Francis M Fries


FRANCIS M. FRIES, proprietor of the Kittanning daily and weekly Times, and a man of remarkable attainments, whose life work is being accomplished under the unusual disability of blindness, was born Oct. 8, 1867, at Mahoning Furnace, Armstrong Co., Pa., son of Matthias and Anna M. (Marshall) Fries.

Matthias Fries was born in Nassau, Germany, and came to the United States when seventeen years old, locating in Kittanning. Later his business interests took him to various places in Armstrong county, but eventually he came back to Kittanning, and spent the remainder of his life here, dying in the borough in 1896; his wife passed away in 1892.

Francis M. Fries was educated at the public schools at Kittanning, but when only twelve years old was apprenticed to learn the printer's trade, in the office of the Kittanning Times, remaining with this newspaper until 1888. For the following two years he worked as a journeyman printer in various places, in 1890 returning to Kittanning and buying a half interest in the Times, becoming its business manager. On March 15, 1909, he bought out his partner, and since then has been sole proprietor of the paper and job printing establishment connected with it.

Some years ago Mr. Fries suffered from a severe attach of typhoid fever. This disease left his eyes weak, and in time the sight of both were destroyed. For years Mr. Fries consulted with specialists, hoping to restore his sight, but finding that his case was one that could not be helped he resigned himself to his blindness, and has now become so expert that it is no longer a serious matter. Possessing a remarkable memory, he distinctly recalls whatever he has heard, and comprehending as he does every detail of his work can give personal supervision to it, although seeing none of it. Mr. Fries also does all the figuring upon his printing contracts, and never makes a mistake. What might have been a source of constant sorrow to another of less cheerful disposition is steadily put aside by Mr. Fires as something quite in the ordinary course of affairs, which he will not permit to worry him or interfere with his work. Since his affliction came upon him Mr. Fries has laid out systematic plans, and carries on his work according to these methods. Early and late he is to be found in his establishment, and it is safe to say that nothing appears in either his daily or weekly that has not been personally supervised by him. His cheerfulness, energy and remarkable success set an example for all who know him, and his many other excellent traits of character combine with these in making him the warm friend of all who have the privilege of his acquaintance.

On Feb. 1, 1891, Mr. Fries was married to Mary D. Toy, of Armstrong county, Pa. Three children have been born to them: Frank T., who is in charge of the mechanical department of the paper; Margaretta C., and Antonina M. Fraternally Mr. Fries is a member of the Knights of Columbus, the C. M. B. A., the Foresters, and the Sons of Veterans. Religiously he is a consistent member of the Catholic Church.

Source: Pages(s) 704-705, Armstrong County, Pa., Her People, Past and Present, J.H. Beers & Co., 1914
Transcribed October 1998 by Neil G. Anderson for the Armstrong County Beers Project
Contributed for use by the Armstrong County Genealogy Project (

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