The Pence Families of the

Shenandoah Valley of Virginia

By Richard A. Pence

© Copyright 2003

28 August 2003 (major revision)

This file contains background information on three groups of Pences who lived in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia prior to 1800. These are forebears of a great many of the Pences in America today. Each of three groups is treated separately. A fourth article is a case study in unravelling confusions about persons with the same name - in this case, the various Jacob Pences of Rockingham County.

Jacob and Valentine Pence

Augusta/Rockingham County, Virginia

The names of both Jacob (see Jacob Pence) and Valentine (see Valentine Pence) Pence appear in the the Augusta County records on 18 March 1746/47, in connection with the ordering of a road "from the top of the Ridge to John Terrald's and James Beard's ...." In November, 1749, Christopher Francisco Jr. of Augusta County sold 211 acres on Cub Run to Jacob and Valentine, part of a 3,000-acre tract owned by the Franciscos. This land is described as being near Peaked Mountain in a later deed.

That Jacob and Valentine (also called "Felty" in some records) were brothers is clearly established through their wills, the settlements of their estates and through records relating to parts of their lands, which were clouded by uncertain ownership for some 50 years.

Jacob Pence wrote his will 20 Dec. 1750. In it he mentions his sons, Jacob and George, who are to receive part of his land when they become of age, the rest going to his wife, whose name is not given. He names his brother Valentine as executor and gives him "that place which joins to John Lawrence's" so Valentine can deed it to Adam Hetrick and Jacob Nicholas. He also wills Valentine portions of other lands they apparently purchased together. Jacob died before 27 Feb. 1750/51, when Valentine gave bond as his executor.

In 1768, Peter Miller, executor of Valentine's estate, settled Jacob's estate with his heirs. Besides Jacob and George, William and John Pence also received portions, as did Christian Persinger for his wife, Barbara (Pence). Meanwhile, the records show that Jacob's wife, Catherine, had married Jacob Persinger, and in 1760, Barbara Pence, age 12, and John Pence, 13, orphans of Jacob Pence, were bound to Jacob Persinger.

Valentine's will was dated 25 May 1761 and proved 18 Aug. 1761. He mentions his wife Catherine, his brother's son Jacob, his first born, Adam, and his other "lawfully begotten" children: Jacob, Henry, John, Catherine, Sarah, Barbara, Mary and "one in the womb." This latter child apparently did not survive, for it is not mentioned in any settlement of Valentine's estate or in his wife's will in 1803. Records relating to Valentine's estate show that Catherine married Henry Long before 1767, Barbara married George Probo (Probst in mother's will) before 1776 and Mary married Henry Swatzer (Swatley in mother Is will; probably Swartz). Sarah married John Perkey after 1776 and before her mother's will in 1803.

A nunber of settlements relating to the land Jacob and Valentine sold to Adam Hetrick and Jacob Nicholas shed scme light on their children and grandchildren. In August, 1762, it was decreed that Adam (son of Valentine) convey his share of the land when he becomes 21. Also, in August of that year a suit brought by Hetrick and Nicholas said the land was bought in 1747 after they came from Pennsylvania to Augusta. The judgment says that Jacob and Valentine were brothers, that Jacob left Jacob, his eldest son, and another son, George, and that Valentine left his eldest son, Adam, "a infant 14 years old" (which means he was at least 14 years old but not yet 21). In March, 1765, a deedbook entry notes that on 21 Aug. 1762, Jacob and Adam Pence were ordered, within three months after they come of age, to convey the land to Hetrick and Nicholas. Accordingly, Adam conveyed 31 acres to Jacob Nicholas and Jacob 89 acres to Adam Hetrick, both in March, 1765.

The records are confusing, but they show that Valentine's son Adam was at least 14 in 1761, that he was to convey the land when be became 21 and conveyed it in 1765, putting his year of birth about 1744, which matches a birth record to be noted later. As to the ages of Jacob's sons - Jacob, George and William - they no doubt were at least 14 when their brother (John) and sister (Barbara) were bound to Jacob Persinger in 1760. Again, as will be noted later, the births of some of these children appear to match those in a Pennsylvania Church record.

Descendants of the families of Jacob and Valentine have, over the years become confused about the families of Jacob, son of Jacob, and Jacob, son of Valentine. The source of this confusion is an indenture dated 24 Sep. 1806 in Rockingham County "by and between John and Jacob Pence, sons and special legatees of the real estate of Adam Pence, deceased, of the one part and George, Elizabeth, John, Jacob, Henry, Christian, Peter, William, Adam, Susanna and Charles Pence, the heirs and representatives of Jacob Pence, deceased, of the other part. Witnesseth that for and in consideration of contract entered into and concluded upon by and between Adam Pence, deceased, father of the above named John and Jacob of the one part and Jacob Pence, their uncle and father of the above named George and others of the other part ...." It should be noted, first, that this record, which appears in Deed Book I, pages 175-177, is a copy of the original, which was damaged by fire, and contains many gaps and probably some copying errors. For instance, the initial listing of the children of Jacob contains the name Christian, yet this same list of children appears several more times in the indenture and each time the name Catherine appears in the place of Christian (the latter name is correct, as other records show).

However, it is the use of the word "uncle" in connection with Jacob Pence, deceased, that has caused the confusion. Since Valentine Pence had sons named Adam and Jacob, and Jacob Pence did not have a son named Adam, some have assumed that the children listed (George, et al, are Valentine's grandchildren rather than Jacob's grandchildren because Jacob Pence is referred to as the uncle of Adam's sons. However, a complete reading of the indenture, coupled with earlier Augusta County records clearly establishes that the Jacob referred to as "uncle" was really Adam Pence's first cousin Jacob, the oldest son of Jacob Pence (brother to Valentine). Perhaps calling a first cousin once-removed "uncle" was a usage of that time.

Additionally, there is incontrovertable proof that Valentine's son Jacob moved to North Carolina, where some of his children can be identified. (See Which Jacob Pence?)

The story told by the indenture is this: Jacob and Valentine Pence together purchased land from Christopher Francisco, but the deed, dated 1 July 1752 in Augusta County, mentioned only Valentine. Valentine, in his will, left half of the land to Jacob, son of his brother Jacob. "Some time after the decease of the said Valentine, the son Adam and his nephew [that is, Valentine's nephew] Jacob Pence went upon the land and run a line across the --?--- of 210 acres within." Jacob felt he hadn't received "his full part or the one half of said land willed to him by his uncle. Upon that Adam agreed to let the said Jacob Pence have twelve acres adjoining to his, the said Jacob's land, but out of another parcel ...." Jacob Pence and his wife Catherine then executed a deed on 21 Aug. 1776 to Adam for that part of the 210 acres divided for Adm. Adam, however, failed to give Jacob title for the 12 acres, thus making "this present title necessary." The deed notes that Jacob Pence (II) died intestate on the -- day of February, 1800, and that Adam, in his will dated 25 Oct. 1800 made John and Jacob the special legatees of "all the land left by the said Adam Pence."

An 18 Mar. 1769, deed in Augusta County also relates to this land. In it, George Pence conveys to his brother, Jacob, his part of the land Jacob and Valentine bought together from "Stovall" Francisco. The deed notes that Jacob died before title was made and willed his part to Jacob and George, his sons, but after their father's death Valentine obtained title in his name. Valentine, too, died and devised that share Jacob1 never got title to in his life to Jacob's son Jacob.

The Origins of Jacob and Valentine. Which of the many Pences who came to Pennsylvania are the Jacob and Valentine who settled in Augusta County is difficult to determine. A Jacob came in 1727 and another in 1737, according to passenger lists. A Valentine Pence, age 48, and an Adam Pence, age 22, cane in 1738. A tradition among the descendants of Jacob's son George is that the latter was born at sea and many accept the date of 1737, although some say 1727 (unlikely, since George was not of age when his father wrote his will in 1750). [The "born at sea" tradition also is common among descendants of other nonrelated Pence families, including the descendants of Michael Pence of Shenandoah County, Va., and Adams County, Oh.]

Gen. William Perry Pence, a descendant of Jacob's son Jacob Pence, wrote in 1975 that he made a thorough search of the original lists of passengers who arrived at Philadelphia from 1727 to 1808 but was unable to definitely identify any of them as the Jacob and Valentine who settled on Cub Run. "Furthermore," he wrote, "none of the other Pence descendants with whom I have corresponded had any positive evidence relative to the ship on which the Pences actually arrived. It is quite possible that the list covering their voyage has been lost." He concluded that no real evidence of Jacob's and Valentine's arrival exists, a conclustion I agree with.

Three great grandsons of Jacob supposedly named the city of Frankfort, Ind., after Frankfort-on-the-Main, Germany, the home of their ancestor. There is a DAR record which gives the birth of Jacob's son Jacob as 20 Dec. 1731, Frankfort, Germany, but no documentation for this can be found. It seems improbable that the Valentine, age 48, who arrived with Adam, age 22, in 1738 is the same Valentine who married in Lancaster County, Pa., in 1741 and was in Augusta County in 1747.

