Biography - John S. Fry

JOHN S. FRY, who is now one of the successful farmers of Penn Township, was a volunteer in the Union ranks during the late war, and his military record is that of a brave, patriotic soldier, who cheerfully endured hardships, the perils of battle, and even death, to serve his country in her time of greatest need. His native place is the town of Bremen, Fairfield County, Ohio, and the date of his birth November 11, 1845. He comes of one of the old pioneer families of that section, and his father, Henry Fry, was born the same farm as himself. The grandfather of our subject, John Fry, was an early settler of that region. He was born, reared and married in Virginia, taking for his wife Mary Leib, also a Virginian. He removed from his native State to Ohio in the early years of its settlement, and was a pioneer farmer of Fairfield County. He bought a tract of Government land midway between Bremen and Rushville, on Little Rush Creek, and cleared a farm, upon which he pleasantly passed the remainder of his life. His wife died at the home of her daughter in Seneca County.

In the county in which he was born the father of our subject was reared amid pioneer scenes. He attended a German school at Rushville, and at other times assisted his father on his farm until he was sixteen years old. At that age he began to learn the trade of a cabinet-maker and was employed at it until his marriage, but after that time he devoted himself to farming the remainder of his life, which closed with his death at a ripe age. January 1, 1875. The wife who shared with him for many years the joys and sorrows common to mortals, survives him, and now makes her home with a son near Millersport, Ohio. In her maiden days she bore the name of Jemima Scott Shaw and she was born two miles south of West Rushville, Fairfield County, Ohio.

Our subject was one of seven children and was carefully reared in the home of his birth. He was but a boy when the great Civil War broke out, yet the following year he offered his services to his country and on the 16th of July his name was enrolled as a member of Company D, One Hundred Twenty-Ninth Ohio Infantry. The most important battles in which he look part during that term of enlistment were those fought at Wild Cat, Ky. and at Cumberland Cap. In 1863 he veteranized in Company B, Seventeenth Ohio Infantry, and joined his regiment at Ringgold, Ga. He accompanied it, on the famous Sherman campaign at Atlanta, and did some good fighting in the engagements with the enemy on the way to that city. At Resaca out received injuries in the right knee, but he continued with his regiment until Atlanta was reached. After the fall of that City he joined the provost guard and went with that command to the sea, and from there, by the way of the Carolinas and Richmond, to Washington, where he took part in the Grand Review. After that event he returned with his regiment to Virginia and served until his honorable discharge, July 16, 1865, just three years to a day after he entered the army.

After his long and bitter experiences of the hardships and excitements of a soldier's life, Mr. Fry returned to his old home in Ohio, and quietly resumed the peaceful vocation that he had abandoned to take up arms in the defense of the stars and stripes. In 1871 he went to Missouri and was a resident of Pettis County, that State, for one year. He then came Eastward as far as Illinois and bought the farm that he now owns in Penn Township. Since he took possession of it twenty years ago he has demonstrated the fact that he has a clear understanding of farming in its various branches, as his farm is well ordered and compares favorably in all respects with all the others in its vicinity.

Mr. Fry has had the good fortune to secure the helping hands of an efficient wife, to whom he was united in marriage June 17, 1869. Her maiden name was Emeline Ruffner, and she is also a native of Fairfield County, Ohio, a daughter of Jonas and Susanna Ruffner. These are the names of the seven children of our subject and his wife: Frank E., Dolly V., Theron R., Eva S., Belle and Dell (twins) and Carrie.

In this brief life-record of our subject his value as a loyal citizen has been shown by his course during the war, and is well known by the people among whom he has lived for many years since that time. He is exemplary in his habits, upright in his conduct, and in him the Presbyterian Church finds one of its most consistent members. His life as a soldier is held in remembrance by his connection with the Grand Army of the Republic at Bethany. Politically he is a stanch advocate of the Republican party.

Extracted 17 Dec 2018 by Norma Hass from 1891 Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties Illinois, pages 580-583.

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