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Johann Peter Frey

Johan Peter Frey was born in 1689 in Wingen, Alsace, (now Bas-Rhin, France) son of Johann Jacob Frey and Anna Maria Schaub. His ancestry is known several generations further back, in Alsace and near Zurich, Switzerland. He married Anna Barbara Schmidt, daughter of Hans Theobald Schmidt and Anna Maria Schlaber, in Wingen in 1716. They immigrated to America in 1733 on the Ship Samuel, and settled first in East Cocalico township, Lancaster Co. PA, later moving with most of their children to Heidelberg township, Berks Co. PA. Their sons Peter and Christian moved to NC in the 1750s, and in May 1765 Johan Peter Sr. and the rest of his family joined them. He died the following year in NC, and was the first person interred in the new graveyard at Friedberg Moravian church. Anna Barbara died in January 1768, and is buried at Bethania Moravian church.

Children of Johan Peter Frey and Anna Barbara Schmidt:

1. Maria Margaretha Frey (1715-1785) m. Johann Michael Kapp (1705-1764), remained in Pennsylvania.
2. Anna Eva Frey (1718- ?) m. Hans Georg Hage, settled Rowan Co. NC.
3. Johann Valentine Frey (1721-1798) m. Anna Barbara Binckele (1722-1791).
4. Anna Barbara Frey (1723-?) m. Michael Lauer (ca. 1715-1789), remained in Pennsylvania.
5. Anna Maria Frey (1726-?).
6. Johann Peter Frey (1729-1810) m. Catharina Walk (1739-1815).
7. Maria Franzina Frey (ca. 1737-?) m. Adam Hartmann (1729-?).
8. Christian Frey (1731-1800) m. Sarah Schneider (ca. 1746-1826), had no children.
9. Maria Juliana Frey (1735-1814) m. Johann Balthazar Hege (1714-1785).
10. Johann Georg Frey (1740-1812) m. Anna Catharina Lerch (1747-1822).

Three of Johann Peter Frey's sons seemingly failed to choose the side of liberty during the War of Independence. The Rowan County, North Carolina, Court Minutes of the year 1778 listed 577 persons who "refused or neglected" to take the Oath of Allegiance to the State. Most of these, we may safely assume, were Loyalists and/or Tories--that is, they were loyal, either passively or actively, to England, rather than to North Carolina or the United States. Roughly, out of around 3,000 families in the Rowan County area in 1778, one out of five were Loyalists/Tories. In 1778 Rowan County included the present-day counties of Rowan, Davidson, and Davie. In Captain Eakles District of Nonjurors we find listed the following names: "George Fry, Christian Fry and Peter Fry, Ser." (North Carolina Genealogy. Winter Issue 1968, Vol. XIV, No. 4.)

There is no separate memoir filed for Anna Barbara Frey, widow of Peter Frey Sr. in the Moravian archives, but there is a notice in the Death Record of congregation of Bethania, N.C.:

"Anna Barbara Frey was born on 5 April 1696, in Wingen in Lower Alsace [now Bas-Rhin, France]. In her 20th year she married Peter Frey, their union lasting something over 50 years. They had 12 children, and more than 100 grandchildren and great grandchildren.

"In 1734 she and her husband and 7 children moved to Pennsylvania, and settle on Muddy Creek. There she was awakened by the witness of the Brethren concerning the death of Jesus, and when a small congregation was organized there she was received and was admitted to the Holy Communion. When this little congregation disbanded she and her husband moved to Heidelberg; and from there, for the love of their children, they moved to North Carolina in the Spring of 1765.

"In May 1766, she was left a widow.

"Before Christmas, 1767, she came here [Bethania] on her last visit, and received much good through the festal and regular services of the congregation. The Saviour granted her desire that she might be spared a long and painful illness, and might be taken quickly, which happened on January 9th of this year (1768) in the forenoon. Only a couple of hours previously she had been spinning, when she was taken with a severe chill and great pain in her chest. The last verse which she had been singing was:

"'I am melted into tears when I sing of Jesus' death.'

