EDWARD W. FROMONG. More than forty years have passed since the Fromong family became established in Western Kansas and Pawnee County. In the earlier years their lives were accompanied hand in hand with hardship, toil and adversity, but later years have bestowed upon them liberal rewards in comfort, large position and the esteem which inevitably flows to men of hardy industry, of self-sufficient lives and of public spirited character.
The founder of the family in this section of Kansas was the late Nicholas Fromong. He was born in Germany March 3, 1816, and was brought to America when a child. The family located in St. Clair County, Illinois, near the City of St. Louis, and the parents of Nicholas spent the rest of their days there as substantial and thrifty farmers. Nicholas Fromong was one of a family of two sons and three daughters. His brother John moved out to Oregon where he died leaving children. Nicholas Fromong was reared in circumstances where it was impossible for him to gain an education. He was never able to write his own name, but his practical energy and good sense did much to eliminate this handicap so far as his success was concerned. In Illinois he learned farming and was always a hard worker. Though he was past forty-five years of age when the war came on he furnished a substitute for the army.
It was on November 1, 1876, that he arrived with his family in Pawnee County. He came to Kansas by railroad, and brought two carloads of equipment with him, including horses, cattle, implements and household goods. His homestead was in Pleasant Ridge Township, the northeast quarter of section 6, township 22, range 18. There he erected a cheap frame shanty of two rooms and followed the example of other pioneers in breaking up some of the sod and planting a crop. Almost from the first he was afflicted with drought and grasshoppers, and there were many other discouraging and disagreeable features. None the less, the more he endured the better he liked the country and never had a thought of leaving it. After considerable experimentation and the process of adapting himself to the country instead of trying to adapt the country to his own methods, he became a cattle raiser and wheat grower. He lived long enough to prove up his land, being a man of about sixty years when he came to Kansas, and had made considerable improvements before his death, which occurred March 31, 1893. He served as a director of his school district, and he was a member of the Catholic Church and did much to maintain the worship of that religion in his section. The early services of the church were held in school houses and frequently by preachers who were themselves homesteaders and who did their work for the good of the cause, as the people were unable to pay salaries to ministers.
Nicholas Fromong was married in St. Clair County, Illinois, to Miss Margaret Wisrock, whose people also came from Germany. She died in August, 1896. Her children were: Theresa, who lives at Rozel, Kansas, widow of Carl Werner; August, a farmer near the old homestead; Mary, widow of O. P. Webster, of Fitzgerald, Georgia; Josephine, on the old home; Edward W.; John, still on the old homestead; and Kate, wife of George Sufficool, of Pueblo, Colorado.
Edward W. Fromong, who was born in St. Clair County, Illinois, May 12, 1867, was about nine years of age when he accompanied the family to Pawnee County. He was old enough to take an active share in the pioneer life of the community and remembers many incidents connected with the early life of the family in this section. He obtained his early education entirely in country schools, and he lived at home with his parents until he was nearly thirty years of age. His first independent home was established a mile south of Rozel, where he began life as a renter. He rented land and farmed it for seven years before he felt justified in buying a place of his own. His first purchase was the south half of section 34, township 21, range 19. This he bought on the installment plan from the Arkansas Valley Town and Land Company. The crops he raised gave him the revenues sufficient to meet the annually recurring payments on principal and interest. He has made a decided success as a wheat grower. His best yield came in 1914, with an average of thirty-one bushels per acre, from 700 acres. The same acreage in the same crop in 1915 yielded only 7,000 bushels. Then came the dry year of 1916, when from 450 acres he threshed an average of thirteen bushels to the acre. Mr. Fromong was among the fortunate few who were able to hold their crop until the spring of 1917 and when he sold in April he was paid $2.25 a bushel. At one time he sold wheat for 45 cents a bushel and the prices of recent years are higher than his wildest dreams could have led him to expect twenty years ago.
From his prosperity Mr. Fromong has acquired a large interest as a land holder and also those circumstances which enable a family to live in true modern comfort. Lands are much higher now than when he began buying. For a half section a few years ago he paid $2,600. More recently he paid $7,000 for section 3, township 22, range 19. Of this land 1,000 acres are now under cultivation. His home is one of the most beautiful and commodious in the entire county. It was erected in 1916 and contains twelve rooms, all thoroughly modern and well furnished, and the house is lighted with an independent electric system.
Mr. Fromong has not neglected public affairs, has served three years as a member of the Rozel School Board, and has always cast his vote to the best advantage, usually as an independent though with democratic leanings. He is affiliated with the Camp of the Modern Woodmen of America.
On January 1, 1896, Mr. Fromong married Miss Maude M. Arnold. Her father, Sanford A. Arnold, was the pioneer who homesteaded at Sanford, a station which was named in his honor. Mr. and Mrs. Fromong have the following children: Laura Fern, Lola May, Bernice Grace, Hazel Irene and Margaret Emma. Laura Fern is teaching Burdett in the schools. Bernice Grace is a teacher in the country school near Garfield and is a graduate of the class of 1917 in the Rozel High School and throughout the eleven years she attended school she had the remarkable record of having been absent only two days and without a single mark of tardiness registered against her. Lola May had one year of high school; Hazel Irene is a senior in the Rozel High School and Margaret Emma is just entering school.
Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p.,  leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.
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