|(This is a scanned in copy of the family history of the Rolla Nathan Frisinger and Destina Robison Frisinger (Tina) Family. Rolla Frisinger was born in Rockford, Mercer County Ohio on February 19th 1890. Destina was born Destina Robinson, November 25th 1888 Rockford, Mercer County, Ohio. The spelling of Robinson was changed to Robison after she graduated from high school. Frisinger was spelled Frysinger until sometime between 1913 and 1916. This story is told by their second oldest son, Clo Edward, Frisinger, Born Clo Edward Frysinger January 28th 1912, in Rockford Ohio. Ed was 98 at the time and the last surviving child of Rolla and Destina. His health was poor enough at the time that he was unable to attend the reunion so he prepared a 7 page summary for those in attendance. He has since died. This note and any other comments in brackets have been added by me, William Nathan Frisinger, grandson of Rolla and Destina by Max Robinson Frisinger. Ed refers a number of times to papers he has. Unfortunately many of these were lost when Ed tried to ship them to his daughter Sue Haley, she still has the remaining ones as of 12/19/2007.)
A FRISINGER FAMILY HISTORY PREPARED BY ED FRISINGER FOR THE 2001 FRISINGER FAMILY REUNION HELD AT ESTES PARK, COLORADO. AUGUST 10-12, 2001
I am going to give you a brief sketch of the lineage of our Frisinger family from Ludwig Freidrich Freysinger down to myself and then you can all take the part from my mother and dad and yours from there on The original Frisinger who came to America was Ludwig Freidrich Freysinger. He spelled the name "Freysinger" which I understand is a variation of "Freisinger". I understand that it came from Freising, Germany, which is a beautiful city near Munich. He came down the Rhine River to Rotterdam and took a ship from Rotterdam that was sailing for Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1754. From there he went to the York, Pennsylvania area where he established a home. Ludwig was a stone mason and a farmer. According to the Pennsylvania achieves, he served in a Militia company in York county and according to family history he served as a guard over prisoners. This qualifies us to be Sons of the American Revolution and myself. my brother Max, my nephew John, and my grandson David Haley are all members.
The next generation was Johann Peter. Johann Peter was one of Ludwig's sons. We have a baptismal certificate of one of Johann's brothers, but we have not been able to get one of Johann Peters. Johann later moved near Norfolk, Virginia. There is a rock monument in York that shows that a group of Army officers, including a John Freysinger, went out to meet General Lafayette, who was coming back to visit the various troops that he bad fought with during the Revolutionary War. There is also a Frisinger building in York as well.
Johann Peter Freysinger, I understand according to records that we have, had about 1,700 acres of land in Virginia. He fell from a bridge and was killed when he was in his forties. His widow and their eight children later joined a wagon train and went to Ohio where they settled a little bit north of Cincinnati, Ohio. She later remarried. Her son William Freysinger was next in our family line. He moved from that area to Mercer County, Dublin Township, Ohio. He arrived there in 1817 and was one of the early pioneers in that area. He lived just outside of Rockford, Ohio where my brothers and I were born. William and his wife had a number of children including their son Nathan who was my great grandfather. Nathan had a large amount of land in Dublin Township and when each of his children were married he gave them a farm. My grandfather was George Washington Frysinger (you will notice that at this point the "e" had been dropped). My grandfather lived on his farm and my dad was raised in the country there and went to the country school until the 8th. grade and that finished his education. My grandparents and my dad later moved into the nearby town of Rockford, Ohio. My grandfather had a livery stable as well as other interests. He was quite involved in surrey racing at the county fair and he made the circuit of the various fairs.
I think that I should tell you about my grandmother Frisinger so that you know where my father's honor and integrity come from. She was the sole example of honor and integrity. She was a deeply religious woman and everyone who knew her loved her. Her maiden name was Arena Hesser. She was the daughter of Louis and Mary Hesser. Her family had lived near Rockford but had gone by wagon train to Oklahoma and that is where she was born. Her father died young and her mother returned to the Rockford area. Her mother married a second time to a man named Boroff. Later she, my great grandmother, lived in a small house in Rockford by herself and my grandmother kept a check on her and made sure that she was all right and well taken care of.
