Philip Slaughter.

Memoir of Col. Joshua Fry, sometime professor in William and Mary College, Virginia, and Washington's senior in command of Virginia forces, 1754, etc., etc., with an autobiography of his son, Rev. Henry Fry, and a census of their descendants online

. (page 1 of 7)
Online LibraryPhilip SlaughterMemoir of Col. Joshua Fry, sometime professor in William and Mary College, Virginia, and Washington's senior in command of Virginia forces, 1754, etc., etc., with an autobiography of his son, Rev. Henry Fry, and a census of their descendants → online text (page 1 of 7)
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1 1 ,



Chapter I.

Old Family Mansion; its Historical Room; Thos.
Jefferson and Win. Wirt ; Pioneer Methodist Preach-
ers ; Col. Joshua Fry's Birth Place ; forms of the
Name; the Frys of England and of Va. ; Pedigrees
of Fryes of Carrington; Sir Thos. Phillips' visitation;
Mr. Spofford, Librarian of Congress ; Col. Fry,
Magistrate and Vestryman in Essex Co., Va. ; his
marriage ; Paul Micou, Hugenot Exile, Jas. Roy
Micou, John Lomax, Moore Fauntlery, Col. Fry,
Master of Grammar School and Professor of Math-
ematics in William and Mary College ; Lays corner
stone of President's House ; Commissary Blair, Rev.
Wm. Stith, Rev. Bar. Yates, Rev. P. Fontaine, Rev.
Mr. Dawson; Proposes, with Rob't. Brook, a Map of
Va. ; R. A. Brock, Sec. Hist. Society, Va. ; Col. Fry,
Burgess, and of King's Council.

Chapter II.

Col. Fry's removal to Goochland ; His seat on
Hardware River ; Organization of Albemarle Co. ;
Col. Fry, Pres. Justice, County Surveyor, County
Lieutenant ; Peter Jefferson, Lieutenant Col. ; Allen


Howard, Major; Wm. Randolph, Sheriff; Dr. Wm.
Cabell, Thos. Turpin, Thos. Bellew, Assistant Sur-
veyors ; Sketch of the Cabells ; Hugh Blair Grigsby,

L. L. D. ; County Court system, Dr. Wm. P. Palmer;
Madam Mary Fry ; papers of Rev. Rt. Rose and

Patrick Henry; Alexander Brown, of Union Hill.

Chapter III.

Northern Neck of Va. ; Lord Fairfax, Proprietor,
Limits of his Patent, etc.; Commissioners for run-
ning the line (1736) ; Col. Wm. Byrd, J no. Grymes
and J no. Robinson, for the Crown, and Wm. Fairfax,
Wm. Beverdey, and Chas. Carter, for Lord Fairfax ;
New Commission (1 745 ) Col. Fry, Col. Lunsford and
Major P. Hedgeman, for the Crown ; line marked
from Head Spring of Conway River to Head Spring
of Potomac ; Chas. J as. Faulkner's Report ; valuable
documents referred to by him, stolen from State Li-
brary during the Federal occupation of Richmond.

Chapter IV.

Boundary line between Virginia and North Car-
olina, run from the sea to Peters' Creek, (1728) by
Col. Wm. Byrd, Richard Fitzwilliam and Wm. Dan-
dridge ; Continued by Fry and Jefferson, (1749);
completed by Dr. Thos. W r alker and David Smith,


Chapter V.

Colonial Maps of Virginia; Capt. Jno. Smith's,
Herman's, Mitchell's, Mayo's, Fry and Jefferson's,
Henry's, etc. ; Wm. Green, L.L.D. ; Joseph Horner,

Chapter VI.

Treaty of Logstown ; Parties to it ; Subject of it;
Commissioners of Virginia — Col. Fry, Col. Lunsford
Lomax, Col. J as. Patton ; The Ohio Company —
Christopher Gist ; his Explorations of Valley of the
Ohio ; Treaty of Lancaster ; Lyman C. Draper,

Chapter VII.

Speck of War ; Col. Fry, Commander in Chief of
Virginia Forces ; Washington, Lt. Col.; Copy of Col.
Fry's Commission, from the original ; his Death,
Burial and Epitaph, by Washington ; Capt. Adam
Stephen ; Col. Fry's Children.

