Richland County

Biography - Theodore Augustus Fritchey

When it is stated that the subject of this sketch has served as postmaster of Olney for three terms, or since 1897, the significance is so patent that nothing further need be said as indicating the confidence and esteem in which he is held by the people of Richland county. As an able official and representative and popular citizen, we are pleased to record in this work a sketch of the life of Mr. Fritchey, who is one of the best known men in the county, and who for many years was among the most prominent members of the bar and bench in this locality, and who, during his long residence here has done so much for the material, civic, educational and moral advancement of the county, ever having its interests at heart and losing no opportunity to help others in the work of progress while advancing his own interests.

Theodore Augustus Fritchey was born in Montgomery county, Ohio, near Dayton, April 24, 1855, the son of Benjamin and Elizabeth (McQueeny) Fritchey, natives of Pennsylvania where they were reared and where they married, later moving to Montgomery county, Ohio, locating in Baltimore, where the father engaged in merchandising. In 1870 he came to Olney where he continued in the mercantile business until his death in 1876, at the age of seventy years. His worthy life companion passed to her rest in 1900, at the age of seventy-five years. They were people of many praiseworthy traits and honorable at all times. They were the parents of eight children, all deceased except the subject of this sketch and one daughter, Mrs. J. I. Moutray, of Kokomo, Indiana, the subject having been the fifth in order of birth. He was reared in Ohio and Illinois, receiving a public school education. He was an ambitious lad and when twenty years old began the study of law with Wilson and Hutchinson, for years the leading law firm of Southern Illinois. He made rapid progress and was admitted to the bar in 1879. He then formed a partnership with Judge J. C. Allen, which continued until 1907. They did an immense business, the combination being one of peculiar power and their clients came from all parts of the county and surrounding counties, it being generally recognized as one of the best firms in the locality. The subject became prosperous through his successful practice and since the date mentioned hay been practically retired, having given up all legal practice, preferring to devote all his time to the post-office and his business interests in Richland and adjoining counties. He has large interests in oil.

In his political relations our subject is a Republican, always loyal to his party's principles and always active. When he was twenty-one years old he was elected City Clerk by a majority of one, and he so faithfully did his work that he was re-elected to serve four years in all. In 1881 he was elected City Attorney for one term of two years. Then for two terms of four years as County Judge. He made a splendid record both as City Attorney and as Judge, disposing of many important cases in a manner that stamped him as an able and learned jurist and well versed in the law. In 1897 he was appointed postmaster of Olney by President McKinley and is now (1909) serving his third term with entire satisfaction.

Judge Fritchey's happy domestic life began in 1889, when he was united in marriage with Mary Eliza Bucher, a native of Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, the daughter of John E. and Mary E. (Eby) Bucher, also natives of Pennsylvania. They moved to Ohio, where her father became the head of graded and high schools and where he died. Mrs. Bucher lives with her daughter, wife of our subject.

Mr. and Mrs. Fritchey are the parents of two children, both giving promise of successful futures, and who are receiving every care and attention from their fond parents. They bear the names Paul B. and Theodore A., Jr.

In his fraternal relations Judge Fritchey belongs to the ancient and honored Masonic Order, Knights Templar, also the Shrine. He is a charter member of Olney lodge No. 926, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. Mr. and Mrs. Fritchey are faithful and consistent members of the Methodist Episcopal church. They have a beautiful home in which is a fine library of choice volumes, where the judge spends many hours in reading and reflection, and they are known as people of kindness, integrity and culture.

Judge Fritchey stands admittedly in the front ranks of Richland county's distinguished citizens, possessing a thorough knowledge of law and keeping in close touch with the trend of modern thought. He has ever maintained his high standing, never descending beneath the dignity of his profession nor compromising his usefulness by countenancing any but legitimate practice.

Extracted 26 Apr 2017 by Norma Hass from 1909 Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay and Marion Counties, Illinois, pages 147-148.

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