The Lancaster County marriage was for Valentine Bentz and Maria Catarina Oberlin on 19 Jan. 1741. The Valentine Pence who made his will in Augusta County in 1761 calls Adam his "first born." Johan Adam Benz, the son of Valentin Benz and Maria Cath. Oberlin, was born/baptised 14 Jan. 1744 in Christ Lutheran Church in Marion Twp. in what is now Berks Co., Pa., but probably then was a part of Lancaster Co. Doubtless the "first born" reference was to sons, as Anna Catarina, daughter of Valentin Bentz (no wife given) was born/baptised at Muddy Creek Luthernan Church in East Cocalico Twp., Lancaster Co., on 9 Nov. 1741. She is almost certainly the Mary Catherine Pence who married Henry Long (see below).

So if Valentine of Augusta County was the one who came in 1738, he was 51 years old at the time of the marriage in Lancaster and 71 when he wrote his will and was expecting another child. Not impossible, but unlikely.

Catherine Pence, widow of Valentine, died in Rockingham County shortly after 30 June 1803, the date of her will. In it she mentions "my daughter Catharine Long; the heirs of Jacob Pence, my son now dead; Sarah Pirky, Barbary Probst, Henry Pence, John Pence and Mary Swartley.... And as to my son Adam Pence's children, I leave them each 25 cents except his eldest son Henry Pence," whom she leaves a stove and a window in the house he is living in.

Jacob and Valentine in Lancaster County. Wayland, in his Virginia Valley Records, says that Valentine Pence came to the Valley from Lancaster County, Pa. In Lancaster County a 1748 deed entry notes that Christopher Franciscus Sr. of Lampeter Twp. states he owns 3,000 acres in Augusta County and has contracted for the sale of part of it. This tracks the Augusta County deed to Jacob and Valentine, indicating that perhaps Valentine and Jacob came from that area. Gen. Pence states he made a thorough search of the existing records of that county. He found no mention of Jacob or Valentine in the wills or deeds of the period during which they probably lived in Lancaster (from 1730 to 1747, at most). However, Gen. Pence did find mention of a Jacob Pence and a Valentine Pence in some early church records. The first of these was contained in the "Church Record of the Quitopahilla Church, now Hill Church, near Annville, Lebanon County, 1745-1854" (Lebanon County was formed in 1813 and this church was in an area that was part of Lancaster County at the time Jacob and Valentine probably lived there.) This record shows that Jacob Bentz brought children to the Rev. John Casper Stover to be baptized in 1739. Unfortunately, the names of the children were not given in this source. However, Rev. Stover also reported baptizing the following children of a Jacob Bentz at Swatara: John Jacob, born Feb. 3, 1739, Maria Barbara, born Oct. 29, 1740, and John George, born Apr. 9, 1743. It seems quite likely that these are three of the children of the Jacob Pence of Augusta County - Jacob, Barbara and George. Except for the fact that Barbara was said to be 12 in 1760 when she was bound out to Jacob Persinger, these children would be a perfect fit; it is possible that the record meannt that she was at least 12. It was the Rev. Stover who married Valentine Bentz to Maria Catarina Oberlin in 1741 in Cocalico Twp. As noted earlier, the first two of their children appear to have been born in Lancaster County. There is no indication who the Catherine (also called Mary Catherine) who married Jacob Pence was. This Catherine is the one who later married Jacob Persinger. There is one Augusta record which calls Jacob Pence's neighbor, Nicholas Null, "brother-in-law" to Valentine Pence. Exactly what their relationship was can't be determined, as the term brother-in-law was more loosely applied in those days (a brother-in-law, for instance, could be the father of a daughter's husband). Gen. Pence also reported that Jacob Bentz and Valentine Bentz appear on a list of German settlers in Berks, Lebanon and Lancaster counties who were customers of a Mr. Potts, a merchant of Pottsgrove. The records of these transactions were kept by Christian Lauer and Conrad Weiser, members of the Reformed Church at Tulpehoeken. "Based on the foregoing," wrote Gen. Pence, "it appears that our ancestor Jacob and brother Valentine lived in the vicinity of Tulpehoeken during their stay in Pennsylvania." Another customer of Mr. Potts was a Jacob Persinger, probably the same man who became a widower and later married Jacob Pence's widow, Catherine.

Jacob and Valentine's Descendants in the Revolutionary War. From published references, as well as the research of Gen. Pence, it appears that most of the sons of Jacob1 and Valentine1 served in the Revolution. A summary follows:

Lewis, Jacob, Adam and Henry Pence

Shenandoah (Page) County, Virginia

Beatrice Carson, in her manuscript on the "Hawksbill Pences" (so-called because they lived along that creek in what is now Page County, Va.) states there were five brothers in this clan. Whether she was trying to prove a family tradition or actually had some proof there were five brothers is not known. Unfortunately, all that survives of her voluminous records is her compilation of information on many of the early descendants of Henry, Jacob and Lewis Pence.

The other "brothers," she wrote, were Frederick and John.

She was unable to find any record at all of Frederick, and she surmised that he may have died, unmarried, shortly after his arrival. Likewise, she was unable to find any record of John Pence, although she believed that the John Pence Jr. listed as a member of Michael Reader's company during the Revolution was his son and that it was probably John Jr. who was listed on the 1785 tax list of Shenandoah County as the head of a family of eight. "But no trace of either of them [John Sr or John Jr] was found on that county's deed records," she wrote. "However, it seems very probable that the Elizabeth Pence to whom a land patent was granted on Aug. 30, 1780, for a tract of 358 acres was his widow. It was located in the Northern Neck of Virginia, as were the tracts granted to his brothers, Lewis, Jacob and Henry. This tract, in her name was on the landowner's list of 1782, but, on the 1789 list, it was credited to Elizabeth Prince. ..."

The subsequent discovery of this family in the records of the Reformed Church in Iggelheim, Rhineland-Pfalz, Germany, show that there were these brothers: John, Valentine, Lewis, Jacob, Valentine (again), Adam and Henry. Of these, records have been found for four: Lewis, Jacob, Adam and Henry, all of whom went to the Senanandoah Valley (see The Hawksbill Pence Families).

Miss Carson postulated that the Elizabeth Pence who married Samuel Comer on 28 Feb. 1786, in Shenandoah County, and the Barbara Pence who married George Boswill on 18 June 1797, were the daughters of this John and Elizabeth Pence. Instead, they more likely were the daughters of John Pence, son of Lewis, and his wife Elizabeth. A Samuel Comer with wife Elizabeth was in Fairfield County, Oh., along with many other families from the Hawksbill area shortly after 1805.

Miss Carson "guessed" a family for John Jr.; however, the marriage record she cites is for John, son of George Pence, who in turn was the son of Jacob Pence of Augusta (Rockingham) County. And the children she credited to this couple were the children of the John Pence who was the son of Conrad Pence of Shenandoah County.

The records, however, are better for Lewis, Jacob, Adam and Henry Pence and their offspring (except for Lewis, whose family is sketchy).

Lewis Pence first appears in the deeds of Frederick County (parent county of Shenandoah County and, later, Page County) on 26 Aug. 1754, when he bought 49 acres of land from Rudolph Mauck. He sold this land on 2 June 1767, but meanwhile - on 7 Nov. 1757 - he had been granted a patent for 440 acres on the branches of the Hawksbill Creek. He died before 15 May 1779, when his oldest son, John, began selling his father's land. John continued to sell this land until 1805, when his name disappears from the records. (See Hawksbill Land Grants.) Apparently, John joined some of the Kiblinger family in moving to Clark County, Oh., about then. Some of his children had married Kiblingers.

The Kiblinger Connection. The family Bible of Samuel C. Pence of Clark County indicates he was the son of Peter Pence and Eve Kiblinger; this Peter was a son of John, the oldest son of Lewis Pence.

Miss Carson says that Eve was the daughter of Jacob Kiblinger and Margaret Pence, who is unidentified. She was thought by Miss Carson to have been a daughter of Jacob2 and his wife, Barbara, but she was not mentioned in Barbara's will, which names all of the other known children.

It also seems unlikely she was the daughter of the first Lewis Pence, since three of her children apparently married three of the children of John Pence (son of Lewis2) and his wife Elizabeth. Three marriages in one family between first cousins would be unusual indeed.

Clark County was a stronghold of both Kiblinger and Pence families. Beer's history of the county says that Jacob Kiblinger came in 1801 and between then and 1805 made four trips back to Virginia to bring Kiblingers and Pences, among them John Pence. All became settlers in German Twp.

Jacob2 Pence received a grant for 262 acres on the branches of the Hawksbill Creek in Frederick County on 30 Aug. 1766. Later deed records show that his "widow and relict" was Barbara (maiden name unknown) and that his oldest son was Frederick Pence. (See Hawksbill Land Grants.

The widow of Jacob Pence was also Barbara and she married Henry Harshbarger on 20 Dec. 1785, and left a will (dated 4 Jan. 1794, proved 14 Mar. 1797) in Shenandoah County, naming her Pence children (see The Hawksbill Pence Families).

