1889 Obituary of Samuel Fryman

Transcription of the 1889 obituary of Samuel Fryman, a member of the Home Guards in the border state of Missouri during the Civil War

Holt County Sentinel masthead 22 Nov 1889

An earlier post included the newspaper image of the obituary of Samuel Fryman, my 3rd great-grandfather (through his son, Frederick Fryman). I have posted the transcription here as well to aid other researchers. Please note that I have taken some liberties with the formatting to improve readability for this media platform, but all wording remains true to the original. Like many obituaries, it provides a neat capsule of his life, but is incomplete and contains incorrect information.

[Transcription follows]

Death Roll.


Samuel Fryman was born in Westmoreland County, Virginia, January 15, 1807, and died at the house in this place, November 13, 1889. His first wife was Mary Shepherd, to whom he was married February 9, 1832 in Belmont County, Ohio.

They came to this county in 1853 and located on a farm three miles east of the Court House. By this union there were 11 children, 7 sons and 4 daughters. Of these, 4 sons and 2 daughters are now living. George and James Fryman who live here and Mrs. Josiah Smith, at Forest City. Frank at Seneca, Kansas, Mrs. Jacob Baskins in Jewell County, Kansas, and Thomas in Custer County, Nebraska.

Mr. Fryman left 31 grand-children living. Of these, George has 7, James 2, Mrs. Smith 4, Thomas 3, Fred 6, Mrs. Baskins 9. There were also 18 great-grand-children—7 by George’s children and 11 by Mrs. Baskins. Mary Fryman died, August 9, 1879. After a year or so Mr. Fryman married Margaret Dunkelberger, who died a few years afterwards. October 22, 1885, he married Mary E. Crumb, who survives him. All of his children were by his first wife.

Mr. Fryman after the death of his first wife left the farm, and went to Minnesota Valley, where he lived awhile, when he came here, and remained ‘till his death.

His death was the result of kidney disease and the immediate cause of death overwork. He was a man of a vigorous constitution, but overestimated his strength. He was confined to his bed only a few days. The burial took place at the family burying ground at the old place east of town.

Mr. Fryman, though a Democrat before the war, early espoused the cause of the National Government against the states in rebellion. He served in the Home Guards at all times when their services were required and was ever a consistent, law-abiding citizen. He joined the M. E. Church in Ohio more than sixty years ago, and when he came to Holt County attached himself to the Richville congregation. When he removed to Minnesota Valley he dropped his membership in the church, and never renewed it although he remained consistent to the faith ‘till his death.

[Transcription ends.]

Source: “Death Roll,” Holt County Sentinel (Oregon, Missouri), 22 Nov 1889, p. 4, col. 3, Samuel Fryman obituary; digital images, Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers, Library of Congress (http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn90061417/1889-11-22/ed-1/seq-4/ : accessed 12 Apr 2014).

Where There’s a Will…

Tracking down the Will of Morris Kelly Sheppard of Ohio on the FamilySearch website

My 3rd-great-grandfather, Samuel Fryman, allegedly born in Virginia in 1807, married as his first wife, Mary Shepherd (aka Shepard, Sheppard, Sheppards etc.) in Belmont County, Ohio in 1832. When research on this line commenced nothing was known of her birth family, siblings or early life, outside of the fact that her father was living at the time of her marriage and that the couple were both residents of Smith Township. Census households headed by Shepherd males in the vicinity suggested possibilities for further research but nothing concrete had been established.

1848-ohio-map-greenleaf-shepherd-locales-starredShepherd families can be found in the starred counties of Belmont, Morgan and Richland counties, Ohio between 1820-1847.

