HARRY L. FRIER. The journalistic profession is one of the most honorable in which men possessed of the higher order of intelligence can engage, and it is one that usually appeals to one who has ambition and ability for leadership among his fellows. Newspapers are truly the real moulders of public opinion and their editors wield a powerful influence in directing the efforts and energies of the public into channels that are effective and redound to the general welfare of the people. A community which boasts a bright, up-to-date newspaper conducted by a man of high intelligence and business and executive ability is fortunate, and in this respect Franklin county, Illinois, may congratulate itself as the home of the Benton Republican, of which paper the editor and proprietor is Mr. Harry L. Frier, one of Benton's leading and most highly respected citizens.
Mr. Frier is a native of Shawneetown, Illinois, at which place he was born on January 20, 1871. His parents, both of whom are still living and are well known residents of Benton, are N. A. and Cornelia (Sanderson) Frier. The parents were born in Illinois, the mother at Equality and the father at Shawneetown, where the latter received his early education and learned the marble cutters trade, at which he was employed for a number of years. His political beliefs embrace the tenets of the Republican party, in the councils of which he takes an
active part, and he now holds the office of city judge, serving the community faithfully and well in this capacity. He is a valued member of several of the leading fraternal organizations, including the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Knights of Pythias, in both of which he has been honored by election to chairs. He and his wife are also leaders in church activities, being devout members of the Methodist Episcopal denomination.
Harry L. Frier spent his early boyhood days in his native town, attending the schools at Shawneetown until sixteen years of age, when he gave up further study and embraced an opportunity to learn the printer's trade in the News office there, that paper being then conducted by L. F. Tromly. It speaks highly of Mr. Frier's unfailing industry and faithfulness, as well as his ability, that he remained in this his first position for fifteen years, also working one year for Mr. Tromly at St. Louis. He early undertook editorial work in connection with the publication of the paper and proved himself a fluent and logical writer.
After severing his connection with the News Mr. Frier filled the chair of assistant editor of the Poplar Bluff (Missouri) Repnblican for two years and then, in 1898, located in Benton, having negotiated the purchase of the Benton Republican from Chenault & McCreery. Since that date he has continuously conducted the publication, built up a large and prosperous business and having upon his list of subscribers the name of practically every person of any prominence in the county. As the name indicates, Mr. Frier's paper advocates Republican principles, and he has at all times been active in political affairs and a valued adviser in the party's councils. He was for several years secretary of the Republican County Central Committee.
In connection with his publication business Mr. Frier also operates as a news dealer. Since 1905 he has served as postmaster of Benton, having received his first appointment to that post from President Roosevelt, and was reappointed in 1909 by President Taft. He has conducted the office in a way that has given popular satisfaction, at all times his administration of affairs being particularly efficient.
In 1898 Mr. Frier was united in marriage to Miss Mollie C. Chapman, daughter of Friend C. Chapman, an old settler of McLanesboro, Illinois, and a Civil war veteran. Mr. and Mrs. Frier are the parents of a family of four children, Pauline, Pearl, Florence and Wendell, all of whom are attending school. They have a happy, comfortable home, are generously hospitable and are active participants in matters of interest to the leading social and religious circles of the community. Mr. Frier is fraternally affiliated with the Masonic order, being a past master of Benton Lodge, No. 64, and he is also a Knight of Pythias, and a member of the Court of Honor and the Tribe of Ben Hur.