Rufus Penn Frye

Rufus Penn Frye

b: 25 Jul 1865
d: 9 Dec 1945
Like many of his siblings, Rufus was probably named after someone in thecommunity important to his parents. The Penn name was a common one inthe Horsepasture, VA area, and there was a Rufus Penn (1839-1897) who isburied at Old Well Christian Church at Spencer.

Rufus Frye was born near the end of the Civil War, and it can be assumedthat as a young man he farmed with his father. The 1880 census lists himas a farm worker. His granddaughter, Verna Lou, says that he moved awayfrom the farm because he did not like pulling tobacco. There is no recordthat he ever owned land in Henry County, VA, although, he was still inHenry County in 1886, attested to by court documents regarding hisbrother, Peter. By 1892 he had moved to Kansas City, Mo. where he workedfor the Fire Insurance Patrol. It is not known if he was influenced tomove west by the fact that his half-sister, Luzena, and half-brother,Isham, Jr., lived in Indiana or that his brother, Henry, also went westabout the same time.

Over the years the family lore was that he was "Fire Chief" in KansasCity. That has proved to be questionable. In a 1911 interview, CaptainJ. F. Pelletier of the patrol stated "We are not fire fighters..." Andan article in the Kansas City "World" December 31, 1902 further clarifiesthe situation:

"...duties are to attend all fires and protect in every way possible,goods, merchandise and household effects from fire and water. Not onlydoes he (Chief Pelletier) attend fires for this purpose, but in case ofdamage to buildings by reason of storms or the bursting of water pipes,(he) is instantly on hand with his trained crew of salvage men, and manya merchant and householder has to thank him for effective work in thatdirection."

In short, the Fire Insurance Patrol was a private salvage companyprobably supported by subscriptions from individuals or insurancecompanies. It was for this company that Rufus worked for 38 years,retiring in 1930. In spite of the technicality of whether or not he wasa fireman, Rufus's granddaughter recalls that he used to let his twograndchildren play fireman with his fireman's hat. The Fire SafetyPatrol used horse-drawn equipment in the early days, and on October 13,1911, the Kansas City "Times" had a news article about a demonstration ofthe Patrol's new "motor fire truck".

Fortunately there are several good pictures of Rufus in the familycollection, including one probably sent home shortly after he moved toKansas City.

After his wife, Lulu, died in 1939, Rufus lived with his son, Leo. Thereare two handwritten letters in the family collection from Rufus to hisniece, Nevarra Bunk. In the second in February 1944, he says that hefell and broke his hip on June 27, 1943. A letter from his son, Leo,December 31, 1945, says that Rufus did very well until September (1945)when he began to fail rapidly. He died on December 9, 1945.
Biography
Like many of his siblings, Rufus was probably named after someone in thecommunity important to his parents. The Penn name was a common one inthe Horsepasture, VA area, and there was a Rufus Penn (1839-1897) who isburied at Old Well Christian Church at Spencer.

Rufus Frye was born near the end of the Civil War, and it can be assumedthat as a young man he farmed with his father. The 1880 census lists himas a farm worker. His granddaughter, Verna Lou, says that he moved awayfrom the farm because he did not like pulling tobacco. There is no recordthat he ever owned land in Henry County, VA, although, he was still inHenry County in 1886, attested to by court documents regarding hisbrother, Peter. By 1892 he had moved to Kansas City, Mo. where he workedfor the Fire Insurance Patrol. It is not known if he was influenced tomove west by the fact that his half-sister, Luzena, and half-brother,Isham, Jr., lived in Indiana or that his brother, Henry, also went westabout the same time.

Over the years the family lore was that he was "Fire Chief" in KansasCity. That has proved to be questionable. In a 1911 interview, CaptainJ. F. Pelletier of the patrol stated "We are not fire fighters..." Andan article in the Kansas City "World" December 31, 1902 further clarifiesthe situation:

"...duties are to attend all fires and protect in every way possible,goods, merchandise and household effects from fire and water. Not onlydoes he (Chief Pelletier) attend fires for this purpose, but in case ofdamage to buildings by reason of storms or the bursting of water pipes,(he) is instantly on hand with his trained crew of salvage men, and manya merchant and householder has to thank him for effective work in thatdirection."

In short, the Fire Insurance Patrol was a private salvage companyprobably supported by subscriptions from individuals or insurancecompanies. It was for this company that Rufus worked for 38 years,retiring in 1930. In spite of the technicality of whether or not he wasa fireman, Rufus's granddaughter recalls that he used to let his twograndchildren play fireman with his fireman's hat. The Fire SafetyPatrol used horse-drawn equipment in the early days, and on October 13,1911, the Kansas City "Times" had a news article about a demonstration ofthe Patrol's new "motor fire truck".

