Lt. Frye’s male namesakes dead

Lieutenant Joseph Frye, the designer of Fort Frye, has many descendants, but no living male descendants with the name Frye. Of course the Frye name is fairly common, but none are living male descendants of Lt. Joseph Frye. As far as can be determined, the Fort Frye Local School District and Fort Frye High School are his namesakes that have the best chance to carry on his surname.

The male members of Lt. Joseph Frye’s family in America fit into three occupation types. The first known generations were prominent military men. The next two generations were mainly farmers. The more recent generations were college educated, producing a civil engineer and a geologist. Starting with Lt. Joseph Frye’s progeny, there was only one male descendant in each generation who produced a male offspring. With such a small number with the Frye name, it was only time before the male descendants of Lt. Joseph Frye with his surname died out.

The Frye family had Puritan roots in Maine and Massachusetts going back to the 1600’s. John Frye (1672-1737) married Tabitha Farnum (1678-1755) and had at least thirteen children. Their ninth child, General Joseph Frye (1712-1794), married Mehitable Poor (1714-1788). Frye, who was a colonel of a Massachusetts regiment at the time, was present at the surrender of British forces at Fort William Henry to the French General Montcalm in 1757. Frye wrote an account that details the horrible atrocities committed by the Native Americans at the surrender. (Reflections, Vol. 36, No. 2) After the French and Indian War, General Frye founded the town of Fryeburg, Maine, which was part of a large land grant he received for his services.

General Joseph and Mehitable Frye’s son, Captain Joseph Frye (1743-1828), married Mary Robinson and had nine children. Captain Frye commanded a company of Continental soldiers at the Battle of Monmouth. Their oldest child was Lieutenant Joseph Frye (1765- 1814). He was a graduate of Harvard College and took part in the settlement at Waterford as early as 1789. Before others in the area recognized a need for a fort, he advocated the construction of one at a central location. Once the Native Americans attacked at Big Bottom on January 2, 1791, settlers in the Waterford area (both sides of the river) met the next day and agreed a fort was needed. Lt. Frye already had plans drawn up, which hastened the time to build it. It was located along the Muskingum River between the gravel play area of Beverly-Center Elementary and the Fort Frye High School baseball field. By March 10th the main gate was put in place. The next day the fort was attacked, but it was well defended and all efforts to take it were rebuffed. Sometime later it was named Fort Frye to honor the designer. Lt. Frye served the community as a teacher, justice of the peace, civic leader, and juror. He married Sally Baker and had three children.

Lt. Frye’s only son was Joseph Frye (1811-1886), a farmer in Adams Township. He married Lucy Coburn Frye (1809-1905), daughter of Asa Coburn, Jr., and Rhoda Baker Coburn. Joseph and Lucy resided on her father’s farm (lot 25) across the Muskingum River from Lowell. They had three children.

Joseph and Lucy Coburn Frye’s only son was John W. Frye (1841-1904). He married Malinda Mason (1840-1920) and they resided in the old Coburn house on lot 25. They had three sons-Henry C. Frye, Harley E. Frye, and Joseph W. Frye-and one daughter, Nellie M. Frye, who married Adam C. Beach.

Henry Clark Frye (1864-1894) married Eleanor M. Wells and had a daughter, Mabel I. Frye, who married Frank S. Fisher. Harley Edgar Frye (1866-1945) married Maude Chapman. Harley was an engineer who specialized in dam construction and maintenance on the Ohio River and some of the tributaries. During his early career dams were wooden, but his work spanned the time when they were replaced with concrete dams. He received a patent for a movable dam in 1923. They had one son, John Chapman Frye (1912-1982). Joseph W. Frye (1869-1918) married first Nellie Sprague, but she died in 1907. About 1910 he married Helen Munson and they resided in Marietta. They had a daughter, Mariam Munson Frye, who died at age 15 years.

Harley and Maude Chapman Frye’s only son, Dr. John Chapman Frye, was chief geologist in Kansas and Illinois. He married Ruth Heizer and they had three children. Their only son, John Douglas Frye (born in 1946), died without children in 1970.

With the death of Dr. John Chapman Frye in 1982, the male descendants of Lt. Joseph Frye with the Frye surname died out. An honorable and humble lot through six generations-Lt. Joseph Frye, Joseph Frye, John W. Frye, Harley E. Frye, John Chapman Frye and John Douglas Frye-have left not a single male member with the Frye surname living today. Interestingly, there is one descendant of Lt. Joseph Frye still living who has the Frye surname. She is Terri Frye (b. 1949), a daughter of Dr. John Chapman and Ruth Heizer Frye. Terri married a Toedter, but after her divorce, she goes by the name Frye.

Phillip L. Crane, a Waterford resident and Marietta history teacher for 32 years, will share stories of historical events in the Lower Muskingum Valley.