My grandmother Frisinger ran a boarding house in Rockford while my grandfather ran the livery.. She had several boarders. Some of them I knew and they were very good people. I used to go there quite often for dinner. My grandfather would be at the head of the table and he would look at me as I was eating and say: "That boy is hallow clear to his toes!" Grandmother had her own cow so she had her own milk for the table. They weren't in those days worried about pasteurizing milk. She also had a five acre plot of land at the edge of town. Among the people she had living in her home, she always had a young boy who was going to school. She gave him a living and a home so he could go to school and he would help around the house. He would bring the cow from the five acre plot to the barn in back of her house and my grandmother would go out and milk the cow. I remember watching her milk the cow and being awe-struck at the way the milk would shoot out, just unbelievable. She would sit on this little 3-legged stool and milk the cow and the boy would take it back to the pasture. Every year she would always butcher one or two hogs to make sausage and other meat that she would can. She would have a lot of cans of meat and I remember many times when she was doing this. We did that later on my dad's farm near Chelsea, Michigan We all got shares of the meat and the lard that went with it.
My grandmother was probably the most respected and loved woman in the little town of Rockford. Everyone just loved her and she was "Aunt Arena" to everybody in town. She was always helping someone out and she was always there to do something if something needed doing. She was very active in her church. I don't think she had much education, but she read her Bible from cover to cover. She was deeply religious. My grandfather died in 1925 and when he died he was buried in the Frisinger cemetery which was about 7 or 8 miles out of Rockford on the farm that had belonged to great grandfather Nathan, who had donated the land for a cemetery and also built a small church beside it. The story is that Nathan never was inside the church after he built it, but he built it for his wife because she was very religious. The only time he was in it was for his own funeral. My grandfather was buried right next to my great grandfather and they both had obelisk monuments. They were the two largest monuments in the cemetery and when my grandfather had his made and installed. His was six inches taller than his fathers.
My grandfather had been married twice before he married my grandmother. His first wife only lived a few months after they were married and his second wife also died young. My grandfather and his second wife had a son whose name was Merritt. So he was a half brother to my dad and he was about 15 to 16 years older.
After my grandfather died in 1925, my grandmother married John Scheidt. John had never married and was probably in his late 60s when they were married. He was a very fine man, a very nice person, and they were happily married. He had put a nephew through medical school and his nephew was practicing medicine in Van Weert, Ohio, which was about 14 miles from Rockford.
After John and my grandmother were married, John's nephew would come over to their house whenever they needed him and he took care of them.
After John Scheidt died, my father made sure that my grandmother had everything that she needed. My grandmother belonged to the United Brethren Church in Rockford. In her later years she wasn't able to go to church, but she had a radio and listened to these preachers over the radio and there was one preacher that she was quite taken with. My dad was sending money regularly for groceries and her other bills and everything, when he found out that she was not buying groceries and was practically living on no food at all. She was sending the money to this radio preacher. Dad had to go down and arrange with the grocery store for her to have a charge account so she could charge anything she wanted, and they would send the bill to my dad and he would pay for it. Finally, when she lost her sight he got a woman in to live with her and take care of her. .
Later on when grandmother started to make plans for her burial, she told my dad that she wanted to be buried with John because grandfather Frisinger already had two wives buried with him - "He has enough wives there." She was buried by John's side and the stone has her name, Arena Frisinger Scheidt. I remember the day of the funeral. It was an overcast day - no sun what-so-ever. Just a very gray overcast day. As we were having the final services at the graveside, the sun suddenly came out and there was a ray of light directly on her grave. It was the most astounding thing I have ever seen because it was just one ray of light directly to her graveside. It impressed me to this day. I will never forget it!
