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Home: Regional: U.S. States: Virginia: Rockingham County

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Henry Pence who might have fought a Duel in 1800
Posted by: Gloria Bushong (ID *****4383) Date: July 11, 2011 at 07:26:06
  of 905

Good Morning Listmates, We have a puzzle which we are trying to unravel involving Henry Pence of Rockingham County and Peter Swartz of Shenandoah County.

Henry Pence, we believe, was a merchant who came down from Pennsylvania circa 1795-96 to Rockingham County, Virginia. Henry Pence, in 1795 in Pennsylvania, asked Peter Swartz, a clock maker who was in Pennsylvania at the time, to bring some of Henry's goods down to Woodstock to sell in 1795. Peter Swartz obliged and brought the goods down for Henry but was unable to sell them. Peter tried to return the goods to Henry Pence who would not accept them back. Peter then tried to make good on the bond by sending Henry Pence two horses and one of his clocks, but Henry still refused to accept them in payment, so Peter Swartz instituted a chancery suit in 1797 for relief in the Shenandoah County court against Henry Pence at that time living in Rockingham County. You can read the Chancery suit on-line at the Library of Virginia State Archives.

The matter became so heated that on the 10th February 1800 there was a duel and Peter Swartz was killed.

We know that one of the duelers was Peter Swartz but we do not know for sure that Henry Pence was the other dueler. Somehow Isaac Samuels was involved possibly as a second to Peter Swartz since he also was Administrator of Peter Swartz's Estate after his death. George Lind was appointed Guardian to Peter Swartz's under age 14 children.
By Fred Painter
Copyright 1979

"A court was called and held for the examination of Adam Heiskell and Jacob Deary charged with being present, aiding and abetting in the murder of Peter Swartz at the courthouse of Shenandoah County, on the 10th of February,
1800, and of the American Independence of the 24th. Who appearing in discharge of their recognizance. It was demanded of them whether they were guilty of the matter thereof they stood charged. Say they were in no wise
thereof guilty. Whereupon sundry witnesses were sworn and examined as well on behalf of the Commonwealth as the said Adam Heiskell and Jacob Deary and being fully heard. It is considered by the court that they were not guilty of the aforesaid and are ordered to be henceforth discharged. The Grant Jury by the information of George Black do present Adam Heiskell for keeping a disorderly house in acting as a Second in duelling in the death of Peter Black within one month last past. Also Jacob Deary as acting as Second in
the same within one month of the information of George Black."
George Black (Swartz) was either an older son or a brother.

Peter Swartz was married in 1798 in Shenandoah County to Hannah Pennywit and they were married by Anderson Moffett. This was a second marriage for Peter. We do not know his first wife's name but his children were: David Swartz and possibly George Swartz and Jacob Swartz from the first marriage (there are probably others) and Peter, Catharine, Elizabeth, Mary, Hannah and Ann Swartz, under aged 14 years when he died in 1800 as shown in Shenandoah County Minute Book. We do not know which children are from the second marriage except Hannah and Ann which definitely were from the second marriage.

David Swartz married Anna Caroline
Catharine Swartz married George Rodeffer in 1807.
Elizabeth Swartz never married.
Peter Swartz married, wife unknown, and died in 1830 leaving small children mentioned in Minute Book
Mary Swartz married Joseph Snapp
Hannah Swartz might have married David Grabill
Ann Swartz - No further information, might have married under her second name, Rebecca Ann?

Anyone who connects and can fill in blanks would be greatly appreciated.
Gloria Bushong

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