Nicholas Frietag (Sr.) and a Record of His Arrival in America
Including a Selected Line of Descendants

Surname spellings include: Friday, Freytag, Freitag, Vrydagh


Nicholas Frietag was born about 1720 in the Palatine region of Germany, possibly in the village of Gonnheim, in the Rhine-Phalz[1]. It is believed that he was baptized July 14, 1720. He died in about 1777, possibly while still in Pennsylvania, or possibly at the family homeplace in the Hardin area of present-day Gaston County.

Records are unclear on this, but Nicholas may have married twice it appears: First in Germany to a Maria Catherina, (She would be Nicholas Jr’s mother) and then later in Lancaster County, PA on May 7, 1745 to a woman named Anna Elizabeth. Her last name is not known.[2] The dates given require additional research.

Nicholas Frietag (Friday) is considered the patriarch of the North Carolina Friday clan. Nicholas Frietag (spelled Vrytagh on the ship’s roster) came to the United States as a young man through Philadelphia aboard the ship, Thistle in 1738 at the age of 18. His name is listed among 95 other men over the age of 16, who came into Philadelphia on September 19, 1738.[3]

I believe he and Anna Elizabeth had several children besides Nicholas, including at least a daughter they named Catherine Elizabeth, and another son they named Johann Martin. Catherine Elizabeth Freitag was born in York, PA on January 6, 1751. She was baptized there at Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church on May 1, 1751. Johann Martin Freitag, I believe, was baptized on August 31, 1755.

I found a reference to Nicholas Freitag indicating that upon arrival in Philadelphia, he took an oath to the government, which perhaps was equivalent to a citizenship oath. A notation on the list reads:

“The Palatines whose Names are underwritten, imported in the Ship The Thistle, John Wilson, Commander, from Rotterdam, but last from Plymouth in England, did this Day Take and subscribe the Oaths to the Government,”[4]

Nicholas Friday (Jr.) and Anna Maria (Mary) Ramseur Rudisill

Nicholas Friday was born in December 1743 in Lancaster or York Co., Pennsylvania. He was the son of Nicholas Frietag. Nicholas Friday married Anna Maria (Mary) Ramsauer, daughter of Johann Dietrich Ramsauer and Catherine (last name unknown) in 1765 in Tryon County (present day Lincoln County). Nicholas Friday died on 15 November 1789 at age 45.

Nicholas Friday is mentioned in the colonial records as being a member of the safety committee for Tryon County before the American Revolution. He is on the roster as part of Captain Carpenter’s company. I have been told that Nicholas fought with Patriot militia at the battle of Ramseur’s Mill.[5] I believe that Mary Ramseur’s father, Dietrich Ramsauer, was the operator of Ramseur’s Mill.[6] It should make sense that Nicholas would have some role in that fight, given the family connection to that area and given his involvement in the affairs of the county.

Nicholas Friday was one of the principal men who laid out the Town of Lincolnton, on portions of his land. Several important meetings took place at his home before the Town of Lincolnton was established, including the county court proceedings[7].

The NC Colonial Records, Land Grants, shows that on April 21, 1764 Nicholas Friday was appointed 200 acres in Mecklenburg County (prior to establishment of Tryon County). This land was described as being:

“On Howards Creek between Haywards Tract and FREDERICK WISE on the S. side of the S. fork of Catawbo,[sic] joining the Creek.”

This location is where the present day Hardin Cotton Mill is located. This area was described in the North Carolina Gazetteer as “Friday Shoals.” In the description of Friday Shoals, it is noted they are named for “Captain Nicholas Friday.” I don’t know where that descriptor comes from except for his service on the Tryon County Committee of Safety during the Revolutionary War.

Nicholas Friday’s wife, Anna Maria Ramseur had been previously married to Jakob Philip Rudisill[8] before she married Nicholas Friday. Anna Ramseur was born January 7, 1738 in Pennslyvania. She lived to be 81 years old. She died March 17, 1819 in the Hardin, NC area.

