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The Johann Valentine Frey Family

Although Johann Valentine was born in French Alsace, the Frey name is probably not French in origin; the Alsace-Lorraine region of Europe alternated between French and German control at various times during its history1. Also his grandfather--Johann Jacob Frey--was born in Switzerland and later moved to Alsace. The Moravian Records were usually written in German and many of the other Moravian families came from the Rhineland region of Germany. Thus it is believed that the Frey family name probably is of German or Germanic origin.

The Moravian church originated in 1457 in Bohemia. There was a major resuscitation led by Count Zinzendorf in Saxony in 1722 (following the religious dissension during the Thirty Years' War). In 1736 Count Zinzendorf was banished from Saxony due to his religious zeal; he eventually came to North America. The earliest Moravian settlements were made in Georgia (1735), Pennsylvania (1740) and North Carolina (1753). Moravian immigrants began the cities of Bethlehem, PA and Salem (now part of Winston-Salem), NC. Bethlehem became the center of the Moravian church in North America (which was established in 1741). In 1742 the Bethlehem settlement was organized as a cooperative union by a large colony from Europe. Although everyone worked for a common cause and received sustenance from common supplies, individuals retained their private property and the right to leave the cooperative union; the church also owned and operated ships for transporting colonists from Europe. The Moravians valued education and the clergy kept written records of the day-to-day life in the settlements. Fortunately many of these daily records from the various settlements have been archived by the Moravian Church in Winston-Salem, NC. (Some public libraries have English translations of some of these records--Records of the Moravians in North Carolina, E. by Fries, 1968, North Carolina Historical Commission was consulted for information regarding the North Carolina period of the Frey family.).

(See The Moravian Church for more information.)

Johann Valentine Frey, the first son and third child of Johann Peter Frey and Anna Barbara Schmidt (See Johann Peter Frey Family), was born 9 May 1721 in Wingen, Alsace [now Bas-Rhin], France. Johann Valentine probably used his middle name since his three younger brothers also had the first name of Johann and thus used their middle names--Peter, Christian and George (thus, he will be referred to as Valentine in this discussion).

Valentine came to North America in 1733 with his parents (he would have been 12 years old in 1733) when they settled in Pennsylvania. On 28 April 1742 Valentine Frey married Anna Maria Barbara Binckele Meyer in Germantown, Lancaster county, Pennsylvania. Valentine and Anna Maria Barbara had twelve children born in Pennsylvania.

[Anna Barbara Binckele was originally thought to be the daughter of Peter Binkele. (See Peter Binkele Family.) Further research has shown that this is unlikely. Anna Barbara is more likely to be the daughter of one of Peter Binkele's brothers and thus still the grand daughter of Christian Binkele. Research is continuing on the ancestry of Anna Barbara Binckele.]

The children of Johann Valentine Frey and Anna Maria Barbara Binckele Meyer Frey were:

1.1 Anna Barbara Frey b. 6 Mar 1743 m. Frederick Boeckel
2.1 Johan Michael Frey b. 8 Jan 1745 m. Martha Dorthea Schmidtz
3.1 Johan Peter Frey b. 29 Sep 1746 m. Marellisey Cottner
4.1 Johann Valentine Frey, Jr. b. 8 Mar 1748 m 2) unknown m)2 Maria Catherine Petri
5.1 Anna Maria Margaret Frey b. 9 Oct 1749 m. Peter Friser/Fezer
6.1 'Henry' Johann Heinrich Frey b. 14 Jan 1751 m. Sarah/Julia Klein
7.1 'John' Johannes Frey b. 25 Dec 1753 m. Chistine Miller
8.1 Maria Margaretha Frey b. 18 Sep 1755 m. Rudolph Neat, Jr.
9.1 Anna Rosina Frey b. 27 Aug 1757 m)1 'Adam' John Adam Petrea m)2 Adam Boyer
10.1 Christina Frey b. 22 Nov 1759 m. John W. Wolfersberger (alias John W. Sparger)
11.1 son Frey b. 23 Aug 1762 stillborn
12.1 Tobias Frey b. 19 Jan 1764 d. 15 Dec 1776

Valentine and Anna Maria Barbara moved their family from Pennsylvania to North Carolina in 1765. Their oldest daughter and son--Anna Barbara and Johan Michael--who were both married in Pennsylvania (1764 and 1765, respectively), also moved with their spouses to North Carolina at that time. The entire family became involved with various Moravian societies in North Carolina.

