The Genealogy Fallout from Nixing Richard Pace of Jamestown Due to DNA

Richard Pace Not Related
Photo I took last fall of the plaque that hangs in the church at historic Jamestown and mentions Richard Pace.

I blogged earlier this week about just receiving the much-anticipated results for a Y-DNA test that proved my husband’s Pace line is not genetically related to the  same line as Richard Pace (1583-1627) of Jamestown, despite a long-time widely perpetuated claim made via an accidental (or possibly even intentional) paper trail error by some Pace researcher.

On the plus side, this DNA test did confirm that my husband Jeff’s family is descended from the same male-line as William Henry Pace (1745-1815), a member of General George Washington’s elite bodyguard unit know as the Commander in Chief’s Guard.

Armed with this new information though, I now face the unpleasant chore of cleaning up my genealogy house due to this fallout.

Wasted Efforts?

I have not invested much time or original research very far back into the Pace line, because a) I knew I’d have to visit local repositories out in Virginia and have not yet had the time, and b) shortly after reviewing what others have researched on this surname, I learned of the DNA controversy and put my research time and dime on hold until we could get our hands on a male-line Pace to test from our family. So no loss there for me.

Jeff With Richard Pace Plaque
Jeff posing with the plaque paying tribute to Chanco and to who we previously thought was Jeff’s 11th great grandfather, Richard Pace.

When Jeff and I traveled with my parents to Washington, D.C. and Virginia last fall, we planned a full day road trip from our Massanutten mountain-top timeshare condo across the state of Virginia to historic Jamestown. Any regrets now? Nope. We would have visited historic Jamestown anyway. After all…. it is historic Jamestown!

On that trip, we had hoped to have enough time in the late afternoon and early evening to take the ferry across the James River to drive by the former location of Richard Pace and wife Isabella Smyth’s Ancient Planter land grant, Pace’s Paines. But we ran out of time and decided against it since it would have has us all back to our condo well past midnight (my parents are usually in bed by 9:00pm). I was a bit bummed at the time. However Jeff and I now joke about how happy we are that we did not waste that extra time.

Cleaning House

I do have a bit of clean-up to do now, most of which will have to wait a couple of weeks until I am done with my summer class.

My Research

  • Deleting all Pace ancestors and collateral relatives from my Ancestry tree (which I consider a “leads” tree, not my confirmed-findings tree), beyond William Henry Pace of the Commander-in-Chief Guard (CnC Guard).
  • Deleting all Pace ancestors and collateral relatives from my research database, extending back beyond William Henry Pace of the CnC Guard.
  • Deleting the same for Richard Pace’s wife Isabella Smyth.
  • For all Evernote notes I have saved over the years:
    • Merge all notes for each ancestor or relative beyond William Henry Pace of the CnC Guard into a single master note for each of those individuals. I do not want to delete all those Notes, lest I ever need them for future reference.
    • Add a “VOIDED” prefix to each newly merged master Note, so that it is immediately clear when viewing a note or viewing a list of notes that these Paces notes are not part of my research line.
    • Remove Anhentafel number tags, the “Pace” surname tag, and any research-action-oriented tags from those notes (ex: “to confirm”).
    • Move those notes out of my active research notebooks, and into a newly created “Voided Research” notebook.
    • Do the same for the Isabella Smyth line (his wife).
Richard Pace - Voided Notes
Updating all of my Richard Pace notes in Evernote.