It was believed by Miss Carson and some descendants of the Lewis Pence who married Barbara Kibler that he was the son of the first Lewis Pence. However, the fact that Frederick Pence, oldest son of Jacob and Barbara, divided his father's land grant exactly in two and deeded half of it to this Lewis Pence (who later deeded part of it to Emanuel, another brother) makes it much more likely that this Lewis was the second son of Jacob and Barbara. He is included as a son of Jacob in the genealogies.

The Lewis Pence who married Barbara Kibler moved to Champaign County in 1820, where he purchased the land of John Pence, son of Henry2. Lewis' grandson said in a Champaign County history that Lewis and John were cousins, the only reference as to the relationship of Jacob, Lewis and Henry that has been found (other than in Miss Carson's compilation and the Iggelheim records).

Henry Pence was the youngest of this group of Pences. Family tradition sets his birth as 1740 and it is so stated on his tombstone in Champaign County, Oh. Henry's first land grant, dated 30 Mar. 1770, was for 474 acres "on Rich [Ridge?] Mountain at the head of the Hawksbill" in Frederick County (later Shenandoah County, now Page County).

The land grants to Lewis, Jacob and Henry adjoined each other about about a mile east of the present-day crossroads of Marksville (just east of Stanley) in Page County. See map.

Adam Pence2did not live on the Hawksbill as did his three brothers and no deed records showing exactly where he did live can be found in Shenandoah County. He moved from there to Scott County, Ky., by about 1797. His will was written on 2 Sep. 1814, and probated in Scott County at the June term of court in 1816.

Adam2 and his sons John and Adam appear on 1800 tax lists for Scott County. Two Adam Pences are listed in the 1810 census of Scott County, no doubt Adam2 and his son. Also listed in Scott County in 1810 were John and George Pence, also no doubt the sons of Adam2, as Adam, George and John are all mentioned in his will.

Two Adam Pences are also listed in the 1820 census of Scott County, probably Adam3 and his son. They next appear in the 1830 census of Clay County, Mo.; possibly they went there as early as 1825, although there are later deeds involving them in Scott County. A Clay County history says Adam3 first settled near Liberty, later returned to Kentucky briefly and then settled near Kearney in Clay County.

The 1810 Scott County census records:

Adam2 Pence was on the tax rolls of Dunmore County, Va. (the original name for Shenandoah County when it was created), for 1775 and 1776 and on the roll of Jacob Holeman's company during the Revolution. The 1783 and 1785 tax lists of Shenandoah County list Adam Pence with eight in his family in 1783 and six in 1785. He was on the list of those settlers who lived around "Lebanon Church, Wheatfield and north to Cedar Creek." Nicholas Pence, who later died in Shenandoah County, is included on the same list. Nicholas is mentioned in deed records with Conrad, Michael and George Philip Pence and probably was related to them (see next section). Adam3 wife was Elizabeth, daughter of Henry and Mary Bellows. Henry Bellows left a will in Scott County and Mary one in nearby Lafayette County, Ky., both mentioning their daughter, wife of Adam Pence. A Henry Bellows and wife Mary had land adjoining Henry Pence on the Hawksbill Creek.

Mary, a daughter of Adam2 Pence, married Francis Pebler. They were married 15 Apr. 1783, "near Mt. Jackson" in Shenandoah County by the Rev. Anderson Moffitt, who also married two of the children of Nicholas Pence and one of Michael Pence. The Rev. Moffitt was a follower of Elder John Koontz, an early Baptist minister who founded the Baptist congregation at the Mill Creek Church at Hamburg, Va. (still standing about two miles west of Luray in what is now Page County), to which Henry Pence of the Hawksbill Pences and his family were early adherents (see History of Mill Creek Church). The Peblers (now Bibler) also owned land on the branches of the Hawskbill Creek in present-day Page County.

The Mill Creek Church congregation became split over the issues of slavery and bearing arms. Those who clung to the "old way" (Menonite) of pacificism and antislavery as a part of their religion became followers of the Rev. Martin Kaufman (Coffman), while the others - who believed such issues were a matter of personal conscience and not church dogma - followed Koontz. The split at last resulted in the migration by a small group of pacifists and antislavery adherents under the Rev Martin Coffman's son Martin to Fairfield County, about 1801-1805, where they formed the Pleasant Run Baptist Church. Included in that group was Francis and Mary Pebler. Another was David Pence, son of Henry Pence of the Hawksbill Pences (and who lived on land adjoining Henry and Mary Bellows). David had married the daughter of Emanual Ruffner, who also went to Fairfield County with Coffman. (Henry Pence also had two sons who married daughters of the Rev. Coffman and one who married the daughter of Rev. Koontz.)

Mrs. Lillie M. (Pence) Clark, who lived in Liberty, Mo., in 1958, age 79, wrote that her grandfather, William Henry Pence and her great grandfather, Adam, had a wagon train to the gold fields of California in 1849 and that her grandfather served in the Mexican War. She also wrote that Donnie [Alexander Doniphan Pence] and Bud [Thomas Edward] (both sons of Adam4 rode with Quantrill's Raiders during the Civil War and later with the James gang, as confirmed in various histories. She said that Donnie and Joe (another brother, Josiah) [as did Bud] went back to Kentucky and married sisters [it was Donnie and Bud who married daughters of Wilson Samuels; Joe (Josiah) returned to Scott County and married his second cousin, Mary Jane Pence], and that they lived in or near Louisville [actually near Lexington in Nelson County]. She said Donnie became a county sheriff [he was sheriff or deputy in Nelson County from 1871 to his death in 1896] and that Jack (Andrew Jackson) had a daughter in California in 1958. (For information on Bud and Donnie Pence, see The Outlaws.)

Gennie B. Pence, grandaughter of Henry, son of Adam4, wrote in 1959 that her mother said there were "seven Pence brothers over here from Germany," that one brother was at Liberty, Mo., one went to Illinois, one to Virginia and one to Kentucky, "and I do not remember what states the others went to." [This tradition or one concerning "five Pence brothers" is common among many Pence descendants, but no documentation for it can be found and it appears not to be accurate.]

Adam4 Pence and his sons William Henry and Robert were in Trinity County, Calif., during the 1850 census. The Rev. Robert James, father of Frank and Jesse, also went to California - perhaps with the Pences -during the gold rush and died there in 1850. The death of Rev. James was reported on 25 Oct. 1850 in the Liberty Tribune, which also said Thomas Pence of Clay County (a brother to Adam4 was dead. A month earlier the paper printed a letter from Sacramento City reporting that Thomas Pence was "one of the Clay boys" who had arrived in California.

[The gold rush also drew others of the Hawksbill Pences to California. Robert Titus Pence and Allen Wallace Pence, sons of John Pence (son of Henry2 both were captains of wagon trains in 1850. Robert Pence's oxen-team train left from Henderson County, Ill., and the train of "Wall" Pence left from Jackson Couny, Ia., both in the spring of 1850.]

Another interesting member of this family was Josiah Pence, an older brother of Donnie and Bud. He returned to Scott County "sometime after the War with Mexico" and married his second cousin, Mary Jane Pence. Josiah was an inventor and "claimed that much of the effort behind the development of the reaper by Cyrus McCormick in the 1830s was done by him." In 1897 he invented and patented a seed gatherer, drawn by horses, "which could be instantly adjusted by the driver to gather high or low grasses or grains," according to a book on homes in Scott County. He built a home near Georgetown in Scott County in 1859. It is likely he was the Josiah, age 84, born Missouri, who was an "inmate" in some sort of home in Montgomery County, Oh., in 1910. His two sons were also in Ohio in 1910.

Not all the literature on this Pence family is favorable. A letter, dated Oct. 11, 1819, from Hugh Emison in Scott County to his son Thomas, undoubtedly refers to John Pence, son of Adam2:

"I believe it was when you were here that the dispute took place betwixt John Pence and myself. He warranted me for $46.67. It was brought to arbitration before Elijah and John Craig. They brought him in $28.84 in my debt. Seame Ew**g, Mat Barkley got a judgment against Pence for $14.00. Hard on the Dutch. That same Dutchman has buttered his bread of several of us but we will watch him hereafter. I think he must be a Yankee." [In common usage, the term Dutchman was used to describe those who were German and did not mean the person came from Holland; as indicated by the letter, yankees were not especially well thought of in Kentucky, even years before the Civil War.]

Were They In Pennsylvania? As stated earlier, there were many Pence arrivals in Pennsylvania beginning in 1727. On September 15, 1749, Hans Georg Bentz, Johan Ludwig Bentz and Jacob Bence were recorded as arriving on the ship Phoenix at Philadelphia. These were no doubt the Lewis and Jacob Pence of Shenandoah County. If Adam and Henry arrived with them (family tradition says Henry came at age 9, which would place his arrival in 1749), then their names would not have been recorded since they were not yet 16. It is improbable, as Miss Carson surmised, that Henry is the Joerg Heinrich Bentz who came on the ship Rawley in 1752.

