This is an age of great business progress and the leading men of a community are those who are in control of its industrial, commercial and professional enterprises. Frank Frech is therefore classed with the prominent citizens of White Hall, where as the senior member of the firm of Frech & Johnson he is extensively and successfully engaged in the milling business. His birth occurred in St. Clair county, Illinois, on the 26th of September, 1857, his parents being Jacob and Catherine (Reddick) Frech, both of whom were natives of Germany. The father came to America in the year 1850, settling in St. Louis, Missouri, where he resided for fourteen years. He then removed to St. Clair, Illinois, where he spent one year, and in 1865 he came to Greene county, locating at Jalappa on Macoupin creek. He was a shoemaker by trade and long followed that pursuit, but during his last twenty-five years devoted his energies to the occupation of farming. He finally located on a farm near Kane, Greene county, where he has a valuable tract of land of two hundred acres. He was but nine years of age when he came to America and throughout his entire life he has always been most loyal to the institutions of his adopted land. His home is about three miles northeast of Kane and he is one of the respected agriculturists of his locality. Losing his first wife, he was married again in 1892 and there are two children by that union. There were eight children by the first marriage and with one exception all are living, namely: Mrs. Rose Allen, who resides southeast of Carrollton and has three children; Blanche Darr, deceased; Mary; Lucy; Henry, who is married and resides southeast of Carrollton and has three children; William, a retired farmer of Carrollton, who is married and has two children; Jacob, head miller of the Advance flour mill, who is married and lives in Carrollton with his wife and three children; and Frank.
Frank Frech acquired his education in the common schools of Illinois and in the German schools of St. Louis, Missouri. He spent seven years in the latter city during his parents' residence there and then accompanied them on their removal to this state. He continued under the parental roof until twenty-two years of age. He then went to Belleville, Illinois, to learn the miller's trade and when he had completed his term of apprenticeship he entered the employ of H. C. Yeager, a mill owner of Kane, with whom he continued for a year. On the expiration of that period he located on Macoupin creek, where he purchased a water mill known as the old Empire mill, this being one of the oldest plants of the kind in the county. It was built in 1845 by Massey Van Meter, who had operated it for ten years. During the next few years it passed through various hands and in March, 1885, it became the property of Mr. Frech and John T. Briggs. It had been known at one time as the United States, but Mr. French changed the name to the Empire mill. There were great alterations made in the plant, which hitherto had been operated by water power, but it now became a new process mill with a roller system, making it one of the best equipped milling plants in the county at that time. It had a capacity of thirty barrels per day and was located at Conwaysville on Macoupin creek, five miles south of Carrollton. After operating the Empire mill for a year Mr. Frech went to Carrollton, where he organized a new milling company and purchased the Advance flour mill. He became president of the company and also acted as head miller, continuing in this business until 1897, when he sold his interest in Carrollton and in May of that year purchased the White Hall mill, which had been operated under the name of the M. E. Blatchley Mill Company. He then changed the name to the Superior flour mill and under this name the business has since been conducted with constantly increasing success. He was for some time in partnership with Mr. Wilton, who in 1892 sold his interest in the mill to William A. Johnson, who had been with Mr. Frech as bookkeeper since 1890. The capacity of the mill is one hundred and twenty barrels a day and a large local and shipping trade is conducted. This is the only mill in White Hall. Mr. Frech is a practical miller and oversees the actual work of the mill and the output of the products, while Mr. Johnson is bookkeeper and attends to the management of the business affairs of the firm.
On the 15th of March, 1883, Mr. Frech was united in marriage to Miss Margaret Stevens, a daughter of Clark Stevens, a farmer living near Kane, Illinois. They now have one son, Lee O., who was born in September, 1886, and is now attending school in White Hall. The family are prominent socially in White Hall and their old home is noted for its attractive and cordial hospitality. Mr. Frech, with a full realization of the fact that in America labor is king, has put forth strenuous effort to reach the goal of success and as the years have passed he has gradually advanced until his labors have been rewarded with a fair measure of prosperity. Moreover, his business record is such as any man might be proud to possess, for he has ever been careful to fill every engagement and meet his obligations.