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McLean County, Illinois
History and Genealogy



JOHN FRY, a native of Greene County, Pa., now owns and occupies a comfortable homestead in Empire Township, on section 19. He comes of worthy and substantial ancestry, being the son of Abraham and Mary (Beckenbaugh) Fry, the father born in the eastern part of the Keystone State, and the mother in Greene County.

The paternal grandfather of our subject was a native of Germany, and the maternal grandparents were of German descent, but born in Pennsylvania. Abraham Fry departed this life in 1827, leaving a wife and seven children.

Just previous to his death he had visited Licking County, Ohio, and selected a farm there, which he had paid for by the sale of his property in Greene County, Pa. To this the widow and her children removed, settling in Burlington Township.

The journey, a distance of 160 miles, was made overland with teams, in the manner common to the pilgrimage of the early pioneers. They took their household goods along, and camped and cooked by the wayside.

There was a log cabin on the place, which the family occupied for some years, and forty of the 175 acres were partly cleared. Our subject and his brothers cleared all but thirty acres of the remainder.

The mother kept her family together until they had grown to mature years. Twenty years after the death of her first husband she was married again, was again widowed, and during the last years of her life made her home with her children.

John Fry was the sixth child of his parents, and was born Sept. 4, 1824. As soon as large enough he assisted his parents in the labors of the farm and lived with his mother after her second marriage.

He attended the common schools in Ohio, and after he had attained his majority and was married, purchased the interest of the other heirs in the old homestead. This he occupied until 1870, and then, selling out, removed to this State and county, and located upon the place which he still owns and occupies. This comprises 205 acres of land, all enclosed, with a fine stretch of pasture and good improvements. He was reared to habits of industry and economy, and inherited from his substantial German ancestors the traits which have constituted him a valuable and reliable member of the community.

The marriage of Mr. Fry with Miss Rebecca Liming was celebrated Feb. 17, 1849. Mrs. F. was born in Monongalia County, W. Va., July 7, 1829. Her parents were Samuel and Jane (Brown) Liming. They removed to Licking County, Ohio, when Mrs. F. was a young child, and spent the last years of their life there.

Of this union there are seven children living, as follows: Susan, the wife of James W. Long, is a resident of Calhoun County, Iowa; Abraham also lives in that county; Ellen married Leroy Oliver, and they live in Downs Township; William is a teacher in Belleflower Township; Charles A., John Wesley and Elizabeth May are at home with their parents.

Our subject and his wife are members in good standing of the Methodist Episcopal Church, to the support of which they contribute liberally and cheerfully.

Mr. Fry cast his first Presidential vote for Gen. Cass, and was Democratic in politics until the formation of the Republican party. His present possessions are the result of his own industry and perseverance, and he has contributed his full share toward the growth and development of his adopted township. His homestead is finely located and pleasant to look upon, and our subject is considered one of the representative men of the locality.

Portrait and biographical album of McLean County, Ill. : containing full page portraits and biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county, together with portraits and biographies of all the governors of Illinois, and of the presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), 323. Transcribed and annotated by Judy Rosella Edwards.


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