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Fry, Speed S., General

Posted by ceddleman 
Fry, Speed S., General
March 06, 2007 04:04PM
Kentucky: A History of the State, Battle, Perrin, & Kniffin, 4th ed.,
1887 Boyle Co.

GENERAL SPEED S. FRY was born September 9, 1817, five miles west of
Danville, on a farm known as "Spring house." He was eighth of seven
sons and six daughters, eleven of whom lived to be grown, born to
Thomas W. and Elizabeth Julia (Smith) Fry. Thomas W. Fry was born in
Albemarle County, Va., was brought to Kentucky when thirteen by his
grandfather, afterward became a substantial farmer in Mercer (now
Boyle) County, and owned about 1,200 acres, and many slaves. In 1836
he removed to Crawfordsville, Ind., and engaged in the milling business
till his death in 1837, at the age of fifty-three years. His widow and
family remained in Crawfordsville till her death in 1848. Thomas W.
was a son of Joshua Fry, who was born in Albemarle County, Va., married
Peachy Walker, immigrated with his family to Mercer County, Ky., about
1783, and was highly educated, and one of the most celebrated teachers
in Kentucky. He taught without compensation, including several years
in Centre College, also taught in a large school in Garrard County
without pay. He owned large farms in Garrard, Lincoln and Mercer (now
Boyle) Counties, also a large tract near Louisville; was also a large
owner in slave property; was a strong and active Whig, and died in
1836 at the age of seventy-five years; was of English and German
extraction. Eliza J. (Smith) Fry, the mother of Gen. S.S.Fry, was born
in Mercer (now Boyle) County, KY., and was the daughter of John Smith,
and sister of Hon. John Speed Smith of Madison County, Ky. John Smith
was born in Virginia, where he married a Miss Speed. He was of English
descent and one of the early pioneers of Kentucky. Gen. Fry received
his early training in the common schools on Salt River, under Duncan
Robinson, subsequently under his grandfather; entered Centre College,
and after completing the sophomore year entered Wabash College at
Crawfordsville, Ind., in 1838, and graduated in 1840. Shortly after he
returned to Kentucky, and commenced the study of law under his uncle,
John Speed Smith, of Madison County; received his license in 1843, and
entered into practice in Danville. The law not being congenial to his
taste he engaged in mercantile pursuits until 1846, when, at the call
for troops for the Mexican war, he organized a company of which he was
elected captain, and was attached to the Second Kentucky Regiment under
Col. McKee. He participated in the battle of Buena Vista, where his
company had the honor of firing the last guns. Gen. Fry after his
return re-entered the mercantile business. On November 7, 1847, he was
united in marriage to Mildred T. Smith of Jefferson County, Ky., a
native of Shelby County. One daughter was born to this union: Mildred
S. Turner, of Bowling Green. Gen. Fry's wife died in June, 1849. He
married his second wife, Cynthia A. Hope, in 1851, to whom three sons
were born: Frank W., Thomas J. and Speed S. The two younger are in
business in Kansas City. He lost his second wife August 31, 1884. In
1851, under the provisions of the new constitution, he was solicited to
run for county judge, to which he was elected for a term of four years,
was continuously re-elected, and held the office until the breaking out
of the late war. He immediately and earnestly espoused the cause of
the National Government, and set to work organizing a home guard.
In April, 1881 [sic], he enrolled 100 young men, and succeeded in arming
and maintaining the organization as "Home Guards" until President
Lincoln called upon the State for troops. He received authority from
Gen. Nelson to raise a regiment, and August 6, 1861, with a handful of
recruits, opened "Camp Dick Robinson" in Garrard County; recruiting was
slow, but on October 9, 1861, his regiment, the Fourth Kentucky
Volunteer Infantry, was mustered into service by Gen. George H. Thomas.
In September, 1865, Gen. Fry was mustered out of service, carrying with
him the honors of being a brave and good soldier and commander. In
1866 he was the Republican candidate in his district for Congress. For
some time he was engaged in collecting claims against the Government.
In April, 1869, he was appointed supervisor of internal revenue for his
district, which office he held until the consolidation of the district
in 1872. Gen. Fry was a strong Whig, and emancipationist before the
war; since he has identified himself with the Republicans. In religious
belief he is a Presbyterian, and has for several years been a ruling
elder of that church.
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