Transcribed by Mary Ann Kaylor
FREY, JOHN (deceased), was a large landowner in Sangamon and Christian counties, and followed farming most of his life. He was born in Germany, January 9, 1829, a son of Lawrence and Mary (Rodemeier) Frey, both natives of Germany, the former born in Derkhein and the latter at Shieboff. They lived on a farm in Germany, where the mother died, and the father came to the United States in 1862, locating in Louisville, Ky., where his death occurred in 1866. Very little is known about the grandparents, who were residents of Germany. John Frey received his education in his native country and passed his childhood on a farm. After leaving school, he worked at farming, and left Germany May 20, 1850, for the United States, landing July 13 in New York, with but one dollar in his possession.
After coming to the United States Mr. Frey first worked in a saw mill until he had enough money to go to Louisville, Ky., and reached that city August 10, 1850. He remained a short time with a brother in Louisville, then went to Pike County, O., where he remained until 1888, working at farming, first, but from 1861 until 1888, was engaged in a mercantile business in Waverly. In 1888, he sold out his business and purchased 440 acres of land in Illinois, going to Buffalo. He was able to converse in five languages: German, French, Italian, Hebrew and English.
Mr. Frey fought with the "Patriots" in Germany for nineteen months, but his comrades were so greatly outnumbered that they were forced to surrender. He was wounded in the head while near the French lines, and at the close of his service was exiled, so came to the United States. Though he had espoused a losing cause, he had risked his life for what he believed to be right. He was a member of the Christian Church at Buffalo and a Democrat in political belief, taking an active interest in the public welfare and in the improvement of the community.
Mr. Frey was married in Pike County, O., in 1853, to Miss Mary Hildebrant, born in Germany, November 9, 1833, daughter of William Hildebrant, also a native of Germany. Mr. Hildebrant and his wife were natives of Germany. They were there married, coming to America in 1848, locating in Pike County, O., but later moved to Kansas, where she died, but he died in the northern part of Ohio. There were three girls and one son to the family. Nine children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Frey, three sons and six daughters, namely: Maud, born in Pike County, O., wife of Frank Thompson, lives in Sangamon County, and has five children; Jacob is married and lives on the home farm; Lizzy, wife of George Armstrong lives in Mechanicsburg; Emma, wife of Jacob Byerline lives in Sangamon County, one child; John is married and lives on his father's farm in Sangamon County; and Tillie, wife of Harve Mosentetter, lives in Springfield and has four children.
Mr. Frey owned 420 acres of land in Sangamon County and also 220 acres in Christian County, Kas., besides two business blocks in Waverly, O. He had a handsome residence in Buffalo. Having been very industrious and thrifty, he was able to accumulate a competency. Mr. Frey was much respected in his community and made many friends during his residence there.