The early Naces spelled their last name in various ways: Nehs, Näss, Neass, Noes, etc., which has made researching them difficult. Even first names vary—Matthias, for instance, is sometimes Mathias. Thanks to the Internet, though, I’ve finally been able to trace our Nace line back to the first one of our line in America. Our Nace family comes from the Palatinate.
Matthias Nehs, a blacksmith, was born in 1673 at either Mitschdorf or Preuschdorf, Bas-Rhine, Alsace, France—which is on the German border. He married Mary Barbara Barba, daughter of Joseph Barba and Anna Marie Winterman, in 1699 at Bavarn Pflaz, Germany.
In the fall of 1731, he arrived in Philadelpha aboard the Britannia with his wife, six sons, two daughters-in-law, and four grandchildren. According to the passenger list, this was the family: Men 16 Years & Up: Mathias Nace (58), Johan Nehs (26), Dewald Nehs (24), Hans George Nehs (21), Matthias Nehs, Jr. (27), Michael Nehs (30), Jacob Nehs (31). Women 16 Years & Up: Maria Barbara Nehs (60), Ana Katherina Nehs (28), Dorothea Neahs (27). Children Under 16: Magdalena Nehs (7), Hans Jacob Nehs (5), Michael Nehs, Jr. (1), Katherine Nehs (2).
The Britannia, captained by Michael Franklyn, originally sailed from London/Cowes, but it picked up passengers in Rotterdam before sailing to Philadelphia. Soon after the ship landed in Philadelphia on 21 September 1731, the passengers went to the courthouse to take an oath of allegiance to Great Britain.
By 1727, the influx of these foreigners into Pennsylvania assumed such proportions that the authorities became alarmed and the Provincial Council adopted a resolution requiring that all masters of vessels importing Germans and other foreigners should, before sailing from the European port, make a list of the names of all passengers, particularly the males over sixteen; though often the names and ages of all passengers, including women and children were set down. Then, upon reaching Pennsylvania, the foreigners were obliged to sign a declaration of allegiance and subjection to the King of Great Britain and of fidelity to the Proprietary of Pennsylvania. This oath was first taken in the courthouse at Philadelphia, September 21, 1727, by 109 Palatines. From The Strassburger Family and Allied Families of Pennsylvania, by Ralph Beaver Strassburger, 1922
The family remained in Pennsylvania for a time. Matthias’s first wife must have died not long after their arrival, for he married a second time to Anna Barbara Hoerter at Skippack, Montgomery, Pennsylvania, on 28, November, 1733. They had two sons, John Henry and Johan Owldrick (or Ulrich), before Matthias died on 31 Jan 1741 in Phildelphia, PA. He is buried at Little Zion Lutheran Church Cemetery, Earlington, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.
Matthias’ son Hans Georg (who had been born in 1710 in either Mitschdorf, Alsace, France, or Ittlingen, Heilbronn, Baden-Wuertemberg, Germany) married Anna Maria “Mary” Eichelberger on 13 March 1744 at the Lancaster Pennsylvania Moravian church in Lititz. Hans Georg died in 1785; his wife in 1814.
Their son George Nace was born in the 1740s—probably in Hanover, York County, Pennsylvania. He served in the Revolutionary War on the Pennsylvania line and was for a time in Count Pulaski’s regiment. For his service, he received a land grant for a hundred acres in Maryland. His Maryland plantation was called “Nace’s Tavern.”
George and his wife Mary (maiden name unknown) had the following children: George, Mary, William, and John. George died around 1808-1809 in Baltimore. His son William inherited the farm, and his son John (1760-1852), who had married Catherine Filston 1764-1855), received a land grant in 1782 for 170 acres in Botetourt County, Virginia.
This John would have been the first John Christian Nace—the founder of the Botetourt County, Virginia Naces. See “Nace Family Introduction,” the first post in this blog.