Fannin County, Texas

The Fry Place

Text below from Fannin County Folks and Facts

The old Fry homeplace, built in 1854 by Abraham Keller Fry, is now 110 years [in 1965] and five generations later the home of Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Edward Fry and their three daughters, Frances, Susan, and Paula.  Situated approximately one and one-fourth miles southeast of the town square of Ladonia, Texas, this lovely old home was built in a style that is the Gulf States' distinctive contribution to our architecture known as the Creole cottage which was patterned after the Alsation famhouses, but more commonly referred to as a Gulf States house.  This style was popular in the 19th century because it was particularly adapted to the weather conditions prevalent.  The long sloping roof extends into a wide eave to cover a gallery below and protect the front door from the turbulent storms from the Gulf.  Dormer windows afford a second story under the roof.

Even though each succeeding generation has altered or added to the structure, the main part of the house is still much the same as it was over a hundred years ago.  More than fifty years ago the single dormer windows were doubled to afford more ventilation to the upper floor and recently two of the three front entrances were eliminated.  But the twelve by twelve pegged oak joists still support the floors and the original native stone chimney is still in use.  The present owners have done extensive remodeling to adapt their home to modern living but the quaint charm of the old house has been retained.  The chimney piece in the living room has been redone, but Abraham Keller Fry's branding iron still rests on the hearth, and his wife's clay pipe is still a treasured relic of the past.

In 1844, Abraham Keller Fry made a trip from this home in Palmyra, Marion county, Missouri, to Fannin County, Texas, in search of a place to settle his family.  It is not definitely known why Abraham Fry felt compelled to move after living so much of his life in Missouri, but it is believed that it was for reasons of health.  Mr. Fry was born December 10, 1797, and was 56 years of age when he actually settled in Texas in 1853.  He was evidently a man of substantial means, this being supported by a circular still in possession of the Fry family advertising an auction of his Missouri property just previous to his leaving for Texas.  On his trip in 1844 he found and purchased a 200 acre tract of land from one John Loring, assignee, out of the A. C. Maxwell survey (Volume #, Page 130, Deed Records, Fannin County, Texas).  John Loring received patent signed by Anson B. Jones, President of the Republic of Texas, and Abraham Fry's purchase was complete.  This 200 acre tract is still in the Fry name, and south 100 being the tract on which the homeplace is located and the property of Ben Ed Fry.

Ladonia was still known as McCowanville when Abraham Fry moved his family to Texas in 1853.  His family consisted of his wife, the former Sarah McFall, born February 18, 1804, and the following children in the order of their ages: John M., Arminta, William W., Robert B., Benjamin, George W., Amanda, Elizabeth, Henry H., and Fitz Edward.  Two of the children, Benjamin and Amada, had died at an early age and at least two of the older children were married, so it is not known exactly how many of the children came with their parents to Texas.

On October 8, 1860, Abraham deeded his homeplace to his wife Sarah for her lifetime and then to his youngest son, Fitz Edward.  Mr. Fry died December 3, 1860, and was buried in Bourland Cemetery.  The deed was recorded on July 5, 1861.

Fitz Edward was born in Marion County, Missouri, on December 29, 1849, and was too young to participate in the Civil War.  However, since all of this brothers were in the war, he was responsible for the farm while they were away.  On February 17, 1884, Fitz married Miss Minerva Eastman and to this union three sons were born: Lucian F., Liston E. and Ivan B.  Fitz Edward died September 27, 1921 and was buried at Ladonia, Texas.  After his death, his estate was partitioned and the homeplace became the property of Lucian F. by a deed from L. F., L. E. and I. B. Fry to L. F. Fry recorded September 25, 1936.

L. F. Fry deeded the homeplace to his son Benjamin Edward on October 22, 1955.

The Fry family has been very prominent in the history and development of Ladonia, both Lucian and Ivan having been merchants there for many years.  Fitz Edward was a prosperous farmer and Abraham a pioneer.  It is a remarkable heritage for one family to have retained their land from the time when Texas was a Republic.  And the old house, still standing majestically on its knoll, is a tribute to its builder.

Fry Homestead

Marker Text:

Built 1854 by Abraham K. Fry on land bought in 1844 in Texas Republic.  Continually owned by Fry family to present time.

Directions:  From the square in Ladonia, proceed east on Main Street .5 miles, then turn right/south on Highway 50 and proceed .7 miles to FM 2456.  Then turn left on FM 2456 and proceed .2 miles.