John Woodlief “The Tory” Pace Sr.

John Woodlief “The Tory” Pace Sr.

Prince George County, Virginia, USA
Death 8 Oct 1780 (aged 55)
Surry County, North Carolina, USA
Burial Unknown
Memorial ID 83574735 · View Source
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Known as John Woodlief Pace, not because of any proof of name but from a mistake passed down long enough the "Woodlief" attached. (Tamara Maddan).

Some of the notes I have collected from a well respected researcher:

I was given the following early in my research when, unfortunately, I did not record the source. While John and his son Richmond fought on the Tory or British side, another son, Burwell Pope, fought on the American side. We are quite certain that John and maybe Richmond were among the fourteen Tories killed at Shallow Ford, NC." This source said this statement was from the book "The Pace Family" by Anthony; copyright 1976. I have been unable to find this book or any reference to it.

In his book, "A sketch and History of Our Colonial Ancestors from 1619 to 1799".
Copyright 1998, Specialty Publishing & Printing, Box 414, Quitman, MS, page 209, Bruce Howard, in discussing this battle, states, "...but it tells me that John and his sons were at or near the front of the vanguard as the command approached the Ford. They did not have a clue that the Patriot force was at hand, waiting in ambush in the thick timbers along and on either side of the road leading to the river."

This seems to indicate that Bruce believes they died in this battle but he never actually makes that statement, nor does he offer any record evidence for the statement beyond the aforesaid petition of Burwell/Burrell PACE. As an aside, I have visited the site of the battle. It could not have been a more miserable place to die in 1780 than it would be today.

I have had several email conversations with Ann Brownlee who maintains the web site, The Battle of Shallow Ford at She has informed me that if we could supply any small amount of evidence she would be glad to add John and Richmond PACE to the list of Tories.

Jonathan A. Pace
Marietta, GA
Assuming that JOHN PACE, husband of Sarah Burge Pace, died in 1780 and also assuming that a child was not considered of age until 21 years, then there were several children left in 1780 with their mother, but their property had been confiscated in Surry Co., NC, because of the Tory affiliation of the father John Pace.

According to my rough calculation, the following offspring would have been right at or under the age of 21. Does anyone have any theories as to who took them in? All of them seem to have stayed in NC long enough to marry.

Age 21 William Pace, b. 1759 (d. 1826 in West Bend, Clarke Co., AL)
Age 19 John Pace, b. abt. 1761 (d. abt. 1820 in Coffeeville, Clarke Co., AL)
Age 16 Edmund Marion Pace, b. 1764 (d.1834 in Noxubee Co., MS)
Age 16 Frederick Pace, b. 1762-65 (d. abt. 1807-8 in Clarke Co., AL [West Bend]}
Age 14 Richard Pace, b. abt. 1766 (d. 1799 in Surry Co., NC)
Age 8 Sarah Pace, b. 1772 (no further information)

? Another infant girl has been suggested

I notice that the orphan Richard Pace died in 1799 at about the age of 33, still in Surry Co., NC. This suggests that perhaps the orphans and their mother Sarah Burge Pace did stay in Surry Co., NC at the death of the husband /father John Pace.

21 Feb 2015
John Pace and Sarah Burgh Pace cannot have grave sites in Alabama. To link a Find A Grave location to a memorial location that is not the place of death can greatly confuse people. Also, there is no primary source documentation that John Pace had the middle name of Woodlief.
Using 30 plus years of my father's research (Jack Jones) who worked with George Jones (Henderson County Genealogical Society), plus some of the best researchers with the Pace Society, DNA testing, plus other experts on the Pace family, we know that John Pace and Sarah Burgh Pace do not have grave sites in Alabama.
John Pace was born about 1725 in Prince George County, Va. He was the son of Richard Pace III and Sarah Woodlief. He grew up in Prince George County, Va.
My sixth great-grandfather (twice) married Sarah Burgh in 1753 in Prince George County, Va.
He and his brother, Richard, moved with their families to old Edgecombe County, N.C. In January 1760 he purchased about 200 acres from Thomas Hart near Beaver Dam Swamp Creek. When his brother died in the early 1770s, John Pace sold his farm and moved to Surry County.
John Pace, my sixth great-grandfather (twice), and at least two of his sons were Tories during the American Revolution. They were killed in a skirmish at Shallow Ford on the Yadkin River on Oct. 14, 1780. They were serving under Gideon Wright.
The dead Tories, including John Pace, our ancestor, and two of his sons, were buried in a common grave.
The Pace property in Surry County was then confiscated by the state of North Carolina. My ancestor, Burrell P. Pace (twice), petitioned for part of the land to be returned, but his request was denied in 1781.
The site of the common grave where John Pace, two of his sons, and the other Tories were buried is not known, but it must be located near the site of the battle at Shallow Ford on the Yadkin River.