"Her age was 71 years, 9 month, 4 days."

There is no memoir of Peter Frey, Sr. on file, but the following extended notice is taken from the Church Register of Friedberg Moravian Graveyard:

"Peter Frey. He was born 27 September 1689 [his actual birth date is 7 September 1689] in Wingen in Alsace [now Bas-Rhin, France]; married in 1716, the widow whom he leaves behind; and during his married life, which lasted more than 50 years, he had 12 children, by whom he had 69 grandchildren and 20 great grand children.

"In 1733 he and his wife and seven children emigrated to Pennsylvania.

"In 1745 he was awakened by the testimony of the Brethren concerning the Atonement of Jesus, and was received into the little congregation at Muddy Creek [actually, Moden Creek in East Cocalico Twp., Lancaster Co., PA] and was admitted to the Holy Communion. When this congregation disbanded he and his family moved to Heidelberg [North Heidelberg Twp., Berks Co., PA] and there enjoyed the care of the Brethren.

"In May 1765, he moved to North Carolina, and built a little house near his son Peter. As long as he was able, he and his wife went to Bethania, and partook of the Lord's Supper with the congregation there.

"Since last Christmas, 1765, he has been confined to his bed, had serious trouble in his chest, and longed greatly for release. Three weeks before that came he and his wife shared a blessed Communion for the Sick; and on the 4th of May 1766, the Savior took him to Himself. His age was 77 years, 7 months, and some days.

"On the 6th of May, after a sermon by Bro. Graff on the text: 'Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die', his body was interred, and thereby the burial place, already laid out on the Wachovia Line near the South Fork, was consecrated."

The Will of Johan Peter Frey

North Carolina
Rowan County
In the Name of God
I Peter Frey Senr. lately of Heidelberg Township, Berks County in Pennsylvania, now living in Rowan County N. Carolina, being old & infirm in Body, but God be thanked of good & sound Mind & Memory, Make & publish herewith my last Will & Testament, viz.

First: I command my Soul into the Hands of my Dear Redeemer Jesus Christ, who has with his most precious Blood. And my Body unto the Earth, till it shall please God to awaken it out of the grave again.

Secondly: I make & appoint my beloved Wife Ann Barbara Frey, born Schmid, the Executrix of this my last Will & Testament, desiring her to get my Body decently & in Christian Manner to be buried in a regular grave yard. To pay my funeral Expenses & all my Debts if any there by at the Time of my Decease.

Thirdly: All the Residue of my worldly Estate, Money Bonds, goods & chattels real & personal I give & bequeath herewith unto my beloved Wife Ann Barbara being my Heir & Executrix. In Witness whereof I have hereunto set my Hand & Seal. Sept. 20th 1765.

[Peter Frey's Mark]

Adam Spach
Peter Frey
Martin Walk Jw


The Jarvis Family & Other Relatives by Elizabeth Harris and Faye Jarvis Moran.

Records of the Moravians in North Carolina, 11 volumes; Publications of the North Carolina Historical Commission.

Ancestry and Descendants of Johann Peter Frey, by James Jurney; privately printed, Bellevue WA 1991.

Forsyth Co. NC Cemetery Records.

Abstracts of Wills and Estates Records of Rowan County, North Carolina 1753-1805 and Tax Lists of 1759 and 1778, copyright Jo White Linn 1980.

Eighteenth Century Emigrants from the Northern Alsace to America by Burgert, Annette Kunselman; Picton Press, Camden, Maine, 1992.

People Named Hanes by Linn, Jo White, 1980.

Surry County NC Will Abstracts, vols. 1-3 1771-1827, abstracted and compiled by Jo White Linn, indexed by Edith Montcalm Clark, copyright Jo White Linn 1974.

Lancaster County PA Birth Records.