It seems likely that, as did most of the early German immigrants, these Pences settled first in Pennsylvania, and one record supporting that claim has recently been discovered. Frederick Pence is described as "oldest son and heir" of Jacob Pence in various deeds in Shenandoah County. It is likely that Frederick is the George Frederic Bentz, son of Jacob and Barbara Bentz, whose birth or baptism was recorded 20 Nov. 1752 at the First Reformed Church at Lancaster, Lancaster County.

There are one or two mentions of Lewis Pences in Lancaster and York counties in Pa., but these do not appear to have been early enough to refer to the same person who later settled in Shenandoah County. The same is true of the Henry Pences mentioned in the records of those counties. And, other than the above birth record, it is impossible to determine if any of the many Jacobs in Pennsylvania early is the same person as the Jacob who later went to Shenandoah County. And, so far, the records are silent on the whereabouts or fate of the father, Johann Georg Bentz.

The Westward Migration. A tradition among the descendants of Henry Pence is that his entire family, as well as other Pences and many of their German neighbors, moved en mass to Champaign County, Oh., in 1805. Contrary to that belief, however, the records show that the migration took place over several years. The History of Champaign County, Ohio provides this summary:

Henry and Mary Pence settled in the township [Mad River] about 1805. Members of the Pence family who settled in Mad River Twp. were Benjamin, Isaac, Henry, Abram, John, Samuel and Reuben. In Urbana Twp., Jacob and Joseph settled. In Fairfield County, David was the only male representative. The daughters were all settled in Mad River Twp. -Susannah, Annie, Elizabeth, Mary, Magdeline and Barbara. The parents of all these children were among the first families that ettled here. Henry was born in 1740 and Mary Blimly, his wife, in 1746. They emigrated from Germany to America in their youth. Two of their children died in infancy and were not named. Consequently they were the parents of 19 children. (W. H. Beers & Co, 1881, page 724.)

No doubt many of the family went in 1805, and perhaps some had gone even earlier to decide just where the future home would be. Henry Pence's first land purchase from the government in Champaign County was dated Dec. 31, 1805. Jacob and John Pence, Henry's sons, bought land in the county on Nov. 4, 1805, and Mar. 25, 1806, respectively. Curtis Monroe Pence (a grandson of John Pence, son of Henry2 and the author's great grandfather) related that his father George said he made the journey from Virginia to Ohio when but 18 months old, which would place that family's move in 1805. As stated in the Champaign history, 17 of the children of Henry and Mary Pence grew to adulthood. Fifteen of these went to Champaign County, some as late as 1811. Henry's son David went with his in-laws, the Ruffners, to Fairfield County, Oh. They were among the followers of Martin Kauffman Jr. who split with the Baptist Church at Mill Creek and formed a new congregation at Pleasant Run in Fairfield County. The oldest son, George, died in Shenandoah County in 1810. George had married Mary Mauck, a sister to the wife of Abraham Pence, who was the last of Henry's children to go to Champaign County, making the journey in 1811. Isaac, another son of Henry, may have also gone west in 1811.

It appears that John, oldest son of Lewis1 Pence, went with his family to Clark County about 1805, while several of the children of Jacob made the exodus as late as 1819 or 1820, when Lewis bought land from his first cousin, Henry2 Pence's son John. While it is possible that descendants of the Hawksbill Pences still live in the Shenandoah Valley, none have so far been identified. Since no will or estate record can be found for the first Lewis Pence - whose land passed to his oldest son, Frederick - or his wife, Barbara, the names of all of his children may never be discovered. Possibly some of Lewis' descendants went to other Midwestern areas besides Champaign or Clark counties.

Who's Who in the "First Census" of Shenandoah County. Tax lists made in 1783 and 1785 substitute for the first census of Shenandoah County. Each list has ten Pences, with one change from the first to the second. The following are most surely "Hawksbill Pences," said by Shenandoah historian John Wayland to be on the 1785 list covering the upper end of Page Valley, the Hawksbill area:

The "other" group of Shenandoah County Pences included Michael1, Conrad1 and Nicholas1, who likely were related. Another possible relative of these, George Philip1, was not in the tax lists for that period (see next section). This particular list was of settlers around "Lebanon Church, Wheatfield and north to Cedar Creek," according to Wayland.

The Family in The Revolutionary War. During the Revolutionary War, the men of that area of Shenandoah County which is now Page County served in the company of Captain Michael Reader. The muster roll of this company was discovered in 1933 and is now in the Virginia State Library in Richmond. This roll contains the names of several Pences as well as many of the families into which the Pences married. (See muster roll. Descendants of those whose names appear on the list have been granted membership in the Daughters of the American Revolution on the basis of this service. Pences who appear on the list are:

There also was a John Pence who served in Henry Nelson's company, which was made up of men from what is now Page County. And Adam2 served in Jacob Holeman's company, again from the Page area of then-Shenandoah County (see Adam).

Other families on the lists with connections to the Hawksbill Pences include Coffman (Kauffman), Kiblinger, Maggert, Piper, Snyder, Mauck and Steinberger.

Church Records. Among communicants of the Reformed congregation of the Hawksbill Church on Oct. 15, 1817, were Louis Pens, Frederick Penss, Martin Penns, Jackson Penss, Magdl. Penns and Barbara Penns. Reformed communicants in 1819 included Barbara Bens. These probably are all descendants of Jacob2 Pence. Magdalena and Barbara possibly are two of the three unidentified daughters of Frederick Pence, son of Jacob2. Martin is no doubt Frederick's son and possibly Jackson is another son, although he is not mentioned in Frederick's will in Champaign County; Frederick did have a grandson named Jackson, too young to be this person. Jacob Penns, age 16 was confirmed Oct. 31, 1813, in the Reformed congregation; possibly the son of Lewis3, son of Jacob2. A Barb. Bens was a Lutheran communicant at the church on Sep. 20, 1817, and again on Apr. 8, 1819; she was probably Barbara Kibler, the wife of Lewis3 Pence, son of Jacob2.

While part of the Hawksbill Pences remained members of the Lutheran Church, Henry2 and his children were part of a group of German settlers who were converted to the Baptist faith by Elder John Koontz and the Rev. Martin Kauffman Sr. Children of Henry married children of both of these well-known ministers. The church they attended, Mill Creek, was built in the 1770s on land deed by Daniel Mauck (two of his daughters married sons of Henry Pence) and still stands in Hamburg, about two miles west of Luray, Va. Henry's family was instrumental in establishing the Nettle Creek Baptist Church in Champaign County on land obtained from his son Henry. Many of the family is buried at the cemetery there. Further west, Judge John Pence3, son of Henry2, apparently was a lay Baptist minister in the 1820s in Bartholomew County, Ind., and helped start Rozetta Baptist Church in newly formed Henderson County, Ill., in the 1830s. He is buried in the cemetery at this church.

Michael, Conrad, George Philip and Nicholas Pence

Shenandoah County, Virginia

Michael, Conrad, George Philip and Nicholas Pence appear to have settled in Shenandoah County in the 1770s, probably coming from Lancaster County or York County, Pa. The four, with families and business dealings closely intertwined, were probaably related, but there are growing indications that they may not have been brothers, as previously believed. The first three all settled on Holman's Creek and had several land transactions with each other.

Nicholas Pence, who lived between Edinburg and Mt. Jackson, was a witness on one of these deeds. It likely was Nicholas' gramdson Jacob who had a blacksmith shop on Pence's Hill, as described by John Wayland in his history of Shenandoah County, and who was buried in Bethel Cemetery just to the east of the hill near the river. Many Pence descendants of Nicholas still live in the Valley and in this area.

Michael Pence left Shenandoah County in 1796, after selling his land to George Philip Pence, and settled in Adams County, Oh. He drowned on Christmas Day, 1799, while trying to cross the Ohio River. He left a large family and there are still many of his Pence descendants in Adams County and the neighboring counties of Highland and Brown, as well as throughout the Midwest and West.

Conrad Pence remained in Shenandoah County and he has many descendants there today, although a few of them also went west, primarily into Ohio.

George Philip Pence also remained in Shenandoah County and has many descendants in both Shenandoah County and across the line into Rockingham County, as well as a few in the west.

Ancestry of the Shenandoah Pences. The discovery of the marriage record of Michael Pence in Berks County, Pa., revealed the name of his father and cast doubt on whether the others were his brothers. This record states that Sybilla Frey, daughter of Heinrich of Maidencreek, Berks County, married Michael Bens, son of Michael of Earl Town (Earl Twp., now called New Holland), Lancaster County, Pa., on 29 Dec. 1767. Sybilla or Savilla is known from numerous records to be the wife of Michael Pence of Shenandoah County and Adams County and family tradition has always given her surname as Fry.

Michael's father doubtless was the Michael Bentz of Earl Town who married Anna Elizabeth Huber on 10 May 1737 in Lancaster County (Huber is probably Hoover today). He possibly is the Michael Bentz, age 27, who came on the ship Loyal Judith in 1732 with a John Bentz and possibly is the one naturalized in Lancaster County in 1761.

