Thomas Frable, retired farmer, of Benton township, is one of the oldest living pioneer citizens of Atchison County, both in age and number of years of residence in the county. He was one of the old-time freighters who conducted his own freighting outfit across the plains in the days of the Civil War, and before the advent of the transcontinental railroads. Mr. Frable was born in March, 1832, and has spent fifty-six of his four score and four years of life in Atchison County and Kansas. He was born on a farm in Pennsylvania, a son of Thomas Frable, who died when the subject was three years of age, leaving his widow in such poor circumstances that she was unable to rear her children in comfort. Thomas was given a home by a man named QUEEN, who owned a large farm, and he lived with Queen until attaining his majority. Queen owned a farm of 300 acres, and Thomas was started to work when still a small boy, learning to guide a plow across the fields when he was but eleven years of age. When he became of age and was free to do as he liked, the germ of adventure and ambition seized him and he decided to try his fortunes in the great West. In line with this resolve, he crossed the country to Kansas in 1859, in company with another young fellow named Reuben FERGUSON, with whom he finally bought a tract of land which they farmed in common for a time, and then made a division. Mr. Frable still owns eighty acres of the original tract which he and Ferguson purchased. Mr. Frable engaged in the freighting business and made considerable money in the old days. He became the owner of two teams which he drove with the great trains which were constantly leaving Atchison in the early sixties en route to the far West and transported blasting powder to Denver and mining points in Colorado for the use of the gold and silver miners. He also carried corn for the United States Government. During the Civil War Mr. Frable was enrolled as a member of the Kansas State Militia, and served at the battle of Westport in the expedition against the rebel, General Price. After the war he settled down to farming in Benton township, and has prospered exceedingly, he and his son, Harry, now owning over 560 acres of fine land. The Frable home is one of the most imposing and best built farm residences in the county, and Harry Frable recently erected a large barn in which the live stock of this extensive farm is housed. Mr. Frable and Harry have been life-long Republicans.
Thomas Frable was married in 1862 to Rebecca GRAHAM, a daughter of Richard Graham, who come from Pennsylvania with his family to Atchison County in the early days and was one of the well known pioneers of this county. Mrs. Frable was born October 5, 1835 and died in November 1908. Five children were born to Mr. And Mrs. Thomas Frable, namely: Clara, deceased; Margaret, dying in infancy; two died in infancy; and Harry was born January 22, 1865.
History of Atchison County, Kansas
by Sheffield Ingalls - 1916
Clemi Higley Blackburn, September 2003