Samuel Handley (1751-1840) was born near Ashville, N.C. He first married Mary Adams, daughter of John and Agnes Adams. After Mary's death in 1779 he married Susannah Cowan, daughter of Robert Cowan and Susan Woods.
Samuel was a Captain during the Indian War. In 1792, his company of 42 men were attacked near Crab Orchard while defending the stations in the Cumberland. The Indians, 56 strong, attacked and created a panic among Samuel's men. One of these men was unhorsed near the Indian line and Samuel at once seized the horse and led it near him, so his man might mount again. In the process Samuel's own horse was shot from under him and he took to a tree, where he was met by an Indian with uplifted tomahawk. He caught the warrior's arm and uttered an Indian word meaning friendship, which the brave eased off and led him to the chief where for a time he was free from danger. While this was being done, every Indian near enough struck him with the flat side of his tomahawk.