William E. Fryberger is
the pioneer merchant of El Reno. He has been identified with that
pioneer town since April 22, 1889, at the opening of the original
Oklahoma Territory. For more than a quarter of a century his business
activities have gone forward on a constantly enlarging basis, and he
is now at the head of
a wholesale and retail department store
at El Reno and also a large establishment at Minco.
He was a young
business man of about thirty-five when he came to Oklahoma, his
earlier business experience having been acquired in Iowa and the
State of Kansas. William E. Fryberger was born in Wabash County,
Indiana, November 30, 1854, and when eight years of age removed with
his parents to Fairfield, Iowa. His father, John Fryberger, a native
of Pennsylvania and of German stock, married Margaret Bonewitz, who
was born in Ohio in 1830. They were married in 1845 and she died at
Fairfield, Iowa, in 1875. John Freyberger died in 1910 at Soldier,
Kansas. There were nine children, eight sons and one daughter, as
follows: John; George P.; Frank, deceased; William E.; Daniel,
deceased; Adelbert; Charles, Orville; and Mary, wife of James Perry,
a rancher at Fruita, Colorado.
When William E.
Fryberger was eighteen years of age and having in the meantime
acquired a fair education in the public schools, he entered the
office of The Commonwealth at Bloomfield, Iowa, and learned and
followed the printer’s trade for five years. He then gave that up,
not being satisfied with its opportunities, and for the next five
years was in the hardware business. In 1885 he moved out to Soldier,
Kansas, and followed the livestock industry in that locality until
1889, when he participated in the first great rush of white settlers
into Oklahoma Territory. Soon after coming to El Reno he opened a
wholesale grocery, afterwards added a retail department store, and a
natural outgrowth of the business was the establishment of another
store at Minco.
The citizens of El
Reno give Mr. Fryberger credit not only for his business activities
but for his public spirit. He has served as a member of the city
council and the school board and every important movement in El Reno
during the last quarter of a century has had William E. Fryberger’s
name associated with it.
February 25, 1879,
he married Miss Cora Belle Fortune. Her parents were Jesse and Lucy
(Martin) Fortune, who was born in Indiana and spent most of their
lives in Davis County, Iowa. Mr. Fryberger and wife have one
daughter, Blanche, born June 11, 1881, who is the wife of Hairy Lee
Fogg, a prominent lawyer of El Reno, and they have two
children, William Lee and Rupert.