Chapter VIII.

Col. Fry's Will ; his Executors — his wife and Peter



Census of the Descendants of Col. Fry and Mary
(Micou) Fry, and of their intermarriages with the
Walkers, Maurys, Adams, Harrisons, Smiths, Coxs,
Montgomerys, Barbees, Winstons, Greens, Beattys,
Johnstons, Borsleys, Bells, Bullitts, Marshalls, Hen-
rys, Speeds, Henrys, Logans, Langhores, Hennings,
Keats, Coles, Chenowiths, Dixons, Stiles, Burbanks,
Fredericks, Breckenridges, Peays, Tuleys, Rodgers,
McDonalds, Crutchers, Menifees, Phillips, Hardys,
Hewitts, Lightfoots, Visschers, Nashs, Chipmans,
Ingersolls, Gardettes, Berkleys, Childs, Patriarchs,
Jones, Hendees, Harveys, Hopes, McCulloughs,
Hallidays, Hugans, Paynes, Maupins, Mortons, Craw-
fords, Doyles, Simpsons, Nounnans, Harmers, Mc-
Lanes, Ruffners, Taylors, Wilsons, Pauls, Edgars,
Mcllhannys, Mathews, Hoffnagles, Donnellys, Gosh-
horns, Aliens, Andersons, Odens, Snorters, Davis,
Whites, Hutchins, Humes, Bacons, Boykins, Spen-
cers, Mayers, Pattersons, Franklins, Fielders, Crit-
tendens, Herndons, Chapins, Conners, Turners,
Hudgins, Yanceys, Clarkes, Edges, Sparks, Garnetts,
Thomas, Watsons, Lewis, Barksdales, Dunkums,
Mitchells, Shepherds, Millers, Willis,* Rankins, Mc-
Laurins, Starrs, Heiskells, Goodmans, Davidsons,
Haywoods, Minors, Bentons, Banks, Browns, Hob-
sons, Carsons, Ruckers, Aylers, Hills, Bookers,
Daniels, Webbs, Burnetts, Nichols, Sturgis, Brad-

fords, Divers, Leighs, Leflets, Carpenters, Saunders,
Winns, Nicholas, Taliaferros, Thompsons, Carters,
Scotts, Slaughters, etc.

Family of Dr. Thomas Walker, of Castle


Their intermarriages with Merewethers, Thorn-
tons, Moores, Frys, Maurys, Lewis, Lindsays, Dukes,
Rives, Pages, Nelsons, Dr. Geo. Gilmer, Frank
Gilmer, (Professor) Thos. Walker Gilmer, Governor
and Secretary of War ; Wm. Wirt, Attorney Gen-
eral, etc.

Family of Hon. Wm. Cabell Rives.

Tablet to hfs memory in Grace Church, W r alker's
Parish ; intermarriages of his children with the Bar-
clays, Sears, Sigourneys, and McMurdos.

Supplement to Walker's and Merewethers.

Rev. James Maury.

His credentials from Commissary Blair, of Vir-
ginia, to the Bishop of London, Rev. Matthew
Maury ; Capt. Matthew Fontaine Maury ; his ex-
traordinary career ; enumeration of the honors con-
ferred upon him by the crowned heads and by
Scientific Societies, etc., of Europe ; Baron Von
Humboldt, etc.


Record in Family Bible of Col. Fielding Lewis,
of Fredericksburg; Names of his Children, and of the
God-fathers and God-mothers of each of them, in-
cluding Gen. Washington, Mrs. Mary Washington,
Mrs. Martha Washington, Samuel Washington, Col
Francis Thornton, and his brothers John and George,
etc., etc.

Major Byrd C. Willis, of Willis Hill.

His family reminiscences ; Col. Henry Willis and
Mrs. Gregory ; Gen. Washington at School ; Achille
Murat, etc., etc. ; Col. George Willis, of Wood
Park, etc.

Nicholas Family.

Dr. George Nicholas, the first of the name in
Virginia; Rt. Carter Nicholas, Wilson Cary Nich-
olas, Philip Norlorne Nicholas; their intermarriages
with the Carters, Carys, Randolphs, Taylors, Byrds,
Nortons, Frys, etc.