It is interesting to note that Nicholas Friday’s younger brother, Martin Friday[9], married Elizabeth Rudisill on October 22, 1777. Elizabeth Rudisill was the daughter of Jakob Philip Rudisill and Anna Maria Ramseur, born to the couple before Anna Maria was married to Nicholas Friday. Elizabeth Rudisill died sometime prior to 1783.[10]

Nicholas Friday had two sons, Andrew and Jonas. It is the lineage of these two sons that comprise the Friday families of Gaston and Lincoln counties today.

Andrew Friday and Elizabeth Hoyle

Andrew Friday inherited a large tract of land along the West side of the South Fork River. This is where the old Hardin Cotton Mill stands today. A note from the Lincoln County Tax records of 1821 indicates Andrew Friday held 1200 acres. It probably also includes the land that is now the Hardin Baptist Cemetery. A gravestone in that cemetery marks burial of a stillborn infant who belonged to Andrew and Elizabeth.

Elizabeth Hoyle was the daughter of John Hoyle and Margaret Costner. John Hoyle was the son of Hoyle family pioneer, Peter Hoyle. I would expect that Hoyle’s Creek, just east of Hardin is named after this family. Margaret Costner’s father, Adam Costner, was the pioneer of that family in Tryon County.

David Friday and Susan Best Jenkins

David Friday married Susan Jenkins and they had one child, Marion. Susan died October 27, 1837. David then married Frances Carpenter. They had four children: Andrew, John H., Frances, and Mary Ann. John H. Friday died in service to the Confederacy on July 17, 1862.[11]

David and Susan Friday, and Frances Carpenter-Friday are buried at Hardin Baptist Cemetery. Their homeplace stood on the old US 321 Hwy, across from Robinson Lake.

Marion D. Friday and Sarah Anne Black

Marion Friday was a member of the Dallas Masonic Lodge. His gravestone is marked with the Masonic Emblem. He also served in the NC Militia during the Civil War. He was a Justice of the Peace, County Commissioner, and prominent citizen in Gaston County. The picture on the preface page of this writing, of the man and woman with the mule and buggy, is that of Marion Friday and Sarah Black. The mule’s name is Jack. I am told the child in the picture is Ernest Friday. Marion’s father and mother are David and Susan Best Jenkins Friday.

Robert L. Friday and Jennie C. Robinson

My dad, Joe Friday, told me that Robert Friday was known as Paw-Bob to his grandchildren. I have a photograph of Robert Friday, seated on the back bumper of a car, holding Joe, Johnny, and Faye Friday when they were all young kids. This picture hung in a beautiful oval picture frame in Fred’s house as long as I can remember.

Our Great Grandmother Jennie Robinson was born May 18, 1884. Jennie Robinson and Robert Friday were married on March 10, 1901 in Gaston County, probably around the Hardin area. Jennie died on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 1940. She and Robert are buried together at the Hardin Baptist Church Cemetery.

Jennie Robinson’s parents were William Robinson and Emma Reynolds. William Robinson[12] was born November 12, 1860. He died young, at the age of 34 on April 3, 1895. His wife was Emma Reynolds. Emma was born on December 9, 1861, and she died on August 28, 1932.[13]

I don’t know what connections Jennie Robinson’s family has to the family of Lucille Robinson, but it would be interesting to search for those connections. Jennie’s middle name may have been “Caroline,” because I see that seems to be a common lady’s name in her family.

Robert Friday was the youngest of eight children. His parents were Marion David Friday and Sarah Anne Black.

John Fred Friday married Virginia Cansler Quinn

He was known to many people in Gaston County as “Fred” or “Captain Fred.” People called him Captain because he became the superintendent of the Dallas prison camp in the years just prior to World War II. As in the famous movie, COOL HAND LUKE, the prison camp superintendent was known as Captain. To me, he was always Paw-Paw.

Fred was born on December 15, 1901 in Gaston County at the family home in Hardin, close to the present day location of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church.

He was lucky, I think, to the degree that besides farming he was able to get a steady job in the unsteady times of the Great Depression. He worked in the state highway department operating heavy equipment and then eventually became a supervisor. He continued working for the highway department until 1940 when he took over as Superintendent at the Dallas prison camp.

