Swope Family History Committee.

History of the Swope family and descendants of Rockingham County, Virginia online

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3 3433 08071390 6














1678— 1896.










To My Father,

The Rev. David Swope,

This Record of the Swope Family

IS xVffectionately Dedicated

BY His Sox.

^ , t I - • ..

I V I / .

■ » » « ' . ;
, • 1 1 • •

I ' « » ?




I. Our Ancestors in Germany 9

II. The Swopes and their Coat-of-Arms . . 19

III. The Swope Family in America 21

IV. Yost vSwope . . 26

V. John Swope 37

VI. Anna Barbara (vSwope) Gloninger, Lebanon Connty, Pa. . . 45

VII. Conrad vSwope, Hanover, Pa 68

VIII. John Jacob Swope, Lancaster County, Pa 148

IX. John Henry Swope, Lancaster County, Pa 179

X. Sabina (vSwope) Hoke, Lincoln Count}', N. C. ..... 185

XI. John Daniel vSwope, Upper Leacock Township, Lancaster

County, Pa 248

XII. Adam Swope, Littlestown, Pa 264


XIII. Rev. Benedict Swope, of Kentucky 317

XIV. Jacob Swope, Lebanon County, Pa 359

XV. The Swopes, of Huntingdon County, Pa 364

XVI. Jacob Swope 3^6

XVII. Col. Michael Swope and Hans George Swope, York, Pa. . . 369


I. The Herr Family 370

II. The Shriver Family 370

III. The Forney Family 376

IV. The Ferree Family 37^

V. The Gilbert Family 3^0

VI. The Hays Family 3^0

VII. The Henkle Family 381

VIII. The Le Fevre Family 3^i

IX. The Spangler Family 3^i

Appendix 3°2


In presenting a history of the Swope family we have
thoug-ht best not to confine our account only to the Swope
famil\- in this county, but to give a sketch of our ancestors
in the Fatherland. This has been done in Chapter I, and
\v:is largely drawn from Kohlrausche's History of Germany.
The account devolops that portion of German history relating
to the Swabians and the old Duchy of Swabia, because there
our family originated and we bear the tribe name. Because
of their restless, roaming disposition the Romans called our
German ancestors Suevi, and they were so known until the
early part of the fifth century. An examination of the fol-
lowing pages will show that Yost Swope' s son John had
nineteen children. The most careful and thorough search
lias failed to reveal an extended account of more than seven
of them. These seven appear at the head of chapters six to

In beginning this work it was our intention to give only an
account of the familv of Yost Swope, but during its progress
we found several Swope families descended from ancestors
who settled in this country prior to the Revolutionar}' war.
These we have traced out as fully as possibly and given in
Part II.

Our aim has been in the compilation of this history to
secure authentic data through representative members of the
dift'erent branches of the family. Wherever it has been pos-
sible data received has been verified. In this connection we
desire expressing our thanks to General John H. Forney,
Jacksonville, Ala.; Miss Catharine C. M. Foster, Johnstown,
Pa.; Messrs. Isaac and Zuriel Swope, Lancaster, Pa.; Mrs.
Eliza Swope Pitkin, Chicago, 111., and all others who have
kindly responded to inquiries regarding their famihes.

G11.BERT E. Swope.

Newville, Pa., November, 18 g6.




The history of the origin and of the earhest state of the
German nation is involved in impenetrable obscnrity. No
records tell us when and under what circumstances our an-
cestors migrated out of Asia, the cradle of the human race,
into our Fatherland; what causes urged them to seek the
regions of the north, or what allied branches they left behind
them in the countries they quitted. A few scattered and
obscure historical traces, as well as a resemblance in various
customs and regulations, but more distinctly the affinities of
language, indicate a relationship with the Indians, Servians
and Greeks. This obscurity of our earlier history must not
surprise us; for every nation without a written language
neglects every record of its history beyond mere traditions
and songs, which pass down from generation to generation.
Not a syllable or sound of even those traditions and songs,
wherein according to the traditions of the Romans, our an-
cestors delighted to celebrate the deeds and fate of their
people, has, however, descended to posterity.

The authentic history of the German nation consequently
commences at a period when our ancestors, possibly after
they had dwelt for centuries in their native country, first
came into contact with a nation that already knew and prac-
ticed the art of historical writing. This happened through
the incursion of the Cimbrians and Teutonians into the coun-
try of the Romans, in the year 113 before the birth of Christ.

lo The S'u'opr Junii/h'.