Introduction ; the Author's reasons for editing
it ; Methodist Preacher in Paris, (France) ; H. Fry's
birth ; his youth in Williamsburg ; removal to Al-
bemarle ; Deputy to Jno. C. Nicholas; Clerk; his
marriage ; his removal to Culpeper ; his conversion ;
graphic picture of his passage from darkness to
light ; good humored debates with his Baptist neigh-
bors ; interviews with their preachers, Eve, Waller,
T. A. ; first hearing of, and meeting with the Meth-
odists ; conference at Manakin Town ; Methodist
Preachers, — Williams, Pride, Gatch, Little-John,
Drumgoole and Coke ; becomes a Class-Leader and
Exhorter ; surprised into preaching ; represents Cul-
peper in Legislature ; curious account of his recep-
tion in Richmond and intercourse with members of
Assembly ; Assessment Bill ; Emancipation Bill ;
return home and illness ; anecdote of Elder James
Garnett in his chamber ; Col. Taylor's Diary ;
preaches in Brick Church (Episcopal) in Orange,
alternately with Waddell (Presbyterian), and Bell-
maine and Maury (Episcopal) ministers ; preaches
Col. Charles Porter's funeral (with Tatum).

William Wirt makes Mr. Fry's house his home
for several years ; his fondness for fishing and writing
comedies ; begins practice of Law ; his office near
Locust Dale ; relics of it ; original letters from Thos.
Jefferson, President, to Mr. Fry, about Priestley's


Works, and the medical uses of long journeys on
horseback, etc. ; Wesley Fry with Wirt, when he
heard Waddell preach, etc. ; Mr. Fry attends Bishop
Moore's first Episcopal visit to Culpeper, to wit-
ness the Confirmation of his Daughter-in-Law ; his
pleasure on the occasion ; the Death of his Wife ;
the breaking up of his home and his removal to his
son Wesley's ; his increasing infirmities and peaceful
death ; his Obituary.

1 1




This memoir and the history of persons and
places in Virginia, generally, will be better under-
stood, if readers would observe the radiation of
counties from their original centres, viz. : the eight
primitive shires into which the Colony was divided
in 1634; not (as is currently said) by the House of
Burgesses, but more probably, if not certainly, by
the Governor and Council, in obedience to instruc-
tions repeatedly given by the Crown, before that
date. The Counties on James River, from James
City to Albemarle, comprehended both sides of the
river, until Surry was taken from the South side,
(1652) ; Prince George from Charles City, (1702) ;
Chesterfield from Henrico, (1748). When Gooch-
land was created out of the North side of Henrico
(1727), it embraced both sides of the river, until
Cumberland was cut out of its South side, (1748).
When Albemarle was formed from Goochland,
(1744), it crossed the river, until Buckingham was
taken out of its South side, (1 761). Amherst,
formed in the same year from Albemarle, did not
cross the river, because Bedford was already there,
having been propagated along another line, from

I 2

Surry, through Prince George, Brunswick and Lun-
enburg, from which last, Bedford sprang in 1753.
Campbell was taken from Bedford in 1784, and Nel-
son from Amherst in 1807. When Old Albemarle
(1744), reached the Blue Ridge, it met Augusta,
which had come by another line from the primitive
Shire, York. Thus, New Kent, King and Queen,
King William, Essex, Spotsylvania, Orange, Augusta.
New Kent had thrown off Hanover, which ended in
Louisa. Orange had thrown off Culpeper, which
ended in Madison and Rappahannock ; and also,
Frederick, which became another centre of radiation,
etc. It is well to say, too, that James River, above
the mouth of the Rivanna, is called in this Memoir,
the " Fluvanna," by which name it was then known,
and is called in Acts of Assembly to 1806, at least ;
(see Shepherd, v. 3, p. 333). Albemarle, in history,
is said to have been taken wholly out of Goochland ;
but an Act of Assembly (8 Henning, p. 54) affirms
that its Northern Section was once in Hanover, which
happened thus : When Louisa was taken from Han-
over it contained this Northern Section, but when
Amherst was taken from Albemarle, compensation
was made, by adding the said section of Louisa

