Saturday, June 6, 2015

The Frogge Family

Isaac (Ike) Frogge and his wife Della Smith Frogge 

  My maternal grandmother was Ella Belle Frogge. Everyone called her Belle. The Frogge family is by far the most colorful and I have found a wealth of information about them. The name Frogge is Scottish. The original spelling was Froedge. I have traced the family back to the Wallace Clan in Scotland but I haven't been able to trace them directly to the Sir William Wallace of Braveheart fame. I believe that my family was closely related to William Wallace because most of them came from Wallace's hometown of Elderslie Renfrewshire Scotland. Sir William was born in 1308 and I have traced my line of Wallace's all the way back to 1117. John Wallace was a contemporary of Sir William Wallace and was born in 1315. I have found three Sir William Wallace's in my line that were born after Braveheart's death. Maybe this is why I value liberty. It is in my blood.

  Colonel John Frogge was born in Aberdeen Scotland sometime in 1709. He traveled to America and would die in Bath Virginia on August 19, 1794. I am reading a great book right now called the Frontiersman. It parallels the life of one of our greatest frontiersman Simon Kenton and the great Indian leader Tecumseh. Colonel Frogge's son Captain John Frogge was killed October 10, 1774 at the decisive battle of Point Pleasant Virginia, which is now in West Virginia. The battle was a costly victory for the Colonists. They lost three times more men but the Indians abandoned the battlefield. They retreated after discovering re-enforcements enroute to the aid of the Colonists. The battle of Point Pleasant was the only battle in what became known as Lord Dunmore's war. The Indians consisted mainly of the Shawnee and Mingo's led by Shawnee Chief Cornstalk. Tecumseh's father was killed in this battle. The Frontiersman describes the battle and how decisive it was. Lord Dunmore, the Royal governor of Virginia negotiated a treaty with Cornstalk that would confine the Shawnee to the Ohio side of the Ohio River. Until the outbreak of the American Revolution in 1775 settlers would flood much of the Ohio Valley. Captain John Frogge's mother was Elizabeth Strother. It is through her that I am related to two presidents. John Tyler and Zachary Taylor.

  The first settler in the Valley of the Three Forks of the Wolf River which would later become Pall Mall Tennessee was Conrad or Coonrad Pyle, the great-great grandfather of Alvin C. York. The second settler was my great-great-great-great grandfather and War of 1812 combat veteran Arthur Robinson Frogge. Some of Alvin York's best friends and worst enemies were Frogge's. At some point my great-great grandfather James McKinley Frogge moved to Paducah Kentucky from Fentress County. There he would serve as a Union soldier and raise sixteen children. One of which was my great grandfather John Clayton Breckinridge Frogge. A few months ago I let an HVAC technician from Frogge Air Conditioning and Heating Service on to the roof of the mall. I noticed that his last name was Frogge. I told him that we may be related because my grandmother was a Frogge. He didn't seem that interested but about thirty minutes later he called me and said that his father James wanted to talk to me. James is 81 years old and he said that he knew my grandmother Belle. He was a wealth of family information. A couple of days ago I talked to him again and found out that he is the grandson of my grandmothers brother James Arthur Garfield Frogge. He started off by saying that my great grandfather John Frogge, who he called "Cap" moved to Nashville with his family because he had killed several men who were trying to take his saloon from him. I have tried to verify this but haven't been able to. If this is true however it could shed some light on the mysterious deaths of my Uncles Garfield and Isaac Frogge. Then again their deaths could be just tragic coincidences.
William Frogge & his wife - Son of Arthur Robinson Frogge
and brother of my great great great grandfather Evan Frogge

Frogge Mountain In Pall Mall Tennessee

James Mckinley Frogge

1st on the left, bottom row - The foreman and my great grandfather John Clayton Breckinridge Frogge,- my grandfather Marcellus Brown, 4th from left on the back row, my uncle Elby Morse 2nd from left on back row.

  Garfield was a tough character. He was born on October 28,1880 and I assume was named after James Abram Garfield who would be elected about a week later in November and shot in the back by an assassin on July 2, 1881. The president would linger until his death on September 19, 1881. There are a few things that I recently found out about Uncle Garfield. When the Spanish American War broke out on April 25, 1898 he was 17 years old and would become a private in the 3rd Kentucky Volunteer Infantry Regiment. The 3rd Kentucky, under the command of Colonel T. J. Smith was from Western Kentucky. The regiment was mustered into Federal service from May 21 to 31, 1898. Attached to First Corp of US Army, at Camp Thomas, Chickamauga, Georgia, where the regiment was issued uniforms and arms. Transferred on July 27, 1898 to Newport News, for assignment to Puerto Rico expedition. The 3rd Regiment was left behind due to an epidemic of measles and mumps. The regiment was mustered out on May 16, 1899, at Savannah, Georgia. Kentucky raised four volunteer infantry regiments during the war. Of the four only the 1st Kentucky Volunteer Infantry made it overseas. All four were destined for Puerto Rico but the outbreak of disease prevented all but the 1st from deployment. Out of total casualties of 3,289 men who died in the Spanish American War 2,957 died of disease. At that time the measles, which we consider as a simple childhood disease today, was a deadly killer in the 1800's. It would not be until World War II that more men would die from combat wounds than disease.

