Swope Family History Committee.

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

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part of the present Bavaria, all of the kingdom of Wurtem-
berg, part of Westphalia, all of what is now known as Swabia,
and the Duchy of Baden, where in the town of Sinsheim was
born Feljruary 22, 1678, Yost Swab (Jacob Swope), the an-
cestor of the largest branch of the Swope family in America.



The Schwab (Swab) — Americanized Swope — name is one of
the oldest in German history. It was derived from a powerful
tribe in Southern Germany, who were called Suevi by Julius
Caesar, and later Schwabs and vSwabians.

When a large portion of Southern Germany was formed
into a duchy it was given the tribe name and called Swabia.

The Schwab CvSwab ) family in its different branches have
continued to dwell there, and have preserved the ancient tribe
name through all these centuries. Only a small portion of
the old duchy is now known as Swabia.

There are several noble houses of Schwab in Germany,
each having a coat-of-arms. One characteristic of the arms
of all is the wing of the Imperial eagle, showing all to have
had a common ancestor. All indications point to our family
having descended from the house of Wurtemburg.

Whilst we here only trace our branch of the family back in
an unbroken line to 1678, yet we have every assurance that it
could be extended much farther did we have access to the
records in Germany.

The Coat-of- Arms here given was obtained from the Bureau
of Heraldry in Vienna by Rev. Cornelius E. Swope, D. D,,
late rector of Trinity Episcopal Chapel, New York. He says
regarding it: " I procured from the Bureau of Heraldry in
Vienna the arms which I have no doubt we have the right to
claim. From the same source I learned that the family came
originally from Wurtemburg, and traditions of the family date
back to the 13th century. The significance of the Coat-of-
Arms is as follows: The golden shield signifies the untarn-
ished honor of the family. The stars suggest the loftiness of
the aims and ambition of the bearer of the arms, and the
wing, which forms the crest, symbolizes the virtue and valor
which rise above all that is unworthy and soar, as on eagle's

20 'Ilic Sicopc I'\x)iiily.

wing, towards the stars. Tn all the bearings of the diiTerent
branches of the family the wing is a conspicuous feature.
There is no motto, such being of much later date than the
time of the ennobling of the family."

The deep red showing through the visor of the helmet
shows that the family or some members of it won distinction
in the Crusades, for no coats were permitted red unless the
representatives had seen somewhat of the life and wars of the





•■ 1 i :

<. AND



A small act is often far-reaching in its results. In 1685,
when Eoiiis XIV., King of France, signed the revocation of
the Edict of Nantes, which deprived so many thousands of
his most valuable subjects of their religious rights and sent
them as wanderers in foreign lands, it was not thought that
he would become the religious oppressor of our German fore-
fathers and drive them from home and everj'thing that was
dear because of their faithful adherence to their Protestant
faith This, however, was the case. Louis XIV. claimed the
Succession of the Palatinate in behalf of his brother, the Duke
of Orleans. Within a single generation that beautiful country,
one of the fairest and most beautiful spots of Europe, was
thrice overrun and devastated by the barbarous soldiery of
the French monarch. " When he found it impossible to hold
what had been conquered Louis gave command to have the
country turned into a desert." And right promptly and
effectually was the work performed; neither old men nor deli-
cate women were .spared, but all turned out, near half a mil-
lion of human beings, into the winter's snow, which then
covered the ground, where man}' perished of cold and hunger.
" Meanwhile the work of destruction began. The flames
went up from every hamlet, every parish church, every
country seat, within the devoted provinces." The large
towns fared no better than the country and were soon reduced
to a.shes. Later, 1697, the treat}- of Ryswick stipulated that
the French must evacuate the country, but the Catholic
princes who now ruled denied the Protestants the free exercise
of their religion, and deprived them of their churches and
treated them with great cruelty. Under the stress of their
misery many thousands of the inhabitants turned with dim
eyes from the ashes of their once happy homes, smiling fields

22 The S'ci'ope Family.

and vineyards, and sought an as3-lum on the hospitable shores
of England and the land of religious freedom, Penns3"lvania.
In a single year no less than 30,000 persecuted Palatines
found a refuge in Pennsylvania. Our ancestor, Yost Swope
and family, being pious members of the Lutheran Church and
unwilling to sacrifice their religion, left home, friends and all
that was dear and turned their faces to this land of promise.
After braving the perils of the deep he and his family arrived
in Philadelphia in 1720. While there he arranged for the
purchase of land on the outskirts of civilization, where most
of the Germans were sent, then Conewago township, Chester
count}', Pa., now Lancaster county; the latter count}^ was not
formed until nine years later.