Note. — The orthography of rivers and places varies in different documents.
For example : the Robinson River is often printed Robertson. On Mayo's
map (1736), it is thus called. On Fry's map (1749), it is Robinson, and also
in Henning's Statutes. There was a Dr. Robinson and a Col. Robertson with
Governor Spotswood when the head-waters of the Rapid Ann were explored ;
and after one of these, this river may have been named. See "St. Mark's-
Parish," Chapter, "Knight's of the Horse Shoe."


to Albemarle. Attention to these details will ex-
plain seeming discrepancies arising out of the fact
that settlers on the frontiers found themselves cit-
izens of several counties in succession, without
changing their abodes. The same person, in the
same place, may have been a citizen of Henrico, of
Goochland, of Albemarle, and of Amherst.


Chapter I.

At the junction of the Robinson River and what,
in old times, was called the Meander,* but is now
known by the more prosaic name of Crooked Run,
lies one of the best farms in Piedmontese Virginia. It
was patented in 1726-39 by Joshua Fry, the root in
Virginia of a prolific family tree whose branches
have spread through the South and West, and pen-
etrated the North, at least as far as Philadelphia
and New York.

At the date of the first patent this land was in
Spotsylvania County, and has been, in succession,
under the jurisdiction of Orange (1734), of Culpeper
(1748 to 1792), and since the last date of Madison

Between the two streams is a beautiful eminence
rising gradually from the banks of the Robinson
river, which, in its rapid transit from the blue
mountains in the distance, runs through valleys so
thick with corn, that, in the language of the Psalm-
ist, they laugh and sing, and then sweeps in a graceful
curve around the hill, and receives into its bosom

its meandering tributary. On the eminence stands
a house, hoary with a century's mosses, and having

in it a historical room originally dedicated to the

* So called in Fry and Jefferson's map and in Henning.


muses of music and the dance, in which William
Wirt, in his youth, played his pranks and wrote com-
edies ; where Thomas Jefferson, in his journeys to
and from Washington, in his French Landau, re-
freshed himself with hospitable cheer, and which the
pioneer Methodist ministers made vocal with the
preached word, the voice of prayer and the songs of
Zion. This plantation now belongs to Jno. Lightfoot,
Esq., lineal descendant of the original patentee.

After a somewhat wide digression, I shall return
to this point of departure, and give illustrations of
the foregoing statements. It has been the uniform
tradition that Joshua Fry was born in Somersetshire,
England, and was educated at Oxford. But for the
uniformity of this tradition, I should be inclined to
doubt its truth. The name Fry is coeval with the
Colony. As early as 1623, as appears in a census of
that date, John Fry died in James City, and Henry
Fry at Flower de Hundred. In 1686 there was a
John Fry, of St. John's Parish, New Kent, who had
large landed interests in old Rappahannock County,
now Essex, the very county where our Joshua Fry
made his first appearance in Virginia. There are
several deeds now on record in Essex, by which this

Note. — This old mansion was 67 feet long, but only one story high. A second
story has been put upon it, and an addition of two stories erected in the rear.
A porch, the whole length of the house, has been added in front, and a smaller
one at the back. The " Historical Room," 24 x 19 feet, remains intact, ex-
cept a new door opening on the front porch. The plantation, which originally
consisted of nearly 4,000 acres, is now divided into seven or eight farms. This
house was built by Henry Fry, (son of Col. Joshua Fry), when he came from
Albemarle to live in Culpeper, about 1766.


John Fry conveyed lands in Essex to divers parties.
On the other hand, in the visitation of Somerset
County, England, by Sir Thomas Phillips, privately
printed, as I learn from Mr. Spofford, the accom-
plished Librarian of Congress, there is a pedigree of
Fryes of Carrington, (1623) and later, in which the
name is spelled with a final e. Gov. Dinwiddie's
Commission to Col. Joshua Fry has the final e also.
But in the records of Albemarle County, where Col.
Joshua Fry signed his own name many times, the
present form, Fry, is observed.

It is remarkable how many variations of the or-
thography of the same name occur in the records of
a century. There are ten clergymen of the Church
of England now in charge of parishes there, who spell
their names Fry.

