Carroll County Biographies


The pioneers of Carroll County are passing away. Their ranks are thinning as the years count up, and fortunate will the younger generation be, if before all are gone and the page is closed over, a record is made of the early days.

One of the first to come and the last to go, was daniel S. Fryer. He was born, the son of John I. and Hannah (Cornelius) Fryer, in Wayne County, NY, Dec. 16, 1836. His father, in his younger days, was a sailor, commanding a ship from NY to the Southern States. He married and went to what he thought was "west", then to Wayne County. Later financial reverses sent him to the real west. In 1845, when his son Daniel was nine years of age, he came to Illinois to purchase from the government the place where his grandson, Derrick Fryer, now resides. None but members of the family have ever made their home on the farm. It was a day of hardships and make shifts. The grain was harvested with cradles and trampled out. Chicago was the nearest market.

When Daniel Fryer was less than twelve years old he began hauling grain, along with the neighbors, to Chicago with ox teams. Sometimes he was was eighteen days on the way. The shortest trip he ever made was in nine days. This was made with horses. Then they hauled to Rockford and to Freeport, sometimes to Peru, down on the Illinois river. Pork they took to the lead mines at Galena. They went to Erie for coal. On one occassion when one of his team was killed at Erie, he hitched the other horse to the wagon, gastened up neck yoke, and made the long drive home, with a load of coal, with one horse. In a few years they got a wonderful threshing machine - The Traveller. It was a wagon with a threshing cylinder or "beater", driven by cog-work attached to the rear wheels. Oxen were hitched to the wagon and it was driven round and round the field to operate the machine. It threshed as high as sixty bushels a day. Next came a machine with a cylinder attached to a stationary power, driven by four horses. Grain and straw went through the cyliner together, but it would thresh more than one hundred bushels a day.

Though there might be little else, a generous hospitality reigned in those pioneeer homes. The passing stranger share with his host. But some who came and went across the prairie were abroad on dubious errands of which their hosts were little aware. The detective Bonney in his Bandits of the Prairie told of some of these - some who had been guests at times in the Fryer home.

December 22, 1858 (IL Marriage records have the 23rd) Daniel Fryer was married to Barbara Burghdorf. She was born in Wayne County NY and died Dec. 22, 1906. A daughter Ella died Sept. 2, 1888 and Charles died in California March 17, 1907. One son and two daughters Derrick, Marie and Maude remain. A brother Derrick F. Fryer, resides near Santa Rosa, Cal. A sister, Mrs. Moses Wick died in CA in 1877 and another sister Mrs. A.F. Wood in Iowa in 1911. A brother I.V. Fryer was killed in 1863.

"Uncle Dan" or "Daddy" as nearly everybody called him was of the old school, chivalrous type, quiet, cheerful and always gallant and helpful, he was a man of firm principle, with the courage of his convictions. A strong vein of humor, combined with a fund of information gathered from wide reading, observation and experience made him a companion always welcome to young or old. He had been a member of the Milledgeville Lodge No 645, A.F. & A.M. since December 1863. Three years ago the lodge observed the 50th anniversary of his connection with the order.

His death occurred at his home in Milledgeville Sep 22, 1916 after a long illness. He was 79y 9m and 6 days old.

He knew this country when it was untrod prairie. He saw it develop. He was one of the men that helped to make it. Telling once last spring of something back in the fifties, he said, "If anyone had spoken then of 1916 I would have thought it was a long, long time. But it does not seem long now - looking back."

You came - a pioneer
Toil had never cause to doubt you
Progress path you helped to clear;
But the world rides on without you
With the peace of God about you
Sleep, old pioneer

Funeral services were held at his home Sunday afternoon conducted by Revs. George W. Welch, J.C. Kauffman and Miles J. Snydere. Interment at Bethel cemetery with Masonic rites.

Those from a distance who attended the funeral: Mr. Mel Stewart of Grundy County, IA, Harvey Lawton of Jefferson IA and his mother Mrs. Lydia Lawton; S.A. Bushman of Hubbard IA, Mr. and Mrs. W.A. Bristol and daughter of Savanna; Mr. and Mrs. Elmer R. Antrim, Mr. and Mrs. James Ports, Mr. and mrs. H.C. Yocum, and Mrs. H. Unger all of Polo; Mr. and Mrs. C.H. Olmsted, Mrs. Alice Bushnell, Mrs Emeline VanVleet, and Mrs. Ella Cooper all of Sterling.

Found in the Library - Written as an obituary - Dated September 27, 1916

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