Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens
GEORGE WASHINGTON FRICKE. No business man in Springfield of a past generation was better or more favorably known than the late George Washington Fricke, who, during his residence here of over forty years did much for the general good of the city, having had unswerving faith in its future from the first and always lending such support as he deemed furthering the material, civic and moral interests of the community. He was held in highest esteem, by all who knew him and that included the major portion of the people of Greene county at one time or another. They esteemed him because of his business ability, public spirit and scrupulous honesty in all the relations of life.
Mr. Fricke was born on a farm near Independence, Jackson county, Missouri, in October, 1825. His father died when he was a child and his mother married again and moved to Scott county, Missouri, where our subject was reared and resided until he was forty-five years of age. He received his early education in the common schools of Scott county, which was supplemented in later life by actual contact with the business world and by extensive home reading.. His earlier life was spent in agricultural pursuits and he was successful both as a farmer and business man and accumulated a handsome competence through his own efforts and owned considerable property in Scott county. He was in his younger days a mate on a steamboat on the Mississippi river. He was identified with a number of successful enterprises prior to moving to Springfield in 1869. During the gold rush to California in 1849 and 1850 Mr. Fricke was one of the sturdy Missourians to cross the great western plains. He spent a number of years in the northern part of California, where he was quite successful as a gold miner. During the Civil war he offered his services to the Union and became captain of a company of State Militia or Home Guards, during the early part of the war, but he was not called upon for active service at the front.
When he first located in Springfield, Mr. Fricke was associated with Silas Eversol in the milling business, for a period of about ten years, the partnership marking the opening of a large mill on Boonville street. Theirs was one of the best known and most popular flouring mills in southwest Missouri and the high-grade products of their mill found a ready market over a wide territory. Mr. Fricke then engaged in the grain business for a period of fifteen years in partnership with Job Newton, now head of the Newton Grain Company, the firm having been known as Newton & Fricke They maintained a large business house where the present Springfield Seed Company's store is located at Campbell and Walnut streets. The partnership existed for many years, during which time they did a large and profitable business. Our subject was about this period associated with a Mr. Harper in the hay business, their interests being principally in Barton county, this state. He was finally compelled to retire from the active affairs of life on account of his advanced years and failing health. As a former partner, Job Newton paid him a tribute when he stated that Mr. Fricke was a very conscientious and energetic business man, a dealer possessing sound judgment and one whom everyone looked upon as a thorough and competent business authority. In his earlier career Mr. Fricke engaged extensively in the lumber business, having large interests in the swamp country in the southeastern part of Missouri, and much of the cypress timber of the great Eads bridge across the Mississippi river was furnished by him.
Mr. Fricke was married on March 20, 1863, to Margaret Harris, of Commerce, Missouri. She was born in Ripley county, this state, April 19, 1842, and there grew to womanhood and received a good education. She is a daughter of Essex and Martha (Pieburn) Harris, who lived on a farm in Scott county, Missouri, for a number of years and were highly respected people. Mrs. Fricke is living in a beautiful home on Cherry street, Springfield.
To Mr. and Mrs. Fricke six children were born, namely: Charles, deceased; Horatio, deceased; Dora is the wife of Coleman Ware, of Springfield; Flonnie is the wife of Walter Stork, of Neosho, Missouri; Harry lives in Beaumont, Texas; Gussie is the wife of Thomas J. Johnston, of Springfield.
Politically, Mr. Fricke was an ardent Republican and more or less active in public affairs for many years. Religiously, he was a member of Grace Methodist Episcopal church and liberally supported the church and all worthy causes.
Mr. Fricke was summoned to his eternal rest on May 23, 1912, at the advanced age of eighty-six years, after a long, useful, successful and highly honorable life—a career of which his descendants may well be proud.
Springfield-Greene County Library