At a later date, I serendipitously pulled a book off the shelf at the local library and found this will abstract linking a Samuel Fryman to a Sheppard man in Richland County, Ohio, several counties and fifteen years removed from the Belmont County marriage. Here is the information from the will abstract, as entered into my genealogy software program:

SHEPPARD, MORRIS KELLY, Bloomfield Twp.     21 Jun 1847     23 Aug 1847
To Samuel Fryman, $250.00.
To Arnold Sheppard, $250.00.
To brothers and sisters Prudence, Rebecca, David, Priscilla, and John, residue of estate equally.
Witnesses: William Baskins, Francis P. Griffith. [1]

Could this be my Samuel Fryman?

I wondered if I could learn anything further by looking at the original will. My attempt to do just that failed when at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City in 2005. At that time I was simply unable to locate the appropriate volume. Now that image copies of these records are available online at FamilySearch.org, I thought that I would try again.

At the main page, I clicked on the Search button, then scrolled down to the bottom of the page and clicked the United States link, which took me to the Historical Records Collections page. From the Place list on the left, I selected Ohio. Under Collections, I selected Probate & Court, which left me with a manageable list of seven collections.


Richland County was not listed out separately, so I clicked in to the larger collection of court records called Ohio, Probate Records, 1789-1996. I then located Richland in the list of counties. Since I knew I was dealing with a will, and had a date of 23 Aug 1847 for when the will was probated, I selected Wills 1816-1864 vol 1/2-2.


There are 677 images on this microfilm, so I should be able to find what I need. Volume 1/2 on FHL film 388,794 covers the years 1816-1822.


Volume 1 on the same film covers 1849-1855.


What about 1823-1848? Clearly, this gap in the records is what I ran into in 2005, when I quit looking. But surely, I reasoned, the author of the book on will abstracts was working off of something. This time, I advanced the images to read the information at the front of volume 1, to see if there was any explanation for this gap. That is when I found this note penned on the inside cover of the volume:


Index for the years 1849 to 1855
to which is added

To which is added an Index to the Wills in

the Administration Records

from 1813 to 1849

Embracing all the wills in the old
Made for the benefit of all whom it may
concern by John Meredith, P. J., 1859

Thank you, Judge Meredith. I scrolled forward to find the S section of the index. Eureka! There I found the index entry for the 1847 will of Morris Kelly Sheppard.


Clicking back in to all the Richland County, Ohio probate and court records, I located the link for Administration Records, volumes 7-8.


The index entry to the will of Morris Kelly Sheppard said it was located on p. 28, but information regarding the settlement of the estate actually starts on p. 27, filmed on frame 12 of FHL microfilm 960,100.

Richland Co., Ohio administration of estate of Morris Kelly Sheppard, 1847. [2]

From my experience, it is rather unusual that a will would be filed in with the Administration Records when there are separate volumes for wills. That fact most likely signals that we are dealing with a special type of probate, called an Administration C.T.A. (C.T.A. being an abbreviation for a Latin term “cum testamento annexo“. Black’s Law Dictionary explains the phrase this way:

L. Lat. With the will annexed. A term applied to administration granted where a testator makes an incomplete will, without naming any executors, or where he names incapable persons, or where the executors named refuse to act. [3]

The will of Morris Kelly Sheppard was entered into the bound volume of the Administration Records and clearly shows that no executor was named. What I have not yet verified is whether all wills in Richland Co., Ohio were for some reason included in with the Administration Records between 1823 and 1848.

Sources and credits:

1848 Ohio map by Jeremiah Greenleaf, courtesy David Rumsey Historical Map Collection online at http://www.davidrumsey.com/ via a Creative Commons license.

All screenshots in this post are from the FamilySearch.org website created and maintained by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS), accessed 06 Feb 2014.

[1]  Anne Lockwood Dallas Budd, Richland County, Ohio, Abstracts of Wills, 1813-1873 (Mansfield, Ohio: Ohio Genealogical Society, 1974), p. 71.

[2]  Richland County, Ohio, Court of Common Pleas, Mansfield, Administration Records vol. 7, 1844-1848 p. 27, entry for Morris Kelly Sheppard, 21 Aug 1847; digital images, “Ohio, Probate Records, 1789-1996.” FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org : accessed 06 Feb 2014), imaged from FHL microfilm 960,100.

