Margaret Handley (1753-1842) married John Pauley about 1777. By 1779 they had a young son, and Margaret was with child again. In the fall of that year the Pauley's set out for Kentucky from Handley's Fort near Union, VA. Their party consisted of two brothers, James and John Pauley, their wives, the young son of Margaret, a Mr. Wallace, and Bruce Miller. They followed the East River south and were attacked by Native Americans about five miles upstream from the point where it enters the New River. One of the Pauley men was killed outright; the other was mortally wounded but made it back to Wood's Fort, where he died the next day. Margaret's child was killed, and she herself made prisoner, along with the wife of her husband's brother. The Indians took them north to the Indian towns on the Miami, where she gave birth to the child she was carrying. According to one source she was "adopted by Chief White Bark". Eventually Margaret was released and returned to her people at Union, Va., around 1785. She remarried to a Michael Tridly Erskine. Hence her full name is sometimes given as Margaret Handley Pauley Erskine.
Some sources hold that Margaret's release was due to the intercession of Simon Girty, a white who adopted the Indian lifestyle, sided with the British during the Revolution, and led raids on the settlers along the Virginia Frontier. An Essay on Simon Girty's life can be found at Essays in History. An objective account of his life is also to be found at Ohio History Central. It is interesting to note that the Thomas Carter version of the Ann Walker Cowan Captivity story identifies Simon Girty as the leader of the raiding party which captured Ann and her nephew William Walker. Draper notes, in his marginalia to the story, that Girty was not in the area at the time of the raid.