It appears that the following birth/baptism records in Lancaster County are likely at least some of the children of Michael Bentz and Anna Elizabeth Huber:

i.Michael Bentz, born/baptized 12 Mar 1738 at Trinity Lutheran Church, New Holland, Lancaster County, son of Michael Bentz.
ii.Johannes Bentz, born/baptized 8 Mar 1740, Trinity Lutheran Church, New Holland, Lancaster County, son of Michael Bentz.
iii.John Peter Bentz, born/baptized 28 Nov 1741, Trinity Lutheran Church, New Holland, Lancaster County, son of Michael Bentz.
iv.Maria Barbara Bentz, born/baptized 13 Sep 1743, Trinity Lutheran Church, New Holland, Lancaster County, daughter of Michael Bentz.
v.Maria Elizabeth Benz, born/baptized 27 Sep 1747, Muddy Creek Reformed, East Cocalico Twp., Lancaster County, daughter of Michael and Anna Elizabeth Benz. [She apparently is the Maria Elizabeth Bentz who married Christian Ritchardt about 1767 in Berks or Lancaster County; this couple moved to Shenandoah County where he was involved in land dealings with the other Pences in this group.]

While nothing has been found other than their proximaty in both Pennsylvania and Virginia, it still seems likely that Conrad, George Philip and Nicholas were closely related to the above family, including possibly being younger siblings.

Earlier, some thought was given to the speculation that a Philip Pence may have been the father of some of this group. A writeup in the History of Virginia, Vol. V, published by the American Historical Society, 1924, says that five Pence brothers settled in various parts of the Shenandoah Valley (see the section on The Pences in America for a discussion of this tradition), and adds:

"One descendant of the original five was Philip Pence, who lived to be over one hundred years old. He married Ann Marie Miller, and their son Jacob married a Schaeffer...."

An article in the Harrisonburg Daily News Leader (date unknown), by J. W. Harpine, said, in summary, that Philip Pence located in Shenandoah County, married and raised a large family. It is said he lived to be more than 100. He lived near Forestville on Holmans Creek. One of Philip's sons was Conrad, who had a wife named Eve and died in 1814. Philip married Anna Marie Miller.

These accounts do not square with the records of Shenandoah County. The father of the Jacob mentioned above almost certainly was George Philip, who often is listed simply as Philip in county records. It seems unlikely that he was more than 100 years old at his death in 1832, because the children mentioned in his will were born between 1785 and the first decade of the 1800s; his widow was but 87 in the 1850 census, which - if indeed he was over 100 when he died - would make her more than 30 years his junior.

The George Philip, or Philip, and Anna Marie (sometimes Mary) who were the parents of Jacob hardly could have been the parents of Conrad. George Philip's will does not mention a Conrad; further, they both had children about the same age. It also appears that George Philip's wife was Anna Marie Miller and that she was probably younger than Conrad. She most likely was the Anna Marie Miller mentioned in Harpine's account.

However, in view of these stories, it is possible there was another, earlier Philip Pence, and there are other theories about the ancestry of the Shenandoah County Pences.

For example, in 1936, Cora (McGuire) Hazen Oliver of Whitley County, Ind., compiled a book on the descendants of George C. Pence of Fayette County, Oh., Whitley County and Hardin County, Ia. She plumbed a number of sources in an effort to pin down the father of George C.

She quotes an Ohio history as saying that "One Heinrich Bentz born in Germany, married in Germany came to America in 1749 and settled in Shenandoah County, Virginia, where they lived the remainder of their lives. Michael Bentz, son of Heinrich, was born on the ocean when his parents were enroute to America in 1749.... Michael Pence bought 226 acres of land of Marcos Ilor on Holman's Creek in Shenandoah County November 24, 1772."

There are other mentions of Michael being the son of Henry Pence in this compilation, as well as in many letters received over the years. The Henry Pence referred to is doubtless the one who settled on the Hawksbill Creek in that part of Shenandoah County which is now Page County. It looks as though someone saw that Henry Pence had a large family in Shenandoah County in 1782 (tax list) and erroneously decided Michael was among the many children. However, the children of Henry are well documented and, in any case, Henry was only nine years old in 1749, and his wife but three years old (according to their tombstones in Champaign County, Oh., where they migrated in 1805 - and thus they did not die in Shenandoah County). There is a tradition among descendants of Henry that he came to this country in 1749 (which is amply supported by several records); this may have given rise to the belief that Michael was born at sea (the "born-at-sea" belief also persists among the descendants of George Pence, a son of Jacob of Augusta (now Rockingham) County, Va.). In any case, as the records show, Michael Pence of Shenandoah County and Adams County, Oh., was actually older that Henry Pence - and, of course, we now know that Michael's father was also a Michael Pence.

Mrs. Oliver quotes from the memoirs of Joseph J. Pence, a son of George C. Pence, as published in Whitley County histories: "Philip Pence, native of Germany, came to America in early days. His two youngest sons, William and George C. Pence, ran away from home when young boys. Philip Pence, the pioneer, was drowned in the Ohio River while crossing on a ferry boat bringing a load of corn from Kentucky. The boat sprang a leak and sank; Philip mounted one of his horses and it is supposed the horse kicked and stunned him and he was drowned."

Also in the same compilation is the story of the death of Michael Pence: "He was transporting salt from Adams County, Ohio, to Washington, Kentucky, on a boat and was caught in a storm and was drowned near Maysville, Kentucky (on Christmas Day)."

The Illustrated Historical Atlas of Adams County, by J. A. Caldwell, gives this account of Michael's death: "A few years after Mr. Pence settled or perhaps about 1808 or 1809 he was drowned in the Ohio River while crossing with his team on a ferry flat at Henry Gilman's ferry which was situated just below the residence of David Pennywitt, at the lower end of Manchester.... In crossing the river, from some cause not now known, Mr. Pence and his team were precipitated into the waters and all perished."

Miss Mary Ruth Brookover, a descendant of Michael, sets his death on Dec. 25, 1807, in her book Brookover-Pence. She also says that Michael was the son of Michael Pence who came on the Loyal Judith and landed in Philadelphia on Sep. 18, 1749. (The Michael who came on the Loyal Judith landed on Sep. 30, 1732; it was the Edinburg which landed in 1749 with a Michael Pence aboard.)

It appears that George C. Pence's son heard the story about his grandfather's drowning, but did not know or recall his correct given name (George C., it will be shown, was the son of Michael and but nine himself when his father died). Putting these stories together with those from the Indiana genealogy leads to the theory that there may have been a "generation gap" in them and that an ancestor of Conrad, George Philip, Michael and Nicholas was a Philip Pence.

Regarding the date of Michael's death: The Roush genealogy also gives it as 1807. However, the inventory for his estate was returned in January, 1800, and his wife remarried a year or two later. There are numerous county records, supposedly burned but found by Mrs. Ann Johnson, supporting the fact that Michael died in 1799.

It was these latter records, coupled with genealogies assembled by others, that led to the discovery that George C. Pence was not the son of a Philip Pence but was, in fact, one of Michael's younger sons.

First, in all the genealogies on the Adams County Pence families, descendants were given for all of Michael's children except George and William, apparently the two youngest. Mrs. Oliver said the only known sibling of George was William, and that both left home at an early age. They no doubt did leave early, since George was but nine when Michael drowned and William was possibly younger - and their mother apparently had an unfortunate second marriage, as shown by court records concerning an agreement for her separate maintenance.

Next, papers relating to Michael's estate list a son George Pence exactly the right age to have been George C. Pence. Also, deeds relating to the sale of Michael's land by his children listed George Pence and wife Sarah of Fayette County, Ohio. George C. Pence married Sarah Windle in Fayette County and most, if not all, of their children were born there.

The births of some of the children of Michael, and some of those of his son Peter, are listed in the Old Pine Church records in 200 Years in the Shenandoah Valley, by Kelly. However, these were misread or mistranslated as "Lentz" rather than "Bentz" or "Pentz." There is no doubt, however, that these children were those of Michael and Peter because of the names and dates involved.

The wills of Conrad, George Philip and Nicholas in Shenandoah County and records relating to the estate of Michael Pence in Adams County provide a fairly accurate list of their children.

Nicholas' will mentions, among others, his daughter Catherine, wife of John Wymant of Pennsylvania. A later deed in Shenandoah County is from John Wymand of Lancaster County, Pa., to Jacob, probably the son of Nicholas. John, the only son of George Philip still living at the 1880 census, the first time the birth places of parents were listed, gave his place of birth as Virginia and his parents place of birth as Pennsylvania, giving credence to the possibility that Michael, George Philip and Conrad were born in Pennsylvania. Genealogies of a number of Pence/Bentz families in Pennsylvania have been checked, but have not turned up any clues as to who the parents might have been. Because of the large number of Bentz, Pentz and Pence families in early Pennsylvania and the lack of early records, it may be impossible to determine whether or not this group of Shenandoah Pences were related to any of those in Pennsylvania.

Revolutionary War Service. Descendants of Conrad, Michael and Nicholas have been admitted to the DAR on the basis of their service in the Revolution. Whether their service was in Pennsylvania or Virginia is unclear from the few DAR application papers so far examined. Their names have not been noticed in any of the standard references for Virginia service.

