THE CASTEEL FAMILY

The origin of the Casteel name is somewhat unclear. Some Casteels believe that the name is Spanish. This is primarily because Castile, one of the common variations of the name, was a major ancient kingdom that later helped form what is now Spain. Those researchers focus on several "Casteels" who came into the Tidewater area of Virginia about 1635.

We have found one genealogy which states that the Casteel name was Flemish, stemming from Gilles du Chastel, the founder of the du Chastel, or van der Casteel, family. He was counselor to Louis, Count of Flanders. It is said that the Flemish Casteels in the New World originated from the immigrant Captain Edmond du Chastel de Blangerval. He arrived in Philadelphia and took the oath of allegiance to the proprietor, William Penn, on September 10, 1683. Most of his descendants remained in Maryland and Pennsylvania but some went to what is now West Virginia. The given names of the descendants of this Flemish immigrant do not correspond to the present writer's Casteel line and we assume, therefore, that they are not the ancestors of Henry M. Casteel, our earliest known ancestor. Research is continuing.

Research has suggested that Henry M. Casteel's father was one Morris Casteel who was in DeKalb County, Alabama in 1840. There was a Morris Casteel in Monroe County, Tennessee in 1829, and Knox and Rea Counties of Tennessee in 1830. Morris Casteel may have came into Alabama by about 1831-34. It is said that the early Casteel pioneers scattered to all parts, some moving all up and down the thirteen colonies many times, making them difficult to trace.

Henry M. Casteel was in the 1850 census of Limestone County, Alabama. He was a Blacksmith, age 30, with his wife Elizabeth age 28 and four children. James M., the oldest, was 9 and he was born in Alabama. Henry and Elizabeth were both born in Tennessee and married 8 April 1840. The above records show that Henry and his wife Elizabeth must have arrived in Alabama at least by 1841. Elizabeth's maiden name and middle name has not been definitely established although family records suggest that her maiden name was Elizabeth Jane Hicks or Elizabeth A. Hicks. Henry and Elizabeth had at least twelve children including two were listed in the census but not in family information. This usually indicates that the children died young and were not remembered by later family members. Henry died 18 Nov. 1865 and is buried in what is now called the Casteel Cemetery. Elizabeth died 20 November 1872 and is also buried in the Casteel Cemetery.

That old cemetery, when I saw it many years ago, was covered in weeds in a wooded area out in a cow pasture, abandoned and in danger of being lost. Tombstones had been placed on some of the graves in the 1960's, based on the memory of then living family members. Unfortunately, many graves were just sunken in areas without any tombstones. The land was sold for housing lots in the 1970's and family members barely managed to prevent the cemetery from being sold as a lot. The cemetery is located just north of the Elk River, across the road from the Elk Estates development. It is just south of Lentzville in Northwest Limestone County.

The ninth child of Henry & Elizabeth was Abraham Bud Casteel, born 31 July 1861, was the great grandfather of the present writer. He married Nancy Jane Goode, daughter of James Washington Goode and Malinda Caroline Lentz. It is interesting to note that after Malinda died, James Washington Goode married again to Hannah Casteel, sister of Abraham Bud Casteel. He married his son-in-law's sister. Abe ran a ferry across the Elk River at Stewart Hollow, north of Carmel Church of Christ, about 1930. Stewart Hollow is now under water because of Wheeler Dam. Both Abe and Nancy are buried in Temperance Oak Cemetery, Limestone Co., Alabama.

Nancy's birthdate, as engraved on the tombstone, was determined after she died. Nancy did not know when her birthdate was. Nobody ever told her. The tombstone shows that Jane Goode Casteel was born 2 Dec. 1862 and she died 26 Nov. 1936. The 1900 census of Limestone County lists her birthdate as May 1862. She was a very small, sickly woman, only about 88 pounds. She lost her teeth at an early age and her gums deteriorated. She was never able to wear false teeth. Her daughter, Flora Rose, called her Mammy as did all her children.

Abe and Jane lived for a time at Sherwood Hollow. They moved around a lot, but usually in the same general area. Abe was a farmer, and of a gentle and kind nature. Abraham and Nancy had eleven children. Flora Vianna Casteel was number three and she was born 24 Feb. 1886 in Limestone County, Alabama. She married James Bascom Rose on 16 Dec. 1908. James and Flora were the parents of Mildred Rose the present writer's mother. There was considerable intermarriage between the Casteels, Goodes, Lentz's and Grishams of Limestone County. Some of the Grishams and Goodes migrated to Arkansas in 1882 but there were frequent visits between the separated families. It was through these contacts that `Uncle Henry Casteel' met and married Eula Estella (Texas) Grisham of Faulkner County, Arkansas. `Texas' was a daughter of Martin Luther Grisham who, as a boy, made the covered wagon trek to Arkansas with his father's family. This marriage united the present writer's great uncle Henry Casteel (mother's side) with his great aunt `Texas' Grisham (father's side).That marriage was to have even deeper repercussions, as far as the present writer was concerned. It was during a family reunion at the old Parham Homeplace in Faulkner County, Arkansas in 1936, that eventually resulted in the marriage of Mildred Rose to Kenon Parham, the present writer's parents.

Casteel Photo Album