On October 7, 1903, at the age of 22, Garfield was working for the Nashville, Chattanooga and St. Louis Railroad as a Flagman. He was on one of two trains that collided on a railroad trestle. The following is from two newspapers, The latter being the The Paducah Sun.


Fire Caused by Collision Destroys Trestle and Fourteen Cars of Freight

Paducah. Ky., Oct. 8. , 1903

Two men were burned to death In a wreck on the minds Central, sixteen miles from Paducah Garfield Frogge of Paducah were painfully Injured. All through passenger trains are running over the Louisville and Nashville.

Additional source: The damage will amount to a great deal to the road, many thousands of dollars being lost in the wreckage. The engines are reported to be total losses and over a dozen cars with contents were destroyed.

Later today it was learned that C. L. HUTON is the name of the unknown fireman who was learning the road last night when caught in the wreckage, and his home is in Cumberland Furnace, Tenn. The remains of either the engineer or fireman, this the trainmen being unable to state positively were recovered this morning shortly after nine o'clock by the wrecking crew. A portion of the lower limbs and body were recovered but are burned so badly there is nothing that might lead to identification. The legs were taken from under the wreckage near the engine.

The wrecking crew is laboring hard to repair the trestle and was making good headway at last reports. The noon train No. 102 was annuled and did not arrive here, being sent around via McKenzie over the L. & N. as were the trains last night. It is not known how soon the road will be in operation but it is thought the trains will be enable to run through by night.

DULANEY had been here a few days only, having come from Minnesota, and boarded at the Bailey house on West Broadway. He has a young wife here and had been an engineer a short time only, having been examined last week and passed. Last night was his second run out. It is reported that a fireman named BEALER was the regular fireman on the engine but the railroad callers say they called EDEN, who was DULANEY'S regular fireman. Later reports from the wreck show that when the collision was seen to be inevitable Engineer DULANEY called for brakes and remained at his post while his fireman, EDEN, jumped as also did Engineer SCARBROUGH and Fireman HODGES of the 151. HODGES was bruised and EDEN injured about the head in alighting. HUTTON the fireman learning the road, was caught and could not escape. His watch was found in the wreckage and had stopped at 1:20 o'clock. Flagman GARFIELD FROGGE running extra, was injured in the shoulder and ankle but not seriously. The damage is estimated at $30,000 and it will require over 26 hours to clear the wreckage. 

This wreck in Italy might have looked like the Kentucky wreck

Of course 30,000 dollars was a lot of money in 1903. Then barely more than a month later this article appeared in the newspaper. Garfield Frogge employed at the Paducah Traction company car barns was struck in the chest by a 20 pound sledge hammer which slipped off the flatter.

Paducah Sun, 11 Nov 1903

I am not sure what a flatter was. James Frogge also told me that Garfield was a professional fighter. The following articles are from the Paducah Sun.

Boxing The Paducah evening sun

February 27, 1909 Paducah, KY 

Sparring Match:

A six-round sparring match between Sam Goodman and Garfiedl Frogge came next on the program of sports. Both men are local boxers and the best in the city, and from the start of the first round both men used all their knowledge in their actions. Frogge seemed to have the force behind his blows, while Goodman was the agressor most of the time. The bout was decided a draw by Harry Lloyd, the referee.

Princeton's Boxer Is Out In State Challenge. 1 Jun 1910 Paducah,KY-The Paducah Evening Sun

Garfield Frogge the blacksmith-boxer, of Princeton, is anxious for a sparring exhibition with some good boxer. In order to secure it he has challenged any boxer in the state for a sparring match. The only condition is that the weight must be fixed at 150 pounds. Jerome E. Smith is Frogge's manager, and will sign articles for a bout with any scrapper of the right weight, and who looks of the right kind to make it interesting. Frogge claims he is in grand condition and with his knowledge of the game, says he can outpoint anybody of his weight in the state. He says that he can not make any weight under 150 pounds, and it is doubtful if he and Goodman will meet.

The following is Garfields marriage announcement in the paper.

Miss Katie M. Lehrer and Mr. Garfield Frogge will be married this evening at 8 o'clock at the home of Mrs. Katterjohn, 1101 South Eleventh street. Miss Gussie Koch, of Cairo, will attend the bride and Mr. George Engmert, of this city, the groom. There will be only a few friends and relatives present. Tomorrow morning they will leave for Lexington, Tenn., to reside. Mr. Frogge is employed by the N.C. and St. L. 

