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.

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.

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.

One of the inscribed sides of the obelisk.
One of the inscribed sides of the obelisk.

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.

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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0 thoughts on “Hanging Out in Jamestown Settlement with 11th Great Grandfather Richard Pace”

  1. I enjoyed your blog about Richard, especially since I am also a decendent of Richard and Isabella. Our line seperate with Joseph Pace. My acesotor was his brother George Pace.

  2. Thank you for this. Richard is my 10th Great Grandfather. It was great to read the information that you have provided.

  3. Thanks for sharing. Richard is my 9th Great Grandfather. My mother was a Spurlock – they also came from Virginia and wound up in Georgia. Winifred Pace Fort was married to Arthur Fort. Their daughter Norma Fort married James Spurlock. They came from Virginia to Clarke Co., Georgia, near Athens.

  4. Hello, Jeff! I am your cousin! Richard is also my 11th Great Grandfather! 🙂 What does that make us? 9th cousins or 11th cousins? My line deviates from yours right at Richard. My ancestors are Richard Pace>John Pace_>John Pace_>William Pace_>Joel Pace_>John Montague Pace_>George West Pace_>Granville R. Pace_>Lenora Blanche Pace_>Wilma Katherine Martin_>John R. Martin_>John R. Martin_>Paule Edward Martin (ME)! Glad I found another relative!

  5. Charles R Harris

    Interesting that ancestry.com software shows that Richard Pace is also my 11th great grandfather through Newsom Pierce who died 1 Apr 1820 in Goochland County, Virginia and through his son, Mari Pierce. The family name Pace changed to Pierce about the generation before Newsom Pierce. However, I am afraid my ancestry is now well proven before Newsom Pierce.

  6. David Pat Pace

    Enjoyed the article and pictures. We are going this year for that trip. I am fro Richard also.
    David Patrick Pace
    Nacogdoches, Texas

  7. I am also from Richard Pace. 10th great grandfather…..George>John>Edmund>Alfred>Nancy who married my 2nd great greandfather Oliver Thomas Rowland.

    Michael Rowland
    Fredericktown, MO

  8. I just read your webpage stating that your husband had DNA testing to determine his relation to Richard Pace. I am female and had testing done through 23 and me. The results were what I expected. However, I would like to have my son tested. Which service did you use and how did you determine the difference in relation to Pace?

  9. Bella Pace Conner

    My maiden name is Pace, and my father was also named Richard – James Richard Pace, to be exact. And Richard of Jamestown was my 7th great grandfather. This is so much fun for me! Thank you for your investigation, and especially the photos. My poor grandfather somehow thought that the Pace family came from Switzerland, and after his death, I found out it was hit MOTHER’S side who came from there, not the PACE side. Too bad neither he nor my own father knew about the early settlement connection, and they were Mormon pioneers who have ancestry lineage in their blood! I am thankful I have the real stories, and I thank people such as you. <3 hugs

  10. I haven’t seen the actual line tracing back the Richard Pace, but I’m told he’s my 10th great grandfather on my dad’s side of the family

  11. I have a question. I just recently found out that it is possible I am related to Richard Pace, but I need to know if you know how John Pillows or John Pillars would be related to him? I am working on our family tree and I was given this long list of Paces relatives and told he was related to me but I have not figured it out. Please help. Thanks Judy

  12. I wasn’t familiar with the story of Richard Pace of Jamestown till I followed the crumbs on Ancestry.com. When I got to my 11th Great Grandfather (the same Richard Pace as your husband), and realized where he was in history, I did a little reading and was pleased to learn of our outstanding story! I too have done the DNA, which agreed with the tree, so it appears we are very distant cousins since we diverge at the 9th Great Grandfather.

    Please accept some congratulations and gratitude for your enjoyable blog from your Arkansas cousins!

  13. I am searching for information regarding the wife of my ancestor, Peter Deberry (1607). I have found references that the wife could hav3 been Elizabeth Pasche/Pace (1620). I have also found references that Elizabeth may be the daughter of Richard Pace.

    Have you found any information about Elizabeth in your research that you can share?

    Thank you

  14. Richard Pace was my grandfather 11 generations removed. My mother had our lineage traced back to Richard in the early 1970’s, It has been traced back through three other sources since,so I believe at this point to be a fact. I’m proud to be related to Richard and can totally relate to how tough a survivalist he was as I witnessed my grandfather born in the 1890’s live a full life filled with happiness having gone through pre car days, the Great Depression , numerous droughts as a farmer and he never missed a lick. What a example our ancestors were!

  15. I too am related to Richard Pace through my grandfather but we ended up becoming Weavers. I am about ready to start looking into all of this. My grandmother did a lot and traced both her side and my grandfathers side . Thanks for the info. I don’t know if you are answering all the questions from others but I would love to pick your brain on how you got so far back in your geneology.