This Blog

  • Add a prominently featured updated note to the top of every blog post about Richard Pace or his wife Isabella Smyth, noting the false connection. Like my Evernote research notes, I do not want to delete these posts. For one thing, I do not delete blog posts even if they become obsolete–I add a correction or a link to more updated information. I also want other Pace researchers to be aware of this fallacy, so they do not replicate the same error in their own work.
  • Make any necessary corrections to blog posts about William Henry Pace of the CnC Guard, which might reference Richard Pace and Isabella Smyth.
  • Remove the Genealogy Snapshot box from these posts, which displayed the descendancy route down to my husband.
  • Add a “VOIDED” note to the archive view of all blog posts pertaining to these two individuals. Again, I do not want to delete them from lists like our Surnames List, but I want to make it clear to others that these are false findings.
Richard Pace Snapshot Box
Time to delete my Genealogy Snapshot box for Richard Pace of Jamestown.
Richard Pace in Ancestor List
I need to now add a “VOIDED” annotation to my blog’s ancestor list, and an explanatory note to all all posts referencing Pace and Smyth of Jamestown.

Next Steps

After all necessary clean-up, I plan to make this line a major research focus for 2016.

As I mentioned in my last post, the Y-DNA test only proves that my husband’s Pace line is descended from the same line from which William Henry Pace the CnC Guard also descends (the John Pace of Middlesex line). The test does not prove our family is descended directly from William Henry Pace. After the disappointment of learning we can no longer claim the Jamestown connection, I would like to be able to provide my husband’s cousins with a conclusive answer about the CnC Guard Pace. I am hoping the more advanced DNA education I will receive at SLIG this January will help me better analyze the DNA evidence against the paper trail evidence. And I definitely have to now buckle down and study that paper trail evidence myself.

Since the DNA test has proven our Pace line descends from the John of Middlesex line, I need to now begin researching John of Middlesex and his descendants. This is not a name that has been on my research radar until now.

I think this will be a very interesting case to research and study to share!

#52Ancestors: DNA Proves Our Pace Research is Only Halfway Right

Richard Pace Not Related
Photo I took last fall of the plaque that hangs in the church at historic Jamestown and mentions Richard Pace.

My 26th entry in Amy Johnson Crow’s “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” family history blogging challenge for 2015.

The challenge: have one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor. It could be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem — anything that focuses on one ancestor.

Amy’s 2015 version of this challenge focuses on a different theme each week.

The theme for week 26 is – Halfway: This week marks the halfway point in the year — and the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge! What ancestor do you have that you feel like you’ve only researched halfway? What ancestor do you feel like takes up half of your research efforts?

I am quite behind on this blog challenge due to a very busy summer school class, hence the reference to this week being the “halfway point” in the year.

My 26th ancestor is who we had hoped was my husband Jeff’s 11th great-grandfather, Richard Pace (1583-1627), an Ancient Planter who is credited with helping save the Jamestown colony from a 1622 Indian massacre. Exactly one week ago today, we received DNA confirmation that my husband’s family is NOT descended from this noteworthy Pace.

Righting a Research Wrong

I have done very little original research on my husband’s Pace line beyond the last four generations. With so much already written and shared by others, I have instead focused on our lesser-known family lines. It appears that I will now need to make this Pace line a priority research project for 2016.

Incorrect Paper Trail Assumptions

Jeff With Richard Pace Plaque
Jeff posing with the plaque paying tribute to Chanco and to who we previously thought was Jeff’s 11th great grandfather, Richard Pace.

I wrote five months ago about the research error that has perpetuated for quite some time, identifying this Richard Pace of Jamestown and William Henry Pace (1745-1815), a member of George Washington’s Revolutionary War elite bodyguard unit–the Commander-in-Chief Guard (CnC Guard)–as being in the same line of descent, seven generations apart. In an attempt to confirm or refute this claim, the Pace Society of America became an early adopter among surname society-sponsored Y-DNA studies.1

Upon learning of this project, I wanted my husband’s family to participate. But my husband Jeff is a Pace through his mother, so his DNA could not help us. Unlike autosomal DNA, the Y chromosome is inherited only by males, which “passes down virtually unchanged from father to son.” 2 This allows Y-DNA testing to determine patrilineal (direct male-line) ancestry.

We needed a direct male-line Pace. Fortunately Jeff’s 1st cousin once removed (who I will call Male Cousin Pace to protect his privacy) volunteered right away after his wife learned about our dilemma and reasons for wanting to test.