Accordint^ to the description of the Romans, Oerniany was
at the time they first became acquainted with it, a rude and
inhospitable land, full of innnense forests, marshes and desert
tracts. The soil was not cultivated as now, althouo^h the
Romans called portions of it extremely fertile, and ag^riculture
and pasturage were the chief occupations of the Germans.
The pastures were rich and beautiful, and the horned cattle as
well as the horses, although small and inconsiderable, were of
a good and durable kind. The climate, in consequence of
the immense forests, whose density was impervious to the ra}'S
of the sun, and owing to the undrained fens and marshes,
was colder, more foggy and inclement than at present, but
nevertheless was not quite so bad, perhaps, as represented b>-
the Romans, spoiled as they were by the luxurious climate of
Italy. " The Germans," says Pliny, " know only three sea-
sons, winter, spring and summer; of autumn the}' know
neither the name nor its fruits." The ancient German loved
this country that appalled the Romans, the severity of the air
as well as the chase of wild animals strengthened the bodies of
the men. and nourished by a simple diet, the}^ grew to so
stately a size that other nations admired them with astonish-
ment. Their chests were wide and strong; their hair yellow,
and with young children it was of a dazzling white. Among
the Suevi the hair was worn on top of the head in a bundle,
for the sake of its war-like effect. Among the Saxons it was
parted and hung down the shoulders, cut at a moderate
length. Their skin was also white, their eyes blue, and
their glance bold and ])iercing. Their powerful gigantic
bodies, which the Romans and (lauls could not behold with-
out fear, displayed the strength that nature had given to this
people, for according to the testimony of some of the ancient
writers their usual height was seven feet.

Their dress was a broad, .short mantle fastened by a girdle,
or the skins of wild animals, the trophies of the successful
chase. Tlie original collective name of the German people
was little used in the earlier ])eriods, and was probably un-
known lo the Romans. When \-ari()Us tribes associated to-
gether in bodies, merel>' the name of the union appeared, as
the vSuevi, Saxons, Gotlis, etc. The vSuevic race dwelt in

The Sjcopc Family. ii

the large semi-circle traced b}' the Upper and Middle Rhine
and the Danube, through the middle of Germany, and farther
towards the north to the East Sea, so that they occupied the
country of the Necker, the Maine, the Saale, and then the
right Elbe bank of the Havel, Spree and Oder. Taciius even
places the Suevic tribes beyond the Vistula.

The Suevi, as Caesar informs us, had early formed them-
selves into one large union, whose principles were distinctly
warlike. The love of arms was assiduously cherished in all,
that they might be always ready for any undertaking.
Thence it was that individuals had no fixed landed posses-
sions; but the prince and leaders yearl}^ divided the land
among the families just as it pleased them, and none were
allowed to select the same pastures for two consecutive years,
but were forced to exchange with each other that none might
accustom himself to the ground, and, acquiring a love for his
dwelling place, be thus induced to exchange the love of war
for agriculture. They were obliged to supply from each of
their hundred districts, the wars with a thousand men yearly,
and those who remained at home cultivated the land for all.
The following year, on the other hand, the latter marched
under arms and the former remained at home, so that agri-
culture as well as war was in constant exercise.

When Caesar had driven Ariovistus across the Rhine he
began the subjugation of Gaul. Intelligence came to him
that tw'o German tribes of the Lower Rhine, the Usipeti and
Tenchteri, pressed by the Suevi, had passed over the Rhine
to seek a new settlement in Gaul. They had with them their
wives and children, their slaves and herds, as well as the rest
of their property, and were upwards of 430,000 strong. As
Caesar now, however, considered Gaul to belong to him, he
desired them to retrace their steps. They, however, replied,
"That they had been forced by the Suevi to wander from
their homes; they desired nothing but a land to dwell in; he
ought therefore to leave them the fields they had conquered
with their arms, or give them others instead. Besides it was
not German fashion to avert a battle by entreaties, but to
make a stand against those who desired the contest; he was
therefore free to choose friendship or war. They yielded to

12 flic S:copc /■'aiiiilv.

none but theSuevi, to whom in battle even the immortal gods
themselves were not equal; but excepting those there dwelt
none on earth whom they could not conquer." They never-
theless were conquered by Caesar, but only by Italian cun-
ning, for as their princes and chieftains came to arrange an
interview with him, he suddenly seized them as prisoners, fell
immediatel>- upon their camps, and beat and scattered the
whole tribe, which was now without a leader.

