Thursday, July 22, 2010

Henry Mace I

  • Name: Henry Mace I
  • Born: 1720/1730 England
  • Died: 1781 Hampshire, West Virginia
  • Related through: Erin's grandmother Idonna Nuttall Madson
Henry Mace I was born in 1720/1730 in England. He died in 1781 in Hampshire, West Virginia. He married Ann Petty about 1750. She was born about 1730 in Pennsylvania. She died about 1800 in Hardy, West Virginia. They had seven children. We are descended through their son Henry Mace II.

Henry and his brother Nicholas both bought land in what was then Augusta County, Virginia. There was another brother, John, who ended up in N.C. and was later killed by Indians along with his family. A son, Jacob, survived and came north to live with Maces in present day Hardy County. Henry and Nicholas moved north to present day Hardy in the early 1770s. I got the majority of this article from a book about the Mace family by a woman named Gretchen Ann
Mace Velasco. She does not believe that the name was Mace originally but was Maese/Maisch or some variation thereof. She also thinks they came to Virginia from what is now Dauphin/Lebanon County, Penn. and that they were Huguenots. I thought that way very interesting, see this article about Huguenots.

The Western Augusta Territory was a vast, wild area featuring mountains, deep ravines, severe climate and many rivers and streams flowing west to the Ohio and Kanawa rivers. Fertile land was scarce and in the early 1700's only the hardiest of pioneer colonists ventured into the area. For the most part these pioneers were illiterate, relatively backward and adaptable to such severe environment. About 1715, the West Augusta territory, by order of the English King George I, was reformed into eight large counties, one of which was Augusta located in the northeast corner of present West Virginia. In 1753, the present county of Hampshire was formed from part of Augusta County. About 1758 Henry Mace I moved over from the south Pennsylvania border to the newly formed Hampshire County. Henry homesteaded in a valley on the South Fork of the Potomac River about twenty miles south of Moorhead, Hampshire County, VA. (now West Virginia)

From the limited data on Henry Mace I, it appears that he was a solid citizen. Early Augusta County records show that on January 2, 1761 he signed a petition for the building of a road. Also, Henry was made a naturalized citizen on November 16, 1774. It is known that he was illiterate, and that he fit the pattern for survival in the out-back area of Virginia. He preferred the isolation and the freedom from the influence of English royalty which dominated the coastal plains area. Henry was physically tough, willing to jerk a living off the land, and a good hunter of game in the wild.

After years of farming and hunting, the residents of Hampshire County faced the prospects of the American Revolution and its consequences to them. Few residents fully understood nor joined actively in the prosecution of the Revolutionary War. Henry, along with other Hampshire residents enlisted in the 2nd Virginia Regiment of the Continental Army. Two sons John and Isaac Mace also enlisted. Service for the Hampshire military unit was probably confined to drilling and standing by for further orders as most of the active warfare was confined to the north and east colonial areas. Henry was a private in the "2nd Regiment of Virginia, Continental Army". His military record shows that he entered service July 1777 and deserted camp 10 August 1777 after a month and 10 days of service.

As the war progressed it became necessary for the newly formed continental government to assess and collect taxes and to raise the quota of men to carry on the war. This development caused the rebellion of a group of Hampshire residents who, in 1780, formed an insurgent band which refused to pay higher taxes and to furnish more men under the quota act. A group of Hampshire county English royalists formed a Tory party led by John Claypole with the avowed purpose of joining English General Cornwallis when he entered the area. The purpose of these insurgent groups became hopelessly confused in the illiterate minds of many Hampshire residents. Many signed conflicting petitions in support of both insurgent groups (the loyalists and the patriots). Henry Mace was one of them.

Henry Mace, while suspected of being a Tory (a British loyal) at the time of his death, did not merit the label in view of his illiteracy. The truth is that he and his two sons along with other illiterate mountain men of Hampshire County, Virginia were "taken in" by a John Brake and his partner, John Claypole. These two men were literate and wealthy --- both certain that British General Cornwallis would quell the colonial rebellion thereby making them influential in post-war developments in Hampshire County. The personal loyalty of the mountain men to Brake and Claypole did not include and understanding of what the two were up to.

In 1781 complaints were made by the sheriff or collectors of the revenue complained to Colonel Vanmeter (Patriot) that the people of Hampshire County resisted his attempts to collect taxes and furnish the quota of men to serve in the Patriot Army. General Morgan was called upon to quell this "rebellion". About June 18th, the Colonial Army marched from Winchester and arrived in the Tory section of Hampshire County. They took Claypole as prisoner and moved up the Lost River and crossed the South Branch Mountain. They found a cabin near the summit which was searched. An elderly man named Mace (Henry) and two of his sons ran from the cabin. Henry being closely pursued by an aid to General Morgan named Capt.William Snickers was aiming to take out Henry with his sword. One of Henry's sons, Isaac seeing this, fired a shot which passed through Snickers’ horse's neck. The horse and Snickers fell to the ground. An Irish waiter to General Morgan who had been with the Colonials thought Snickers was dead and shot Henry Mace in the excitement of the moment. It turns out that Snickers had only been bruised.

A petition for pardon of Henry Mace signed by his son John Mace was submitted and heard by the Hampshire County Court. Henry was posthumously pardoned later that year.

"Lyman Chalkey, Chronicles of the Scotch-Irish Settlement of Virginia, Vol 1 16 Nov 1774.
Gretchen Ann
Mace Velasco "The Mace Family in America, A Genealogy and History 1720-1990"


  1. Erin,

    My name is Mark Mace and I have recently did a family tree. Henry is my direct line and I have found that his father was named George. This is where I am . The information you have on him sound exactly like my family. I would like to talk more about this. My email is


  2. I am also a direct descendent. This was an interesting story.
    Jim Mace

  3. Great information! Do you have any more information about John Mace, Henry's brother. Or Jacob Mace?
    Thanks - Jennifer Mace

  4. Erin
    Could you please share your source for the relationship between Henry John and Jacob This relationship has been a brick wall for me for many years.

  5. I actually haven't done any original research on Henry Mace. Most of the articles on this blog are articles we have found over the years and republished. I have tried to link to the original sources and authors if possible. I have tried for years to find the Mace book mentioned in the sources but it seems to be out of print and I can't find any libraries or anyone who has a copy. Maybe if I lived in Virginia. Looks like I found this expert from the book online somewhere which is how I came to begin looking for the book.

  6. Erin,
    I have a copy of The Mace Family on America. I will gladly share any info. My email is