Anna Maria Barbara Binckele Meyer died on 6 January 1791 in Salem, North Carolina; she was buried 9 January 1791 in Salem, Forsyth county North Carolina3. Valentine Frey died on 13 September 1798 in Hope, Forsyth county North Carolina. He was buried in the Hope Moravian Cemetery in Forsyth county. His will, dated 25 August 1797 (and abstracted in Stokes County, North Carolina Wills), names Anna Barbara, wife of Fredrick Binkley; Anna Maria, wife of Peter Fiser; Margaretha, wife of Rudy Nect; Rosina, wife of Adam Petree, deceased; and Christina, wife of John Wolfersberger. [In this abstract, Boeckel is misspelled as Binkley or did Anna Barbara remarry? based on the spelling used for the other sons-in-law, this is probably a misspelling.

The Friedberg Diary entry of March 26, 1776 mentions that "A scouting party took rifles and flint-locks from those of our Brethren who lived in Rowan County." And on March 27 "The same was done with the Brethren living in Surry County, and John Hartmann and Isaac Pfaff were obliged to take the guns to Valentine Frey's" (Records of the Moravians in North Carolina, Vol. 3, p. 1112).

Valentine's participation against the Tories in the expedition beginning August 22, 1775 and ending in the Battle of Moore's Creek Bridge on February 27, 1776 is recorded in the Public Accounts of the State of North Carolina.

According to a Salem Diary entry of August 6, 1779 "Valentine Frey brought his negro here, and he and Jacob were examined concerning the charges made by the latter. The former denied everything that Jacob had said about him, though Herbst's negro, Sambo, declared there had been secret trading between the two. We will take the first opportunity to sell Jacob, and as far away as possible, for there is danger that he will do something worse out of spite. [Jacob had previously been charged with theft and poisoning a prize horse. Jacob claimed he had sent the stolen goods to Valentine Frey's negro. Jacob was whipped at least twice for his wrong-doings.] (Records of the Moravians in North Carolina, Vol. 3, p. 1311).

Memoir of Anna Barbara Frey
(From the Moravian Archives , the first burial register of Home Moravian Church.)

Anna Barbara Frey died January 6, 1791 in the evening in the sixth hour, and was buried on the 8th of that month in our God's Acre. She was born June 1, 1722, (Whit Sunday) in Alsace, Germany [now Bas-Rhin, France] and came with her parents to America. In her 17th year she married her first husband, Matthias Meyer, with whom she lived in German town, Pa., and they had two daughters. In the third year of her marriage, she was left a widow. After sometime, she married the present widower Valentine Frey. They were both awakened through the preaching of the Brethren and were members of the County Congregation of Heidelberg, Pa. and partook for the first time of the Holy Communion in 1756. In 1765 they moved to North Carolina and lived on the Yadkin River. They belonged to the County Congregation of Friedberg, N.C. When she became very feeble they transferred their membership to Salem, N.C. in order to be better served by the doctor. At first, she improved, but on the above mentioned day, she fell softly asleep from a stroke.

From her last marriage, she was blessed with 13 children. She lived to see about 100 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren. Her age was 68 years and 7 months.

Memoir of Johan Valentine Frey

The widowed Brethren, Valentine Frey, who fell blessedly asleep in Hope, North Carolina on September 13, 1798, was born on May 9, 1721 in Wingen, Palatinate [now Wingen, Bas-Rhin, France] and was brought up in the Lutheran faith. His childhood passed according to his own confessions without much thought about himself or the salvation of his soul. In his thirteenth year, his parents and their children moved to America, settling first on the Barrawage in the state of Pennsylvania. About this time, the Spirit of God began to work mightily in his heart, but he did not understand what was happening, yet never the less he lived an honorable Christian life, attending preaching frequently and once took communion in the Lutheran Church. Somewhat later, he moved with his parents to Muddy Creek, Pa. [actually Moden Creek, Lancaster Co., PA, now East Cocalico Twp., Lancaster Co., PA] where he first learned to know the Brethren who were beginning a Society there of preaching and of the other services, brought good to his disturbed heart so he decided to unite himself with their Society. About this time, he married the widow, Barbara Meyer, maiden name Binckele, with whom he had 13 children, from whom he has lived to see 102 grandchildren and 49 great-grandchildren. His wife died peacefully in the year 1791. At the place of their residence, the organization of a congregation of the Brethren failed to materialize, so in the course of time they moved to Heidelberg, Pa., and as he had already been received into the Unity, he partook for the first time of the Holy communion with the Heidelberg congregation. In June 1765, his parents and brothers moved to North Carolina and he came with them, attending the Holy Communion at Bethabara, until the congregation of Friedberg was organized, when he became one of the first members. In the course of some years, he moved to the neighborhood of Hope, N.C. During this period he turned into various by-paths which interrupted his fellowship with us. Although under these circumstances he was often reminded of what he had formerly felt in his heart, and although he often attended our meeting he did not experience the desired change of heart, until finally the Savior brought him to knowledge of himself, melted his heart, and led him to realize that he was a poor sinner. He at once related his experience, testifying that he had received Grace and forgiveness of his sins, through the Savior and now earnestly wishes again to partake of the Holy Communion with the congregation, which request was granted.

