This ancestry story takes place in areas close to the Susquehanna River…
Like Father, Like Daughter – Margaret Peggy Pace Lark
Unlike her father, Johan Michael, Margaret Peggy Pace Lark was born in America. Her birthdate was February 15, 1751. Like her father, however, she lived to a very old age.
I found three references to the longevity of this early Pace ancestor, my 5th great aunt. The first two are these anecdotes:
The third reference to her age is in the history of the area in Lucerne County, Pennsylvania.
“Once known as Blindtown, the borough was renamed in 1895 to Larksville by Mrs. Rachel Pace in honor of her ancestor Peggy Lark, who had owned the village site and died at the reputed age of 106. Besides Blindtown, Larksville was at one time called Sawmilltown and Babylon because of the many languages that were spoken by the people who inhabited the town. The industry of the borough was mainly coal mining, with the progress that normally comes to a steadily operated mining property. Larksville was incorporated as a borough on November 10, 1909, previously a part of Plymouth Township.”
I found one reference to why it was named Blindstown. It said that it was because there were no street lamps.
I thought it was very interesting that it was once called Babylon, “because there were so many languages spoken by the residents.” In my early ancestors’ time, there were thousands of people coming to America from all over the world to seek work and make a better life for themselves. They were drawn to this area because of available work in the coal mines.
Finding the Ancestry Link
Margaret Peggy Pace married Peter Lerch, (the name was later turned into Lark.) As far as I can tell, they had no children. It was her brother, Michael, who was my ancestor. He named one of his daughters, Margaret Peggy also, which sometimes made finding things confusing.
A copy of the will showed that Margaret Peggy, the older one, sold part of the land to her nieces and nephews. Henry Pace was one of them. I had already traced my dad’s side back to Henry. So when I found evidence of him receiving property from Margaret Peggy both in her will and his, it helped me link our line to the original immigrants from Germany. In her will it said:
“Margaret Larck sold to Henry Pace, Margaret Murphy, Isaiah Pace, John Hawck and Elizabeth his wife, 45 acres of land, being all of lot #3 and #4 not already gived to other people, for $1.00 and the love and affection she bears for her kindred, on 14 Mar 1842. Vol. 38 page 451 film #0964854” This quote is from — A summary of land deed records of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. (There are often inconsistencies in the spelling of names , and other spelling in early documents.)
Henry Pace gained property in Coal Country
The borough gained prominence in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as an active anthracite coal mining community, drawing a large portion of its labor force from European immigrants. Larksville was a thriving mining town. Houses were clustered around the collieries. The collieries in the borough were Boston, Loree, Lance, Woodward, and Number 4. At its peak, in 1920, Larksville’s population was well over 9,000 people. However, the mining industry in the region collapsed after the 1959 Knox Mine Disaster. The population began to dwindle after its demise. Today, the population is just over 4,000.
My grandfather, who came from that area, had talked about working in the mines when he was about 12 or 13 because of the need to help his family during the Depression in the late 1800s. I can see that the coal mines would have been a logical place to seek work with our family’s history.
The older Margaret Peggy loved to talk about the past in her later years. A lot of us do. She was living with the young Margaret Peggy’s family at the age of 99, according to the census. It made me think of the stories she may have told her great grand nieces and nephews about her early life. I hope she had a willing group of listeners.
Post #61 will be about Henry’s wife, Margaret Edwards, during Civil War times.