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Posted By: Irish Eyes Are Smiling (email)
Date: 1/17/2013 at 12:32:14


B. Fritz, a prominate and representative citizon of Blakesburg, Wapello County, is a native of Austria, born in the beautiful Province of Tyrol, on the 11th of October, 1826. He is the son of Benedict and Virneck Yocum Fritz, the later of whom died in her native country at the age of about forty years, when her son, our subject, was a lad ten years old. He still remembers her as a careful and affectionate mother, devoted to the religious faith of her fathers, that of the Catholic Church. She was buried near the old home of Tyrol, and is held in sacred rememberance by the son, who although so young when she passed away, can recall her devoted and loving care. The father of our subject died in his native county in about 1859, and was also a Catholic, as were most of the people of that part of the country. Their children were carefully trained in the doctrines of that church.

The parental household of our subject consisted of several children, five sons and two daughters. Joseph came to this country with the subject of our sketch and died in Columbus, Ohio in 1884; Benedict of this history was the second son; Christian is engaged in farming near Des Moines, Iowa; Anthony, a baker by trade; is in his native land; Pristella died in the old country in about 1873; the second child died in infancy.

Mr. Fritz left his native country for the United States in the Spring of 1853. The voyage occupied thirty six days, and after landing in New York City he proceeded to Cleveland, Ohio, where his brother Christian had previously located. Upon arriving he found that the latter had left there, and not being able to find out his whereabouts; went to Columbus, and there engaged as a house~painter, in which he was occupied for the following eight months. About that time came the glowing reports about the quantity of gold to be found in California, and Mr. F. being seized with the fever. He started from New York thence by steamer, arriving on the Pacific Coast on the 2nd of February, 1854, and proceeded straight to the mines of Placer County, Cal.; where he engaged in searching for the shining ore for the following three years. He was successful in his enterprist, and in the year last mentioned returned eastward as far as Iowa, and coming to Wapello , on section 17, obtaining possession of it in October.

In the meantime, however; on the 20th of September, Mr. Fritz secured unto himself a partner and help meet, in the person of Miss Annie Miller, a native of his own country. She was born May 7, 1831; and was the daughter of Martin Miller. Of this union; there were eight children as followa; Louise B., born July 13, 1858 became the bride of Moses Abernathy, a merchant and hotel keeper of Blakesburg; William T. was born Jan. 15, 1860 and is now the manager of his fathers farm in Adams Township, Henry born Nov. 25, 1862 is employed as a clerk by his brother in law Mr. Abernathy, Matilda born May 5, 1861 died March 20, 1864 and is buried at the cemetery at Blakesburg. The next daughter also names Matilda was born Aug. 7, 1864, and married Mr. Frank Handy; a farmer residing near Blakesburg; George born Oct. 10, 1866 and is attending the Business College of Bryant & Stratton, at Chucago, Franklin born Sept 26, 1868, is attending the district school, and Gertrude C. born Feb. 14, 1871.

Mr. Fritz is the owner of about 1,000 acres of land. He is extensively engaged as a dealer in live~stock and is also interested in mercantile pursuits. In addition to this he owns and superintends a gristmill. In his various business pursuits he has been remarkably successful and has accumulated a handsome compentensy, On departing from his native land he was possessed of a very small amount of this world's goods, and that little was spent on journey. But he had been reared to habits of industry, and had served over four years in the German Army, and thus became familiar with harship and privation, so that he was well fitted for the emergencies of the future. He had been richly rewarded in his efforts to be a man among the able position as representative citizen, enjoying the fullest confidence and respect of those among whom he lived for many years. Although his ciurse has been seemingly very successful, he too has been visited by afflictions; the greatest being the death of his wife; she departed this life at her home on the 25th of August 1884. She was so affectionate wife and mother, a faithful friend and councelor, and devotedly attached to the religion of the Catholic Church. Her remains were laid to rest in the cemetery near Blakesburg, she is kindly remembered by a large circle of friends and acquaintances.

Mr. Fritz has provided liberally for his children and has generously assisted them in starting in life in which he has striven to perform his duty to those within his influence and to fullfille the obligations of a good citizen.

He has the stanch adherent of the Democratic Party, and is uniformly casts his vote in the support of its principles.

*Buried at Blakesburg Cemetery


Wapello Biographies maintained by Deborah Lynne Barker.
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