But, returning from this digression and accepting,
as true, the tradition that Col. Joshua Fry was born
in England, we have no means of determining the
date of his migration to Virginia. We first made
his acquaintance in the Parish Register, as Vestry-
man, and in the Records of the Court, as Commis-
sioner (Magistrate) of Essex County, between 1710
and 1720. Here he married the widow of Col. Hill,
a large landed proprietor on the Rappahannock
river. Her maiden name was Mary Micou, and she
was the daughter of Paul Micou, physician and sur-
geon, a Huguenot exile from persecution in France.
Paul Micou, it is thought, brought his wife, and
perhaps, some of his elder children with him. He

certainly brought his library, pictures and plate.
One of his daughters married John Lomax, the
grand-father of the learned jurist and author, the late
Judge John T. Lomax, sometime Professor of Law
(U. Va.), Justice of the Court of Appeals, and so
long one of the pillars of the Episcopal Church
in Fredericksburg, Va. Another daughter married
Moore Faunt Le Roy, a man of mark in his day, and
the ancestor of the family of that name in Virginia.

I know of no other person in our history of like
social position, wealth, capacity, character, and pub-
lic services, as Col. Fry, about whom there is so
little to be found in print, and that little so scattered
in infinitesmal items. We have to trace his career
by the posts of honor which he filled, as we would
track the general of an army by the names of his
battles, in ignorance of the details of his campaigns.

The next appearance of Col. Fry to public view •
is at Williamsburg, (1728-29). In the deed of the
Surviving Trustees, who were Rev. Commissary
Blair and Rev. Peter Fouace, transferring the prop-
erty of William and Mary College to the Professors
and Masters, they say : That, in pursuance of the
trust confided to them, they had established two
schools in Theology, and appointed as Professors
thereof, the Rev. Bartholomew Yates and the Rev.

^ Note.— James Roy Micou,the present venerable Vestryman of his parish, and
Clerk of Essex County, is of the fifth generation in descent from the ancestral
Paul Micou, who left large estates to his children. His tombstone, on the
Old Port Micou Estate, is, or was, before the war, extant, with the inscrip-
tion : " Here lies the body of Paul Micou, who departed this life 22 May,
1736, in the 78th year of his age."


Francis Fontaine ; two schools in Philosophy, and
appointed Rev. Mr. Dawson and Mr. Irvine, to
those chairs. They established a Grammar School,
and made Mr. Joshua Fry, of Williamsburg, master
of it. He was afterwards advanced to the chair of
Mathematics ; but of the duration of his connection
with the College, or of the incidents which character-
ized it, I have been only able to find these two
items. In the extant records is the following entry :

"The foundation of the President's House was
laid on the 30th of July, 1732. The President, (Rev.
James Blair), Mr. Dawson, (who succeeded Blair as
Commissary), Mr. Fry, Mr. Stith, (historian), and
one Fox, laying the first five bricks in order, one
after another."

In the Virginia Gazette, (the first newspaper in
Virginia), the following article is found :

Williamsburg, Jan. 5th, 1738.

"Towards the close of the last session of Assem-
bly, a proposition was presented to the House by
Mr. Joshua Fry, Major Robert Brooke, and Major
Wm. Mayo, to make an exact survey of the Colony,
and print and publish a map thereof, in which shall
be laid down the bays, navigable rivers, with the
soundings, counties, parishes, towns, and gentlemen's
seats, with whatever is useful or remarkable, if the
House should see fit to encourage the same."

NOTE — The College, it will be remembered, with many of its records, have
been repeatedly burned ; and during the late occupation by Federal troops,
books and MSS. were carried off, and among them the old Vestry Book of
Brewton Parish.


But as the said proposition was presented too
late in the session, it was ordered that the consider-
ation thereof should be postponed to the next session
of Assembly. (Historical Register, vol. 4, p. 150,
from Virginia Gazette).

It is not worthwhile to say what a precious treas-
ure such a work would have been to after generations.
This proposition is not alluded to in Henning, and
the presumption is, that nothing came of it. It is
chiefly interesting now in connection with the map
executed some years after by Fry and Jefferson,
showing that Fry had such a work in contemplation
many years before he made his map.

