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Delaware County, Iowa

 Biography Directory


Emsley H. Frentress


Honey Creek Township



            EMSLEY H. FRENTRESS, eldest son of Frederick N. Frentress, a sketch of whom appears elsewhere in this volume, was born in Jo Daviess county, Ill., August 14, 1868. His father moving to Delaware county, Iowa, two years later, young Frentress' childhood and youth were spent in that county. He grew up on the old homestead in Honey Creek township, where his parents still reside, and received the usual educational advantages accorded to the youth of that locality. He quit the farm in his twentieth year and, entering the employ of the Greeley Co-Operative Creamery Company, was with them for something like a year, at the end of which time he began buying and shipping poultry to New York city, Boston and other places in the East. He followed this successfully until recently, when he returned to his native county, Jo Daviess, in Illinois, where he took charge of his father's farm in that county, which he is now conducting. Mr. Frentress is an intelligent young man, industrious, well read and possessing sound ideas on many questions beyond those with which he is daily concerned in the pursuit of his calling as a farmer. For a man of his age he possesses an

 exceptionally comprehensive knowledge of the political matters of the day and he is free and outspoken in his opinions on all public questions. He is an uncompromising republican in his political faith, and defends his principles with spirit and understanding when occasion demands. As a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows he enjoys the esteem and confidence of the entire craft wherever known.

     Frederick N. Frentress was born in Jo Daviess county, Ill., March 29, 1835, and was reared a farmer.  He worked on the home farm until twenty-three years of age, in the meantime receiving a good common school education that qualified him for all the practical business affairs of life. In 1858 Mr. Frentress went to California by way of the isthmus, and continuously until 1863 was engaged in mining, when he enlisted in Company H, First California cavalry, and for three years served in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, as well as at other points, under General Canby. His experiences in Indian skirmishes were innumerable, but the first real battle in which he took part was that of Valverde and the second at Apache Canyon, where he received a slight wound. He was mustered out at Fort Selden, N. Mex., received his pay papers at Fort Bliss, and drew his pay at Fort Leavenworth. This is not the place to laud the memory or extol the virtues of the preservers of the Union. An honest and patriotic people will ever hold the splendid services of the old soldiers in grateful remembrance, wherever and in whatsoever capacity those services were performed. But we may say in this connection that the hardest service was not necessarily seen by the soldiers in the East. Those men who enlisted on the Western frontier and who from the time of their enlistment until the close of the war were in  almost daily conflict with bands of hostile Indians, and who subsisted much as they could upon the further confines of civilization, rendered a service to their country, which entitles them to the highest encomiums of honor and which will embalm their memories forever with that of the general soldiery of the land. When we speak and write of freedom, prosperity, equal rights, the dignity of labor, the glory of the Republic, we should remember these volunteer soldiers of the West who dropped the pick in the mines and marched as cheerily to wounds and to death as did the brave sons of the North, who left the peace of their homes and the pursuit of their several callings for the same purpose. On his return to Jo Daviess county, Ill., January 6, 1867, he resumed farming on the old homestead.  November 13, 1867, he married Miss Frances V. Frentress, who was born March 9, 1848, and who is a daughter of Albert and Angeline Hall, of New York State, who had settled in Illinois about the year of 1845. In 1870, Mr. Frentress, with his bride, moved to Dubuque, Iowa, and a year later came to Delaware county. Here Mr. Frentress settled on a tract of one hundred and sixty acres, which had been willed to him by his father. But it was raw land, and all  the labor required to bring it to its present state of excellent improvement has been the work of his own hands, he now having one hundred and twenty acres under cultivation, the balance being in timber. Mr. Frentress also gives some attention to dairying, milking about fifteen cows. His inheritance in Jo Daviess county, Ill., he rents out.

      Reverting to the family of Mrs. Frentress, it may be stated that her parents, who were of Scotch descent, removed from Illinois to Wisconsin, where her father engaged in mining until 1852, when he started on his way to California, via Panama, but died at sea. Her mother, a native of Oneida county, N. Y., still survives, and is a resident of East Dubuque, Ill, having married, about 1856, for her second husband, Moses Gillman. Her age has attained sixty-nine years, with a promise of a more prolonged life. Beside her daughter, Mrs. Frentress, Mrs. Hall has living two sons: Charles V., at Coggon, Iowa, and Henry A., at Marshalltown.

      To the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Frentress have been born ten children, in the following order: Emsley H., August 14, 1868; Nellie E., June 24, 1870; Albert E., October 22, 1871; Diadema A., March 26, 1874; Sabra D., April 2, 1876; William T., September 5, 1879; Frances H., November 8, 1880; Augusta B., February 19, 1884, Llewellyn C., May 11, 1886, and Mary O., August 29, 1888.

      Mr. Frentress has never held a public office. He is a republican; he is received and accepted by all brothers and fellows as a Mason, and is also a member of A. C. Hopson Post, G. A. R. In his younger days, Mr. Frentress, possessed of the spirit of the times, did considerable roving, making, in addition to his trip to the Pacific coast, two visits to the Sandwich Islands, during which he was also in China, and on his return to California he went down the Pacific coast to Valparaiso and Talquahuana, and to within three hundred miles of Cape Horn. He mined all over what are now the western states and territories when they were practically part of  the unknown world, and he had many experiences and adventures which sound strange to the ears of the plodding men and women of this day, whose longest trips from home scarcely ever reach beyond a State fair, and whose travels are by the easy and expeditious methods of the age of steam and electricity.


~ source: Biographical souvenir of the counties of Delaware and Buchanan, Iowa; Chicago : F. A. Battey, 1890. Page 480-482; LDS microfilm #985424

~ contributed by Thom Carlson