Fortunately there are several good pictures of Rufus in the familycollection, including one probably sent home shortly after he moved toKansas City.

After his wife, Lulu, died in 1939, Rufus lived with his son, Leo. Thereare two handwritten letters in the family collection from Rufus to hisniece, Nevarra Bunk. In the second in February 1944, he says that hefell and broke his hip on June 27, 1943. A letter from his son, Leo,December 31, 1945, says that Rufus did very well until September (1945)when he began to fail rapidly. He died on December 9, 1945.
Facts
  • 25 Jul 1865 - Birth - ; Horsepasture, Henry County, Va
  • 9 Dec 1945 - Death - ; Kansas City, Mo
Ancestors
   
?
 
 
Isham Washington Fry
ABT. 1812 - 12 May 1900
  
  
  
?
 
Rufus Penn Frye
25 Jul 1865 - 9 Dec 1945
  
 
  
?
 
 
Mary Elizabeth Patterson
15 Oct 1826 - Jun 1915
  
  
  
?
 
Family Group Sheet - Child
PARENT (M) Isham Washington Fry
BirthABT. 1812Stokes County, Nc
Death12 May 1900Henry County, Va
Marriage1 Jul 1835to Ziza Preston at Stokes County, Nc
Marriage10 Jul 1849to Mary Elizabeth Patterson at Rockingham County, Nc
Father?
Mother?
PARENT (F) Mary Elizabeth Patterson
Birth15 Oct 1826
DeathJun 1915Henry County, Va
Marriage10 Jul 1849to Isham Washington Fry at Rockingham County, Nc
Father?
Mother?
CHILDREN
MDavid Mays Frye
Birth12 Mar 1850Henry County, Va
Death18 Feb 1934Henry County, Va
Marriage7 Mar 1877to Ruth Dillard Spencer at Henry County, Va
MPeter Watkins Frye
Birth30 Oct 1853Henry County, Va
DeathABT. 1933North Carolina
Marriage12 Feb 1880to Mary Forbes Pharis at Henry County, Va
MJohn Clay Frye
Birth30 Jan 1855Horsepasture, Henry County, Va
Death13 Oct 1936Martinsville, Henry County, Va
Marriage20 Feb 1877to Susie Ellen Wells at Henry County, Va
Marriage1899to Mollie Eugenia Vernon at Patrick County, Va
Marriage1 May 1907to Carrie Lee Watkins at Henry County, Va
MThomas Jasper Frye
Birth1 Feb 1857Henry County, Va
Death30 Dec 1906Henry County, Va
Marriage3 Feb 1881to Phoebe Marshall Bousman at Henry County, Va
MFranklin Isaiah Frye
Birth8 Mar 1859Henry County,Va
Death1 Feb 1941Greensboro, Nc
Marriage15 Apr 1880to Sarah Elizabeth Moore at Henry County, Va
MHenry Abel Frye
Birth23 Aug 1861Henry County, Va
Death10 Mar 1910New York City, Ny
MarriageABT. 1906to Elizabeth Dorothy Miller at New York City, Ny
MRufus Penn Frye
Birth25 Jul 1865Horsepasture, Henry County, Va
Death9 Dec 1945Kansas City, Mo
Marriageto Lulu Millman
FAnnie Leyuna Frye
Birth22 Apr 1868Henry County, Va
Death30 Mar 1940Stokesdale, Nc
Marriage9 Dec 1888to Thomas Clay Bouldin at Henry County, Va
Marriage7 Jan 1897to Robert Smith Cook at Forsyth County, Nc
Family Group Sheet - Spouse
PARENT (M) Rufus Penn Frye
Birth25 Jul 1865Horsepasture, Henry County, Va
Death9 Dec 1945Kansas City, Mo
Marriageto Lulu Millman
FatherIsham Washington Fry
MotherMary Elizabeth Patterson
PARENT (F) Lulu Millman
Birth20 Nov 1868Huntington County, Indiana
DeathOct 1940Butler, Mo
Marriageto Rufus Penn Frye
Father?
Mother?
CHILDREN
MRufus Leo Shafer Frye
Birth17 Feb 1899Kansas City, Mo
DeathOct 1976Oklahoma City, Ok
Marriage25 Dec 1921to Lona Anna Picton at Oklahoma City, Ok
Descendancy Chart
Rufus Penn Frye b: 25 Jul 1865 d: 9 Dec 1945
Lulu Millman b: 20 Nov 1868 d: Oct 1940
Rufus Leo Shafer Frye b: 17 Feb 1899 d: Oct 1976
Lona Anna Picton b: 2 Jun 1899 d: 1971
Verna Lou Frye b: 1 Apr 1930 d: 6 Mar 2002
George Edwin Frye b: 8 Jan 1926 d: 8 Jan 1926