Which Jacob Pence?

By Richard A. Pence

[This article is updated and revised from the original, which appeared in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, June, 1987.]

On Aug. 25, 1928, a headstone furnished by the U.S. War Department commemorating the Revolutionary War service of Lt. Jacob Pence, Jr., was unveiled and placed on his grave in the family cemetery on Indian Creek, Monroe County, W.Va.1

West Virginians in the Revolution2 gives the commonly believed background for this Revolutionary soldier under the heading of Jacob Pence, Sr.:

Settled with his brother, Valentine, in Rockingham County, Va., prior to 1747. Served in the Augusta County, Va., militia under Captain William Nall from September 10, 1774, until the end of the Revolution. Was at the Battle of Point Pleasant and his Revolutionary service is accepted under Nat. No. DAR 175459. After the Revolution he moved to Bath County, then to Callaghan's Station, and to Monroe County. He was born 1742 and died in 1819. He married Elizabeth Trestler in 1762....

In Augusta County, John Young, age 73, declared that he was born in Lancaster County, Pa., in 1760, moved to Augusta when four, enlisted under Capt. All, who raised a company of Volunteers in Augusta to repel the Indians. Under Lt. Jacob Pence, marched to the South Fork of the Potomac, thence over the waters of the Monongalia and built a fort at Hackers Creek.3

An examination of some of the standard references for Virginians in the Revolution revealed only these two mentions of Jacob Pence(s):

Ensign Jacob Penee (sic) served in Captain William Nall's company at the battle of Point Pleasant in 1774.4
Lt. Jacob Pence was a member of William Nall's company in 1775 when it marched to Hacketts Creek, where it garrisoned for three months.5

The records of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution contain this information on Jacob Pence(s):

Membership in the DAR has been granted to descendants of Lt. Jacob Pence, born 20 Dec. 1730, Frankfort, Germany; died - Feb. 1800, Rockingham County; married Catherine Persinger 1763 (DAR National Number 495694).
Membership in the DAR has been granted to descendants of Lt. Jacob Pence, born 1742, died 1819, Monroe County, W.Va., married Elizabeth Thustler 1762 (DAR National Number 150954).
Jacob Pence, b 20 Dec. 1730, d. 1800, m Catherine Persinger, soldier in Virginia.6
Jacob Pence, Jr., born c1742, died 1819, married Elizabeth Trustler, private in Virginia.6

Additionally, the History of Monroe County, West Virginia,7 says that Jacob and Valentine Pence settled in [what is now] Rockingham County, Va., about 1747. "A son of one of these" was Jacob Pence, who died in Monroe County about 1819, according to this book.

In spite of inconsistencies (such as Jacob's date of birth, whether it was Jacob Sr. or Jr. who served, and who and when the veteran married), together these stories present a reasonably plausible justification for the marker on the grave of Jacob Pence in Monroe County.

The problem is that almost none of the information given about him is true.

Because of the inconsistencies and because Jacob is a common given name in the Pence family,8 a check was made of available records relating to the Pences of Rockingham-Augusta County (the portion of Augusta County where Jacob and Valentine settled became a part of Rockingham County in 1778).

This search convincingly showed that Jacob Pence of Monroe County could not have served in the Revolutionary War.

Jacob Pence1 did indeed settle in Augusta County by 1747. The earliest apparent mention of him is in connection with the building of a road that year.9

However, Jacob died in Augusta County leaving a will dated 20 Dec. 1750 and filed before 27 Feb. 1750/51,10 when his brother Valentine gave bond as executor. Obviously, then, Jacob1was not the Revolutionary War veteran, nor was he the Jacob who died in Monroe County in 1819.

Jacob Pence, son of Jacob Pence1, died in February of 1800.11 He was not of age in 1750 when his father wrote his will and apparently was not yet of age in 1762, although he was nearing adulthood.12 Jacob Persinger brought suit against him (Jacob Pence was then Persinger's stepson)13 in February of 1763 on behalf of his daughter Catherine ("infant"; i.e., not yet of age) for breach of promise.14 While no record of their marriage has been found, the first two children of Jacob and Catherine (Persinger) Pence, Anna Maria and George, were born in 1763 and 1764. Catherine's maiden name is given in the baptismal record of both children.15

Therefore, Jacob2 (Jacob1) was not born in 1730, as claimed, but was born about 1742. He did form a union with Catherine Persinger and most likely was the Revolutionary War veteran. Since he died in February of 1800, he was not the Jacob who died in 1819 in Monroe County.

Jacob's brother Valentine1also had a son Jacob,16 who was probably born about 1746, since his older brother Adam was born about 1744 (see footnote 12). This Jacob died 19 Nov. 1802, in Cabarrus County, N.C.17 He married Catherine, daughter of George Henry Barger.18 Jacob2 (Valentine1) was in Mecklenburg County, N.C., by 20 May 1771, when he bought land.19 He also was there in 1774 when he (as Jacob Benz) and Georg Heinrich Berger were among those who began building the so-called Organ Church20 and was there during the 1790 census.21 He was in Cabarrus County (formed from Mecklenburg in 1792) in the 1800 census.22

Therefore, Jacob2 (Valentine1), could not have been the Jacob who died in Monroe County. Assuming he did not return to Virginia in 1774 (as the evidence indicates), he probably was not the Augusta County Revolutionary War veteran.

The records of Augusta and Rockingham counties do not reveal any other Jacob Pence of the right age to have served in the Revolution and then moved to Monroe County about 1800.

If Jacob Pence of Monroe County was not "Jacob Pence Sr." or if he was not the son of either Jacob or Valentine, who was he?

The author believes him to have been the son of Jacob2 Pence and the grandson of Jacob1. This conclusion is reached for several reasons, not the least of which is that all other Jacob Pences who might have been him appear to be accounted for.23 And, if he was not, there is no clue as to what happened to Jacob3 (Jacob2, Jacob1).

Lists of the children of Jacob Pence of Monroe County included with DAR applications and a published list (the former may have been taken from the latter) agree that he had eight children, born from 1800 to about 1816 (see footnote 7).

Since two of the sources cited earlier said Jacob Pence of Monroe County married Elizabeth Trestler or Thustler, an attempt was made to locate a marriage record confirming this and, because of the birthdates of the children, the search was centered in the 1790s. The record was found in Botetourt County, Va., where on 15 Apr. 1799 Jacob Pence was issued a bond to marry Elizabeth Triser.24 Deeds in Alleghany County (formed largely from Botetourt County), Va., show that the Jacob Pence of Monroe County is the same person who married in Botetourt County.25

Since Jacob Pence of Monroe County appears to have been the right age to have been the son of Jacob2 (Jacob1) and since there is a strong tradition he was from the Rockingham County area of Virginia, information was sought to support or deny the thesis that he was the son of Jacob2 (Jacob1).

The major clue came from the will of Jacob Pence of Monroe County.24 In it he said he wanted his son Peter George Washington Pence to go to Peter Pence of Botetourt County to learn the tanning business. The Botetourt County Peter Pence has been identified as a son of Jacob Pence2 (Jacob1) (see footnote 11). He married Elizabeth Hinton 30 Oct. 1801 in Rockingham County and went before 1810 to Botetourt County, Va., where he was a tanner.27

If Jacob Pence of Monroe County was indeed the son of Jacob Pence2 (Jacob1), as the evidence indicates, then he couldn't have been the Revolutionary War veteran. As previously cited, Jacob2 (Jacob1) was not married until 1763 and his first two children, Anna Maria and George, were born in 1763 and 1764 (see footnote 15). This means that Jacob3 (Jacob2, Jacob1) could not have been born before 1766. In fact, he probably had four older siblings28 and so likely wasn't born until about 1770.

It's not likely he went marching off to Point Pleasant as a lieutenant with Capt. Nall in 1774 at the tender age of four.

This "who-was-it" exercise demonstrates an all-too-common mistake in genealogical research: Assuming that persons with the same name are the same person.

It appears that the Revolutionary record relating to Jacob Pence of Monroe County was built bit by bit on pieces of hearsay until the whole appeared to confirm what was not true.

It was likely known among descendants of Jacob Pence of Monroe County that his roots were in Rockingham County. Some descendant no doubt found a reference to a Jacob Pence serving from Augusta or Rockingham in the Revolution. From there it was an easy jump to say "Jacob Pence of Rockingham County served in the Revolution. Our ancestor was Jacob Pence and he was from Rockingham County. Therefore our Jacob Pence served in the Revolution."

The author has had a difficult time convincing others that there are errors in the pedigree of Jacob Pence of Monroe County. Usually when questions are raised about the lineage to a correspondent, back comes yet another piece of "proof" an almost never-ending circular route of misinformation being misquoted. And all undeniably in print.

The climax came with the arrival of the clipping about the War Department marker being placed at the grave of Jacob Pence of Monroe County, attesting to his service in the Revolution. This note accompanied it: "I guess that settles that."

