DON R. FRAZER


Carroll County Biography



Few words are needed in introducing this gentleman to the attention of our readers, for he is familiarly known in this part of the State. On the 15th of February 1889, Gov. Fifer sent the name of Mr. Frazer to the Illinois Senate, thenin session, for confirmation as State Printer Expert, and that body promptly sanctioned the appointment. He iat once entered upoon the duties of his office, making his headquarters in the State Capitol at Springfield. The position is one of importance and responsibility. Mr. Frazer, however, remained editor and proprietor of the Carroll County Herald, which he has placed int he front rank of influential journals in Northern Illinois.

Don R. Frazer, was born near Pictou, Nova Scotia Nov. 29, 1844. Seven years later his parents left he Queen's Dominions for freedom and fortune in the US, and by rail and steamer they traveled westward to Chicago. Purchasing a "movers outfit" in that city, they struck out across the Illinois prairies, until reaching Carroll County, about the middle of July of that year, and there being a neighborhood of Nova Scotians in Salem Twp. with whom the family had been acquainted in the province, they ended their emigrations and settled there. The old "Mose Hart" place was purchased, and the following spring the actual farm-work began. There Don R., with three brothers adn four sisters, lived his early life and acquired his education. The spring, summer and fall were devoted to such farm-work as boys of his age were want to do, and about 3 or 4 months of the winter were devoted to school. Time passed thus in a comparatively uneventful manner, until the well-remembered year of 1861, which witnessed the outbreak of the Civil War.

The winter of 1861-62, finished the school days of young Frazer in the old Oakville "Seminary" and he closed his "Ray's Arithmetic" at fractions. What education he received thereafter, was acquired in the school of experience. On the 9th of August 1862, after a long argument with his father, who opposed the step, he enlisted in what was shortly afterward namd Company I of the 92nd IL Infantry, commanded by Capt. Egbert T. E. Becker; and thus farm, school and home days were left behind, for the rugged front of war. Lacking yet four months of being 18 years old, but being healthy and rugged, our subject passed the mustering officer's inspection, and was, on the 4th of September, with a thousand others sworn into the military service of the US, at Rockford. The regiment was commanded by Col. (afterward Gen.) Smith D. Atkins.

Army life proved congenial to the farmer's boy, and he was regularly reported for duty every day, as long as he was with his company. When the regiment was mounted in July 1863 and attached to the justly celebrated "Lightning Brigade" of Col. John T. Wilder, young Frazer was detailed as Orderly to he Brigade Commander, and subsequently became Chief of Orderlies. He participated in all the battles and skirmishes in which this brigade was engaged, and there were many, until the spring of 1864, when the regiment was sent to Chattanooga, and placed in the 3rd Cav. Div. Army of the Cumberland, under command of that prince of cavalry leaders, Gen. Kilpatrick. He was then sent to Div. Hqt. as Ordnance Sgt. and in July of the same year, successfully passed a rigid examination at Nashville before a commission composed of regular army officers; was promoted to the rank of 2nd Lt. and was made Aid-de-Camp on Kilpatrick's staff. He experienced the full complement of actual service in the stirring campaign which resulted in the capture of Atlanta, and subsequently in the chase after Hood on his race to Nashville.

In the fall of 1864, while he was engaged in transporting a supply of ammunition from Atlanta to the division at Cartersville by rail, the rebels tore up the track at Vining's Stateion, near the Chattahoochee River, in Georgia, and Lt. Frazer with 46 others fell into the hands of the enemy and he remained a prisoner of war until April 29, 1865. The war being then practically ended, he was turned loose in the vicinity of Jacksonville FL. During his incarceration he was at Castle Morgan, in Cahaba, AL, at Millen, Savannah, Blackshear, Thomasville and Andersonville; spending most of the winter at the last named place. While at Columbus he escaped and wat at large seven days, when he was recaptured. Subsequently at Screven, he jumped from the train which was conveying the prisoners to Blackshear, and secreted himself in the swams in the vicinity of Brunswick GA for 14 days, but was again discovered and taken into custody by the rebels. Of the 47 who were captured one was paroled, two escaped and 39 died in prison.

Upon his return in the latter part of July 1865, Lt. Frazer made his headquarters at his father's farm, resuming his former labors during the summer season, and teaching school during the winter. In the spring of 1867 he crossed the Mississippi into Iowa, and employed himself in a similar manner, spending his evenings in the study of law, until 1869, when he was admitted to the bar. Then, taking up his abode at Brooklyn, he engaged in the practice of his chosen profession until the spring of 1876. In the meantime he had officiated as Justice of the Peace two terms in that town and took an active part in the politics of the county and State. He was also engaged as Special Agent of the Revenue Department. He broke up the great three-card-monte gang on the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific RR, which headed by the notorious "Canada Bill" wrought so much damage and terror to travelers on that and other roads. He arrested "Bill" a dozen times and had him and his pals fined so often and so heavily that they left the road entirely.

In the winter of 1876-77 our subject returned to this county and locating in Mt. Carroll, engaged on the working force of the Mirror; then published by W.D. Hughes. He remained there 4 years and in the meantime was elected Police Magistrate, which position he held 2 years, and then resigned on account of the press of other business. In the summer of 1880 he purchased a half interest in the Carroll County Herald and became associated with Mr. I.V. Hollinger, the foremost printer of that section. In the fall of 1887 he purchased Mr. Hollinger's interest and now owns the entire Herald newspaper and job-office.

In the spring of 1886 Mr. Frazer was sent as a delegate to the State Convention, which nominated John R. Tanner for State Treasurer, and in the spring of 1888 was a delegate to the Convention which nominated the Hon. Joseph W. Fifer, for Governor. He holds a prominent place int he ranks of the G.A.R. and has for some time been inspector for the 6th Congressional District. He is also Fire-Marshal of the city of Mt. Carroll.

On the 20th of May 1868, Mr. Frazer was married at Marengo Iowa to Julia W. Horigan of Mass. and their family now comprises three daughter - Belle Hazel, born March 6, 1878, Fern Christine, born Nov.7, 1875 and Lulu W. born Sept. 8, 1877. Their only son, Earl Vonnard was born July 28, 1880 and died at their home in Mt. Carroll Feb. 28, 1884.

The parents of our subject are William and Christina Frazer; the former a native iof Inverness Scotland and the latter of Pictou N.S. They were among the earliest pioneers of this county and contributed their full share of the labor which developed its resources, and brought it to the high position which it occupies today among its sister communities of the state. They constructed a good homestead from an uncultivated tract of land, and are now spending their later years in Morrison. Of the 8 children comprising the parental household all are living, but are scattered. Two in Nova Scotia, one in Morrison, three in California, one in Idaho and one in Mt. Carroll.

Portraits and Biographical 1889 Pg 991

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