Caesar bore fresh in mind that the Suevi under Ariovistus
had already fallen upon Gaul, therefore he determined to
bridge the Rhine, and make the Germans feel in their own
country the power of the Romans. In ten days he con-
structed a large wooden bridge and passed his whole army
across the Rhine. This was in the year 55 B. C. He wished
to attack the powerful Suevi; these, however, moved all their
property and families far back into the interior of the forests.
there to await the enemy. Caesar did not think it advisable
to follow them. He remained only eighteen days, devastating
with fire and sword, when he recrossed the Rhine. But the
Suevi had so little fear of the Romans that they shortly after-
wards sent assistance to the Treviri against them. Caesar
then determined to cross the Rhine a second time, which he
did a little above the former place, the vicinity of vScig. But
he scarcely placed a foot in Germany, for the Suevi had made
their arrangements as prudently as before.

The Suevi. like other German tribes, after the lapse of time
settled down to a permanent habitation. The entire people
consisted of freemen and slaves. The freemen were divided
into the nobles (nobiles, as Tacitus calls them ) and the com-
mon freemen (ingueni). In later ])eriods the German lan-
guage distinguishes Adelinge and b'rilinge. The former
denoted the large proprietor, who reckoned in his estate
bondsmen and vassals, and who possessed already in his
domains the means of exercising a more extensive influence.
The Friling was, on the contrary, the common freeman, who
cultivated his small possessions with his own hands, or by the
assistance of but a few slaves. From this early distinction
we may trace the origin of the German nobility. The slaves
were mosth" prisoners of war; they were bought and sold,

The S^cope Faiiiiiy. 13

were emplo3^ed in the more menial services of the house and
the labors of agriculture. But the slave was held incapable
of bearing arms; this alone was the privilege and prerogative
of the freemen.

The Suevi loved the open country above everything. They
did not build towns — they likened them to prisons. The few
places which occur in the Roman writings called towns — the
later Ptolemy names the most — were probably nothing more
than the dwellings of the chiefs, somewhat larger and more
artificially built, than those of the common freemen. Tacitus
says " the Germans selected their dwellings wherever a grove
or spring attracted them. Advantage and comfort were con-
sequently frequently sacrificed to their love of open and
beautiful scenery. This strong love of nature, which may be
traced from the very first in our forefathers, is a grand feature
in the German character.

A number of farms of great and small land owners .specially
tuiited by close ties, constituted a community (Gemeinde),
several communities a league of a hundred (Markgenossen-
schaft), which exercise within a larger circuit, the common
right of herd and pasture; and lastly a number of these
formed the larger confederacy of the district ( Gau ). As chief
of the district a judge was elected from among the oldest and
most experienced, who bore in ancient times the name of Graf.
The subdivisions of the district had their chiefs; together they
formed the Principes of the district, the foremost and
among their equals, whence is derived the German word Fiirst
(prince). The National Assembly was at the head of all,
and counseled and decided upon the most important affairs.
Every freeman, high as well as low, was a member of the
national assembly. In earlier times danger from without,
and the relationship of the septs, chiefly produced the estab-
lishment of unions of whole tribes. The majority of these
tribes seem to have had a very constitution of confederacy in
time of peace. In the individual districts all continued accord-
ing to the cu.stomary mode of administration, no permanent
appointment of a superior executive government being
required. In war, on the contrary, an election was made of
the common Herzog, or duke, according to valor and manly

14 The Sicopc Faiiii/v.

virtue, whose office ceased with the war. Among- some tribes
peace had also its chiefs or directors, selected originally by the
community from the most meritorious of the people which
election in the course of time, when a natural feeling placed
the son in the place of the father, became invested with an
almost hereditary right. The peculiarity of the Saxon people
consisted altogether in their free form of government, a con-
stitution most conformable to their origin, springing as the}'
did from the union of the heads of free families, each of
whom ruled his domain according to the ancient patriarchal
form. A common general w>is required only during war,
which, in general, was defensive and consequently national.
Among the Suevi, on the contrary, whose constitution was
warlike throughout, wherein the individual was early accus-
tomed to consider h'mself but a portion of the whole, a mon-
archial government became the most natural form of the con-

At the end of the gth and conunencement of the loth
century, the governors of the provinces, early called Graf,
gradually became possessed of ducal powers and appear as
dukes of Saxou}', Bavaria, Swabia, etc. In Swabia, where
the defense of the frontiers was not so necessary, the ducal
dignity appears to have connected itself gradually with the
power of the ro3'al missus, and to have developed itself later.
Burchard, however, under the emperor, Conrad I., appears as
Duke of Swabia.

