Excerpts From a Life: Samuel Fryman

Newspaper excerpts from the life of Samuel Fryman (1807-1889)

I will never know my 3rd-great-grandfather, Samuel Fryman. None of his letters came down through our branch of the family. We have no photographs, no diaries or journals, no artifacts. Nothing tangible remains, other than his headstone in the old family burying ground in rural northwest Missouri.

His grand-daughter, my great-grandmother Maude Fryman Bingaman, died in 1921, long before anyone now living in that line remembers. Even the name of my 3rd-great-grandfather had been lost to us, and was only revealed through diligent research.

And yet, we can catch glimpses of him through the local newspapers from his community, available at the Chronicling America historic newspaper website. Certainly this does not tell the whole story of his life, but it does get us closer to learning at least some things he experienced while living and farming in Holt County, Missouri in the latter part of the nineteenth century. His lengthy obituary, near the end of this post, provides a wonderful sketch of his life, including the time he spent in the Home Guard during the Civil War.

Newspaper: Holt County Sentinel (Oregon, Mo.), 01 Mar 1872, p. 2, cols. 7-8
Holt County Expenditures
Feb 6, 1871    Samuel Fryman  support of pauper   7.50
Aug 11, 1871  Samuel Fryman  support of pauper  48.00

Newspaper: Holt County Sentinel (Oregon, Mo.), 29 May 1874, p. 3, col. 3
—Sam Fryman, one of the well-to-do farmers of Holt county, started this week for Jewell and Graham counties, Kansas, where he intends to visit his sons.

Newspaper: Holt County Sentinel (Oregon, Mo.), 15 Jan 1875, p. 2, col. 4
Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Fryman, who spent the holidays among their relatives in Fulton county, Illinois, returned last Tuesday, having enjoyed their trip remarkably well. Listening to the story of these friends, one would suppose the people in Illinois were in favor of good living.

Newspaper: Holt County Sentinel (Oregon, Mo.), 23 Apr 1875, p. 2, cols. 3-4

1875 Holt County, Missouri taxpayers


Newspaper: Holt County Sentinel (Oregon, Mo.), 25 Apr 1879, p. 3, col. 3
–Who has Samuel Fryman’s colt? See advertisement.

Newspaper: Holt County Sentinel (Oregon, Mo.), 25 Apr 1879, p. 3, col. 8

Samuel Fryman's stray colt notice


Newspaper: Holt County Sentinel (Oregon, Mo.), 15 Aug 1879, p. 1, col. 4Death of Mrs. Mary Fryman


Newspaper: Holt County Sentinel (Oregon, Mo.), 03 Oct 1879, p. 4, col. 1
–Samuel Fryman intends having a large sale of personal property at his residence, 3 1-2 miles east of Oregon, on the 25th of this month.

Newspaper: The County Paper (Oregon, Mo.), 09 Jun 1882, p. 1, col. 2
–Samuel Fryman has purchased the residence of Samuel T. Huiatt, in the northwestern part of our city.

Newspaper: The County Paper (Oregon, Mo.), 09 Jun 1882, p. 1, col. 7
— Mr. Samuel Fryman and wife have been in our city several days, the guests of his daughter, Mrs. F. A. Smith. Mr. Fryman, will shortly remove to Oregon, and take up his permanent residence among us.

Newspaper: The County Paper (Oregon, Mo.), 11 Aug 1882, p. 1, col. 1
–Samuel Fryman and grand-son, of Mound City, were visiting the family of J. Smith last week.

Newspaper: Holt County Sentinel (Oregon, Mo.), 23 Nov 1883, p. 1, col. 4
–Mrs. Fryman, wife of our esteemed citizen, Samuel Fryman, left last Monday for Cincinnati, Ohio, where she will be under medical treatment for cancer. We hope that she will return entirely recovered.

Newspaper: Holt County Sentinel (Oregon, Mo.), 07 Mar 1884, p. 1, col. 5
–Who enjoyed Samuel Fryman’s peaches?

Newspaper: Holt County Sentinel (Oregon, Mo.), 02 Jan 1885, p. 1, col. 6
–Mrs. Samuel Fryman died at her home in this city on last Friday, of cancer.

Newspaper: Holt County Sentinel (Oregon, Mo.), 17 Apr 1885, p. 1, col. 6
Samuel Fryman is visiting relatives in Kansas.

Newspaper: Holt County Sentinel (Oregon, Mo.), 04 Dec 1885, p. 1, col. 5
Samuel Fryman and wife were visiting in the country Sunday.

Newspaper: Holt County Sentinel (Oregon, Mo.), 31 Dec 1886, p. 1, col. 4
–Samuel Fryman’s team ran away one day last week, throwing him out of his wagon, but fortunately he only received a few bruises that are not dangerous. His wagon was entirely demolished.

Newspaper: Holt County Sentinel (Oregon, Mo.), 08 Feb 1889, p. 1, col. 1
–Mrs. D. S. Alkire and youngest child, the children of E. L. Bonham and Uncle Sam Fryman are all on the sick list this week.

Newspaper: Holt County Sentinel (Oregon, Mo.), 15 Nov 1889, p. 1, col. 3
–Mr. Samuel Fryman and Mrs. Hannah Foster are lying very low, with but little hopes for their recovery.

Newspaper: Holt County Sentinel (Oregon, Mo.), 22 Nov 1889, p. 4, col. 3.