The Research Question

The primary question we wanted Male Cousin Pace’s Y-DNA test to answer is from which of these two prominent Pace men our branch of the family is descended. Of course, this wasn’t a question with just two possible answers: Richard Pace of Jamestown vs. William Henry Pace CnC Guard. A third answer was always possible, one which we hoped would not be the case…that our family was descended from neither of these men.

The DNA Evidence

After several months of impatiently waiting and regularly checking the processing status of Male Cousin Pace’s kit on Family Tree DNA (FTDNA), I was beside myself when on 4 August 2015 I noticed–well ahead of the notification email from FTDNA–that processing had finally been completed. I immediately hopped on to the Pace Family Genealogy group on Facebook, notifying the DNA project administrator that Male Cousin Pace’s results were ready.

Less than two hours later, the DNA project administrator Rebecca Christensen replied to my post: “The results belong to the John Pace of Middlesex group (as expected) – not the Richard Pace group.”3 Rebecca private-messaged me, elaborating a bit more:

The results actually have 3 mutations (differences) from the modal (most common) results for the group although 2 of the differences are shared by kit number 288002 – so that person may share a more recent ancestor with you.  Your results came in as expected since you are related to William Pace of George Washington’s guard – he is a known John Pace of Middlesex descendant.4

My husband’s Pace branch is descended from the same line as William Henry Pace of the CnC Guard, not from Richard Pace of Jamestown.5  This particular research question is clearly answered by the DNA.

Pace DNA Project - John Middlesex
A closeup view of how our family test kit falls under the results for the John of Middlesex line, within haplogroup I-M223, on the FTDNA public results page.

DNA Answers Only Part of the Question

Note that I state descended from the same line as William Henry Pace, instead of explicitly stating descended from William Henry Pace.

Until I devote some research time towards thoroughly vetting the records tracing my husband’s Pace grandfather and great-grandfather back to William Henry Pace’s generation and then to John of Middlesex, I cannot be certain that my husband’s family actually descends from the CnC Guardsman. All that the Y-DNA test tells us is that my husband’s line descends from John of Middlesex. If William Henry Pace had a brother, it might be his brother from whom our family descends. The linkage to John of Middlesex could be through another of John’s male descendants altogether–occurring prior to William Henry Pace.

We just cannot know until a thorough analysis of the paper trail is conducted. This type of genealogy problem requires both DNA and historical records.

Related Further Back?

Another question I pondered when learning about the DNA project disputing a line of descent between Richard Pace of Jamestown and William Henry Pace of the CNC Guard, is if it might be possible that my husband’s family was descended from one line yet could also be related to the other line further back in time? Perhaps several generations back?

According to the DNA evidence, the answer is a firm no.

Pace DNA Project - Richard Pace
A closeup view of test kits that fall under the Richard Pace of Jamestown line, within haplogroup R-M269, on the FTDNA public results page.

Richard Pace of Jamestown and William Henry Pace of the CnC Guard are not genetically connected at all. Not just in a genealogical time frame. These two Pace lines are not even connected in an anthropological time frame. The public DNA results, available on Family Tree DNA, assign different haplogroups to these two Pace lines. Our John of Middlesex line belongs to haplogroup I-M223, while the Richard Pace of Jamestown line belongs to haplogroup R-M269.6 7

RESEARCH TIP: Y-DNA Terms Referenced

If you are not familiar with this terminology:

  • Genealogical Time Frame: “A time frame within the last 500 up to 1000 years since the adoption of surnames and written family records. An individual’s haplotype is useful within this time frame and is compared to others to help identify branches within a family.”8
  • Anthropological Time Frame: “A time frame of over 1000 to tens of thousands of years ago that predates recorded history and surnames for most people. The Y-DNA haplogroup tree traces SNP mutations over anthropological time.”6
  • Haplogroup: “A genetic population group of people who share a common ancestor on the patrilineal [all-male line] or matrilineal [all-female line] line. Haplogroups are assigned letters of the alphabet, and refinements consist of additional number and letter combinations.”10
  • Mutation:A permanent structural alteration or change in the DNA sequence. Mutations in the sperm or egg are called germline mutations. Germline mutations in the Y chromosome of the male are passed on to all of his male-line descendants.”11

