Biography of Theodor Fries
Iowa County, IA Biographies





Theodor Fries passed away in Marengo on the 4th of August, 1914, after a long and useful career as a business man. He was the owner of a furniture store and undertaking parlors and won an honored place in business circles. He was born in Burgauf, Fahmain, Holstein, Germany, on the 7th of January, 1844. His mother died when he was only six years of age but his father, George Fries, lived to an advanced age in the fatherland.

Theodor Fries passed his boyhood and youth in his native land and there received his education and learned the cabinetmaker's trade. He became engaged to a young woman there but as their financial condition would not permit them to marry, in 1871 she emigrated to America, intending to join relatives in Iowa. Mr. Fries crossed the Atlantic at the same time with Iowa as his destination but on the ocean voyage contracted smallpox and giving his fiancee his last ten dollars, he was separated from her for some time. After recovering his health he worked upon farms in Iowa a few months, receiving the meager wages characteristic of the times, and later entered a furniture store, where he followed his trade of cabinetmaking. At length Mr. Fries opened a furniture store of his own and also did embalming. When the law was passed requiring undertakers to be licensed he entered a school of embalming and in due time received his diploma. His expert knowledge of furniture, gained from working as a cabinetmaker, enabled him to choose his stock well and as his business methods were always above question he built up a gratifying trade and his was one of the best known furniture stores in Marengo. He also did a good business as a funeral director and as the years passed his resources grew steadily.

On the 26th of February, 189o, Mr. Fries was united in marriage to Miss Louisa Voss, who was born in Iowa City, Johnson county, Iowa, a daughter of Charles and Caroline (Zager) Voss, and they had two children, George, who attended the State University; and Carrie, who completed her education at Cedar Falls college.

Although Mr. Fries was a republican he was nominated and elected to the office of county coroner on the democratic ticket. He served with credit for several terms but resigned before the expiration of his last term. He was well known all over the county and his worth as a man and his unswerving integrity were acknowledged by all who came in contact with him. He was a credit to his community and his death was a loss to his city and county, as in the last analysis it is such men as he that make a community strong and progressive.

From:
History of Iowa County, Iowa
And its People
By: James C. Dinwiddie
Vol II
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Chiago 1915


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