Biography of Wilbur M. Fyke

Wilbur M. Fyke. — The extent and importance of the enterprises with which the late Wilbur M. Fyke was identified during the active period of his career caused him to be accounted justly as one of the prominent men of Williams County, and more particularly of Brady Township, where for many years he carried on operations as a farmer and breeder of stock. While late in life he lived in semi-retirement at West Unity, he maintained his interests in a number of enterprises in the county in which his business ability and good citizenship were factors in developing the natural resources of the section.

Mr. Fyke was born in Summit County, Ohio, May 13, 1855, a son of Henry and Catherine E. (Brett) Fyke. His father, born in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, February 17, 1823, was a young man when he went to Wayne County, Ohio, where in 1850, he married Miss Brett, who was born in Pennsylvania, of New England ancestry, December 9, 1826. In 1857 they moved to Williams County and located on a farm in Springfield Township, south of Stryker, on which they made their home and carried on agricultural operations until 1909, when they moved to Stryker and retired. Henry and Catherine E. Fyke were the parents of six children: Frank, of La Grange, Indiana; Charles A., of Bryan, Ohio; Wilbur M.; Mary, the wife of E. E. Mallory, of Los Angeles, California; George, of Chicago, Illinois; and Ella, the widow of John Paxton, of Bryan. The mother of these children died in 1896 and in 1898 Mr. Fyke married Catherine Chappens, who was born December 9, 1826, in Pennsylvania, and was eighteen years of age when she accompanied her parents to Summit County, Ohio. Mr. Fyke united with the Oak Grove Methodist Episcopal Church in 1868, and remained a consistent member thereof until his death at Stryker. April 12, 1910.

Wilbur M. Fyke was reared on the home farm near Stryker and obtained his education in the district schools and at a normal school at Bryan, under the instruction of Professor Mygrants. At the age of nineteen years he began to teach school, and this profession he followed for twenty-two years continuously, becoming one of the most popular and efficient teachers in Williams County. After he went to farming, he purchased 162 acres two miles east of West Unity, where he followed farming until 1907, at that time retiring from active operations and moving to West Unity where he maintained his residence until his death August 29, 1920.

While not actively engaged himself in farming affairs, Mr. Fyke held extensive holdings, and a feature of the work done on his farm was the breeding of cattle, he having seventeen head of registered Holstein cattle led by a prize-winning individual, as well as much good graded cattle. He was the representative at West Unity for Swift & Company, in the sale of fertilizer products, and was a life member of the Farmers National Congress. Mr. Fyke served as a director of the Brady Township Fire Insurance Company for fifteen years and as secretary and manager of the Electric Light Plant seven years, and was one of the founders of the Farmers Commercial and Savings Bank, in which he was a stockholder. Mr. Fyke likewise was active in religious work, as a member of the official board and recording steward of the Methodist Episcopal Church and treasurer of the Sunday school, in which he also taught a class.

On December 29, 1880, Mr. Fyke was united in marriage with Ada Cook, one of triplets, the others being: Dora, who married Jacob Smith; and Frank P., who married Mary A. Bradick. Mrs. Fyke, who is the only survivor in a family of fourteen children, was born on a farm south of West Unity, November 21, 1852, and was educated in the public schools. She is a member of a family which came to Williams County in 1350, and a daughter of Daniel and Rebecca W. (Kenney) Cook. The latter was born January 1, 1811, in Washington County, Pennsylvania, a daughter of Benjamin and Elizabeth Kenney, and became widely known as a student and a composer of poetry. She was a devout member of the Methodist Episcopal Church and greatly respected and beloved, and the first child born to her and her husband was the late Hon. Theodore Cook. To Mr. and Mrs. Fyke there have been born four children: George, a graduate of West Unity High School, who is carrying on operations on the old homestead east of West Unity; James C, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a graduate of the high school at West Unity, and of the university at Ada, Ohio, in mechanical engineering; Frank C, a graduate of West Unity High School, and of mechanical engineering at Ada, and now with the Standard Oil Company at Elizabeth, New Jersey, and Charles W., who died aged two months.

Source: Bowersox, Charles A. ed. A standard history of Williams County, Ohio: an authentic narrative of the past, with particular attention to the modern era in the commercial, industrial, educational, civic and social development , 2 vols. Publisher Chicago: Lewis Pub. Co. 1920.

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