The evidence says otherwise.


1. Monroe Watchman, Union, W.Va., Aug. 30, 1928. The Watchman on that date reported that the 8th annual Pence family reunion was held Aug. 25. A portion of the write-up stated: "Then all proceeded to the Pence Cemetery on the knoll above the picnic grounds, for the purpose of unveiling the head-stone furnished by the War Department to Commemorate the service of Jacob Pence, Jr. who served as a Lieutenant in the Virginia Militia in the Revolutionary War." The marker has no dates. (Pence Family Cemetery Record compiled by Mrs. A. L. Dowdy [who lived on the Jacob Pence homestead in 1986] and sent to the author. The inscription is also included in The Cemeteries of Monroe County, West Virginia, compiled and Published by the Monroe County Historical Society, 1990.) The reader is reminded that Monroe County, W.Va., was Monroe County, Va., until the Civil War.

2. Reddy, Anne Waller, 1973 (originally published 1930), p. 220. Note: It appears likely that Jacob Pence made only one move - from Alleghany County [in 1800 a part of Botetourt County, Va.] to Callaghan's Station [then in Bath County, now in Monroe County]. Monroe County, W.Va., and Alleghany County, Va., border one another.

3. Chalkley, Lyman, Chronicles of the Scotch-Irish Settlement in Virginia (Extracted From the Original Court Records of Augusta County, 1745-1800), 1966 (originally published in 1912), p. 486. Revolutionary Declarations in Augusta County, Va. Young's declaration is undated, but must have been in 1833. See also footnote 5. [All three volumes of Chalkley's work can be fount on line at CHALKLEY.

4. Twaites, Reuben Gold, and Louise Phelps Kellogg (editors), The Documentary History of Dunmore's War 1774, 1905 (reprinted 1974), p. 405. Muster roll of the expedition, including Lt. Jacob Pence in Capt. William Nail's company of volunteers from Augusta County. Note that Dunmore's War was an expedition conducted against the Indians in 1774 before the start of the Revolution. The commander of this expedition was Lord Dunmore, British Governor of Virginia. In 1772 present-day Shenandoah County was named Dunmore County in his honor, but the name was quickly changed when he proved to be a Loyalist.

5. McAllister, Joseph Thompson, Virginia Militia in the Revolutionary War, 1913, p. 139. The statement of John Wiltshire, Prince Edward, 21 Jan. 1833: "Born Lancaster County, Pa., Aug. 1760. Came to Augusta in childhood. Entered militia service in Sep. 1775 to repel Indians. The command marched to South Branch of the Potomac to Hackett's Creek, which it garrisoned three months." (Note that this story is identical to that of John Young, right down to the age and place of birth of the narrator, giving rise to speculation that one source or the other incorrectly attributes this statement - or John may have been trying to get two pensions!) On p. 17, McAllister discusses the Augusta militia and says, "The service of militia in 1774 are included because the Battle of Point Pleasant in that year was really the initial battle of the War." On p. 230, he lists a Capt. James Pence with a Rockingham unit in 1779. The author doubts there was an adult James Pence living in that area of Virginia at the time; perhaps this was a misreading of James for Jacob or, more likely, James Pence for James Peirce (a handwriting misinterpretation frequently encountered by the author). In the contents portion of this book, under the heading of Augusta County militia in 1775, McAllister lists Capt. William Pence, when undoubtedly he was referring to the company of Capt. William Nall, as stated on the page referred to (139).

6. National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, DAR Patriot Index, 1967, p. 525. Vol. II of the NSDAR Patriot Index and the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Supplements, as well as the 1982 Supplement, do not mention Jacob.

7. Morton, Oren F., 1914, p. 319. Also included is a list of the children of Jacob Pence of Monroe County: Henry P., born 23 June 1800; Catherine, born about 1803; Juliana born about 1805; Moses born 15 Oct 1806; Elizabeth born about 1808 in Virginia; David born 11 Mar 1810 Virginia; Peter George Washington b about 1812 Virginia; (Nancy) Agnes born about 1816 Virginia.

8. The original German spelling of this name was generally Bentz. A number of Pence families came from Pennsylvania into Virginia's Shenandoah Valley beginning in 1747, when Jacob and Valentine are first recorded in Augusta County. Jacob, Lewis, Adam and Henry (brothers) settled about 1752 near Stanley in what was then Frederick County, later became Shenandoah County and is now Page County. Except for Adam, who went to Kentucky before 1800 and whose descendants later went to Missouri, most of the children and grandchildren went to Champaign County, Oh., between 1805 and 1820. Michael, Conrad, George Philip and Nicholas (possibly brothers) all settled in Shenandoah County, apparently in the early 1770s. The author has records on descendants of all of these other Pences and is convinced that none of their descendants could have been the Jacob Pence who was the Revolutionary War veteran of Augusta-Rockingham counties.

9. Chalkley, op cit, Vol I, p. 26. Augusta County, Va., Order Book I, p. 168, 18 Mar. 18, 1746/47. Road ordered from top of the Ridge to John Terrald's and James Beard's; among tithables were Jacob and Valentine Pence.

10. Chalkley, op cit, p. 326. Augusta County, Va., Court Judgments, Feb. 1763. Jacob Pence's will of 1750 is mentioned in relation to a suit brought by his widow, now wife of Jacob Passinger (also see footnote 13, Jacob Parsinger and Catherine, late Catherine Pence, vs. Miller, executor of Pence). This will is given in Wayland, John W., The German Element of the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, 1907, p. 73. Valentine Pence, with William Williams and Jacob Nicholas as sureties, gave bond as the executor of Jacob Pence, 27 Feb. 1750/51, Will Book 1, p. 305. The author has been sent what is said to be a copy of the original of this will and a number of typescript copies of it; the latter apparently taken from District of Columbia Genealogy Records Commission, DAR, Report, 1939-40, Vol. 61, page 74.

11. Rockingham County, Va., Deed Book I, pp. 175-177, 24 Sep. 1806. This deed relates to a final splitting of the jointly held lands of Jacob and Valentine and gives the date of death of Jacob2(Jacob1) and cites his will, which apparently was burned during the Civil War. The names of the children of Jacob (Jr.) are given several times in this deed: George, Elizabeth, John, Jacob, Henry, Christian, Peter, William, Adam, Susanna and Charles. Since George was the oldest (Anna Maria, originally the oldest child, apparently died before this deed) and the known dates of the others place them in age order, it is assumed that the others also are given in the order of their age. The deed is a copy of one originally damaged by fire and contains some skips and copying errors. For instance, the day of the month on which Jacob2(Jacob1) died is missing and in the list of Jacob's children, Christian is referred to as Catherine one time.

12. Chalkley, op cit, Vol. I, p. 336. Augusta County, Va., Court Judgments, Aug. 1762: Jacob Pence left a son, Jacob, his eldest and heir-at-law. Jacob Sr. and Valentine were brothers. Valentine left Adam, his eldest son and heir, "a infant 14 years old" [e.g., he was at least 14 by 1762 and had certain rights, including the choice of his own guardian]. Also: Chalkley, Vol. III, p. 419. Augusta County Deed Book 11, p. 795, 19 March 1765: Jacob, oldest son and heir of Jacob (Sr.), and Adam, oldest son and heir of Valentine, when they come of age, are to give a deed for land sold by their fathers to Adam Hetrick and Jacob Nicholas, no deed having been given previously. Jacob conveyed his portion to Jacob Nicholas on 19 Mar. 1765 (Chalkley, Vol. III, p. 419. Deed Book 11, p. 797). Adam conveyed his portion to Adam Hetrick on 18 Mar. 1765. (Chalkley, Vol. III, p. 419. Deed Book 11, p. 798). [The conclusion that Adam was born about 1744 turned out to be remarkably accurate. In 1999, the following record was found pertaining to Adam: Johann Adam Benz, son of Valentin Benz and Maria Cath. Oberlin, was either born or baptised on 15 Jan. 1744 at Christ Lutheran Church, Marion Twp., in what is now Berks County, Pa. (John T. Humphrey, Birth Index: Southeastern Pensylvania, 1680-1800, Family Archives CD #196 (Fremont, Calif.: Broderbund, Inc., 1997.) At the same time, it appears that Jacob2 may have been older that previously thought. John Casper Stover recorded the birth of John Jacob Bentz, son of Jacob Bentz, in his journal as 15 Feb. 1739. (Humphrey, op cit.)]

13. Chalkley, op cit, Vol. I, p. 104. Augusta County, Va., Order Book VIII, p. 484: Suit by Jacob Parsinger and Catherine, late Catherine Pence, vs. Miller, executor of [Valentine] Pence, 19 Feb. 1763. Chalkley, Vol. I, p. 326. Augusta County Judgments for Feb. 1763: Jacob Passenger married Catherine, the wife of Jacob Pence. Chalkley, Vol. II, p. 447. Augusta Parish Vestry Book, p. 301, 19 Nov. 1760: John Pence, orphan [of Jacob Pence] was bound to Jacob Parsinger. Parsinger, along with some of his children, moved to Botetourt County, Va., in the 1770s.