The Swopes, as other settlers on what was then the frontiers,
had much to contend with in privations incident to a life in
an uncultivated wilderness. The country which greeted them
on their arrival was not as inviting as now. That portion not
covered with heavy timber was covered with stunted oak and
underbrush, which had annually been burnt off by the Indians
to drive out the game. This had to be cleared and made
tillable V)y the most crude instruments of husbandry. Our
ancestors showed their discernment b\^ selecting the ver}* best
lands, and by their untiring efforts, energy and perseverance
assisted in making that wilderness the garden spot of fair
Pennsylvania. The first humble dwellings were replaced b}-
spacious stone houses and fine barns. These homesteads
have already housed several generations and bid fair to shelter
many more.

There are no traditions in the Swope family showing that
they had any trouble with the Indians. Their nearest Indian
neighbors were the Piquaws and Conestogas of Lancaster
county. History tells us " they were the best disposed and
most tractable of all the natives with whom the whites ever
came in contact. The\' were extremely hospitable to the
early settlers, furnishing them from their own stores with no
stinted hands whenever called upon. The Huguenots and
Palatines often joined the Piquaws in their fishing and hunt-
ing excursions and in other pastimes. Their principal chief
was Tauawa, who sold his lands to Penn and was present at

Tlic Sicopc Familv. 23

the "Great Treaty." The kindly reception given by this
chief to Madam Mary Ferre is given elsewhere in the book.
The Conestogas were, in 1763, all murdered by the " Paxtang
Boys ' ' for depredations and murders that they alleged had
been perpetrated by them, but which has not been very clearly


By Bkli.k McKinney Swope.

Beside the sparkling waters of the Rhine,
Where Hes the land of the Palatinate so fair,
Are vales of beauty, peaceful and sublime.
And loft}- mountains rise in grandeur there.
Beneath the shadows of these towering heights,
The stately spires of Heidelburg look down
On fertile fields of richest verdure rare.
And nestled 'neath the hill, the historic town.

Among these haunts of legend and of song
Through which the storied Rhine and Neckar run.
There dwelt a goodly people, brave and true.
Whose noble christian lives were here begun.

Yea, staunch and firm, a strong and fearless race
For naught but God and native land loved they.
With steadfast purpose pressing toward the goal,
The great high God above their constant stay.
They walked with Him and in Him put their trust.
They murmured not, nor did they e'en complain
When heavily bowed beneath the chastening rod,
And hearts were sorely wrung with untold pain.

But not for long were dreams of comfort their's
Amidst the beauty of the fatherland.
The tiny kindled sparks that dormant lay
Burst forth and into flames were quickly fanned,
The French King Louis murderous orders gave,
And sent his merciless army to invade,
Destroy and waste the valley of the Rhine,
And through that region make destructive raid.

24 T^l^c Sicopc Family.

Thev came with llaiuitiiig colors and banners waving
A brilliant, glittering, devastating train.
And soon the snowy fields and highways broad
Were blackened with the bodies of the .slain.
I'roin tall chnrch s])ires and castles ivy clad,
lUirst wildly forth on the cold, frosty air,
Huge tongues of fire that laid in ashy heaps
Loved homes and landmarks that had been so fair

The earnest prayer of thousands ne'er awoke
One chord of pity in the monarch's heart,
From life-long footpaths dear and often trod.
The gray-haired sire and child were bade depart.
From distant tips of snowy mountain crests.
To fairest nooks in lonely woodland dells.
A cry of deepest anguish did arise.
As weirdest notes of solemn funeral knells.

The sun's glad rays ne'er shone on darker scene

No sadder picture could the light reveal.

A cruel blot on historj-'s fairest page.

For there the King of France had put his seal.

As helpless outcasts driven from their homes.

As lonely wanderers turned from cottage doors,

Some sought repose in England's sunny clime,

While many sailed to America's fair shores,

But our ancestors, those of whom we write,

Though driven to desperation and despair,

And draining to the dregs the bitter cup

Of hopeless pain and suffering, lingered there.

Their ancient hearthstones they were loath to leave

In the German fatherland so dear.

Where friends and kinsfolk learned the ways of life

Through darkest times or daN's of gladsome cheer.

But religious persecution as a tide.

That ebbed and flowed as waves on every hand,

Awakened in their hearts a strong desire

To plant their homes in this fair, happy land.

WMiere they, according to their old belief

As humble followers, true in faith and tried,

Could reverently worshij) here, in godly fear

Without restraint, their heavenly King and Guide.

The spring of seventeen hundrecl and twenty it was,
The dangers of the angr\- deep they braved.
And found among the hills of good old Penn
The refuge and the liberty they craved.