[3]  Henry Campbell Black, Black’s Law Dictionary, abridged 5th ed. (St. Paul, Minnesota : West Publishing Co., 1983), p. 200.

Interlibrary Loan Saved Me $160

Wherein the author uses online tools to track down an elusive family history book

I am researching four different Porter families, three collateral and one direct. At least one of them (John Porter, ca. 1730-ca. 1804) had ties to Virginia, specifically Rockbridge County, and its predecessor counties: Augusta, Botetourt and Orange. So, when I learned of a Porter family history book from Rockbridge County, Virginia, I just had to have a look. Problem is, I’m in Washington state and I was unable to find the book locally. Enter WorldCat.

For those researchers unfamiliar with WorldCat, it is a network of more than 10,000 participating libraries world-wide and is arguably the largest online library catalog. It’s the first place to check if your local library doesn’t have an item. Not all libraries are linked into WorldCat, but it will give you an idea of just how widely available an item may be.

To use WorldCat, go to www.worldcat.org. In my case, I know I’m looking for a book, so I selected the book tab first.

(Click on an image to enlarge it, then click your browser’s “back” button to return to the article.)

I entered my search terms…

…and got two hits. The top entry was the book I was after.

Clicking the title link will take you to a list of libraries that have the item arranged, by default, by libraries closest to your given location.

When I first conducted my search in 2011, two libraries in Utah showed up on the list as being closest to my home, the Family History Library in Salt Lake City being one of them. Since I was planning a trip to Utah in January 2012 for the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, I added the Porter book to my to-do list. Unfortunately, when I visited, the book was not on the shelf. Was it in use already on that early Saturday morning? I approached patrons in the first floor reading room. No one was using it. I approached the young man working the volunteer desk, who kindly offered that the book may have been removed for digitizing.

“But”, I countered, “your catalog says it’s available. Wouldn’t the catalog reflect the fact that it had been removed for digitization?” Initially, I allowed his answer to deter me on my quest.

However, each time I visited, I found myself increasingly anxious. After all, I had traveled hundreds of miles, and consulting the Porter book was at the top of my to-do list. Long story short, I (nicely) pestered a number of volunteers in the reading room over the next week about the book. They had no record of the book being removed for digitizing, so they ultimately declared the book “missing” – which is why you won’t find the Family History Library in the list of results on WorldCat.

How else to get my hands on a copy of that book? Perhaps I could find a copy on the used book market. I checked eBay, alibris, and AbeBooks, and struck out each time. Finally, I checked Amazon. Yup, they had it. One used copy – for $165.00!

I tried to rationalize spending $165.00 for a book I had never seen, that I wasn’t sure even contained information on my John Porter. I almost decided to pull the trigger, when I remembered Interlibrary Loan. Why not try that first? Although I had heard many libraries were doing away with interlibrary loan (ILL) due to funding cuts, I learned that my local library in Seattle was still offering the service for a mere $5.00. Considering the alternative, it was a bargain.

Seattle Public Library Interlibrary LoanThe Seattle Public Library (SPL) has made accessing items through ILL very straight-forward. You are able to fill out the form online, pay the $5.00 fee online via PayPal, and then when the book arrives, they send you a notice through e-mail. In my case, they advised it could take up to three weeks for the book to be received. I was pleasantly surprised when the book arrived in less than a week.

TIP: when ordering through ILL, if the St. Louis County Library shows up in your list of results as having an item note that fact, and the call number, in the ILL form.

The St. Louis County Library became the repository of the entire National Genealogical Society’s library collection in 2001, and by its very nature, books held in this special collection are available for loan.

A family history, William Porter, Jr. of Rockbridge County, Virginia (1740-1804)

As it turns out, I already had more information on John Porter of Rockbridge County, Virginia (brother of William Porter, Jr. in the title) than presented in the 1984 Porter book, so my $5.00 was well-spent indeed.