14. Chalkley, op cit, Vol. I, p. 337. Augusta County, Va., Court Judgments, Feb. 1763.

15. Pence, Maj. William Perry, Peaked Mountain Church, Rockingham County, Va., Baptisms, Confirmations, Communicants, Marriages, Deaths, typescript, 1940, pp. 12, 14. The original of this document is in the possession of the widow of Maj. Pence's son, Gen. William Perry Pence. Maj. Pence died in 1915, but a copy of the work was made by Mrs. Harry Wright of the Army-Navy Chapter of the DAR in 1940 and presented to the DAR Library. Another copy is in the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Historical Society in Harrisonburg, Va. Other copies appear to exist, including one in the LDS Library. The early births and baptisms (including these two) appear in the William and Mary Quarterly, Vols. 13 and 14, 1905 and 1906. Maj. Pence was an ardent collector of Pence information and is said to have learned to read German so as to compile this material. W. J. Hinke and Charles E. Kemper assisted him in the translations. Maj. Pence's son, the late Gen. William Perry Pence of Alexandria, Va., also collected Pence records. In a privately published monograph (Pence Family Supplement, 1975), he sought to discover who the Jacob Pence of Monroe County was. His conclusion was that he obviously wasn't Jacob1 or Jacob2, but beyond that he didn't know who he could have been (p. 24). [The records of the Peaked Mountain Church can be found on line at Peaked Mountan Records.]

16. Chalkley, op cit, Vol. III, p. 65. Augusta County, Va., Will Book 3, p. 67. Extract of the will of Valentine1 Pence (written 25 May 1761, proved 18 Aug. 1761). Lists these children: Adam ("first born"), Jacob, Henry, John, Catherine, Sarah, Barbara, Mary and "one in the womb" (who apparently did not survive, for he or she is not mentioned in any settlement relating to Valentine's estate).

17. Letter dated 22 Nov. 1802: Dear and loving frend and Brother in Law we take this opportunity to inform you that we are all in a good State of helth thanks be to God for his Mercy and we hope that these our few lines may find you and your family and the rest of our friends and relation in a god state of helth./And after giving you our kind respect to you all we have to inform you that your brother Jacob Pence is dead for it so pleased the Lord that he was sickly a longe time, som beter then thice year he dispeared his life on the nineteenth Day of November and was buried on the 21th. And concerning the mony which is a comming to us from our Father's Estate we have agread that you settle the same as well as you can to the best advantage because we cannot go for it and if you can sent it with a shure and sefe person or sent it to us with the Poast or a letter to let us now how it is about the matter. /And as it has been a longe time since we have herd from our loving Mother we beg the fevour of you that when you rite us a letter you will let us know ware she lives and how her helth is. Further we have nothing at this time to rite to you only we conclude this our letter as your loving frend and Sister in law and Brother in law untill death doth us part." /s/Catherine Pence and Henry Longe. On the outside, it is addressed to Mr. John Pence, "Living in Rockingham County/County in Virginia/Near Ceaseltown or/Snaps Mills" from "Catherine Pence wife to Henry Long of the State of North Carolina." Catherine, wife of Henry Long, was a sister to Jacob and John Pence. It appears the Catherine Pence signing the letter is Catherine Long, using her maiden name (it is possible that it is Catherine Barger Pence, widow of Jacob. but she made her mark on a later receipt, so if the signature on the inside of the letter was intended to be hers, someone likely signed for her). Original of this letter is in the possession of John P. Pence of The Plains, Oh., a descendant of John, the son of Adam Pence2. Adam, odest son of Valentine1, also died in 1800, leaving a will making his sons John and Jacob special legatees of certain land and executors of his estate. Consequently they also had the responsibility of making the remaining settlements relating to the estate of Adam's father, Valentine1, and Valentine's brother Jacob1 (for whom Valentine was executor). They were also made administrators of the estate of their uncle, John Pence, to whom this letter was written. Perhaps mindful that nearly 50 years after the death of their great uncle Jacob and 40 years after the death of their grandfather, Valentine, their estates were still unsettled, the two brothers preserved extensive records, even after they moved to Ohio some years later. Fortunately, these documents have survived, for the records of them that may have been filed in Rockingham County were apparently burned during the Civil War. The author has photocopies of these records, including the will of Adam Pence and the above letter from North Carolina, as well as various receipts relating to the settlements of these estates.

18. Rowan County, N.C., Will Book H, pp. 51-54, May Court 1820. Will of George Henry Barger, written 3 Feb. 1819: "my grandchildren, the heirs of Jacob Pence and Catherine Pence, decd, one quarter of a dollar to each of them, to be their part in full of my estate." (Rowan County joins Cabarrus County to the north.)

19. Holcomb, Brent H., and Elmer O. Parker, Mecklenburg County, N.C., Deed Abstracts, 1763-1779, p. 235, citing Deed Book 9, p. 52-53, Jan. Term, 1772: "George Wilham and wife Eve of Mecklenberg to Jacob Pence of same for 48 lbs. sterling, land on both sides of Coddle Creek.

20. Pennsylvania Magazine, Oct. 1934, "Beginnings of the Pennsylvania-German Element in North Carolina," p. 349. Entry in Organ Church records.

21. 1790 U.S. Census of Mechlenberg Co., N.C., p. 161. One male 16 and over, two males under 16, six females.

22. 1800 U.S. Census of Cabarrus Co., N.C., p. 717. Two males 5-10, 2 males over 45, two females 5-10, 1 female 10-15, one female over 45.

23. Since the tradition is that Jacob Pence of Monroe County was descended from either Jacob or Valentine, an examination was made of their grandchildren to see if any of them might have been the one who went to West Virginia. In addition to Jacob Pence2, the following sons of either Jacob1 or Valentine1 had sons named Jacob: George, son of Jacob1, had a son Jacob born 23 Apr. 1793 in Rockingham County, Va., and died 30 June 1873 Dallas County, Ia. John, son of Jacob1, had a son Jacob, about whom nothing is known except that he apparently followed his father to Shelby County, Ky., where he deeded his rights to his father's estate to his brother Adam sometime after his father's death, which was 26 June 1826. Adam, son of Valentine1, had a son Jacob who married Sarah (Sally) Smith 20 July 1802 Rockingham County and who died 30 Jan. 1858 in Warren County, Oh. (he was one of the executors of Adam's estate; see footnote 17). Jacob, son of Valentine, had nine children, only six of whom have been identified, with no Jacob among them; in any event, it appears that this entire family remained in North Carolina. Henry, son of Valentine1, had a son Jacob who married Barbara Miller 12 Dec. 1815 in Rockingham County and who died before 4 Aug. 1828 in Rockingham County, when his administrator was named. John, son of Valentine1, had a son Jacob, but he was probably not born until nearly 1800, since he had at least one older brother and his parents were not married until 1793. The facts relating to these Jacobs from the third generation are sufficiently clear so as to eliminate all of them from consideration, except for Jacob3 (Jacob2, Jacob1).

24. Botetourt County, Va., Marriage Records, Vol. II; return on 26 June list. Triser is also Tressler, Trussler, Trestler, Dressler, etc., in various Botetourt records.

25. Alleghany County, Va., Deed Book 1, p. 262, 11 Sep. 1827. Between Michael Dressler and Mary his wife to Henry Dressler, his part of one tract in the bend of the Jackson river and also their right and interest to their brother Moses Dressler's (deceased) part and interest of above mentioned tract; left to him by his father Henry Dressler. Deed Book 1, p. 479, 2 Sep. 1829. Between Henry Dressler and Elizabeth his wife, Adam Quickle and Mary his wife, Joseph B. Clark and Catherine his wife of the county of Alleghany to Henry Pence of the County of Monroe of the state of Virginia (emphasis added), several lots of land lying on both sides of the Jackson River. Also: Worrell, Anne Lowry, Early Marriages, Wills, and Some Revolutionary War Records, Botetourt County, Virginia, 1958, p ?. Land of Henry Trissler divided in 1820, heirs listed, including Elizabeth, "wife of Jacob Pence."

26. Monroe County, W.Va., Will Book 2, p. 7. Will of Jacob Pence, proved 19 Dec. 1820.

27. Vogt, John, and T. William Keethly, Jr., Rockingham County Marriages, 1778-1850, 1984. Marriage of Peter Pence to Elizabeth Hinton, daughter of James Hinton, 3 Dec. 1801; bond, James Hinton (citing Book 1, p. 41). In Botetourt County, Peter Pence was the surety on the bond for the marriage of Joseph Holloway Haynes to Mary Hinton, not of age, daughter of James Hinton "of the state of Kentucky," 12 Aug. 1813 (Boutetourt County Marriages, Vol. 4). In Burton, Charles T., Botetourt County, Va., Children, Vol. 1, Peter Pence was the guardian of Mary Hinton, a child over 14 on 12 Aug. 1813, daughter of James Hinton of Kentucky. Also, Peter Pence, tanner (emphasis added), etc.

28. See footnote 11 for a presumed chronological list of Jacob's children.