Jonathan Fairbanks and Clyde Edwin Tuck

Past and Present of Greene County, Missouri

Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens


FRANK A. FREY. The chief characteristics of Frank Al Frey, prominent agriculturist and stock man of Taylor township, Greene county, who also maintains a home in Springfield, are keenness of perception, an unflagging energy, honesty of purpose and motive and every-day common sense, which have enabled him not only to advance his own interests in a most gratifying manner, but also to largely contribute to the moral and material interests of the community. He worked his way from a modest beginning, having landed from a foreign strand on our shores many years ago, "a youth to fortune and to fame unknown," step by step to a position of no mean importance, by his individual efforts, which have been practically unaided from boyhood, which fact renders him the more worthy of the praise that is freely accorded him by his fellow men. His life has been one of unceasing industry and perseverance, and the honorable and systematic methods he has ever employed are commended to others if they court the goddess Success.

Mr. Frey was born in Alsace, France, March 9, 1853. He is a son of Francis Joseph and Christina (Herd) Frey, both natives of Alsace, formerly a part of France, now a province of Germany. There they grew up, were educated and married, and spent their lives, and to them two sons were born, Aloys Frey, now deceased, and Frank A. Frey, of this sketch.

Frank A. Frey sent his boyhood in his native land, and there received his education. When eighteen years old he emigrated to the United States, in 1871, landing in New York, where he remained only a month, then came on west to St. Louis, where he spent one year, then spent two years in Terre Haute, Indiana, where he was engaged in the butcher business, then went to Paris, Illinois, where he worked for George Mullins in the meat business for five years, then started in the same business for himself, and continued to operate successfully a meat market there for nine years, when he sold out and went to Grand Island, Nebraska, where he continued his former vocation for two years, then sold out and came to Springfield, Missouri and here established "a meat business, which he carried on with his usual success for seven years, then sold out and started in the live stock business in connection with general farming in Taylor township, a few miles from Springfield, where he owns a valuable and productive farm of two hundred, and forty acres which he has placed under modern improvements and a high state of cultivation, and there carries on general agricultural pursuits and stock raising on an extensive scale, and has become one of the leading farmers of Greene county. He keeps large numbers of various kinds of live stock of a good grade, and there is no better judge of stock in the county than he. A substantial, convenient and attractive set of buildings are to be seen on his farm, and everything about the place denotes good management, thrift and good taste. Mr. Frey also owns a fine new residence in Freemont street in Springfield, where his family resides, and from there he makes frequent trips to his rural home. His holdings contain over thirty-five acres inside the city limits, some of which is platted and is very valuable.

Mr. Frey was married first, in 1881, in Paris, Illinois, to Emma Ormiston, whose death occurred twenty-two years later, on January 31, 1903. She was a daughter of David and Harriet Ormiston, who lived in Paris, Illinois, in which city Mrs. Frey grew to womanhood and was educated. To this first union one son was born, Paul A. Frey, who is engaged in farming two miles south of Springfield. In 1909 our subject was married a second time, his last wife being Mrs. Susie Smith of Greene county, Missouri, widow of Samuel Smith, and a daughter of John and Julia (Miller) Harpster. She was born on April 29, 1856, and she received a common school education in White county, Illinois, where she was born and reared. This last union has been without issue.

Mrs. Frey's first husband was S. R. Smith, an old railroad man. In late life he was injured, losing his right arm, and with his wife, went to farming in Taylor township, Greene county, and from a small beginning he and his wife accumulated two hundred and eighty acres. Mr. Smith died in 1904, leaving his widow with two hundred, and eighty acres of land in Greene county and a heavy mortgage to pay. It is greatly to her credit as a manager, as well as to Greene county's wonderful resources, to state that in one year Mrs. Smith had paid up the mortgage, cleared her property and had an abundance of stock and property free of debt.

Politically, Mr. Frey has been a Democrat since old enough to exercise the right of suffrage, However, he has never cared for public office, having no time to take from his private business affairs. Fraternally, he is a member of the Masonic order. Mr. Frey, in 1882, and again in 1886, crossed the Atlantic to visit his native land.

Mr. Frey's grandfather served in the French wars under Napoleon for a period of fourteen years and attained the rank of second lieutenant, and took part in the great battle of Waterloo, seeing the fall of the mighty Corsican. Our subject is the possessor of a number of interesting relics and heirlooms, including a number of grim reminders of the terrible wars of his native country a century or more ago. Among these is a sword carried by his Grandfather, who was with Napoleon during the last years of the emperor's career in France.

[1184-1186]


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