  16. I just found out from my brothers Ytdna test that we descend from Richard Pace, although that was a bit of a shock. We were supposed to be Lamberts. The change in the family name from Pace to Lambert goes pretty far back as there are a few other Lamberts descended from our oldest known Lambert ancestor. All the rest of the matches we’re Paces, all descended from Richard Pace. Enjoyed your blog. Now to try to find when and where a Pace became a Lambert.

    1. I have Lambert Y dna matches ,and Rich is my 12th great grandfather are your Lambert’s part of the Pace Project on AncestryDNA?

  17. My name is Paul Pace. U.S. History teacher for LEISD in Texarkana. I am also related. I live at 11 Desoto circle Texarkana, Texas, 75503. 903826-0225

    I had a document that I wanted to share, but have been unable to do so, I will copy the information below.

    Children of Richard Randall Pace and Nancy Lyles (Liles) Pittard:
    1. Melitia (Maletie) Pace b.3 Sept. 1868, d. 30 May 1957, md. Thornton Reynolds
    2. Thomas Faulkner Pace b. 18 Feb 1870, d. 20 Mar 1959, md. Anna Elizabeth Liles
    b. 4 Feb 1875, d. 10 July 1959
    3. Amos Gideon Pace b. 18 Feb 1870, d. 27 Dec 1949, md. Effie Fomby Knox
    b. 7 Feb 1876, d. 28 Dec 1944
    4. Samuel Maurice Pace b. 22 June 1873, d. 13 Sept 1920, md. Jessie Capps
    b. 7 Feb 1879, d. 30 Aug 1961
    5. Howard L. Pace b. 22 Aug 1877, d. unknown date in Alabama, no further info.
    6. Beulah Pace b. 29 July 1875, d. 11 Oct 1878 in Alabama, no further info.
    7. Pattie Pluma Pace b. 27 Nov, md. J.A. Burgess, 2nd to J.A. Britt
    8. Walker Winston Pace b. 7 July 1882, d. 30 Mar 1957, md. Harmor Lane Walpole
    b. 30 June 1891, d. 19 Aug 1968
    9. Tula Judson Pace b. 7 Jul 1882, d. 15 Jan 1970, md. John Thaddeus Owen
    b. 12 Aug 1878, d. 22 Mar 1922
    10. Victoria Myrtle Pace b. 25 Apr 1886, d. 17 Nov 1971, md. F.L. Sherrill, Divorced.
    Wictoria md. second E.J. Hornsby in 1920.

  18. How to Figure Cousin Relationships

    Richard Pace I ca. 1590
    George Pace ca. 1610- 1655
    Richard Pace II 1634- 1677
    Richard Pace III 1665- 1688
    Richard Pace IV 1700- 1775
    Capt. Drury Page 1745-1801

    William Page 1772-1835— Brothers — Barnabas Pace 1786- 1807
    Dreadzil Evans 1805- 1852—1st Cousins— Freeman H. Pace 1811- 1862
    Richard Randall Pace 1841- 1911— 3rd Cousins— Micajah C. Pace 1833- 1864
    “Gid” Pace 1872- 1949 —5th Cousins— William Hinry Pace 1856- 1933
    David Earl Pace 1914- —- 7th Cousins— “Cage” Pace Sr. 1890-1958
    “Cage” Pace Jr. 1917
    “Cage” Pace III (Mac) 1946

  19. Thank you for sharing the pictures. Richard Pace is my 13th grandfather. Just think, if the Native American boy murdered Richard instead of warning him our whole line would have not existed.

  20. I’m also a descendant of Richard pace I have a genealogy verification my great great grandparents were Henry Joel pace and jessie pace

  21. Christine Lehmann

    I am a 12th generation descendant of Richard Pace through my great grandmother Kate Louise Pace born in 1874 in Opelika Alabama. She was the daughter of James Calhoun Pace and Elizabeth Amanda Gibbs. I live in northern VA so will visit Jamestown one of these days. I am curious about the Pace’s Paines Plantation and how long it lasted.

  22. Robin B Luney

    This is such a gift finding this page! It’s a wealth of information. My husband and I are hoping to visit his uncle in Virginia later this summer.

    I am the 11th great grandchild of George Pace & Sarah Maycock ( Jamestown orphan). My line is from Alabama via my father’s side. The link is via my paternal great grandmother. My Pace ancestors married into the Garrision, Barnes from Alabama.

    If dear Chanco, the servant, had not warned Richard Pace of the impending attack I wouldn’t be here. Amazing how small decisions at the time turn out to profoundly impact history. God has a plan for us all.

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