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Samuel Stalnaker (abt. 1700 - aft. 1769)

Samuel Stalnaker aka Stahlnecker
Born about [location unknown]
Son of [father unknown] and [mother unknown]
[sibling(s) unknown]
Husband of — married [date unknown] [location unknown]
Descendants descendants
Died after in Virginiamap [uncertain]
Profile last modified | Created 19 May 2010
This page has been accessed 4,579 times.




Samuel Stalnaker was born before 1700 and died in 1769. He was living in Augusta County VA in April 1748. He was captured by Indians June 18, 1755 and his wife and son Adam were killed. He escaped from the Indians and was referred to as "Capt. Stalnaker" in a September 8, 1756 letter from Governor Dinwiddie.


The name Stalnaker is derived from the German word "Stahal" and "Stald" for steel, and "Negel" meaning sharp point or spear. The origin was "Stahlnegel" meaning sharp pointed steel spear. So the word was first applied to a warrior who was armed with such a weapon.

When Samuel Stalnaker was born; where he was born; when and where he was married, is unknown.

That Captain Samuel Stalnaker was the first to arrive in America is proven by the fact that there is no earlier record of the name in German settlements of Colonial New York, Pennsylvania or Delaware.

The Virginia Historical Society believes him to have been one of the Germans who were the first settlers in the valley of Virginia in 1732, in which year Jost Hite and others whose names are not recorded, emigrated there through Pennsylvania. That he was in Bucks County, Pennsylvania is proven by his connection with the Truby family who were settlers near Doylestown, and who came with the Stalnakers into Virginia and West Virginia.

That he was in Augusta County before 1748 is proven by the Journal of Dr. Walker, who states that in April, 1748, he met Samuel Stalnaker on his way to the Cherokees. (Filson Club Papers, No. 13, Page 42)

On March 23, 1750, Dr. Walker again met Stalnaker, who had just come to the place to settle on Middle Fork of Holston River, the last western settlement in Virginia. Here his house was built and here, no doubt, the Cherokees wished to meet the Commissioners of Virginia. On the map of 1751, this settlement is located on the Middlefork of Holston River, a few miles above its junction with the south fork, which is now Washington County, formerly a part of Fincastle, and the first county in Virginia named for George Washington.

The next record we have is in Summers History of southern West Virginia, Page 58, in which is given a register of persons killed or taken prisoners by the Indians in 1754, 1755, and 1756, on the New and Holston Rivers and Reedy Creek. This register states that Samuel Stalnaker on Holston River was taken prisoner, and escaped, but that his wife, Mrs. Stalnaker and his son, Adam, were killed. The official report of this is found in Dinwiddie Papers, Vol. 2, Page 447, in a letter written to Governor Sharpe of Maryland by Governor Dinwiddie dated April 1, 1756, regarding Indian troubles saying "One Stalnaker who was taken prisoner by Shawnees escaped and says he saw six French officers and one thousand from Outboten? Bound to Fort Duquense and the frontier.

Samuel Stalnaker was an explorer, trapper, and guide, the first white man to discover Cumberland Gap, and who hunted and explored in Kentucky many years before Daniel Boone ever entered it.

He was a Captain in the French and Indian Wars, and was a mediator between the Indians and the early Virginia government. He commanded a stockade fort at Draper's Meadows. Dinwiddie Papers, Vol. 2, Page 503; September 8, 1756, Governor Dinwiddie, writing to Colonel Clement Reed, acknowledged the receipt of a letter from that officer, through Captain Stalnaker and said "Give Stalnaker 100 pounds to qualify him to raise his Company and build a stockade fort at Drapers Meadow." The location of this fort is now known as Smithfield, Montgomery County, the first settlement west of the Alleghany Divide and at that time the first on New River.

Summers History of Southwest Virginia, is the first official reference to Stalnaker by his title, the record taken from old Book of Courts Martial held by Augusta Militia, 1756-95.

On July 29, 1756, a council of War assembled at Staunton by direction of Governor of Virginia to determine at what points forts should be built along the frontier for protection of settlers. Captain Stalnaker represented the Holston Settlement in this conference and it was at his request that the Stockade was built at Dunkards bottom on New River and Davis Bottom at headquarters of Middle Fork on the Holston.

An interesting fact is that Captain Samuel Stalnaker’s house was chosen as the meeting place for treating with the Indians by his Majesties’ Commissioners, at request of Chief of Cherokees held at Catawba Town and Broad River in March, 1756.

The last reference we have to this remarkable man we find in a statement to the effect that about 1768-9 J.F. D. Smyth, an English Traveler visited Captain Stalnaker at his home on the Holston River and remained two days. He says he found "the old pioneer still wise in the learning of the wilderness," and that he was able to direct Smyth a new route to Kentucky.

Captain Stalnaker’s death is wrapped in as much mystery as his birth and marriage. We know he had three sons, perhaps more and that his wife and son, Adam, were killed in 1755. Another son, George, was appointed Constable on waters of Holston and New Rivers in 1755, Withers History of southern West Virginia (Page 109-110) writes of George Stalnaker as later of Boltetourt? County in 1770. Of this branch of the family nothing is known.

Possible Children

Captain Samuel Stalnaker and Sarah (Susannah) Williams had the following children:

  • Jacob Stalnaker Sr born abt. 1710, married Marie Elizabeth Truby born abt. 1720
  • Adam Stalnaker born in Virginia, died 18 Jun 1755 in Virginia (killed by indians)
  • Nancy Stalnaker born abt. 1717, married James Booth born 1705 in Wales
  • George Stalnaker

Research Notes

  • Note: From - First explorations of Kentucky: Doctor Thomas Walker's journal of an ... By Josiah Stoddard Johnston ------ 23rd. We kept down Holston River about four miles and Camped; and then Mr. Powel and I went to look for Samuel Stalnaker, * who I had been inform'd was just moved out to settle. We found his Camp, and returned to our own in the Evening.