I am not going into further detail in this post about the three mutations that Rebecca noticed in Male Cousin Pace’s Y-DNA kit, except to note that this does not mean my husband and his Pace side of the family are mutants :-).4 Nor will I go into an explanation about the two haplogroups. My Y-DNA experience is not yet ready to tackle those topics in a meaningful way. Those explanations have to wait until after I study under Blaine Bettinger at SLIG this January.

Next Steps?

Needless to say, the results of Male Cousin Pace’s Y-DNA test have made a mess out of the family’s research–some of his siblings and his wife have also been researching the Pace family history. I discuss the fallout and housecleaning efforts among my own research notes, and this family history blog, in my next post. I have to get my own house in order before I can help the others get theirs straightened up too.


#52Ancestors: Storms Surrounding General Washington’s Bodyguard, Sergeant William Pace

Washington and Lafayette at Valley Forge
Washington and Lafayette at Valley Forge. Painting by John Ward Dunsmore, 1907. Public domain image from Wikimedia Commons.

My 10th entry in Amy Johnson Crow’s “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” family history blogging challenge for 2015.

The challenge: have one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor. It could be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem — anything that focuses on one ancestor.

Amy’s 2015 version of this challenge focuses on a different theme each week.

The theme for week 10 is — Stormy Weather. This is the time of year that the northern hemisphere starts to see severe storms. (As if the blizzards in New England this winter haven’t been bad enough!) What ancestor endured a particularly severe storm? It could be something like a tornado or blizzard or it could be a “storm” of bad things.

My 10th ancestor is Revolutionary War hero William Pace (1747-1815) whom my husband’s extended Pace family thinks is his 5th great grandfather. The stormy reference? A stormy winter and a storm of genealogist controversy.

I have previously written about Pace being a member of the elite Commander-in-Chief’s Guard for General George Washington. William Pace served in the Continental Army from 23 January 1777, mustering out as a Sergeant on 3 November 1783.

Valley Forge

Valley Forge, located in Pennsylvania (about 20 miles north of Philadelphia), served as the 1777 – 1778 winter encampment for General George Washington’s Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. Every American grade-schooler learns about the brutal winter conditions at Valley Forge, right up there with the famous crossing of the Delaware.

Images of bloody footprints in the snow, soldiers huddled around lonely campfires, and Washington on his knees, praying that his army might survive often come to mind when people hear the words “Valley Forge.” But truer images of the place would show General Washington using the time between December 1777 and June 1778 to train his men and to fight to maintain his position as the head of the Continental Army. – Source: Mount Vernon’s Ladies’ Association

The Valley Forge encampment lasted from December 19, 1777 to June 19, 1778.

Undernourished and poorly clothed, living in crowded, damp quarters, the army was ravaged by sickness and disease. Typhoid, typhus, smallpox, dysentery, and pneumonia were among the numerous diseases that thrived in the camp during that winter. These diseases, along with malnutrition and exposure to the freezing temperatures and snow, contributed to the 2,500 soldiers that died by the end of the winter. – Source: Wikipedia

William Pace at Valley Forge

William Pace (then still a Private) is recorded on the March 1778 muster roll at Valley Forge. “According to March 1778 payroll, Pace was paid 2 pounds in English currency and 6 and 2/3 dollars in American.”