One authority, (Drake) says that after the resig-
nation of his professorship he was a member of the
House of Burgesses, and of the King's Council. But
whether he represented the College, or the County
of Goochland, or Albemarle, is not known

Chapter II.

The next trace of Mr. Fry, is in the new County
of Albemarle, which was cut off from Goochland by
Act of Assembly, in September, 1744. Joshua Fry
was living at that time on Hardware River, near
Carter's Bridge, between Charlottsville and Scotts-

The Act of Assembly establishing the County of
Albemarle, provided, that, after the last day of

Note.— I am indebted to Mr. R. A. Brock, Secretary Virginia Historical
Society, and F. R. Herson, for this reference.


December, ending, a Court should be organized.
Accordingly, on the 28th of February, 1745, the
Commissioners appointed for the new County, met,
and the minute-book gives their names, viz.: Joshua
Fry, Peter Jefferson, Allen Howard, Wm. Cabell,
Joseph Thompson, and Thomas Bellew. A Com-
mission of the Peace, directed to these persons, and
a dedimus protestatum for administering the oath
were openly read. Whereupon, Allen Howard and
Wm. Cabell administered the oath prescribed by Act
of Parliament to be taken, instead of oath of Al-
legience and Supremacy, and the Abjuration oath
to Joshua Fry and Peter Jefferson, who took the
same, and then subscribed to the Abjuration and the
Test. Then Allen Howard and Wm. Cabell admin-
istered to Joshua Fry and Peter Jefferson the oath
of Justice of the Peace, and the oath of Justice of
the County Court in Chancery. On the same day
the Court, composed of these Justices, met, Joshua
Fry presided, and signed the minutes. He contin-
ued to be the presiding Justice of the Peace till
August, 1748, probably much longer; but the minute
books of the Court from 1748 to 1775 are entirely

At the first Court, Wm. Randolph produced his
commission, and was sworn in as Sheriff; Joshua
Fry produced his commission, and qualified as Sur-
veyor ; Edward Gray was sworn as King's Attorney.

It was ordered that Joshua Fry, gentleman, will
meet the persons Goochland hath appointed, to run


the dividing line between Goochland and Albemarle.
At the second court, Fry, Cabell, Jefferson and
Bellew were present. Thomas Turpin was sworn in
as Assistant Surveyor to Joshua Fry, March 28,
1745. A commission from the Honorable, the Lieu-
tenant Governor, to Joshua Fry, Esq., to be County
Lieutenant of Albemarle ; Peter Jefferson to be
Lieutenant Colonel ; and Allen Howard, Major, was
produced by Joshua Fry, and they were qualified.

The organization of a County Court affords an
opportunity of paying a tribute in passing, to this
"reflection of the old Shire system of England,"
which will not be impertinent to the purpose of this
memoir. And this I find already done for me by Dr.
Wm. Palmer, in his very able introduction to the
Calendar of State Papers, which I take the liberty of
abridging at the risk of marring the style. The
County Lieut., its chief officer, originally called Com-
mander of Plantations, was in England generally a
knight, so in Virginia he was " a gentleman," and
generally a large land-holder. He governed the
County, and upon him rested the responsibility of a
faithful execution of the laws. He could call out the
militia when occasion demanded, and account to the
Governor and Council for his conduct. The officers
of the militia were subject to his orders, and he could
even organize courts martial. He was as much a
representative of the Governor and Council at Wil-
liamsburg as the latter were of the Council at Lon-
don. The members of the County Court were men


of substance and influence, and exponents of what
was pure in character and patriotic in purpose. The
records show many instances in which gentlemen
refused to sit upon the bench with those who were
habitual swearers or drunkards, or who were other-
wise of such demeanor as was inconsistent with their
sense of decorum.

To such a standard of virtue was legitimately traced

1 3 4 5 6 7

Online LibraryPhilip SlaughterMemoir of Col. Joshua Fry, sometime professor in William and Mary College, Virginia, and Washington's senior in command of Virginia forces, 1754, etc., etc., with an autobiography of his son, Rev. Henry Fry, and a census of their descendants → online text (page 1 of 7)