Family Stories

Confederate Veteran Dies At the Age of 77 – Simpson County

W. J. Frey, Pvt CO 1 8 KY INF, Confederate States Army, 1839-1916.  Green Lawn Cemetery, Franklin, Simpson County, Kentucky

A gravestone for the Confederate soldier W. J. Frey caught my eye when looking at photos yesterday.  He is buried in Green Lawn Cemetery, Franklin, Simpson County, Kentucky.  Let me introduce you to him.

William Jacob Frey was born in December 1839, according to the 1900 census of Simpson County, Kentucky.  His death certificate in 1916 gives no date of birth, as well as no names for his parents.  The information was given by a member of the Central Hill Hospital in Jefferson County.  W. J. was born in Tennessee, in the area of Huntington, according to the death certificate.

William Jacob Frey enlisted with the Confederate army and served as a private in Company 1, 8th Kentucky Infantry.

September 9, 1863, in Robertson County, Tennessee, W. J. and Emily S. Brinkley were married.

Married Robertson County, Tennessee, W. J. Frey and Emily S. Brinkley, September 7, 1863, State of Tennessee, Robertson County.  I solemnized the rites of matrimony between W. J. Frey and Emily S. Brinkley, the parties named in the within license on the 9th day of September 1863.  J. S. Durrett, Justice of the Peace.

The couple is found in the 1870 census of Sumner County, Tennessee.  William, 31, is a retailer of whisky.  Emily is 25.  The following children were born in Tennessee – Evaline, 4; and four-month-old Walter.  In 1880 three children have been added to the family – Leona J., 8; Ida M., 6; and James A., 3.  Also living with the family is Emily’s mother, Martha Brinkley, 65, born in North Carolina.  Twenty years later the family is living in Simpson County, Kentucky.  A daughter Alma was 13.  Son James, 22, and wife, Minerva, 20, live next door to his parents.  They were just married.

A list of the children of W. J. and Emily:

  1. Evaline J. Frey, 1867-?
  2. Walter O. Frey, February 19, 1870-December 4, 1837, married Louisa.
  3. Leona J. Frey, 1879-?
  4. Ida M. Frey, April 1874-September 1, 1934, married William J. Adds.
  5. James Arthur Frey, December 24, 1877-May 6, 1953, married first Minerva, second Addie Lafayette Ray. Children Eula, Louis, Viola, Pearl.
  6. Alma Frey, December 24, 1886-June 19, 1949, married Robert Mainhardt Rice, lived in Montgomery County, Tennessee.

All of the following articles are from The Franklin Favorite.

The 1900 census listed William as a stone mason.  The following article lists a payment of $540 to W. J. Frey for 1904.  Thirteen instances of rocks being delivered to North Pike South, Cross Plains Road, Springfield Road, L. & N. Pike and Franklin Road.

Thursday, August 5, 1905

How many of you have heard of Doane’s Pills?  They are still sold today, and in 1909, Emily Frey was a frequent user.  If you have looked at any newspapers of the very early 1900’s, and before, you see advertisements for various medicines.  Emily Frey had problems with her kidneys and gave the following statement April 17, 1903, and it was used in various newspaper ads.

Thursday, December 5, 1907

How a Franklin Citizen Found Complete Freedom from Kidney Troubles

Mrs. W. J. Frey, living on Breckinridge Street, Franklin, Kentucky, says:  ‘I was a sufferer from a complication of diseases which were due to a disordered condition of my kidneys,  was very excitable and nervous, was restless at night and my condition was very serious.  I had a constant dull gnawing pain across the small of my back which was accompanied by sharp, shooting twinges.  I had a frequent desire to pass secretions which were scanty and the passages attended with severe pain.  The trouble grew worse and my feet and limbs began to swell.  This was my condition when I began to use Doan’s Kidney Pills which I procured at R. H. Moore & Son’s drug store.  I took them according to directions and felt great relief.  I continued their use and was cured of all the above symptoms’.

On May 6, 1907, Mrs. Frey confirmed the above statement saying: ‘Since I first used Doan’s Kidney Pills in the spring of 1903, I have not suffered the slightest return of kidney trouble.  I am constantly recommending them and believe they have given me a new lease of life.

Emily S. Brinkley Frey died April 6, 1909.

Thursday, April 15, 1909

Good Woman Gone

Mrs. W. J. Frey died at her home on Tuesday of last week.  She was a good Christian woman and much beloved by those who knew her best.  Her husband, two sons and two daughters survive her and mourn her loss.

Thursday, April 15, 1909

Card of Thanks

We wish to extend to our neighbors and friends our heartfelt thanks for their many acts of kindness and words of sympathy during the illness and death of our wife and mother.  May God’s richest blessings be yours, is our prayer.

W. J. Frey and Children

Love this great description of William’s tomato growing prowess!

Thursday, July 22, 1909

Prolific Tomato Vines

Mr. W. J. Frey has perhaps the most prolific tomato vines in Simpson County.  He has eight hills and fully 1,000 tomatoes can be gathered from each.  The fruit ranges in size from an ordinary peat to a medium grape and is of the cherry variety, used by canners.  Where the seed came from is a mystery.

In 1910 William was listed as one of the oldest men in the county.

Thursday, June 30, 1910

Three Score and Ten

An Advertisement Develops Long List of Aged Men

Last week the Franklin Studio

Last week the Franklin Studio in the McGoodwin Bank building inserted an advertisement in The Favorite in which the offer was made to give a picture free to all men and who had reached the age of 70 years.  The offer, as such things usually do, created comment, and as a result the following list has been compiled, all of whom are entitled to take advantage of the offer.  And it further demonstrates that the climate of this section is conducive to longevity.  The list follows:  Matt Dinning, Samuel Bland, F. D. Wade, Harvey Wade, A. W. Harwell, John Bottomley, Rev. J. H. Dashwood, James Hope, John Conn, James Wickware, John Bryan, C. W. Milliken, W. P. Rowland, Geo. C. Harris, Dr. James Milliken, John B. Plummer, James McClean, Sr., Robert Stewart, John Compton, James Shaw, James Harris, P. H. Gooch, George Douglass, Dr. John Neely, George H. Patterson, J. W. Baird, W. B. Booker, Rufus Stewart, J. G. Harris, W. J. Frey, A. T. Bryan, Wilson Baird.

The list of names of men over 70 years of age living within the corporate limits of Franklin shows that about one man in each 80 of the inhabitants is over 70 years of age.  A number of these men have reached the age of 80, and a few are 90 years of age, or near that point.  These figures are made up from the statements of old residents, and would no doubt show even a larger proportion were a complete county list compiled.

William was not only known for his tomatoes, but also his sweet potatoes.  The Southern Queen variety has been around a long time.  I believe the Dr. Adds mentioned is his son-in-law.

Thursday, June 8, 1911

For Sale – Southern Queen Potato Slips, at the home of Dr. Adds, near jail.  W. J. Frey, May 18 4t.

William Jacob Frey died September 22, 1916.  I could find no obituary for him, but in the 1936 issue the following was under the 20 Years Ago section.  His death certificate listed senile exhaustion as the cause of death.

Thursday, October 1, 1936

W. J. Frey, a Confederate veteran, died Friday from infirmities incident to old age. Funeral services were held at the Baptist church Sunday afternoon by Rev. B. H. Lovelace. Interment followed in Green Lawn Cemetery.


2 replies »

  1. Interesting about the little tomatoes and not knowing where they came from. Last summer both my sister and I planted tomatoes and got cherry tomatoes from our plants and it was not what was labeled On the plant.

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