The dukes were not at this earl>- time regarded as lords of
their people and lands, but as ministers and representatives
of the king, in name in peace they regulated the affairs
of ju.stice and order, and in war led the army of their race to
battle. r>ut soon i)ecoining large land ])roprietors and no
longer under the surveillance of royal envois, the dukes took
advantage of the weakness of the kings, and by degrees arro-
gated to themselves an of power, and brought the
lesser v^a.ssals under their dominion; they even gradually
made their dignity granted to them onl}- as imperial crown
officers, hereditary in their families, as well as the revenues
of the crown lands, which the\- luul onlx- received as the
salarv for their .services.

Tlic Sivope Family. 15

Among the many dukes of Swabia, none have become the
subject of as many heroic lays and legends as Duke Ernest.
The most wonderful deeds performed by his army were con-
nected with his name, and eventually collected together by
later poets, formed one entire volume. Duke Ernest of
Swabia, was step.son of the Emperor Conrad I. Being dissat-
isfied with Conrad's course in annexing the kingdom of Bur-
gundy to the German Empire, he rebelled against the em-
peror, but at last was forced to surrender, when he was im-
prisoned for three years, and then banished the country,
together with all his partisans. He soon afterwards returned,
while his father was on an expedition against the Hungarians
and tried to recover his duchy, but was defeated in battle and.
killed, 1030.

After the death of the Emperor Lothaire, the Saxon, the
electors of Germany elevated Conrad of Swabia, to the im-
perial throne, 1138. The most important undertaking of
Conrad was that of the Crusade. Having been greatly moved
by the preaching of St. Bernard, he assembled an army of
70,000 warriors, besides others, and undertook the journey to
the Holy Eand. After many hardships and dangers he
arrived in the Holy Land with one-tenth of his army and
entered Jerusalem. After an absence of two years he re-
turned, and shortly after died, 1152. Kohlrau.sch says,
" Conrad was a valiant, high-minded and noble-hearted man,
and was universally esteemed." Conrad recommended as his
successor, not his own young son Frederick, age would
not as 3'et allow him to rule the nation, but his valiant
nephew, Frederick Barbarossa, Duke of Swabia, who had
made the crusade with him, and who was unanimou.sly elected
at Frankford, 1152. Kohlrau.sch .says " Frederick I. was one
of the most powerful of the German emperors; high-minded,
valiant, with a \\\\\ firm as iron, and of a stern, energetic
character. His very form displayed his lofty mind."

After a long and glorious reign of thirty-eight years, it
appears as if fate had determined for him the glory of a noble
death in a sacred cause. In 1187 the intelligence reached
Europe that Saladin, the Sultan of Egypt, had taken Jeru-
salem. Frederick Barbarossa at the head of 150,000 com-

1 6 The Sicopc Family.

batants, together with several of the crowned heads of Europe
and their armies, advanced, in 1 189. to recover the Hol,v City.
When the German army was crossing the river Cydnus, July
II, 1 1 90, Frederick was swept down l)y the strong current
and drowned. The grief and lamentation of the whole army
were indescribable. The noble soul of Frederick was spared
the pain of seeing the German army almost entirely destroyed
by sickness before the City of Antioch, and Jerusalem was
not taken.

Henry W , son of Frederick Barbarossa, succeeded him
upon the throne, and reigned seven years, dying suddenly iu

On the death of Henry the Hoenstaufens made Philip,
Henry's brother, emperor, and the Guelfs made Otho, second
.son of Henr\- the Lion, emperor. Both reigned amid much
dissension for 10 years, when Philip was assassinated in 120S.
Then Otho was universally acknowledged and crowned
emperor at Rome. Otho found that in order to gain the sup-
port of Pope Innocent IH. he had gone too far, and made con-
cessions that were detrimental to the interests of the empire; in
trying to withdraw those concessions ht brought upon him-
self the displeisure of the Pope, who placed in oppo.sition to
him Frederick the son of Henry \'I, who was crowned Aix-
la-Chapelle 12 15, and at Rome as emperor 1220; he died
I 250.