There are some researchers who state that "Burwell" Pace enlisted in the Patriot Army in 1776 and served in Col. John Henton's regiment as a sergeant. Others dispute this and state that it is not the same Burrell Pace. His father and all of his brothers were Tories. It is the opinion of this writer that 18-year-old Burrell Pace, my ancestor, is not the Burwell Pace of Virginia who fought with the Patriots.
In 1784, Burrell Pace purchased land on the north side of Fox Knob near the Yadkin River in Surry County. One year later he moved to Spartanburg County, S.C., with his wife's family.
He bought 150 acres of land on the Enoree River on May 30, 1785. He and his wife were active in the Bethel Baptist Church, now the First Baptist Church of Woodruff.
He moved his family from South Carolina to the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina in 1804. He settled near the gap through which they entered the mountains, a gap which took his name, Pace's Gap (Pace's Gap is not located at the town of Saluda). When he bought his land in the Mountain Page community the area was part of Rutherford County. It is now in Henderson County, N.C.
He and his family joined the Old Mountain Page Baptist Church, where he was active in Baptist associational and church work.

Sarah Burgh was born about 1733 in Prince George County, Virginia. She was the daughter of Thomas Burgh and Mary. Her mother's surname is not confirmed.
She married John Pace about 1753 in Prince George County, Va.
My sixth great-grandmother (twice) moved with her husband to old Edgecombe County, N.C., then later to Surry County.
Her husband, John Pace, and two of her sons fought and died as Tories during the Revolutionary War. Her son, Burrell Pope Pace, moved to Spartanburg County, S.C.
The land was confiscated and she lived with a daughter.
Sarah Burgh remained in Surry County with other children. She was on the 1790 census with a daughter.
She died about 1808 in Surry County, N.C. Her grave site is not known.
Jennie Jones Giles
Known as John ("The Tory") Pace. He married Sarah Burgh

He moved to 1) Edgecombe County, NC and 2) Surry County, NC

John Pace was born in 1735. John and his son Richmond were Tories. They had enlisted under Colonel Gideon Wright and his brother Captain Hezikiah Wright and were Killed in 1780 in an Ambush by "Colonel Joseph Williams" at Shallow Ford on the Yadkin River (Yadkin County, but formerly Surry Co, NC) and all of their Property was Confiscated by the State of North Carolina.
There was a large contingent of Tories in Surry and they might have gone where their neighbors were more congenial. While John and his son fought on the Tory or British side, another son, Burrell Pope, fought on the American side. We are quite certain that John Pace and maybe Richmond were among the fourteen Tories killed at Shallow Ford, NC. Before the war, John petitioned the State and was granted a land grant in his oldest son, Richmond's name. This left a hardship on the family with both John and Richmond gone. It was customary for the State to confiscate real property of those who fought on the Tory side, however, we have not found any records as such concerning John and Richmond Pace except what Burwell has to say in his petition to the State. Court House records show that at the March 1761 Court, John Pace was among several persons ordered to appear in Court to be fined 20 shillings for failure to appear for Jury Duty on the Petit "unless they show cause". The responsibility of supporting a large family of eight children by primitive methods probably weighed heavier than Civil Duties.

From the Pace Society Bulletin #20 June 1972 pages 5-13
John Pace, his wife Sarah, and their children, may have come to Surry as early as 1774, and were certainly there before 1780. According to "The History of Surry County" by Hollingsworth, settlers came in by one of two routes; either up the Dan River or up the Yadkin River. Those coming up the Dan were probably from Virginia, through whose border counties the Dan flowed for part of its length. These settlers established themselves on the Ararat River, in the eastern part of Surry.
Since the Paces chose land on a tributary of the Yadkin, they are more likely to have come from North Carolina. We can trace their possible route on the "Accurate Map of North and South Carolina", known as the Mouzon Map, published in 1775. An east-west road crossed Fishing Creek just north of the home of John and Sarah Pace on Beaverdam Swamp in Edgecombe County, NC. After they sold their land there, they could have taken this road west to Hillsborough, the center of Western lands then being opened up. From there they might follow a road along the Haw (or Raw?) River northwest, and aross to the Yadkin.
On this river, just after it turns from east to south is a great bend, Gideon Wright had established his plantation, and persuaded the Commission - appointed in 1771 to build a Court House - to place it on his land. Thus the center of authority, and probably the source of land information, was at this point. Perhaps the Paces stayed with Gideon while they looked for possible land, they having been associated back in Edgecombe with his possible relatives, the Wrights.
If in his search for such land John proceeded upriver around the Great Bend of the Yadkin, he would presently come to the mouth of Fishers River - (formerly called Fishe River, after a man killed on its banks by the Indians, whose body was found by Daniel Boone). John must have explored up this river, and been imprssed by the beauty of the stream, flowing between high wooded banks.
John and Sarah had at least five children, and probably more. Decendents of son Edmond Pace reported 6 and possibly a 7th child.
There has been no record found that John ever took up land in his own name in Surry. Never-theless, he must have establisehd himself on a plantation, for his large family certainly needed a home.
On May 24, 1780 Joseph Winston, Entry Officer of Claims for Lands in Surry Co, issued the following order: "You are required, as soon as may be, to lay off and survey for Richmond Pace, a tract or parcel of Land containing 400 acres in the County aforesaid on both sides of Fishers River including his own improvements. Observing the Act of Assembly in such cases made and provided for Running out the Lands, two Just and Fare Plans, with the warrant, you are to transmit to the Secretary's Office without delay." The number of the warrant is 1031. The entry for this grant had been made on Richmond's behalf by his father.
Note that the "improvements" - (house, barn, etc.) - had already been made. This would indicate actual possession of the land for some time before the entry was filed. Why John filed in the name of his son, Richmond, is a mystery. Richmond had just come of age and certainly needed land. But why give him the family plantation? John was probably only about 46 years old and certainly not enfeebled, in the light of his later activities that year.