My father, Rolla Nathan Frisinger, married my mother, Destina Robinson and they lived in Rockford, Ohio. Dad went to work first in a tile mill as a foreman and later he worked in a drug store. In 1913 he was appointed by President Wilson as the Postmaster in Rockford, Ohio and at that time he was the youngest person ever appointed as a Postmaster. He served as Postmaster for eight years. During that time, he became very prominent in the business community of Rockford and had many, many friends. He was well liked by everyone and highly respected. During that time he became acquainted with Walter Lewis, who had come to Rockford and bought a lumber yard.
After dad left his job as Postmaster in 1921, he went into some small contracting work. Walter Lewis then came to dad and said that he wanted to form a construction company with him. The company later included Herb Frisinger (a cousin of dads) and John Moser. The company was first called The Rockford Construction Company. The first job that I know of that they had was building the new high school in Rockford, which was quite a large project for a young company. Then they decided to go into highway construction.
In the early 1920's, they had some highway construction contracts in Michigan. They then decided that since Michigan had one of the largest road building projects in the United States, they should move to Michigan and have their headquarters there. In 1925 the name of the company was changed to The Lewis & Frisinger Company. Since in the construction business, you can have your offices wherever you want because you work all over, they decided to make their headquarters in Ann Arbor, Michigan.. My parents felt that since they had six boys they should live in a university town so that the boys could receive a good education. We moved to Ann Arbor in 1926. Walter Lewis supervised the construction of our home on Brooklyn Street and he lived right across the street from us. Mr. Lewis was also running the construction business.
After we had moved into our new home on Brooklyn Street a very lucky thing happened. The parents of Mary Agnes built a home next door to the Lewis' because they had decided to move to Ann Arbor from Toledo, Ohio for the same reason - so their children could go to the University of Michigan. So that is how I became acquainted with Mary Agnes. I remember that Lucy Lewis introduced us in the Narthex of the Old Presbyterian Church in Ann Arbor in 1927. We didn't date or anything then. Later in 1930 we started dating and she has been my girl and my life ever since.
In 1927, Mr. Lewis was killed at one of our construction jobs. Our company had a contract to build a by-pass around Ann Arbor from the west side to the east side. At that time it was called the N-17 Drive By-pass, but later it became known as Stadium Boulevard because part of the University of Michigan Stadium was built adjoining a portion of it. Mr. Lewis was walking towards the concrete mixer and stepped in back of a truck and the truck ran over him and killed him It was a terrible shock to everyone and it was very difficult for us. My dad and Herb Frisinger bought Mrs. Lewis' interest in the company and the two of them continued on as Lewis & Frisinger Company until 1961 when we sold the business. Dad was the President of Lewis & Frisinger Company until 1947, when he retired from that job and I was elected President and remained as President until the company was sold in 196 t. At that time many of us more or less retired. We had a very successful business. It was hard to let it go but it was the best thing we thought, for everyone, and everyone was happy with the way things worked out.
My dad served as Founding President and First President of the Michigan Highway Contractors Association. Later on Herb served as President and much later I became the 26th. President. So we have been very active in working for the betterment of the highway system in Michigan. We were and we still are very proud of all the things we have been able to do. Dad also ran for Mayor of Ann Arbor in the early 1930's as a Democrat and in the Republican town only lost by 85 votes.
After we sold the company I did some contracting work of my own, but it just wasn't the same. I then got a call from a bonding company that represented a group of 8 bonding companies. The Michigan State Highway Department had recommended me to possibly work as a consultant for them in reference to a contractor who had $18 million worth of contracts and suddenly found himself without any money to meet a payroll. I was their consultant for three years and we got everything straightened out successful. I then was a consultant for three years helping a construction firm continue operation after its two owners (brothers and friends of mine) died in a helicopter crash. I had that cleared up in 1968.