Otho was henceforth deserted and died 12 iS. Frederick
n. succeeded him. Kohlrau.sch says " he was a friend of Art
and Science, and was himself a ]M)et, sentiment, animation
and euphony breathing in all his works. Since Charlemagne
and Alfred of England, no potentate had existed who loved
and promoted civilization in its broadest sense as Frederick II.
At his court were assembled the noblest and most intellectual
minds of that age." He collected for that pariod a very con-
.siderable library, partly by researches made in his own States,
and partly during his stay in Syria. Frederick himself pos-
sessed a knowledge unusual, and acquired b\- few men of his
time. He understood Greek, Latin, Italian, French, German
and Arabic. Among the sciences he loved chiefly natural
history, and proves himself a master in that .science by a work

The S^copc Family. 17

he composed. After the death of Frederick II. two emper-
ors stood opposed to each other on the German throne. Con-
rad, who had been elected king of the Romans during his
father's life, was upheld by the Hoenstaufen party, in opposi-
tion to William of Holland.

Conrad IV. died 1254. William a few years later. Con-
rad IV. was the last emperor of the house of Swabia. Con-
radin, his son, was brought up on his small estate in Bavaria
and Swabia, while his uncle Manfred, as regent and subse-
quently as king, admuiistered his hereditary estates in Naples
and Sicily. Pope Clement IV. hated Manfred, and applied
to Charles, Duke of Anjou, for aid to dethrone him. Man-
fred was defeated in action 1266, and killed. Conradin went
forth in 1268 to recover his po.sscssions in Italy. He soon
stood opposed to the enemy with a strong army in lower
Italy. In battle fortune at first fav^ored him; the enemy was
put to flight; in the pursuit his own army got into disorder;
at that moment the French reserves rushed upon them and
they were wholly defeated. Conradin was forced to fly, but
was captured and led before Charles of Anjou, who treated
him with the insolence, perfidy and cruelty of a tyrant. Con-
sidering Conradin a rebel against him, the true king, he
caused him to be publicly beheaded in the market place of
Naples, October 28, 1268.

With the death of Conradin ended the powerful house of
Swabia. The Svvabian patrimony now fell into so many
divisions that eventually no territory in Germany was divided
into so many ownerships as Swabia. As the duchy was
never restored, the whole of the state henceforth formed a
part of the immediate possessions of the Empire. Not only
the Bishops, Counts and Free lyOrds, but also the inferior
ranks of the nobility, the cities, monasteries, and even peas-
antry, which had previously been the vassals and subjects of
the duke became now emancipated, but they had not these
rights and privileges individually like the larger imperial
lordships, but only as an entire combined body of the Swabian
states, which they enjoyed as members thereof. The emperor
derived from them important revenues, and the administra-
tion of these imperial possessions was now transferred to

1 8 Tlic S'uvpe FcDiiily.

seneschals, so that instead of the ancient Swabian duke, there
were now only the imperial bailiwicks — Helvetia or Switzer-
land, Alsace and Swabia, which were divided into cantons.
These arrangements were adopted under the succeeding Em-
peror Rudolphns.

In Swabia after the fall of the ducal house, all their rights
disappeared, their rich possessions had in the later period
been wasted or given away; and Conradin, at the time of his
expedition to Italy, made over his possessions to the house of
Bavaria. We ther<. fore naturally inquire who then from that
time was the most important and influential family in Swabia?
In answer to this we find that the Counts of Wurtemberg
stood at the head of all the rest of the nobility, and who had
alread}- chosen vStuttgart as their place of residence. After
them the rich Counts of Baden, scions of the Hoenstaufen
race, acquired from tht house of Zahringen the territory of
Brusgan, which was the commencement of the house of
Baden. Another portion of the Zahringen inheritance in
Switzerland fell to the Counts of Keyburg, and after them
to the Counts of Hapsburg, who owed to this circumstance
their subsequent importance.

After the dismemberment of the Duchy of Swabia, the
scions of the ducal family fell into obscurity, and we hear no
more of them in history.

The duch\' contained 13,000 square miles, and embraced a

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