I’ve never been told this, but I would imagine that he got a lot of experience with prisoners from working on the roads. I think he and his crews built and maintained many of the earliest paved roads in Gaston County.

He was like a cowboy to me because he spent so much time around horses. When I stayed with him and Ma-Ma Friday, I always went with him in the early morning across the Dallas-Cherryville highway to the big horse barn behind the county agricultural center. Paw-Paw fed and watered all the horses, about 30 horses in all. They saw him walking down the hill toward the barn in the morning and would sing out a whinny of excitement. I followed him around the barn as he made his rounds. I climbed wooden ladders into the haylofts, played cowboys on top of big brown leather saddles which were stored in the tack rooms, and I pet and combed horses in their stalls. Maybe the biggest thrill of all was riding the horses.

My dad has written several essays about growing up with Captain Fred, some of which are attached to this writing in later chapters. I loved my Paw-Paw. He was my childhood hero. Everywhere we went people knew him and respected him. I even ran away from home once in hopes of staying with my Paw-Paw.

I came to run away after having spent a week at his house working with Paw-Paw at the Gaston County Courthouse. Back in those day whenever they picked a jury, they did so by pulling names out of hat. For some reason, I still am not sure why, I got to go with my grandfather to the courthouse where he worked, I think as a parking lot attendant, and I was selected to draw the slips of paper with prospective juror names on them out of this hat. I did this for a whole week. When it was over on Friday afternoon, I didn’t want to go back home. I was taken home and wanting to go back to Paw-Paw’s, I waited until after bedtime and escaped. I was only 5 or 6 years old then and only remember a few details now. I remember pushing out the window screen in the night and jumping from the window. I remember walking along the dark highway and jumping into ditches whenever cars drove by. I remember trying to hide and being found by some motorists, a couple from Lincolnton I think. I remember them taking me to my grandfather’s house, and I remember being taken back home to our house. We were living in a brick house on Ratchford Road at that time.

Fred was the oldest of eight children, whose birthdays span 21 years: Fred was born in 1901 and his youngest brother Harold was born in 1922. Harold Friday’s son, Mark Friday, was my room-mate at Lenoir-Rhyne College in my senior year, 1986.

Here is a breakdown of Fred’s brothers and sisters:

Name Spouse
Fred Friday Virginia Quinn
Gay Friday Pervie Hovis
Earnest Friday Grace Huggins
Craig Friday Kate Campbell
Modell Friday Gordon Kanipe
Kenneth Friday Inez Harris
Ralph Friday Helen West
Harold Friday Elizabeth “Lib” Jones

All the brothers and sisters, and their spouses are now passed own, except for Lib Jones-Friday, Mark Friday’s mother.

Dad was able to collect a few anecdotes about his aunts and uncles. He told me that Aunt Gay and Uncle Pervie lived most of their life in High Shoals and they both worked in the High Shoals Cotton Mill. They raised four children, Paul, Jack, Carolyn, and Bob. Paul died a long time ago. Carolyn died in 2007.

Uncle Earnest and Grace also had four children, three girls and a boy; Francis, Helen, Judy, and Barry. Grace worked in the mill some but spent most of her life as a housewife. Uncle Earnest was a Baptist minister. He was well known and had the reputation as a good pastor. Dad told me the story of when Earnest was about 12 years old, around 1918, and he was afflicted with appendicitis. Grandpa Robert Friday put Earnest on the freight train at Hardin, near High Shoals, and took him to the hospital in Lincolnton seeking help. It must have taken them half a day to get to the hospital. In the context of the times, Earnest was probably lucky to survive.