In 1968, my older brother Hubert died suddenly of a massive heart attack and he was only 59 years old. Mary Agnes convinced me that it was time for me to retire too. We retired to Florida in 1968 where we lived for 30 years. We spent 20 years in Pompano Beach and 10 years in Lauderdale by the Sea. We had lovely homes there and we enjoyed it very much. However, in 1996, I went to bed one night reading a book. The next morning I picked up the newspaper and it was a blank sheet of paper. I went to the doctor immediately. I bad lost sight completely in my right eye and had only 20/70 vision in my left eye. I could see but it was impossible for me to read. We struggled along from 1996 to 1998 with our various health problems. In 1998, Sue convinced us that we should come to Santa Rosa, California to be near her so that she could help us with our affairs. We moved to a very nice retirement complex and we were both happy that we made the move.
A little more detail about my family. There was my older brother Hubert, who was born on JanuarY 28, 1909. I happened to be born on his third birthday. I was followed by four brothers; Max, George, Ralph, and Charles Franklin. Ralph and Charles Franklin both were very wonderful golfers. They were almost scratch players. Both of them were State Champions for the State of Michigan while they were in high school.
Going back to the' early 1920's, my father was elected Mayor of Rockford, Ohio one year when he was away on a construction job which shows you how highly regarded he was by the people of Rockford. I remember when I went back to Rockford for a visit after we had moved to Ann Arbor for some time, I would walk down the street and I would hear people say: "There goes Rolla Frysinger's son." To me he was one of the finest men that ever lived and my mother was a wonderful person too.
The Robinson family (my mother's family) carne from Pennsylvania to Ohio. Her grandfather came to Rockford in 1847 and he was a cabinetmaker and would also make coffins and other things. He was a very fine cabinet maker. We now have one of his corner cabinets that he made entirely without nails or screws. All of the parts were put together with wooden dowels that he had made. It is a beautiful piece of furniture. My great aunt (my mother's aunt) got most of the family furnishings and things. I don't know whether she was the only daughter or not, but anyway she got most of the family furnishings which included a lot of furniture that her father had made. I remember seeing some of it in her house and it was very beautiful furniture. Her great grandfather was Percifer Robinson. I tried for a long time to find information on him but I was never able to get too much beyond the early 1800s when they lived in Pennsylvania and then came to Rockford. My mother's father was John J. Robinson and my mother had seven brothers and sisters. He died in 1900 and he was only 50 years old. My mother was 12 years old at that time. My two Robinson uncles headed the household and took care of her until she married my father.
My wife, Mary Agnes Swanwick Frisinger, was a descendant of William Scott and his wife. Mrs. Scott was a member of a prominent Virginia family and her maiden name was Mason. William Scott bad several children. One of his children was Winfield Scott, who became a hero of the French and Indian Wars and later served in many capacities in the Army. At the time of the start of the Civil War, he was Commander-in-Chief of all of the United States Armies but he was at an age that he was no longer really capable of doing the job. As a result, President Lincoln and Secretary of War Stratton went to General Scott's home to relieve him of his command. They both held him in very high respect and they expressed their gratitude and thanks to him for his past service. Earlier he had been a candidate for Vice President but he was not nominated.
Mary Agnes' mother's maiden name was Patterson. The Patterson family came over from England and came to the United States in the early 1800s. They were a combination of English, Scottish, and Irish. Her father's family came from England. He was born John Thomas Swanwick and came to the Pennsylvania area near Pittsburgh. Both families came and settled in that area and that is where her parents met and were married. We don't know too much about the Patterson family . except they were involved in mining somewhere in Pennsylvania. Mary Agnes was born in Monessen, Pennsylvania which is a small town near Pittsburgh. We visited it once many, many years ago.
In terms about learning more about Frisinger history, in the late 1970s my brother Max and I financed sending Max's son Jim to York, Pennsylvania to meet with some distant Frisinger relatives. One person that Jim talked with was a Howard L. Frisinger who was in his 90's and who had done a great deal of research on the family history. Howard lived near Philadelphia, but he took Jim to York and showed Jim a lot of various properties that Ludwig Freysinger had lived in and places that Ludwig had built.