When in later days, he spoke of this time, he wept bitter tears, saying: "Oh how faithfully the Savior had dealt with me, and how He has gone with me all the way." In the course of time, he returned to Friedberg, but in 1794 went back to Hope to the home of one of his daughters, who cared for him faithfully to the end, of which he spoke with gratitude. We can bear witness of him, that he, especially in the later days of his life, stood in close communion with the Savior. He was not easily prevented from attending the Sunday services, although on account of his age it was often hard for him to come. Sometimes he bemoaned his outward circumstances and regretted that there was no one near him who felt as he did, but usually ended by saying: "Why should I complain? I have something that once I did not have. My Savior is my best friend; to Him I tell all my circumstances and, oh!, that refreshes and comforts me indescribably."

The salvation of his children lay close to his heart, and he affirmed that he prayed constantly for them to the Savior. He often spoke with much regret of the fact that his children did not belong to the Brethren's Church which he liked so much. "Some", he said, "are too far away and others, who lived nearby have neglected it." The Holy Communion was his firm, true sustenance and a strengthening for his soul. Each time, his preceding declaration concerning his need of Grace, which the Savior showed to his heart, was edifying. On one occasion as he lay on his death bed, he said, "Oh, the Holy Communion is a great thing--he who has once partaken of it with the Brethren has something which he can never lose, even if he wanders from the path, and it brings him back. I have myself experienced that."

On the 2nd of this month, (September) he was here in the meeting house for the funeral of a single woman, Sarah Taylor, but he was already so weak that he could not go to the graveyard and remarked to several Brethren, "I will be next". On reaching home he was obliged to go to bed. Each visit found him in a blessed condition of faith. "The Savior is near me," he said, "I do not know whether this is the end, or not, but if it is, His Will I am ready and glad", and he testified that nothing hindered him for appearing joyfully before the Savior. When verses were sung for him, he said several times that they expressed the feelings of his heart and joined in the singing of them. Having brought all his material affairs into order he waited in quiet confidence for his last hour, which came in the evening of the 13th of this month (September) and he softly and blessedly fell asleep--his age being 77 years, 4 months and 4 days.

The Will of Valentine Frey

The will of Valentine Frey was made August 25, 1797 in Rowan County, North Carolina and probated in 1798, in Stokes County, North Carolina, in which he gives the names of his five sons and five daughters. (Will Book 1, Page 113, Stokes County, NC).

In the Name of God, Amen!

I Valentine Fry of the County of Rowan in the state of North Carolina being in perfect health and sound mind and memory thanks be given unto Almighty God calling unto mind the mortality of Men and knowing it to be appointed for all men once to die Do make and ordain this my last Will & Testament, that is to say viz. Principally and first of all I give and recommend my soul to my Creator & my body to be buried in a decent Christian Burial at the Discretion of my Executor, and as touching such Worldly estate wherewith it hath pleased God to bless me, I give and bequeth the same in Manner & form following:

1) Whereas I have hertofore in my lifetime sold all my lands & Tenements as well as my stock of Negroes and have given Sufficient land or other property to my five Sons named Michael, Valentine, Henry John & Peter, I therefore will that after my death all the remaining part of my personal estate shall be sold at public sale & the Money arising out of said sale shall be divided viz.: my five daughters named Anna Barbara wife of Fredric Beckle, Anna Maria wife of Peter Fiser, Margaretha wife of Rudy Neet, Rosina wife of Adam Petree dec'd, Christina wife of John Wolfersbarger shall each of them have Twenty five Dollars of the Auction Sales as their own sole property for ever.

2) And I do ---

---- the then remaining parts of said Money Arisen from the public sale as aforesaid shall afterwards be divided amongst my aforementioned ten Children share & share alike each of them one equal share as their own sole property for ever.

---- this and no other to be my last Will & Testament.

In Witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this twenty fifth day of August in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred & ninety seven.