Per Wikipedia, Pace (if he didn’t arrive until March of 1978) would have served at Valley Forge after the encampment started receiving adequate supplies in February, due to Congress finally funding the Army’s supply lines. He would have also been there during the tenure of Major General Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben. Since Godfrey places Private Pace with the Guard at the Battle of Germantown in Pennsylvania on 4 October 1977, I am not sure why Pace wouldn’t have been at Valley Forge for the entire encampment period, showing up on all muster rolls. I will have to review military records more thoroughly.

Seriously? Another Valley Forge Ancestor?

At least one other ancestor of my husband served at Valley Forge — his 3rd cousin 7 times removed, Major General Nathanael Greene (then a Quartermaster General).

Storm of Controversy

There are a lot of family historians out there who claim that William Pace is descended from Richard Pace of Jamestown (1583-1627). Including a lot of public Ancestry Family Trees showing (apparently incorrect or not fully vetted) source documentation linking the two together.

No DNA Joint-Descent

Y Chromosome DNA
Human Y Chromosome DNA. Creative Commons licensed image from the ISOGG Wiki.

A couple of days ago, I stumbled across references in the Pace Society of America Facebook Group to a document by William and Martha Bellomy, discussing the military history of William Pace.

Although Bellomy’s website and .doc version of the family history publication are no longer live, I was able to retrieve them both via the Internet Archive. In this document, the Bellomies state on page 19:

We now know, there is NO evidence that supports the claim that William Pace, Sr., is a descendent of Richard Pace who saved Jamestown, Virginia, from the Indian massacre in the early 1620’s.

DNA studies indicate that our first Pace ancestor in America was John Pace of Middlesex County, VA. Bill Pace, my cousin, of Scottsboro, AL (see photo, p.123) was our proxy in the DNA study. My great-great grandmother, Susannah Pace, was a sister to his ancestor, William Pace, Jr. It was necessary to have a surname of Pace for this particular DNA study. The DNA indicated that Bill Pace was related to John Pace of Middlesex. Although we are not directly related to Richard Pace, George Pace of Canada, relates that there must be some relationship between Richard Pace and John Pace of Middlesex because in England their families lived near each other and their families have common names.

Since I am still a newbie on my husband’s Pace line, and have done no original Pace research of my own (other than visiting several Pace ancestor sites on vacation last fall), I immediately raised this question on the Pace Family Genealogy Facebook Group in hopes that some of the members who are involved in Pace DNA research could shed some light on this issue.

Professional genealogist Rebecca Christensen is the administrator of the Pace Family Genealogy Facebook Group, as well as the Pace Surname DNA Study. She responded to my question about 15 minutes later.

William Pace, of Washington’s Guard, is a John Pace of Middlesex Co., VA Pace. DNA does prove that John Pace of Middlesex and Richard Pace of Jamestown, VA are from two distinct families – two separate DNA haplogroups.

For many years, Paces tried to massage the records and explain away the reasons they thought John Pace of Middlesex could be a descendant of Richard Pace of Jamestown. When Family Tree DNA was created, the Pace family was one of the earliest projects on board with the goal of finding out whether the two men were related. It was pretty obvious when the results came back that they weren’t – and it has been confirmed time and time again. DNA testing was the best thing to happen for the Pace families – except for maybe those that want to claim both lines as their ancestry. Hope you can get the Pace cousin to test. It should tell you which Pace line your husband’s Pace family belongs to.

In my husband’s family, there is disagreement over this among the Pace cousins who have researched their genealogy. Two claim direct descent through both William Pace and Richard Pace of Jamestown: I talked to one about this at a Pace party last summer, and I have reviewed the public Ancestry Member Tree of the second Pace who shares this theory. The dissenting Pace, with whom I just chatted on Facebook, says they are only descended from Richard Pace.

I have no horse in this race. I’m still in the gathering-every-possible-lead-and-theory I find phase, and slowly trying to evaluate sources myself.

Our Next Steps

So…what now? Are we related to Revolutionary War hero William Pace? Or to Jamestown hero Richard Pace? Or possibly neither?!

