FRYE, HENRY (1851–1941). Henry Frye, rancher and Wheeler County pioneer, was born on October 6, 1851, in Rochelle, Virginia, the son of a Presbyterian minister. At age twenty-one he moved to Austin, Texas, where he worked as a wheat harvester. He used his earnings to buy cowboy equipment and went to work on the Chisholm Trail. In 1874 Frye joined William J. (Bull) Miller in herding cattle up the trail to Kansas, where he met Miller's thirteen-year-old daughter Lula. He married her in 1877 and left by wagon for the Texas Panhandle.
In July 1877 the couple settled in Hemphill County, where they ran 200 heifers for Lula's father. They lived in a half dugout on the Washita River but later built a two-room picket house, which Lula carpeted with towsacks. From the original herd of 200 head, Frye received one-half of the increase. He registered his Campstool brand in 1880. In 1879 he was among those who petitioned to organize Wheeler County; he also served as a juror. In 1882 he sold his Hemphill County home to Robert Moody and moved his family to a half dugout in Wheeler County. In 1884 he purchased about 1,000 cattle and built a two-room rock house on Sweetwater Creek. The seven Frye children received much of their early education at the Rock community school.
After the town of Canadian was founded in 1887, Frye operated a mercantile store for a short time with his brother, W. E. Frye. Although his primary interest was ranching, Frye played a leading role in Canadian's civic and educational development. In 1897 a post office was established at the Frye ranchhouse, with Lula Frye as postmistress. It remained in operation until 1909. Frye invested in more land and eventually divided the original ranch into smaller farms. He passed the Campstool brand on to his sons Will, Tobe, and Harry, and his daughter Nellie Puryear. Frye's daughter Elizabeth and her husband, Frank Young, bought back the land on the Washita River where Frye's first homestead was located.
In their later years Henry and Lula Frye moved to Sulphur, Oklahoma, where their sons Will and Harry operated a sanatorium and bathhouse. Henry died there on August 14, 1941, and Lula died about a year later. They were both buried in Sulphur.
Sallie B. Harris, Cowmen and Ladies: A History of Hemphill County (Canyon, Texas: Staked Plains, 1977). Sallie B. Harris, comp., Hide Town in the Texas Panhandle: 100 Years in Wheeler County and Panhandle of Texas (Hereford, Texas: Pioneer, 1968). Millie Jones Porter, Memory Cups of Panhandle Pioneers (Clarendon, Texas: Clarendon Press, 1945). Pauline D. and R. L. Robertson, Cowman's Country: Fifty Frontier Ranches in the Texas Panhandle, 1876–1887 (Amarillo: Paramount, 1981).
Image Use Disclaimer
All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.
For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml
If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.H. Allen Anderson, "FRYE, HENRY," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/ffr32), accessed December 01, 2015. Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Get Texas history everyday,
with day by day
Each day's email tells a little bit more of the story of Texas and links to our collection of more than 27,000 articles