The Sivopc Family. 25

Their courieous manners and gentle, kindly speech

Soon won the hearts of neighboring Indian tribes,

Who saw as on their honest faces stamped,

The purity of moral, upright lives.

And aided by these dusky savage friends,

Their homes were built beneath the forests' shade

And by their thrifty zeal and industry,

Those wilds into a garden spot were made.

The hills that echoed witVi cries of startled deer,

Or marked by naught but a winding Indian trail,

Were changed through time to fertile fields of grain,

And spacious dwelling dotted hill and dale.

As time rolled on and touched with gentle hand
The pas.sing years that stopped not in their flight.
Fair daughters of these ancient worthies wed.
And by their presence other lives made bright.
From out the homestead also f-ons went forth,
To do life's work and rear their own fair homes.
Success about them shed her glowing beams.
And o'er their paths the stars of honor shone.

The land of their adoption soon became
Most dear, and well did they defend her rights.
For liberty they faced the British guns,
And served their country in the civil strife.
Some sang the sweet old songs of Dixie land,
And proudly did they wear the southern gray.
Whilst others bore aloft the stars and stripes.
And wore the blue throughout the bloody fray.

To-day some sit where northern roses bloom.

And some beneath the southern summer skies,

While over all the land their hearthfires burn,

From eastern coasts to where the Rockies rise.

The name we bear is honored and esteemed,

And into prominence has also grown.

In legislative halls and at the bar,

And in the councils of the nation known.

Upon the bench of justice some do sit.

And some there are who preach the word of life.

For worthy sons of worthy sires are they

In all their varied walks and ways upright.

Oh, blessed be the memory of the Swabs,
Whose sacred bones in dust now crumbling lie.
A goodly heritage they left to us;
They taught us how to live and how to die.



I. Yost (Joseph) vSwopk,' the founder of this branch of
the Swope family in America, was l)orn o!i the 2 2cl of Feb-
ruary, 1678, in the town of Sinsheim, in the Duchy of Baden,
a part of the old Duchy of Swabia, Germany. His father
was a burger and Burgomaster of the town of Liemen, a
place of about 2,700 inhabitants near Heidelburg. There
the father died; after his death, a short time, the youngest
child, Yost, was born. He married in earh- manhood and
lived in Liemen, his son John was born there in 1704. Early
in 1720, Yost Swope determined to seek his fortune in the
New World. He, together with his wife and five children,
set .sail for America in the spring of that year, and in due
time safely arrived here. Yost Swope must have been an
exemplary man from the recommendation given him by his
pastor before his departvtre for America. The original is .still
in existence in the hands of Adam Swope, of Lancaster Co.,
Pa., and notwithstanding its age, 175 years, is fairly well
preserved. In 1848 a translation was made from the Ger-
man. We here give it in its quaint style:

Lcctoria Saluiiue;


Pentalem Amnigeniru a Salutis Oceana.

After the death of her husband, a l)urger and Burgomaster
in Liemen under Burstrasser in Kurpaltz, Anna Katharine
Swope was delivered of her youngest son, Yost vSwope. Both
were Evangelical Lutheran in religion, and received into
the church of Christ with the rest of the beloved family. As
they intend to depart for a strange land, I herewith attest to
their Christian character and the life the>- led up to this time.

The Swol>e Family. 27

having long been their pastor and spiritual adviser. As their
fide pastorale, I willingly testify that the above-named Anna
Katharine and her beloved son, Yost, have always been
honest and pious as becomes God-fearing Christians and lovers
of Christ and his church. And we have no knowledge of
them excepting what is noble and good, naught but praise.
The All-Helper be their support and guide, and bless their
coming and going, and grant all their wishes with the richest
blessings, both on earth and in heaven, ever partaking of the
Holy Communion.

M. John Cristoph Schrenik,

Pastor Evan. Lutheran Kirche.
Lieinen, May ^, 1J20.

On his arrival in America, Swope went to Lancaster
county. Pa., and bought from the Provincial Government
one thousand acres of land-^^ in Upper Leacock township,
where he lived until his death in 1735. He was buried in a
graveyard on his place, where his remains rested until 1S84,
when they, together with those of his wife, were moved to
Heller's churchyard, Lancaster county, where rest the re-
mains of many of his descendants.