Will my husband get to continue demanding gratitude from his friends every Presidents’ Day, for an ancestor who helped protect our future first president and ensure our liberty?

Time to get some Paces to spit!

I have ordered an autosomal DNA kit from AncestryDNA, to ask my husband’s Pace aunt to let me test her (his Pace mother is deceased), as well as a Y-DNA kit from Family Tree DNA to beg one of my husband’s male-line Pace cousins (since Hubby is a Pace through his mother) to let me test them. Then contribute both to the Pace DNA project. The Y-DNA test from a male Pace cousin should help us, via the Pace project, identify to which (really, if either) of these notable Paces we are related.

And I really need to start going after those primary source documents too.

Sources Used

Bellomy, W., & Bellomy, Martha. (2014, September 10). The Bellomy/Bellamy and Pace Families. Retrieved from

The Friends of Valley Forge Park. (n.d.). Private William Pace. Valley Forge Legacy: The Muster Roll Project. Retrieved March 10, 2015, from

Godfrey, C. E. (1904). The Commander-in-chief’s Guard, Revolutionary War. Washington, D. C.: Stevenson-Smith company. Retrieved from

Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association. (n.d.). Valley Forge. George Washington’s Mount Vernon. Retrieved March 10, 2015, from

National Society Daughters of the American Revolution. (n.d.). Ancestor Search | Pace, William.DAR Genealogical Research System. Database. Retrieved from

Valley Forge. (2015, March 2). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 13:30, March 10, 2015, from

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#52Ancestors: Hanging Out in Jamestown Settlement with 11th Great Grandfather Richard Pace

Plaque honoring Chanco and Richard Pace.
Plaque honoring Chanco and Richard Pace.

My 35th entry in Amy Johnson Crow’s “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks family history blogging challenge.

The challenge: have one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor. It could be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem — anything that focuses on one ancestor.

I have fallen way behind in this challenge again due to continued health issues the last few months, but I am trying to catch up by the end of the year.

My 35th ancestor is my husband’s 11th great grandfather, Richard Pace (1583-1627), who is credited with saving the colonial settlement of Jamestown, Virginia. I discovered and started investigating this Richard Pace back in April 2012, when I first wrote about a new research lead. Since that first post, I have done more research, and have spoken with several cousins of Jeff who already knew this family connection and have researched it themselves.

Back during those initial investigations, I found out that there is a plaque dedicated to Richard Pace in the church on the National Park’s Jamestown settlement site.

Visiting Jamestown

Well, last month, Jeff and I finally got to visit the historic Jamestown, Virginia colonial settlement site as part of a 10 day Virginia and Washington, DC vacation with my parents. Early this year, my parents invited us to stay a week with them in their Shenandoah Valley timeshare. Jeff and I jumped at the offer for free lodging, scheduled a few extra days on the trip for all of us to visit DC, and started scouting out day trip options from the timeshare. We realized getting out to Jamestown would be quite the long drive (it turned into a 16-hour day!), but we also recognized that this might be our best chance at visiting Jamestown anytime in the near future. We just couldn’t pass up soaking in the history of that area, and we especially could not pass up getting to walk where Jeff’s ancestor walked, viewing the famous river he crossed to warn and save the town, and getting a first hand look at the dedicated plaque.

Jeff posing next to the plaque honoring Chanco and Jeff's 11th great grandfather Richard Pace.
Jeff posing next to the plaque that honors his 11th great grandfather.

Richard Pace is credited with saving Jamestown from a 1622 Indian massacre. After learning from his Indian servant Chanco about the plot, Pace rowed across the James River to warn the settlement.

The plaque is primarily a tribute to Chanco, with Pace mentioned in a much less prominent placement and font size. I, of course, had to tease Jeff about this. Jealousy. My ancestors were peasants. We saw evidence of his prominent ancestors throughout the entire vacation.

A view inside the church. Jeff is on the left, reading the plaque honoring his ancestor.
A view inside the church. Jeff is on the left, reading the plaque honoring his ancestor.