Death Roll. Fryman. 1889


Newspaper: Holt County Sentinel (Oregon, Mo.), 08 Aug 1890, p. 1, col. 4
C. Hoblitzell has purchased the Samuel Fryman block on Anderson boulevarde [sic] and will probably erect four handsome residences.

Chronicling America is a partnership between the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Library of Congress. Digital images of all news items were last accessed on the Chronicling America website 14 Feb 2013.

For an overview of basic search and navigation of the Chronicling America site, please see my prior post here.

Chronicling Their Lives Using Historic Newspapers

Basic search and navigation of the Chronicling America historic newspaper website of the Library of Congress

I am a huge proponent of using period newspapers for genealogical and historical research. Using newspapers, we are often able to tease out details of our ancestors’ lives that add color to otherwise dry facts. We’re also able to get a glimpse of how historic events unfolded during their lifetime, or what the prevailing opinions were about an event or issue.

One way to access this window on their world is by using the Chronicling America website, a product of the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP):

“The National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP), a partnership between the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Library of Congress (LC), is a long-term effort to develop an Internet-based, searchable database of U.S. newspapers with descriptive information and select digitization of historic pages. Supported by NEH, this rich digital resource will be developed and permanently maintained at the Library of Congress. 1

Although the Chronicling America site has been online since about 2007, continuing improvements in search and viewer functionality and the growing database of digitized American newspapers have greatly improved its usefulness for researchers. Coverage has been greatly expanded, and the collection now has selected newspapers published from 1836-1922. Today, more than 5.2 million newspaper images are available from 25 states plus the District of Columbia. Another seven states received NDNP awards in 2011 or 2012; images from those newly participating institutions are not yet available. (Those states are: Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, North Dakota and West Virginia).2

Main page of the Chronicling America website

Main page of the Chronicling America website showing newspaper front pages published 100 years ago

It is now possible to conduct a basic search from the main page of the site via the Search Pages tab. I am interested in learning more about my 3rd-great-grandfather, Samuel Fryman (1807-1889), so I run just a basic search using his name. A basic search can also be limited to a specific state or time period by making those selections using the drop-down arrows. In my case, I have opted to run the search across all currently available newspapers and years. Generally, I like to start with a broad search and will only begin narrowing my search parameters if I get an unwieldy number of hits at the outset.

Basic search terms: samuel fryman

Entering basic search terms: samuel fryman

By default, results are returned in Gallery view, sorted by relevance (determined by how many times your search terms appear on one page). I have received 19 hits with this search. Although it is not visible here, with one exception, all results are for Missouri newspapers. Samuel Fryman lived in Missouri the latter part of his life, so I know I am on the right track with this search.

Basic search results with terms: samuel fryman

Thumbnail images of actual newspaper pages are shown in Gallery view

Search terms are highlighted in red, so it is easy to see where on the page the search terms appear. It is also possible to see just a list of results without the images by clicking List next to where it says View. When using list view, I find that re-sorting my results by Date makes it easy to compare search results with a timeline of life events of my ancestor or person of interest.

I have chosen one of the search results at random (OK, maybe not so random – it had an interesting masthead) to further demonstrate how to work with search results.

The County Paper (Oregon, Mo.), 09 Jun 1882, p. 1

The title of the newspaper, date of publication and image number (i.e. page) number all appear above the image itself. This is important information to record in order to create a source citation. I’ll also make note of the persistent link below the image in my research log (I use Evernote) so I can return to this exact image at a later date.

Viewing the image is quite intuitive. Just position your cursor over the image and use your left mouse button and click to zoom in. Click and drag with your left mouse button to move the newspaper image within the viewer.

Close-up of image viewer options

Alternately, you can use the buttons to navigate – zoom in, zoom out or view full screen. If at any point you get lost, click the house button to “go home” (return to your original view).

Once I have located my highlighted search terms in the viewer there are several ways I can preserve the image. To print or save the image as seen in the viewer, click Clip Image.

Search viewer with terms highlighted

The section of the page that appeared in the viewer is what will print, along with associated citation information. Note that if you choose Download this image the citation information is not a part of the image. The highlight on the search terms is also omitted when printed or saved from this location.

Print or download newspaper clipping

You can do more than simply download or save an image to your computer from the Chronicling America site. There are a variety of social networking and bookmarking choices available by clicking the green Share/Save button in the upper right, immediately beneath the search bar. Explore them all by clicking through the three tabs.

Chronicling America Share/Save optionsIf a particular newspaper sparks your curiosity, you can also browse other pages within that day’s newspaper by clicking in one of the yellow highlighted areas shown below:

Browse options

Browse other pages within the selected issue (yellow) or browse other dates the newspaper was published (pink). Highlights added by the author.

To see other publication dates of the same newspaper in calendar view, click in the pink highlighted area of the toolbar. Choose one of the issues by clicking the bold date link on any calendar.

Browse other issues

That wraps up part one of this tutorial on navigating the Chronicling America website. Believe it or not, there is much more available than what was covered here. In part two, we’ll look at Advanced Search, and do a comparison with searches on another terrific newspaper site, Genealogy Bank, available by subscription-only.


Post Script: No kidding. When I started collecting information for this blog post on 16 Sep 2012, the available page count was 4.83 million. Five days later, 5.20 million plus images were available. This is one website that is worth re-visiting often.


1 http://www.loc.gov/ndnp/, accessed 23 Sep 2012.

2 http://www.loc.gov/ndnp/awards/index.html, accessed 23 Sep 2012.