24th. We went to Stalnaker's, helped him to raise his house and Camped about a quarter of a mile below him. In April, 1748, I met the above mentioned Stalnaker between the Reedy Creek Settlement and Holstons River, on his way to the Cherokee Indians,* and expected him to pilate me as far as he knew but his affairs would not permit him to go with me. This was the Middle Fork of the Holston, which joins the French Broad near Knoxville and forms the Tennessee. The Holston was called by the Indians first the Cat-Cloo, afterward the Watauga. It took its present name from an early hunter and explorer named Holston. Haywood's Tennessee. Samuel Stalnaker was probably, as his name indicates, one of the early pioneers from the Lower Shenandoah Valley or from Pennsylvania, of German descent, the family having numerous representatives in the valley. He was doubtless a hunter and Indian trader who had visited the Cherokees and was acquainted with the route to Cumberland Gap, upon which Doctor Walker had never been, or he would not have needed a guide. It was from him evidently that Doctor Walker received information as to certain localities he was about to visit, as Clinch River, Cave Gap, and other points of which, as he advanced into Kentucky, he gave evidence of previous information. It is not improbable that the route from the Ohio River to Cumberland Gap and the Cherokee country, which at that time was defined and known as "the Warriors' Path," was traveled by hunters and traders, and that Stalnaker was acquainted with it personally or from others. On Fry and Jefferson's Map, 1751, Stalnaker's settlement is put down as the extreme western habitation)

  • Note: Believed by The Virginia Historical Society to be one of the Germans who were the first settlers in the Valley of Virginia in 1732 and emigrated there with others via Pennsylvania after entering the country via Charleston, SC
  • Note: Ordered to make a road between Reed Creek and Eagle Bottom - Patrick Calhoun, great-grandfather of John C. Calhoun, was ordered on this road at the same time.



  • This person was created on 19 May 2010 through the import of My Family File.ged.
  • WikiTree profile Stalnaker-193 created through the import of LaurieSherrod8Generations_102712.ged on Oct 27, 2012 by Laurie Holleman.
  • WikiTree profile Capt.-2 created through the import of SHAWULA 1497 SEPTEMBER 2012.ged on Sep 6, 2012 by Eric Shawula.

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Comments: 11

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Stahlnecker-3 and Stalnaker-44 appear to represent the same person because: LNAB Stalnaker is sourced in bio
posted by Traci Thiessen
Johann Jacob Stalnaker

Gender: Male Birth: circa 1660 North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany Death: October 1716 (51-60) Kleinengstingen, Engstingen, Tübingen, Baden-Württemberg, Germany

Son of Jacob Stahlnecker and Anna Maria Stalnaker Husband of Anna Barbara Stalnaker Father of Captain Samuel C. Stalnaker then for Jacob I have Jacob Stahlnecker Gender: Male Birth: December 24, 1634 Evangelisch, Unterhausen, Schwarzwaldkreis, Baden-Württemberg, Germany Death: October 1716 (81) Kleinengstingen, Engstingen, Tübingen, Baden-Württemberg, Germany Immediate Family: Son of Michael Stahlnecker and Maragretha Stahlnecker Husband of Anna Maria Stalnaker Father of Johann Jacob Stalnaker Michael Stahlnecker Gender: Male Birth: estimated between 1569 and 1629 Immediate Family: Husband of Maragretha Stahlnecker Father of Jacob Stahlnecker

Collection: Germany, Marriages, 1558-1929 Marriage: May 13 1629 - Unterhausen (oa. Reutlingen), Württemberg, Germany Wife: Maragretha Felner What do you think I found this in my paperwork.

posted by Mary (Gulish) Gi
edited by Mary (Gulish) Gi
Stalnaker-44 and Stahlnecker-3 are not ready to be merged because: not sure these are the same person
posted on Stahlnecker-3 (merged) by Mason Garrison
Stalnaker-44 and Stahlnecker-3 appear to represent the same person because: Contact Lisa DeGruyter and Barry Stalnaker for more details (both are on Facebook in the Stalnaker Family Group with many sources and detailed trees in and elsewhere). These 2 are definitely the same person!
Stalnaker-44 and Stahlnecker-3 appear to represent the same person because: Contact Lisa DeGruyter and Barry Stalnaker for more details (both are on Facebook in the Stalnaker Family Group with many sources and detailed trees in and elsewhere). These 2 are definitely the same person!
posted on Stahlnecker-3 (merged) by Tiffany (Chapman) Carrera
I clicked on the link for source. But. I get a error on the page and on the page above left as this

Hackers Creek Pioneer Descendants. Also on left just list of name for section. But other then that the page says error.

posted by Mary (Gulish) Gi
It seems 1682 is a more reasonable date. It was imported as 1682. Then the children's birth dates would make better sense.
There are issues with birthdates of Samuel's children. He was born 1705(?) his children were born 1708, 1712, 1715 and the last one Barbara 1743.
Stalnaker-92 and Stalnaker-77 appear to represent the same person because: Same dates and spouse and children. the only difference is the place where he was born. I am doing more checking on that!
Stalnaker-44 and Stalnaker-77 appear to represent the same person because: Same spouse, same children, different Birthdates, I have found several different birthdates for him ranging from 1682-1705
Stalnaker-77 and Stalnaker-193 appear to represent the same person because: same birth date and spouse

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