The following interesting account of the removal of the re-
mains was published at the time:t " Yost Swope. Remains
reinterred to-day, after having been buried 149 years. In
1720, Yost Swope, with his son John, the latter having been
the great-grandfather of Zuriel Swope, Esq., of this city,
came to this country from near Heidelberg, Germany, and
settled on 1,000 acres of land one mile north of Bird-in-Hand,
this county. A portion of the original homestead of 1,000
acres remains in the family to this day. The present owner is

*Wlierever we have found anyone who has had a knowledge of Yost
Swdpe, there we have also found the tradition that he " took up " 1,000
acres of land in Leacock township, Lancaster county. Pa. This we
are unable to prove, as no deeds have been found. Our conclusion,
based on all the information we could gather, is that he did take up
the land intending to pay for it on time, as was often done by the
early settlers, but died before he had paid for it, and his interest passed
to his daughters and was lost sight of in the change of name. His son
John had already been provided for with 630 acres.

t The Lancaster New Era of March 22, 1884.

28 The S'a'opc family.

Daniel Swope. and his son, Adam D. Swope, farms the place.
The remains of the original Yost Swope were buried in the
corner of the orchard, about forty rods from the old dwelling,
and on Monday of last week it became necessary to remove
the remains. Digging in the earth to the depth of seven feet,
a stone slab was encountered, and it bore the inscription,
' 1735, Y. S.,' showing that Yost Swope had been buried
there in 1735. The slab was lifted and there lay the bones of
the original ancestor of the Swopes of Lancaster county, and
notwithstanding the burial had taken place 149 years ago, the
skeleton was complete. Besides Yost Swope' s remains were
those of his wife, and near the skull was quite a quantity of
female hair. To-day the solemn service of reinterring these
ancient and wonderfully preserved remains took place at
Heller's Church, and we venture the assertion that no other
family in Lancaster county can lay claim to such an ex-
perience. " " " •

We have the birth records of the five children of Yost
Swope, but nothing more regarding them, except his son
John, from whom the family here recorded are descended.

i. Maria, b. 169S.
ii. Anna Christina, b. 1701.
2. iii. JOHX, b. May 28, 1704; d. Dec. 18, 1780.

iv. John Ui,rich, b. 1707.
V. AxxA Elizabeth, 1713.


YOST SWOPE, b. February


Anna Christina.




Dec. iS, 17S0.

Married 1725, Anna Doretha Line, daughter of John Line, d. 1740.


Sept. 27, 1726.

Married, died
leaving infant
daughter, who
soon after died.

July 31, 1729-

Jan. 3, 1733.
Anna Maria.

Dec. 10, 1727.
George Michael,
married, d. 175S.

John, b.

Aug. 12, 1756.



Casper Balser.

March 12, 1731.
Anna Barbara,
d. Sept. 23, iSio,
Philip Glon-
ninger, b. 1719,
d. Dec. II, 1796.


John, b.
Sept. 19, 1750.

Peter, b.
Sept. 14, 1763.
Valentitic, b.
June II, 1776.

May 31, 1736.
John Conrad, d.

Aug. 3, 1799,
married Clara

Shriver (?) b.
July 8, 1737, d.

April 1.8, 1S12.

John, b.
Oct. 10, 1763.

Henry, b.
Sept. 26, 1767.

George, b.
Oct. 15, 1774.

Adam, b.
Aug. 15, 1778.

Jan. 4, 1740.
Anna Doretha.

Mar. 15, 1734.
Anna Catharine


Ludwig Schott,

of Lebanon, Pa.

3 sons.

John, b. 1759.

George, b. 1765.

Jacob, b. 1772.

Mar. 27, 1738.



George Diehl.

No record of
tenth chTld.


78, d. 1735-

John Ulrich.

Anna Elizabeth.

arried second, May 25, 1742, Catharine Elizabeth Grove (Graeff, GrofF,
Greve), b. Nov. 2, 1725, d. Aug. 14, 1776.

II 12 13 14 15 16 17 I

8 19

r. 17, 1743-

Nov. ip, 1745.

Dec. 26, 1748.

Nov. 4, 1751.

May 2, 1756.

la Juliana.


Maria Sabina,

John Daniel, d.

John Adam, d.

d. Aug. 9, 1S26,

Dec. 17, 1821,

Feb. 7, 1821,


married, 1781,


John Hoke.

Klizabeth Gra-

Sarah Grabill,

bill. b. Feb. 23,

d. Sept. 2, 1805.



Sarah, h. 1772.

Catharine, b.

Daniel, b.

Salome, b.

March 7, 1786.

Nov. 10, 1773.

June 7. 17S2.

Jonathan, b.

John, b.

Catharine, b.

May 5, 1787.

May 26, 1778.

Aug. 6, 1785.

Samuel, b.


Margaret, b.

1790 (?).

Mary, b.

Dec. II, 1793.

Daniel, b.
Aug. 17, 1803.

April 16, 1 791.
Fphraim, b.
July 4, 1796.

