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Deeds of battle and the clash of resounding arms have been themes of story and song from the earliest ages, but the man who quietly remains in the ranks of business, performing each day’s duty as it come to him promoting the general prosperity through his individual effort, is no less a hero than he who leads victorious hosts on bloody battle fields, or wins renown in camps and courts. Today we would know who are the founders of cities and communities, who are humanity’s true benefactors, and we find in biography an answer to these and other queries, also a subject that yields in point of interest and profit to no other. The history of New Palestine would be incomplete without recourse to the biography of the enterprising business man whose name appears at the head of this article. For a number of years his career has been inseparably interwoven with the industrial and financial interest of the town and much of its present prosperity is attributed to his efforts.
Henry Fralich is a native of Indiana, born September 10, 1849, in Indianapolis of German parents. His father and mother, John and Mary Catherine (Merlan) Fralich, came to the United States a number of years ago, the former dying when the subject was small and the latter in 1888 at the age of seventy-three. They had two children besides Henry, namely: Joseph, of New Palestine, and John, who departed this life in his twenty-second year.
Henry Fralich received a common school education and began life for himself as a tiller of the soil. Subsequently he engaged in the grain business and still later bought an interest in a mill and turned his attention to the manufacture of flour. He began buying grain at New Palestine in 1883 and during the ten succeeding years did a large and flourishing business, shipping vast quantities of grain to the eastern markets and meeting with good success in the enterprise. In 1893 he purchased the mill and for three years thereafter operated it in partnership with Mr. Waltz, under the name of Fralich & Waltz, by which the firm has since been known. Mr. Fralich withdrew from active work in the mill in 1896, though still retaining an interest therein. In September of that year, when the New Palestine Bank was organized, he became cashier, the duties of which position he still discharges, also being interested in the concern as a stockholder. The bank has become one of the popular and reliable financial institutions in this part of the state, in that it is managed by business men of recognized ability and has behind it some of the ablest financiers of Hancock county. As originally organized Edward Fink was president, Anton Rickman vice-president, Henry Fralich cashier, and the same gentlemen, with William T. Eaton and John H. Binford, constituted the directorate. At the opening the capital stock was sixty-five thousand dollars, which has since been increased as the institution has grown in popular favor. Mr. Fralich is a skillful accountant, familiar with all the intricacies of banking and his judgment upon matters of finance is seldom at fault. As an official, he is exceedingly careful and conservative, looking after the interests of the institution in such a way as to win the confidence of all concerned and transacting the business coming within his sphere in a manner calculated to make friends of all that have dealings with the bank.
Mr. Fralich has been an active participant in the public affairs of his town and township, serving one term as trustee and also as president of the town board, holding the latter position at the present time. In every station to which he has been called, officially or otherwise, he has displayed sound judgment and superior ability and to his record no breath of suspicion has ever been attached. He is recognized as one of the clear-brained, far-seeing business men of his town, possessing great force of character and a keenness and sagacity probably unsurpassed by any of his contemporaries. In advancing the interests of New Palestine he takes no secondary part, but is always progressive, generally leading in all worthy enterprises for the public good. Aside from his business relations his life has been comparatively uneventful. Plain and unassuming in manner, yet ever frank and genial, he has won and retains the esteem and respect of all who know him, and it is a compliment well earned to class him with the most popular citizens of the town in which he dwells.
In the year 1872 was solemnized the marriage of Henry Fralich and Miss Christina Meyer, daughter of Anton Meyer, of Sugar Creek township. Mr. and Mrs. Fralich have a beautiful home in New Palestine, and their children, five in number, look to the family hearthstone as the dearest and most pleasant spot in the world. The names of the children are Benjamin A., Albert, Maggie, Gertrude, wife of Henry Short, and Julius.
source: Biographical Memoirs of Hancock County B. F. Bowen, Publisher, Logansport, Indiana, 1902 Pages 266-267.