[Valentine Fry's Mark]

Signed Sealed pronounced and declared by the Testator as his last Will & Testament in presence of us -
John Rights
Joseph Fry
George Fry

An Inventory of the Estate of Valentine Fry, Dec. 9 --

5 Bottles of Sugar Box 7 Vials
1 Coffee Burner 1 Spice Mill
1 hard Bellows 1 Saddle & bridle
2 Hats 2 pr Leggins & 1 pr Stockings
1 Large Bible 1 pr Shoes & Buckles
4 Books 1 Feather Cover
2 Beds 2 Coverlids & Bolster
1 Shovel & Tongs 1 Big Coat
5 Coats & 5 Breeches & Jackets
2 pr Stockings 1 pr Leggins
6 pr overalls 12 Shirts 1 Razer & Case
1 Hone 2 Sheets 2 Table Cloths
1 Comb & Specks 1 Armd Chair
1 Table 1 Kettle & Bason 1 Bedstead
1 Chear 1 Cupboard

The above articles were sold at public Vendue & amounts to thirty nine Pounds twelve Shillings & two pence for which Ten Months Credit was given.

[Michl Fry's Mark]

Frederic Pickle

There were found in the possession of the said Valentine Fry the following notes or bonds which are not yet due
Viz. C Bonds against Stephen Codler

Were also found the following bonds or notes which are now due.
3 bonds Stephen Codler of 31. 5 / paper
money each amounting in all to 93.15

1 Note against John Fry of 10.12.06
1 Note against John Fry of 15.00.00
1 Note against John Fry of 17.10.00
1 Note against John Fry of 41.10.00
1 Note against John Fry of 20.00.00
1 Note against John Fry of 44.00.00
1 Note against John Fry of 11.00.00
1 Note against Christian Conrad of 15

1 Note against David Ingram of 6.12
1 Note against Andrew Black 22.00.00
1 Note against Peter Cup 2.04.08
1 Note against Peter Fizer 20.00.00
1 Note against Peter Fizer 16.13.08
1 Note against Rosina Petree 60.00.00
1 Note against Peter Pfaff 5.00.00
1 Note against Thomas Cooper 6.05.00
1 Note against Rudolph Neets 18.00.00
1 Note against Rudolph Neets 55.00.00
1 Note against John Brindle 16.00.00
1 Note against Frederic Beckle 10.00.00
1 Note against Frederic Beckle 80.00.00
1 Note against Frederic Beckle 18.04.00
1 Note against Michael Fry 18.00.00
1 Note against Michael Fry 80.00.00
1 Note against Henry Fry 75.00.00
1 Note against Henry Fry 7.00.00
1 Note against Peter Fry 24.00.00
1 Note against Peter Fry 32.00.00
1 Note against Peter Fry 20.00.00
1 Note against Christopher Lash 50.00.00
1 Note against Fetty Pickle 6.00.00
1 Note against Fetty Pickle 6.02.09
1 Note aginst William Gordon 7.19.09
1 Note against John Wolfersbarger 29.09.00
1 Note against Joseph Lenbeck 1.15.01

1 Note against Tobias Pickle of 10.19.00
1 Note against Henry Miller 5.15.06
1 Note against John Miller 2.13.00
1 Note against Phillip Crane & Jonas Leatherman 1.08.00
1 Note against Stephen Codler 3.16.00
1 Note against Michael Miller 1.05.00
1 Note against Zack Jarvis 16.00
1 Note against John Ecles 12.00.00
1 Note against Hardy Jones 180.06.00
1 Note against Mark Bowles 6.15.00
2 Notes against Laed Pack 12..15/each 25.10.00

There were also found Charges on book the following persons with the sum annexed to their name Viz:

Rudolph Neel 29.17.04
Arthur Smith 1.18.08
Richd Hollis 8.00.00
Adam Petree 2.00.00
Andrew Black 1.07.00
Duncan Campbell 10.00
Peter Stresa 06.00
David Ingram 15.00
David Ingram 19.00
Adam Boyer 38.06.00
Abraham Tansay 16.00
William Jackson 17.00
Henry Hauser 2.10.00

John Wolfersbarger 00.16.00
Henry Fry 12.00.00
Peter Fry 8.00.00
Jacob Bon 16.00
Andrew George 2.04.00
Yeckly Griffin 16.00

Which notes & Books accounts we do not consider ourselves liable for further than we can Collect.

[Michl Fry's Mark]
[Frederic Pickle's Mark]

Stokes County March term 1799
An Inventory of the Estate of Valentine Fry Senr Decd of which the following is a true copy was returned by the Executors & ordered to be recorded which is already done by -
Thos K. Armstrong
for Rob Williams CC


Beman/King Genealogy by Virgil Hoftiezer; May 1997.

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