This is not the same church (constructed in 1617) that Jeff’s ancestors would have attended. However, this “newer” church (partially built in 1639) is on the site of that original church. So even though Richard Pace and his family never walked or worshiped in this building, it was still pretty cool to go inside one of the oldest European structures in the United States.

Exterior view of the church.
Exterior view of the church.
National Historic Site plaque on the exterior of the church.
National Historic Site marker on the church.

Jamestown was founded on 4 May 1607, and was the first permanent English settlement in the Americas. The Jamestown obelisk was built in 1907, as a tercentennial monument to the founding of Jamestown.

The tercentennial obelisk.
One of the inscribed sides of the obelisk.
One of the inscribed sides of the obelisk.
Our awesomely funny, entertaining, and knowledgeable docent tells us the history of Jamestown settlement.
Our awesomely funny, entertaining, and knowledgeable park ranger guide.

After the guided talk was done, Jeff and I had to take the opportunity to ask our ranger about Jeff’s ancestor. The ranger was thrilled to tell us that Richard Pace is one of her very favorite people from Jamestown history. But, it quickly became clear that she is an even bigger fan of Chanco, Pace’s Indian servant, and wants to write a book aobut Chanco when retired.

Site of the old fort, which until recently was though to be lost under the river.
Site of the old fort, which until recently was though to be lost under the river.
Archaeological dig site.
Constant reminders that Jamestown is an active archaeological site. It sent chills up our spines to think that these archaeologists might be unearthing items that Jeff’s ancestors touched.

Pace’s Paines Plantation

Richard Pace, wife Isabella Smyth (1589-1637), and their son George Pace (1609-1655) immigrated from England sometime before 1618. Pace was not among the original settlers of Jamestown, but was among the earliest.

Pace and Smyth received one of the first land grants in the Colony of Virginia, as part of the headright system implemented in 1618, which granted lands to settlers who migrated from England and remained in the colony for at least three years. Recipients of these early land grants were referred to as Ancient Planters. Pace and Smyth — each granted 100 acres — registered a patent on 5 December 1620 for 200 acres located across the James River from the settlement, founding their “Pace’s Paines” plantation, now part of Mount Pleasant Plantation, a private non-profit-owned property (not open for public tours) in Spring Grove, Virginia.

Our family planned to drive by Mount Pleasant Plantation (and get a photograph with that sign, too) after a lunch stop at Cape Henry and Virginia Beach, but it was getting late, and there is no quick route to that area across the river. And we still had to hit Yorktown battlefield. So Jeff and I will have to visit the site of Pace’s Paines on another trip to the beautiful state of Virgnia.

Looking across the James River. Richard Pace's "Pace's Paines" lands were located on the far bank.
Looking across the James River. Pace’s Paines was located on the far bank.
Paces Paines sign
Historic marker designating the location of Pace’s Paines, the lands Richard Pace registered in 1620. Public Domain image from Wikimedia Commons.

Historical Perspective

To put Pace’s Jamestown life and properties in historical perspective, he and Smyth arrived around the time that famous Pocahontas died (1617) while she and her husband John Rolfe and son were living in England. Rolfe died in 1622, two years after Pace and Smyth registered their land patent. Rolfe and Pocahontas, and later Rolfe and his second wife, also owned lands across the James River from the Jamestown settlement.

Richard Pace died in 1625.

Pocahontas. I could almost hear her singing “Colors of the Wind”. Our docent mentioned that Pocahontas was actually much younger than portrayed in this statue and the Disney film.
Rolfe and Pocahontas
Public domain 1850s painting of John Rolfe and Pocahontas, from Wikimedia Commons.
John Smith
No, not Jeff’s 11th great grandfather Richard Pace. The famous John Smith. Incorrectly portrayed as the object of Pocahontas’s love in the Disney movie, instead of her real husband John Rolfe.

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