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History of Benton County, Iowa
The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, 1910; Luther B. Hill, Ed.

Pages 680-683

WILLIAM FRY, of Canton township, who has lived retired during the last twelve years, has been a resident of Benton county since the spring of 1850, where he spent two years with his uncle, Joseph Onstott. Mr. Fry was born in Blair county, Pennsylvania, May 5, 1833, and is a son of Conrad and Maria (Onstott) Fry, natives of Germany and Berks county, Pennsylvania, respectively. Conrad Fry came to America when a young man, and was married in Pennsylvania. He died in 1835 and his widow, who came to Benton county in 1851, died in 1889, in her eighty-fourth year. She lived with a step-daughter in Benton county at the time of her death. The only child of Conrad Fry and his wife was William.

When seventeen years of age William Fry was one of a party of fifty-six emigrants to Iowa, who came by way of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers to Muscatine, and from there to Benton county, then in a state of wilderness. There was but one house at Shellsburg, and two between there and Vinton. Mr. Fry left Pennsylvania with but fifteen dollars in his possession, and when he reached his destination had but twenty-five cents left. He spent two years with his uncle, Joseph Onstott, a little west of Shellsburg, and in 1854 located in section 6, Canton township, which has been his home most of the time since. He entered forty acres of timber and forty acres of prairie land, and on the latter built a log cabin. He was very hard working and industrious, and invested his savings in land until he had acquired two hundred and eighty acres of well-improved land.

At the same time he carried on his farm Mr. Fry followed carpenter work and building for some forty years, and was associated with John A. Dilling, mentioned at length elsewhere in this work. Not long since Mr. Fry divided his farm among his sons and for the past two years has lived on the homestead, though for seven years previous to this he resided in Vinton.

Mr. Fry married, in 1854, Anna Lane, who died June 2, 1900, at the age of sixty-six years, at Vinton. They reared five children, all living, namely: J. Henry, of Vinton; George, of Vinton; W. Ellis, of Benton township; and Grant and John, residing on the home place.

Politically Mr. Fry is a Republican, and he cast his first presidential vote of John C. Fremont. He has in 1909 been a member of the United Brethren church fifty-six years, and his wife also belonged to that church. Mr. Fry has been a continuous resident of Benton county since his arrival in 1850, and has never returned to the place of his birth, even to visit.

John H. Fry, youngest son of William Fry, was born on the home farm in Canton township, July 6, 1873, and was reared on the farm. He attended the country schools and also Tilford Academy, and has since followed farming and stock raising with remarkable success. He married, in Cedar township, Elizabeth, daughter of John Frank, an early resident of Benton county. He and his wife have one child, Lucile Gertrude, now aged seven years, attending school. He is a Republican and is now serving as township trustee. He belongs to the Highland Nobles, of Vinton. He and his brother Grant have operated the home farm sixteen years.

Grant Fry was born March 30, 1866, and has been associated with his brother many years in operating the home farm, although for the past eight years they have worked independently. He is a member also of the Highland Nobles, of Vinton. Both brothers attend the United Brethren church, as do the rest of the family. They are considered among the substantial and leading citizens of the county, and are well known in the community.

Picture of William and Anna Fry




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