Changes have occurred in the spelling of our last name over the years. Most of Ludwig's sons dropped the "e" and made it Frysinger. Somewhere along the line some of the family changed the "y" to an "i" making it Frisinger. Actually, my mother and dad's marriage certificate - and Hubert, Max and my birth certificates - were all Frysinger. When dad went into business with Herb Frisinger and Walter Lewis, Herb spelled Frisinger with an "i" and dad decided that he would change the spelling to an "i". Later, Hubert, Max and I went to court and had our name legally changed to "Fri". It might be interesting to note that in my Grandfather's will, when it was probated, part of the time the spelling was Fry and part of the time it was Fri. My grandmother and her brother-in-law, Charles Frisinger, were probating the will and handling things. They had to sign each portion of each section according to the way the name was spelled in that section. It was an odd situation.
I have been trying to think of things that occurred along the line during our growing up as a family of six boys. There's not a lot that I remember in detail except that I can say that with six boys - all with different characteristics and different interests - there was never any difficulty between us. We all had a good relationship with each other. It was really quite amazing. All six of us boys were born in Rockford, Ohio when dad was Postmaster for eight years and later was Mayor of Rockford.
One of the first things I remember is that Hubert bought the parts - a kit - to build a little radio. He built this little radio and the one station that we could get was KDKA in Pittsburgh. There wasn't much on the station but news. The whole family would sometimes sit around the radio and listen to the news coming in over this wonderful invention that Hubert had put together. It was really great. I also remember the 1932 Democratic National Convention. Dad was a delegate from Michigan and a strong supporter of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The convention was held in Chicago so dad took the family there with him. He would allow each of us boys to use his delegate card and go on the floor of the convention in order to experience and appreciate the event. I went on the floor when the Governor of New York, and also one of the candidates for the nomination, Al Smith gave his speech.
In terms of education, Hubert graduated from Rockford High School, but I was three years younger and still in high school when we moved to Ann Arbor. I attended University High School in Ann Arbor my sophomore and junior years. Then dad and mom went to Santa Monica, California because my dad had some health problems and had to get away from the business. I graduated from Santa Monica High School and made friends there, who now 68 years later, I still communicate with. I had some wonderful friendships there.
Three of us boys received degrees from the University of Michigan. Hubert received his BA degree' and an MBA in Finance. He was the financial person and the Treasurer for the company. Then later, after World War II, be decided to become a professor. He went back to the University and in the course of getting his Ph.D. in Economics, he received two additional masters degrees. He became a professor at the University of Toledo where he worked until his untimely death in 1968.
I received a BS degree and a Masters of Science degree in Civil Engineering. Max attended the University of Michigan, and in his senior year he transferred to UCLA and received his BA degree there. He then returned to the University of Michigan for his MBA. George and Ralph both attended the University of Michigan and then transferred to other universities where they received their degree. George received his BA degree from Ferris State University and Ralph received his as degree in Pharmacy from the University of Grand Rapids. Frank was not interested in going to college. His great interests was mechanics. When Frank came out of the Army after the war, he took courses in mechanics and became a Master Mechanic. Soon he became the Superintendent of Equipment for the Lewis & Frisinger Company. He did a very fine job in that position. Later, after the company was sold, Frank and a group of other men built a large bowling alley which they owned for several years. He finally sold his interest in it and went to work for the City of Ann Arbor in their Equipment/Maintenance Department. So we all received a good education. We have our parents to thank for that because they were very much interested in their children having a good education.
In order to support the education of others, Mary Agnes and I established with quite a substantial sum what is known as a Charitable Remainder Trust with the University of Michigan. One part of it is in for scholarships in the College of Engineering and the other part is going to the Medical School for research in Parkinson, Cancer, and Radiation Research. We are very happy that we have been able to provide this support for needy students and further medical research.
My father died in his sleep on January 23, 1961 in their winter home in Santa Monica, California. He was 70 years old. At the time of his death, the Ann Arbor News had a front page article reviewing his life and his many accomplishments. My mother died on June 15, 1979 in Ann Arbor following a long illness. She was 90 years old. Both Rolla and Destina were outstanding parents and outstanding individuals. Keep them in your prayers. I send my best wishes to all of you.
Ed Frisinger, July 2001