Uncle Craig Friday contracted Tuberculosis when he was about 30 years old and was sent to a hospital in Black Mountain for treatment and recuperation. He spent several years there, and met a nurse from Haywood County, NC. When Craig was finally able to return home he brought the nurse, Kate Campbell, with him. They rented a building near Dallas, where the US 321 highway now crosses the Dallas-Cherryville highway, and ran a small store for several years. When the US 321 highway was built, Craig was forced to close that store, but he moved up the road closer to high shoals and opened another one. Craig and Kate never had children. Kate Campbell’s father was the Haywood County Sheriff in the 1930s and 40s. I’d expect that with a name like Campbell, Kate’s ancestors probably came from Scotland and were likely independent Scots-Presbyterians like many others who settled in the NC Mountains.

Aunt Modell and Gordon Kanipe made their home in Raleigh and never came back to Gaston County. They raised a family and I know Dad and Fred visited them from time to time. They had a son named Russell, who may have been afflicted with polio. Gordon Kanipe was a brother to Wilford Cloninger’s mother, an indirect connection to other Cloningers from Gaston County, namely John Cloninger, husband to Lou Ellen Friday.[14]

Uncle Ken Friday made a career in the U.S. Army. He served in Korea and in Vietnam. Dad says Uncle Ken was promoted to Top Sergeant twice and was busted back down at least once, namely for raising hell and drinking. After he retired from the Army, Uncle Ken came back to Gaston County and married Inez Harris, and they had a son.

Uncle Ralph Friday married late in life. He also contracted tuberculosis, but he refused to go to a hospital. Ralph lived in the family home. Ralph met and married a woman from South Carolina, and they lived in the family home there in Hardin. Dad says there was a hard rain once, sometime in the late 1940s, which flooded all the bottom land around Hardin. Uncle Ralph got to drinking real bad and was very drunk, and he got on an Allis Chalmers tractor that he had and rode that tractor up and down the muddy roads of Hardin. Everyone was afraid he was going to crash into the flooded river. The family got in touch with Fred and asked him to come get Ralph. Fred arrived and locked Ralph up until he slept it off. Ralph did flip a John Deere tractor on another occasion, and was lucky it didn’t kill him.

Uncle Harold was the youngest. He was born in 1922. Harold married Elizabeth Jones from Mount Holly. Everyone called her “Lib.” Dad told me about a time when Harold was over at Fred’s house on the Dallas-Cherryville highway, across the road from the Prison Camp, helping Fred build a lean-to onto a shed, probably about 1940. Harold slipped and fell off the roof and landed on a freshly cut pine stump which was only a few inches in diameter. He was injured and badly bruised, but no bones were broken. The incident shook up Fred rather badly because he felt responsible for his baby brother. Harold spent time in the army during WWII.

Fred Friday’s parents were Robert Friday and Jennie C. Robinson.

[1] Present day Gonnheim is a small village in RhinePhalz, Germany about 8 kilometers west of the Rein River and the metropolitan city of Mennheim.
[2] Records from the First Reformed, and Trinity First Reformed Church; York PA.
[3] See the appendix at the end of this narrative for a list of male passengers aboard Thistle
[4] Records of German Pioneers in Pennsylvania;
[5] There are many different spellings for the Ramseur name. I think this is the most recent version.
[6] Dietrich Ramseaur was also known as Derick Ramseur in other writings. Name misspellings are very common from old records, I think
[7] North Carolina Gazetteer, “Friday Shoals”: page 183.
[8] Jakob Philip Rudisill died August 4, 1764. He is buried in either Lincoln or Gaston County.
[9] Martin Friday: born July 3, 1757; died October 6, 1817
[10] Elizabeth Rudisill was born circa 1758.
[11] See family connections to Civil War in the Appendix.
[12] William Robinson’s parents were John Robinson and Jane (last name?) I do not have any more information on John and Jane Robinson.
[13] Emma Robinson’s parents were Lawson Reynolds and Catherine E. McAlister. No further information available
[14] Wilford Cloninger attended Our Savior Lutheran Church. He was a WWII veteran and served in the Pacific Theatre with the famous “Merrill’s Marauders.” All my young life I knew him primarily as an usher at the church services.

Submitted by:
Joe D. Friday Jr.
Major Crimes Unit
Greenville Police Department


Derick S. Hartshorn - 2008
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