Robert M. Fryar, BiographyPorter County biographical sketches . . . .

Transcribed biography of Robert M. Fryar


This gentleman is a well-known citizen of Porter County, Indiana, and one of the old soldiers of the Rebellion, whose intelligence, enterprise and energy, with many other estimable qualities, have won him the respect and esteem of all. His father, William Fryar, was born on the Green Isle of Erin, in County Down, and was there married to Miss Nancy Morrow, a native of the Empire State, and of Scotch-Irish descent. They passed their entire lives in County Down, where the father was engaged in agricultural pursuits, and were honest, industrious citizens. The father was seventy-two years of age at the time of his death. Seven children were born to this worthy couple: William J., Joseph, Sarah, Eliza, Robert M., George and Samuel. The latter was chief musician in the same regiment as our subject during the Rebellion. Robert M. Fryar, the original of this notice, is also a product of the Emerald Isle, born in County Down, thirty miles from Belfast, June 7, 1833. He secured a common school education, and learned farming and linen weaving in his youth. On the 27th of November, 1852, when nineteen years of age, he married Miss Sarah Harris, daughter of James and Nancy (Anderson) Harris. In 1853 this young couple took passage for America, and reaching this country safely, settled in Randolph Township, Portage County, Ohio, where Mr. Fryar engaged in the lumber business. In 1856 he moved to Valparaiso, Indiana, rented a sawmill at Flint Lake, and operated the same for some time. Later he bought a mill in Marshall County, Indiana, and ran this until 1862, when he enlisted, in Company F, Seventy-third Indiana Volunteer Infantry, under Col. Gilbert Hathaway. When the boom of the great guns in Charleston harbor, in the spring of 1861, went rolling across the continent, their echo penetrated the cottage where young married life and love were nestled in the happiness of security. Questions arose as painful in their solution as any that life presents." Where lies the path of duty? What shall I do? I have a duty to perform to my country, and also a duty most sacred to my wife and children; which is paramount?" In how many cases, during the great National crisis, was this question met and decided in a spirit that gave the army another hero! Hoping to live to return, having everything to live for, yet ready to die for his country should that sacrifice be demanded, our subject's only thought was that the Union is worth all that we can give, and we must bring the rebellious States home like the prodigal, and restore to them all that they had madly flung away, no matter what it might cost. So stock in individuality and all the enjoyments of a happy home went down fifty per cent. Although no recruiting officer had solicited Mr. Fryar's service, although no bounties or flattering inducements nor fear of draft influenced his action, using the word in its fullest sense, he "volunteered." He was in the service three years, or until the close of the war, being mustered out and honorably discharged July 24, 1865. He participated in the battles of Chaplain's Hill, Stone River, Day's Gap, Crooked Creek, Blount's Farm, where Col. Hathaway was killed, Athens, Decatur, and numerous skirmishes. He served principally in Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia. The hardest marching was done from Louisville to Lexington, Crab Orchard and Nashville, Tennessee. At the battle of Day's Gap a singular accident occurred. A Confederate soldier sprang from behind a tree, and pointing a carbine, snapped it at our subject. It missed fire, and Mr. Fryar, who had just fired off his piece, began hastily to load. Again the rebel snapped his carbine at him, and again it missed fire. By this time our subject was ready and shot him dead. On the return from the charge that had been ordered, his captain came upon the body and saved the carbine and a few other personal effects, giving the pocket knife to our subject as a memento. This he still has. At the battle of Stone River he was shot through the clothing on the side, and at Day's Gap he was again shot through the clothing, narrowly escaping death. At a ford on Mill Creek he escaped with a slight wound. During the battle of Crooked Creek he and a comrade were a little in advance of the line, and when the regiment fell back they found themselves within the Confederate lines. They rushed through the woods, and on the way Mr. Fryar saw a soldier behind a log, disarmed him, and took him prisoner. During the battle of Mill Creek a ball cut out a piece of his gun-stock. In September, 1864, he was very ill with typhoid fever, was out of his head for a week, and narrowly escaped dying. While still sick he rejoined his regiment, and although exposed to many hardships, he managed to get along, and was ever ready for duty. He has never regained his health, and of course his days were considerably shortened. In 1868 he was taken prisoner on a raid through Alabama, near Rome, but was immediately paroled, and soon afterwards exchanged. Mr. Fryar returned home in 1865, and embarked in the lumber business in Marshall County, Indiana, remaining there until 1868, when on account of failing health he purchased a farm of 140 acres in Porter County. In 1890 he retired to Valparaiso, and bought the property where he now lives. He is a member of the G. A. R. Post, Chaplain Brown 106, Valparaiso, and has filled the office of chaplain. He is also a Mason, a member of Porter Lodge, and has held the office of steward. Both Mr. and Mrs. Fryar are members of the Christian Church, and active workers in the same. Five living children have been born to their marriage: William J., Robert D., Nancy J., Emma M. and Joseph A. The children deceased were: Wellington, died November 29, 1856, when two years of age; Sarah, died March 6, 1864, aged five years; Samuel E. died when two years of age; and George E. died October 31, 1877, when a little over eight years of age. Mr. Fryar is an excellent citizen, and his long and gallant service in the army speaks for itself.

Source: Goodspeed Brothers. 1894. Pictorial and Biographical Record of La Porte, Porter, Lake and Starke Counties, Indiana. Chicago, Illinois: Goodspeed Brothers. 569 p.
Page(s) in Source: 263-265

This biography has been transcribed exactly as it was originally published in the source. Please note that we do not provide photocopies or digital scans of biographies appearing on this website.

Biography transcribed by Steven R. Shook


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