Place Published: Tryon County, NY
Date Published: 1774
Edition: 1st Edition
DS, 2pp, 7.75 x 12.75 in., Johnstown, Tryon County, NY, 15 Dec. 1774 (Fifteenth year of the reign of King George the Third). Legal document regarding a debt, signed by Hendrick Frey, Judge.
Condition: Folds and toning as expected otherwise very good. All mounted on larger sheets with cut-outs so both sides visible. John, patriot and Hendrick (Heindrick) Frey, loyalist of Canajoharie, brother against brother in the American Revolution.
Colonel Hendrick (Heindrick) Frey (1734?-1827) and his brother, Major John Frey (1740-1833), were the grandsons of Heinrich Frey, a native of Zurich, who settled on the Mohawk in the late seventeenth century. Major John Frey became an active and dedicated patriot. He served as Tryon County's first elected sheriff and on its important committees of correspondence and public safety, was wounded at Oriskany, and later was captured by Indians and carried off into Canada. His older brother, Hendrick, fell heir to the family estates at Canajoharie and married the sister of Nicholas Herkimer, the hero of Oriskany. He fought beside Sir William Johnson in the French wars and later became Sir William's close friend and executor. When Tryon County was formed in 1772, Hendrick Frey was its first representative to the provincial legislature. With the outbreak of the Revolution, however, he tried to remain neutral, but as an intimate of the Johnsons, he soon fell under the suspicions of his Whig neighbors. Frey was arrested, brought before the Tryon County Committee of Public Safety (of which his brother was a member), and then jailed at Albany. In 1777, he was released in the custody of his friend General Philip Schuyler and allowed to return to Canajoharie. But rumors again began to swirl about his head. "People of all sorts" were seen about his grist mill on Canajoharie Creek and he was cited by the Tryon Committee as being "a most dangerous Person." Shortly thereafter Hendrick Frey was rearrested and sent to a Hartford, Connecticut jail where he remained until 1783. Cooper long remembered "Old Frey with his little black peepers, pipe, hearty laugh, and broken English...." [James Fenimore Cooper, The Letters and Journals of James Fenimore Cooper, edited by James Franklin Beard (Cambridge, 1964), 1II, 41]. A third brother, Bernard, or Barnard (?-1812), apparently was an active Loyalist who went to Oswego with Guy Johnson in 1775 and later served with Butler's corps of Tory rangers. This information on the Freys has been obtained from the following sources: S. L. Frey, "An Old Mohawk Valley House," The Magazine of American History, VIII (May, 1882), 337-345; Ernest Greene, "Frey," Ontario Historical Society Papers and Records, XXXIII (1939), 45-74; Nelson Greene, The Story of Old Fort Plain and the Middle Mohawk Valley (Fort Plain, New York, 1915), pp. 37-39, 159; Public Papers of George Clinton (Albany, 1900), II, 229, 285, 287, 330-331, 742-743. See also, James Fenimore Cooper, The Chronicles of Cooperstown (Cooperstown, 1838), pp. 26-28.