Friday, November 28, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: #46 Philip Fry, Patriot Soldier

When I began my genealogical journey, I had hoped to identify Revolutionary War soldiers. I expected to find them in my Mom's ancestry, but not my Dad's. His ancestors were mostly 19th-century immigrants. Surprisingly, his ancestry was the first to reveal one of those early patriots, and a well-documented one at that. My fourth-great-grandfather was honored at his 1840 death with a lovely obituary.

The Democrat

Huntsville, Ala., Saturday Morning, May 2, 1840

Another Revolutionary Soldier gone.
Died -- At his residence in Marshall County, Alabama, on the morning of the 18th of April, instant, Mr. Philip Fry, in the 83rd year of his age. Mr. Fry was a native of Pennsylvania, from whence he emigrated to Virginia, from thence to East Tennessee and thence to Alabama. He was one of that glorious band of patriots who, under god, assisted in achieving for us the liberties we now enjoy; he was truly the kind husband, the affectionate father, the obliging neighbor, the honest and industrious citizen. Mr. Fry had many trials through life, having buried an affectionate wife and six children; but he is now gone, leaving a disconsolate widow and nineteen children, one hundred and thirteen grand and great grand children, together with a numerous circle of friends, to mourn their irreparable loss; but to them we say, sorrow not as those that have no hope, for if you believe that Jesus died and rose again, them also that sleep in Jesus will god bring with him, then blessed are the dead that die in the Lord, yea saith the Spirit, from henceforth they rest from their labours, and their works do follow them.

Elements from American Flag, ClubScrap, 2010

Philip Fry was born about 1757, somewhere in Pennsylvania. There has been much speculation about his parentage, but to date it's a mystery which will likely be solved only through DNA.

Virginia's Shenandoah Valley was a migration path into and out of Pennsylvania and it's on that path that we find Philip. Two sources tell us a bit about his life in the Shenandoah.
1781, June 11 - Philip Frye married Mary Dirick [Derrick]
Philip Fry served from 2 Aug. until 5 Oct. 1781 as a private in Capt. Linchfield Sharpe's Company of Shenandoah County, under the command of Col. Elias Edmundson, of Gen. Stephen's Brigade.
Philip also was one of the Overmountain Men led by Colonel William Campbell. They fought at the Battle of King's Mountain, the turning point of the American Revolution, on October 7, 1780.

My ancestor, Philip and Mary's daughter Kezziah, was born in Tennessee about 1809. Her brothers and sisters were born in both Virginia and Tennessee. Their births show that the family moved about 1795. Mary Magdalena Derrick Fry died between 1812 and 1819.

Philip married Mary "Polly" Davis in Jefferson County, Alabama on December 4, 1819. They had several more children before his death.

Philip was buried in the Fry Cemetery near Arab in Marshall County, Alabama. The Fry family has placed a nice monument and the Heroes of King's Mountain DAR chapter has also placed a plaque. Thanks goes to the generous photographer for allowing me to use his FindAGrave photo of Philip Fry's markers and to Suzy Burt for all her research, writing and explanations about the Fry family.

For my confused cousins, our Fry ancestry is through this line:


  1. A year later, I find myself, and your scrapbook/blog, at Philip's death location. I descend from Samuel who married Nancy Blythe. Any luck on finding will, probate, or other records to tie Kizza to Philip?

    1. Karon, I have not looked for proof; however, DNA results via AncestryDNA have given me many matches to other descendents of Philip and his wives, as well as Dunkelbergers. It's not overly scientific, but it's the best I expect to find.