'This marriage produced at least two children. Margueritte Frogge (1907 to 1973) and James Hamilton Warrick Frogge, 1910 to 1971. James Warrick Frogge was the father of the James Frogge who is the owner of Frog air conditioning and heating company and the source of much of my information. James told me that Garfield had a drinking problem but was a heck of a preacher. I told him that my Uncle Doug was a preacher but he also had a drinking problem. He said that my uncle Douglas Brown, who was my mothers older brother, was a mean drunk. Doug once chased his father with a pistol, firing at him six times but missing him. Another time they were fighting and Doug held his head down on a railroad track in front of a moving train but his father was able to get away. My aunt Didi also told me several times how Doug chased her with a pistol when he was drunk in California during World War II. Garfield's drinking on the other hand finally caught up with him. He was found face down on the bank of the Cumberland River near the Tennessee Central Railroad blacksmith shop with his hat placed neatly on his back. It was believed that he was drunk and fell into the river and was drowned. However nobody knows who pulled him out of the river and placed him on the river bank. He was 52 years old.

My grandmother had another brother named Isaac (Ike) Bradford Frogge born on June 24, 1883 in Paducah and died on January 27, 1917 in Nashville. Whenever Ike's name came up she would tell me how he was shot in the back while riding on a troop train. The bullet severed his spine. Supposedly a soldier was cleaning his rifle and the gun accidentally fired, hitting Ike in the back. He was alive but paralyzed. The army brought him home and mama, as we called my grandmother, nursed him during the last few days of his life, which was just over a week My grandmother died in 1964. In the late 60's I became closer to my grandfather who was nearly deaf. One of the reasons that we had never been close was because his deafness isolated him from everybody. It was very difficult to communicate. After the death of my parents and my grandmother I grew to depend on him more and more. I would stand behind his easy chair and cup my hand over his ear. Being naturally curious I would ask him questions about family history. One day the subject of Uncle Ike came up. I told him my grandmothers version of the story. Granddaddy said that Ike's death was no accident. He was shot in the back while trying to desert. Over the years I have learned that my family had a bad habit of trying to keep unpleasant facts from being revealed and somehow I wasn't surprised when I heard this version of the story. The discrepancies have driven me to find out the truth. I ordered a copy of Ike's death certificate and a third possibility became apparent. Ike was murdered. The death certificate listed the cause of death as a homicide.

I discovered that Ike was not in the regular army. He belonged to Company D, 27th Tennessee Cavalry, which was a National Guard outfit. In addition he died on January 27, 1917. America didn't declare war on Germany until April. I can't see how they could shoot a guardsman for desertion unless we were at war. Ike was a scrapper according to relatives and wasn't afraid of a fight. I have heard that he also had a drinking problem. This doesn't surprise me because alcoholism has been a curse in our family. On October 19, 1908 night riders abducted and killed Captain Quentin Rankin an attorney and shareholder in the West Tennessee Land Company at Reelfoot Lake. Ike's militia unit was activated to put down this rebellion. The following is from Wikipedia. 

In the early 20th century the Reelfoot area was marked by widespread lawlessness and "Night Riding", which resulted in the deployment of the state militia by governor of Tennessee Malcolm R. Patterson.The troubles began when a group of landowners purchased almost the entire shoreline of the lake. They formed the West Tennessee Land Company to enforce what they saw to be their legal rights, including the ownership of the lake itself, and most importantly its fishing rights. Most of the Night Riders were from families that had derived much of their living from fishing the lake for generations, joined by their friends and supporters.

Two attorneys engaged by the West Tennessee Land Company to enforce its claims were seized by the Night Riders. A contemporary front-page account in the Nashville Banner tells that one lawyer, Captain Quentin Rankin, was murdered by being hanged and then shot, while the other, Colonel R. Z. Taylor — grandfather of author Peter Taylor — escaped by swimming across the lake in the dark while being fired upon by Night Riders. Colonel Taylor was first reported killed, but later confirmed to have escaped. This violence in 1908 caused the governor to call out the militia to restore order. The alleged murderers were arrested, unsuccessfully tried, and charges were eventually dropped. The lake was soon declared to be part of the public domain, which guaranteed the right of the public to use it regardless of who owned the land adjacent to it. A system of parks, wildlife refuges, recreation areas, and public boat ramps was eventually developed through federal-state cooperation.

Reelfoot Lake Night Rider

Tennessee Militia with two Night Rider prisoners

While Ike was on this duty he met and fell in love with Della Smith. This marriage announcement was entitled Love and War.

Isaac, son of John Clayton Frogge and Martha Mayfield. Married (1) Private I.B. Frogge, of Co. I Nashville and Miss Della Smith, daughter of J.F. Smith, were married at Union City, Obion Co., TN Dec 8th as a culmination of a romance which had its origin in the occupation of the night rider district by soldiers.

As far as I can tell Ike was married twice. I believe that his first marriage ended in divorce. Whether he was divorced before he met Della I can't tell or if his romance with Della caused the divorce. The new information that I learned from James Frogge is very interesting but I am no closer to solving the mystery of their deaths than I was before. I will continue fishing for facts however I am curious if their deaths were the result of some vendetta related to the men that my great grandfather John Clayton Frogge killed in Kentucky or just the result of tragic circumstances. I will continue to seek the truth wherever it leads me.