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Rev. William FRY, Sr., circa 1895 Bio


Posted By: Mary E Boyer (email)
Date: 10/31/2006 at 11:44:27

"Odds and Ends", a Wesleyan paper
Biographical by Aliquis (a.k.a. Silas Alfred Gilley)

Rev. Wm. FRY, Sr., late of the Iowa Annual Conference of Wesleyan Methodist Church, was born in England on July 4, 1817, and died of typhoid dysentery at his home in Marengo, Iowa, August 28, 1895, aged 78 years, 1 month and 24 days.
In early life he entered the service of God, and united with that branch of English Methodism known as the Bible Christian Church, and while yet in his teens began to exercise his gift as a local preacher. In 1836, in his nineteenth year, he came to America with his family, settling in Ohio, near Cleveland. Soon after coming to that state he associated himself witht the Wesleyan Methodist Church, which was organized as a radical protest against the complicity of the popular churches with what Wesley called the "Sum of all villianies" - the American slave system. He was ever the loyal friend of the downcast and oppressed of every race, color and condition, and as an all-around reformer, stood firmly by his convictions of right, even when such principles were only held by the minority. While a ministerial memeber of the Ohio Conference, he largely donated his gospel work to needy communities, and labored with his own hands to secure a living. No one could be a greater foe to idleness than was he, and with a life-time of industry and economy, the only reason for his failing to acquire great wealth was that he cared less for worldly property than many of his class, and he was always risking his means to help others.
He was among the early settlers in Iowa county, and for many years his face has been familiar to all who have lived in or near Marengo. Some time in the "fifties" he joined the Iowa Conference, and remained upon its list without superannuation till his death.
He was one of the charter members of Fair View Wesleyan Methodist Church, and served the Society as pastor at intervals and aggregate of nine years. His first pastorate on this charge was in 1858-9, and his last in 1876-7. He was also, at a later period, pastor of a mission church in Butler county, Iowa, for on year, and served the churches at Elgin and West Union, Fayette county, Iowa, for two years. During the years of his Christian life he paid out much more for the support of the gospel than his total receips for ministerial work, and like Paul he could say: "These (my own) hands have ministered to my necessities."
As a preacher, his was particularly a service of encouragement and consolation, and his words were inforced by personal example, in Godly cheerfulness and activity. He was married three times, and by his second wife reared a family of eight children, six of whom are still living and were in attendance upon hom for several days before his death. Of them, Mrs. Geo. WILLIS, Mrs. I. O. JACOBS and Wm. FRY, Jr., are living in Iowa county; while Mrs. A TEETER resides in Kansas, John FRY is a very successful farmer in Plymouth County, Ia., and Rev. Geo. FRY, of Walker, Ia., is the President of Iowa Conference. Mother FRY, who is widowed by his death, is a sister of Joseph CLEMENTS and Mrs. Wm. McCAULEY, of Marengo.
The funeral services were conducted at Fair View church in the presence of a large and sympahetic audience, by Rev. S.A. GILLEY, assisted by Rev. F.J. WILSON. His body was laid to rest in the old cemetery by the side of his second wife and two of his children. Every true moral reform, in church and state, is afflicted by his removal.
"After life's fitful slumber, he rests well."
To his family he left the richest legacy that can be handed down to posterity - an honorable name, an honest reputation, a Godly example, and memories crowded with hallowed influences.

Respectfully submitted by: Mary E Boyer
Great-great-granddaughter of Silas Alfred Gilley
who is in possession of his writings.


Iowa Biographies maintained by Steve Williams.
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