Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Wakefield Gale Frye (1826-1893)

Portrait from the History of the City of Belfast in the State of Maine, Vol. II, 1913.

    A return to Maine today to examine the life and career of Wakefield Gale Frye, an attorney in both Rockland and Belfast who was appointed to the post of U.S. Consul General in Halifax, Nova Scotia on two non-consecutive occasions. Born in Montville, Maine on December 20, 1826, Wakefield G. Frye was one of eight children born to Robie (1785-1867) and Lucy Holbrook Frye (1783-1852). Wakefield would attend the China Academy in Colby, Maine from 1847-1850 and went on to study at the University of Rochester in New York, earning his A.B. degree in 1851. 
   Around 1853 Frye relocated to Rockville, Maine, where he would practice law for two years. In 1855 he entered into the post of police court justice for Rockland, serving a one year term. In October of that year, Frye married to Annie Elizabeth Arey, with whom he would have four children, Robie Gale, Jessie Frye Osborne (1871-1951), Gertrude H., and Henry Wakefield, who died in Folsom, New Mexico in 1895.
   From 1857-1858 Wakefield Frye briefly practiced law in Lafayette, Indiana, and by 1858 had returned to Maine, opening a law practice in the city Belfast. After three years of practice in Belfast Frye took on the position of deputy collector of customs, where he served until 1872. After leaving that post Frye was named as clerk of the Waldo County Superior Court, where he remained until his resignation in 1879. For the following three years he resumed his law practice in Belfast and in February 1882 achieved his highest degree of public prominence when he was nominated by President Chester Arthur as the new U.S. Consul General in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

   Shortly after being confirmed as consul Frye headed for Halifax, where he remained until 1885, having tendered his resignation in May of that year. In a curious newspaper write-up in the St. Paul Globe on Frye's resignation, many merchants in Halifax were dismayed as to the thought of Frye leaving the post of consul, many of whom believed that his "action was not entirely voluntary".  As the Globe related in its May 23, 1885 edition:
"A great bundle of petitions had been forward to the President, asking that Mr. Frye be continued in office, and representing the desirability of his service in protecting and fostering the commercial relations between Nova Scotia and the United States."
  After leaving the post of consul Frye engaged in business in Boston, as well as returning to the practice of law, taking as a partner one Bordman Hall, a member of the Boston Board of Aldermen and later a candidate for state auditor. In 1889 the citizens of Halifax got their wish, as Wakefield Frye was once again appointed as U.S. Consul in Halifax. His second term as consul extended until his death in office on August 14, 1893 at age 66. Frye's remains were returned to the United States for burial at the Grove Cemetery in Belfast, Maine. Frye's widow Annie was also interred here following her death in 1905.

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