Rev. H. C. William Frese
On account of the nature of their calling the clergy occupy a prominent place in the community and wield an influence which often profoundly affects the lives of those with whom they come in contact. Men only of unsullied character and of the very highest attainments mentally and morally are worthy of the responsibility of expounding the holy writ. and to this number belongs Rev. H. C. William Frese, whose name stands at the head of this sketch.
He was born in Tonawanda, New York, August 23, 1873, and is a son of Rev. Louis and Louisa (Richter) Frese, natives of Hanover, Germany, and St. Louis respectively. The father received his preliminary education in Germany and at seventeen years of age crossed the ocean to America and engaged for several years as a bookkeeper in New York city.
About 1866 he went to St. Louis and studied for the ministry of the Lutheran church, graduating from Concordia Seminary. He began preaching at Archibald, Ohio, and successfully carried on his work for many years, his last charge being at Council Bluffs, Iowa, where he died in 1900. At the time of his death he was fifty-four years of age and in the midst of a life of great usefulness. His wife is still living and makes her home at Champaign, Illinois.
Henry Frese, the paternal grandfather of our subject, was a farmer in Germany and married Henrietta Hincke. They had four sons and one daughter: Adolph, Julius, Ernst, Louis, and Henrietta, now the wife of Fred Riebow, of South Omaha. The four sons were all ministers of the gospel.
The maternal grandfather, John Richter, was a native of Saxony, Germany. He was a cooper by trade and located in St. Louis many years ago. He married Louisa Espenschied, and they were the parents of four children: Ernst, Louisa, Theresa and Theodore, the two last named being now deceased.
There were ten children in the family of Louis and Louisa Frese, namely: Esther, now Mrs. Henry Dirks, of Poplar Bluff, Missouri; H. C. William, of this review; Theresa, Louisa and Julius, all of whom are deceased; Louis, a teacher at Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Emil and Walter, both of whom are deceased; and Emma and Anna, who are living at home.
H. C. William Frese received his early education in the parochial schools of Effingham and Champaign, Illinois. He later became a student of the North Western University of Watertown, Wisconsin, and Concordia College at Springfield, Illinois, graduating in theology from the latter institution in 1896. He began his labors as a missionary at Poplar Bluff, Missouri, continuing there for four years. His second charge as a pastor was at St. Paul's Lutheran church in Council Bluffs. He came to Denison in 1903 and since that time has been pastor of Zion's Lutheran church and also superintendent of the Lutheran school of this city.
On the 2d of October, 1902, Mr. Frese was united in marriage to Miss Elizabeth Besecker, who was born at Evansville, Indiana. Her parents, who were also natives of that state, moved to Wabash county, Illinois, when she was very young and she grew to womanhood there. She received her early education in Wabash county and later attended the State Normal School in Carbondale, Illinois. She was married to Mr. Frese near Cowling, Illinois.
Her father was a farmer but is now living retired at Mount Carmel, Illinois. He held various township offices and was school treasurer for over twenty years and supervisor for three years, being very active in all works pertaining to the advancement of the neighborhood. There were four children in their family, namely: Elizabeth, now Mrs. H. C. William Frese; Frederick; Mary, the wife of Theodore Wirth; and Lena.
The paternal grandfather of Mrs. Frese was Carl Besecker, a farmer of Saxony, Germany, who died when comparatively a young man, but his widow lived to the age of seventy-eight years. They had five children: Anna, Elizabeth, William, Christian and Andrew.
The maternal grandfather was Jacob Schweikhard, a native of Bavaria, Germany, and a farmer. He married Margaret Baumgartner and died in early manhood. but she lived to the age of seventy-five. There were three children in their family, namely: Jacob, Charlotte and Frederick.
Four children have come to bless the home of Mr. and Mrs. Frese: William and Elizabeth, deceased; Walter; and Ruth.
Politically Mr. Frese gives his adherence to the republican party, believing that in so doing he is promoting the best interests of the nation. He is thoroughly active and efficient in his church work and is a member of the Evangelical Lutheran synod of Missouri, Ohio and other states. Thoroughly alive to the great advances made along all lines during the earlier years of the twentieth century, he is, moreover, a constant student of the great book which is the basis of his belief, his message from Sunday to Sunday attracting large and interested audiences. He aims to walk in the path prescribed by the great Master and by his unselfish acts as well as by his words he has been instrumental in inducing many to adopt the Christian life.
Source: History of Crawford County, Iowa. Vol. II. Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1911.