Su.saii, b.

June I, 1799.


June 9, 1744.

John Jacob,

d. June 10, iSii


Mar. 10, 1747.

John Henry,

d. Sept. II, 180S,


Sabina Smyser, Barbara Wilder
b. Dec. 16, 1750, b. April 27, 1756,
d. June 27, 1820. d. Jan. 13, 1826.

May 22, 1750.

Susanna, died


Aug. 13, 1776.

Nov. 12. 1753.

Anna Eliza, d.

Feb. 12, 1773.

Catharine, b.
June 25, 1771.

Jacob, b.

Nov. 28, 1775.

Geo. Michael, b.

Feb. 28, 177S.

Matthias, b.

Jan. 24, 1780.

Elizabeth, b.

May 8, 1782.

John Emanuel,

b. Jan. 17, 1786.

John Frederick,

b. Sept. 17, 1790.

George, b.

June 7, 1787.








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II. John Swope' ( Yost') was born May 26, 1704, in Eeinien,
a town of about 2,700 inhabitants, of which his grandfather
was burgomaster, in the Duchy of Baden, Germany. He
was baptized on the 28th day of the same month, as is here
shown by a translation of his baptismal certificate from the
German :

"John Swope, son of Mr. Yost Swope, a citizen of the
parish of Leimen, was baptized the 28th day of May, 1704.
The sponsors were John Kitzniiller and Dornlicker Miiller of
the Dornmiiller (district) near the town of Wisloch. This is
a correct copy from the church records of Leimen, near


Paster of Eeimen.
May 5, 1720."

In 1720 he emigrated with his father to America and set-
tled in Upper Leacock township, Eancaster Co., Pa., on land
purchased from the Provincial Government. This land was
cleared, made tillable and divided into farms, which he be-
queathed to his sons at his death. In addition to farming he
was also engaged in the pottery business.

He married first in 1725, Anna Dorothea Line, daugh-
ter of John Line, who died in 1740. They had issue as fol-
lows, all born on the old homestead in Upper Leacock town-
ship, Lancaster Co., Pa.:

i. John Swope, b Sept. 27, 1726. He married and lived in

Lancaster city. At his death he left a widow and

daughter five months old, who soon after died. The

widow afterwards married George Sprecher.

ii. George Michael Swope, b. Dec. 10, 1727, married, and

38 The Swopc I'aiiiily.

(lied 175S. He left two children, John and Catharine.
John was born Auj^. 12, 1756. The baptismal records
of Trinity Lutheran Church give his baptism as Jan. 22,
1757. He is supposed to be Dr. John Swope, a surgeon
of the Revolutionary War. Tradition says that "prior
to his departure for the front, in passing the Lancaster
County Hotel, on East King street, everyone, especially
the ladies, remarked upon his fine appearance." Cath-
arine married Casper Balser.
iii. Elizabeth Swopr, b. July 31, 1729; died unmarried.
iv. Anna Barbara vSwopk, b. Mar 12, 1731; ni. Philip

V. Anna Maria Swope, b. Jan. 3, 1733.

vi. Anna Catharine Swope, b. Mar. 15, 1734; m. Ludwig
vSchott, of Lebanoi. vShe is known to have had three
sons— John, b. 1759; George, b. 1765; Jacob, b. 1772.
vii. John Conrad Swope, b. May 31, 1736; m. Clara

viii. Margaret Swope, b. Mar. 27, 1738; m. George Diehl,
and left children at her death in Lancaster county.
ix. Anna Dorothea Swopr, b. Jan. 4, 1740.
X. No record.

John Swope, in 1742, married, secondly, Elizabeth Grove
(Groff or Grave). Their marriage contract is extant, a cop}^
of which \ve give; it is .somewhat in form to that now tised
by the Society of Friends. These contracts were common in
those days, and we have .seen one in exactly the same form,
written b}' the same justice of the peace, for Daniel Ferree,
Jr., and Mary Carpenter (Zimmerman).

"Pennsylvania, )

Cotinty of Lancaster, )

Whereas, John Swope and Catharine Elizabeth Greve, both
of the .said County of Lancaster, having made a publication
of their intention of marrying as the law of said Province
direct.s — This is therefore to certify to all persons whom it
wvSiy concern, that on the 25th day of May, 1742, came before
me, Emantiel Carpenter, one of the ju.stices of the peace of
the said County of Lancaster, the .said John Swope and Cath-
arine Eliza])eth Greve, and the said John Swope, before a

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Online LibrarySwope Family History CommitteeHistory of the Swope family and descendants of Rockingham County, Virginia → online text (page 2 of 21)