John Valentine Frey

Contributed by: Phillip Maine

John Valentine Frey born 9 May 1721 Wingen, Alsace, Bas Rhin, FRANCE 
(then part of Germany), died September 13, 1798 in Hope, Stokes County, NC. 

He is buried in the Hope Moravian Church Cemetery in Stokes County NC. All 
of his 7 brothers had a first name Johann so they all went by their middle name. 
He is a recognized soldier in the Revolution serving as a Carpenter. Revolutionary 
Patriot Plaque placed at grave site by Phoebe Fry Hudson through Old North 
State Chapter, North Carolina Daughters of the American Revolution.  All of his 
fathers sons had the first name of Johann so they all went by their middle names.  
John Valentine was the only one tha participated in the Revolution.  The others 
owed money to the English for their farms and did not want to risk forfeiture of their 
land, so even though privately they supported the war publicly they were neutral.

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.

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).

What follows is from the pastors archives from the Friedberg MORAVIAN Church in 
Forsythe county, NC.

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.

[Michael 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

Valentine married 

Anna Barbara Binckele born Jun 1, 1722 in Schweiz, Lorraine, Alsace, France (then part of 
Germany) died Jan 6, 1791 in Salem, Granville, North Carolina, USA buried in Friedberg Moravian 
Church Cemetery, Davidson County, NC What follows is from the pastors archives from the 
Friedberg MORAVIAN Church in Forsythe county, NC. 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.

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