According to "The History of Surry County" by Hollingsworth, and "The Saga of the Sauratowns" by J. Franklin Martin, the situation in Surry in the year 1780 was as follows: "A large number of the citizens of Surry County were Tories. Their forces numbered between 300 and 500 strong. They were led by Gideon Wright, who had been commissioned a colonel by the King. The Tories were greatly encouraged by the result of the Battle of Camden, where on August 16, 1780 the British, advancing north from Charleston, overcame the Americans who "broke when Tarleton's Dragoons came crashing down on their rear". The Patriot's cause "experienced its darkest hour". They were under the great disadvantage of trying to protect their homes, and at the same time comply with the frantic requests of the State that they send all available troops to check the oncoming British. The tories, meanwhile, were trying to march south to join the British at Charlotte. It became necessary for the Patriot Colonel, William Campbell, to come to Bethabara (Surry) with a Virginia Militia force - (some of them from Henry County) - to suppress the Tories."
On October 8, 1780, while most of the Patriot forces had gone toward Charlotte, the Tories under Gideon Wright "moved upon" Old Richmond - (then the county seat, located about two miles north of Wright's Plantation) - with a force of nearly 500 men. John and his son Richmond were probably among them. It looked as though the entire Tory party had risen. The tory force, starting from Old Richmond, then moved south and attempted to cross the Yadkin at a place called Shallow Ford, on what is now the Huntsville - Lewisville Road. A lesser force of Patriots, including some from Virginia, faced them there. Both parties were under arms, and stationed at a bridge in preparation for a small engagement. A Colonel Paisley, commanding an additional 300 foot and some horse troops from Virginia, to cut off the Tories, describest the battle: "Last Saturday about ten o'clock we were within 1 1/2 miles of Shallow Ford when we heard a foray - (defined as a sudden attack). We advanced up with all possible speed and discovered the Virginians and some of the Patriot Surry troops were engaged with 300 Tories under Gideon Wright. We joined the battle, which ended with the death of fourteen Tories and one Patriot, Captain Francis. One Patriot was wounded".
On October 18, 1780 the State authorities wrote the Surry County delegates in Congress: "Gentlemen: You have the account of Lord Cornwallis' retreat from Charlotte with precipitation by reason, we suppose, of Ferguson's defeat, as also the killing and dissparsing of a number of Tories at Shallow Ford. These events are truly interesting to this State, and give a spritely contenance to our officers, so lately clouded and embarrassed".
In a letter to General Smallwood the State authorities wrote: "We congratulate you on this occasion, also Major Cloyd and the brave men under his command, who affected this important stroke. The ready attention you have paid this part of the State distractd by these miscreants, but at length happily subdued, demands acknowledgement."
We are quite certain that John Pace was one of the fourteen Tories killed at Shallowford. Richmond may have survived. General Smallwood did report that "the Tories escaped, being well-mounted." If Richmond was one of them, he probably hid out in the mountains until the war was over.

Citation from:
One Heroic Hour at King's Mountain" - Pat Alderman, 2nd ed, The Overmountain Press, Johnson City, TN, 1968, 1990, ISBN 0-932807-40-2
p.68 - "Partisan conflicts, between the Tories and Whigs, were continuing in many southern sections. We cite one such incident that took place on the Yadkin River eight days after the King's Mountain victory. A company of 300 Surry (NC) County Tories had been recruited to join the Loyalist cause. They had enlisted under Colonel gideon Wright and his brotehr Captain Hezikiah Wright. They probably had not learned of the King's Mountain battle, as they were marching to join General Cornwallis at Charlotte. They plundered, killed and burned on their march toward the British force. Colonel Joseph Williams, living near Shallow Ford on the Yadkin, called together some 200 rifleman from the area. They set up an ambush at the ford and awaited the Tory party. The 300 Loyalists prepared to cross the river, not suspecting any opposition. The conflict was short, hard and decisive. The Tories, badly beaten, fled and scattered."

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  • Created by: Tamara Maddan
  • Added: 16 Jan 2012
  • Find a Grave Memorial 83574735
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for John Woodlief “The Tory” Pace Sr. (4 Jul 1725–8 Oct 1780), Find a Grave Memorial no. 83574735, ; Maintained by Tamara Maddan (contributor 47641977) Unknown.