John "Valentine" Frey



This information is contributed by Bennie 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 

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.

Viz.

3 bonds Stephen Codler of 31. 5 / paper

money each amounting in all to 93.15





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