your wonderful blog, you have done a great job putting it together.

    5. My husband (and son, now) is a decendant of Jacob Castle as well, and we are trying to pinpoint Native American lineage so that we can get our son his card. How interesting!

    6. Thank you for sharing the information as well.

      I just found this last night while working on a common site for family history.

      I am a descendent of Ardelia and William B. Castle both of KY.


    7. My husband's 6th great grandmother was Gliding Swan.

    8. My name is Dedra Castle Nightingale I am a descendant of Jacob Castle and Sowege Gilding Swan aka Marry Elizabeth Castle. they are my 6th Great Grandparents. My father's name is Michael Castle and his father was Clarence Caslte and his father was William Arnold Castle and his father was William W Castle and his father was Silburn Henderson Castle and his father was Zedekiah Alan Castle and his father was Jacob Castle Jr. which Lead to Jacob Castle and Sowege Gliding Swan. Pretty Cool!

  3. Thank you for this information. I am a descendant of Gliding Swan's, also. I am looking for info about her parents. Do you have anything on them? Sherry Davis

    1. All that we know about Sowege's parents is that they were Pekowi Shawnee and was a playmate possibly of Chief Tecumseh's sister.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. thank you for all of this information on your page. i am a decedent of jacob castle as well. my grandmother's maiden name was castle. jacob sr is my 7th great grandfather.

  6. Thank you as well for the wonderful look into my geneology! Like many of the others, I am a descendant of Jacob Castle and am doing a lot of research on this line of my family! I could not imagine at the time it would lead me back to Germany with Julius Kassel and to Jacob Castle Sr! It has been a wonderful discovery,and every bit of information I find continues to make the picture a little clearer and brighter!

    Cassell fr. California

  7. Michael Gene Cassell, II died a hero! He is a direct descendant of Julius Cassell.

  8. Here is the ancestry of Michael Gene Cassell:
    YELLES (Yillisz) KASEL
    PETER CASSEL Immigrant
    Jacob Castle
    Zedekiah Castle
    Joshua Zion Castle
    Allen Castle
    Albert Castle
    Gene Cassell
    Michael Gene Cassell
    Michael Gene Cassell, II

    1. Your line looks a whole lot like mine, thru Zedekiah, but I am out of William James Castle, son of Jedekiah and Julia Ann Penix. Williams, daughter Saphrona Castle was my great grandmother, her son Robert Williamson my grandfather. I am interested in the Shawnee line as I have most of my ancestry documented. Specifically Sowege's parents.

    2. I am also one of Robert Williamson's grandchildren researching our Shawnee/Native American heritage from Saphrona Castle back. I am Ruth's daughter. And yes, our Williamson line is well-documented, as Elwood my Dad had quite a bit, but not on this line. Any information you have would be greatly appreciated.

  9. Michael Gene Cassell saved his daughter from the attacker! Ironically, Michael Gene Cassell's distant cousin, Sally DeWees was possibly attacked by some man and had a baby at ten years old!

    Here is the anecstry of Sally DeWees:
    Johannes Cassell
    Elizabeth Cassell
    Margaret Kuster
    Garrett DEWEES
    Henry DEWEESE
    John DEWEESE
    Sarah "Sally" DEWEES

    Crazy World!

  10. Any truth that Gliding Swan is the daughter of Chief Cornstalk?

  11. My connection is Mary Cassell, married to Benjamin Francisco and related to the Taylors of TN, NC, and VA.

    James Taylor

  12. Valentine Cassell and Mary Margaret Wilfong were not married in 1751. That is her birthdate.

  13. What a wonderful account of my great-great-great-great-great-great grandparents, White Tassel and Gliding Swan! Or Jacob and Mary Elizabeth. :)
    Thank you.

  14. Just discovered Jacob Castle and Mary Elizabeth are my 6th Great Grandparents

  15. I am a great granddaughter of Sara Ellen Castle Salyers born in 1869 she was the daughter of Isaac Castle B. 1833, son of Zachariah born 1788, son of Jacob JR who married Mary Shane who was 1/2 Cherokee and son of Jacob and Gliding Swan. The Castles and Salyers were very closely related for many generations. Sarah Ellen married John F Salyers whom was a decendant of Zachariah B Salyers. Finding any indian connection has been difficult since Gliding Swan and Mary Shane.

  16. I have talked with some Shawnee Ineian Tribe members from Oklahoma who state that there are no records of Sowege or Mary Shane as being Shawnee. Furthermore they state that Sowege is a "fake" indian, basically a fairy tale. Has anyone ever found any birth or death records for "Sowega"? The Shawnee laugh at the name "sowege/sowega" saying it is not a Shawnee word at all. Can we prove these claims? because they has asked that we stop spreading this "story", if we cannot prove it. Has anyone ever gone to the city where Sowege, or Mary Dushane were born or died and physically looked at records? We need to do this if we plan on teaching mm our children about this "heritage". It appears Jacob Sr & Jr bought "negro wenchs" which by definition could have been any woman of color at that time, black or indian. Let's do more research and fill in these gaps.

    1. See the book, SHAWNEE HERITAGE i, SHAWNEE GENEALOGY AND FAMILY HISTORY by Don Greene with Noel Schutz.pages 58 & 59.

    2. I am a descendant of Jacob Castle but have not added Sowege to my tree as I cannot validate the information. The reviews I have read about the book SHAWNEE HERITAGE I, SHAWNEE GENEALOGY AND FAMILY HISTORY by Don Greene with Noel Schutz. seem to lambast the authors as having written pure fiction.
      I also have done the DNA testing and have 0% Native American in my profile. I would simply like to find the truth and have support documentation before I insert anything in my family tree.

  17. See the book, SHAWNEE HERITAGE i, SHAWNEE GENEALOGY AND FAMILY HISTORY by Don Greene with Noel Schutz.pages 58 & 59.

  18. My name is Dedra Castle Nightingale I am a descendant of Jacob Castle and Sowege Gilding Swan aka Marry Elizabeth Castle. they are my 6th Great Grandparents. My father's name is Michael Castle and his father was Clarence Caslte and his father was William Arnold Castle and his father was William W Castle and his father was Silburn Henderson Castle and his father was Zedekiah Alan Castle and his father was Jacob Castle Jr. which Lead to Jacob Castle and Sowege Gliding Swan. Pretty Cool!