Jacob Freetly, Apollo’s First Lawyer

JACOB FREETLY was a resident of Apollo Borough, Armstrong County, Pa. He was born in Lancaster county on the 8th day of July, A. D. 1816. His father, John Freetly, was of German descent, and his mother, Mary (Logan) Freetly, was of Irish parentage. They had eight children, two sons and six daughters. John Freetly, the eldest son, was educated at the Western University, Pittsburgh, Pa., and studied divinity at the Theological Seminary, Allegheny, Pa. He was pastor of the United Presbyterian church, Henderson county, Ill. He and three of his sisters died in that State, the other three sisters dying in Pennsylvania, leaving Jacob Freetly, the youngest child, the only surviving member of the family. His mother died when he was two, and his father when he was four years of age, leaving him to the care of an elder sister, with whom he remained until he was eight years of age. He was then taken by a family by the name of Reed, with whom he remained ten years, during which time he worked on the farm for his board and clothing. After leaving John Reed, who at that time resided in York county, on the banks of the Susquehanna river, he labored at farm work in the summer and attended school in the winter, working morning and evening to pay his board, until he acquired sufficient education to teach. After saving some money he entered the Western university, Pittsburgh, Pa., and pursued the study of the higher branches under Dr. Bruce, then president of that institution, and minister of the Seceder church of that city. He read law under Hon. Thomas Mellon, and was admitted to practice his profession in 1849.
Jacob Freetly was admitted to the Armstrong County Bar in 1851. He was married September 10, 1835, to Fanny McKee Boggs, daughter of David and Mary Boggs, and sister of Hon. Jackson Boggs, who was for several years Judge of the Courts of Armstrong County. Jacob Freetly was the father of five children, of whom John and Cyrus died in infancy. Mary Jane, the oldest daughter, was born September 20, 1938, and was educated principally by her father. She was an active member of the M. E. church at Apollo. She married John B. Guthrie, Esq., son of James Guthrie, of Apollo borough, and an attorney-at-law by profession. To them were born two children: Lauretta A., who was a graduate of the Blairsville Ladies’ seminary. She was for several years engaged in the profession of teaching. She was a member of the M. E. church, and actively engaged in church and Sunday-school work.
The second daughter, Annie E., was born November 14, 1839, and was a member of the Presbyterian Church. She was married to Samuel Smith, a nailer by profession, who had acquired considerable property and a comfortable and respectable home and position at Sharon, Mercer County, Pa. They had one daughter, Mamie McKee. She was a graduate of the Sharon high school, and for several years had been engaged in the profession of teaching, in which she has achieved more than ordinary success.
The only living son, David Boggs Freetly, was born October 31, 1843, received a good school education; was a private in the 139th regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, Co. E, under Captain Sample and Col. Colure. He was engaged in the production of oil in the Armstrong county oil fields, and was a member of the Presbyterian church.
Jacob Freetly was one of the oldest members of the Armstrong County bar, and it may be truly said that the legal profession has no superior in the business world. In every county in the State it has its able advocates, and Armstrong county is not inferior to its neighboring counties for honest and intelligent attorneys. In politics Mr. Freetly was a republican, and served as burgess and poor director for a number of years at Apollo. He was a member of the Presbyterian church. In his field of professional labor he was quiet but active and successful practitioner for over forty years. His life record is one of activity and usefulness.
Source: “Biographical And Historical Cyclopedia Of Indiana And Armstrong Counties, Pennsylvania”: Published By, John M. Gresham & Co., Managed By, Samuel W. Wiley, Historian And Editor, Nos. 1218 and 1220 Filbert Street, Philadelphia, 1891, pp 396-399

Grave of Jacob Freetly and his wife Fanny, Apollo Cemetery

Notes from Rusty Swenson, descendent of Jacob Freetly

Jacob’s will was probated on 19 December , 1903, with Lauretta A. (Amelia) Guthrie and Samuel Jack as the witnesses. Jacob had appointed Walter J. Guthrie as his executor , and his will stated the following:
1. All debts and funeral expenses to be paid first.
2. All possessions except for his law books were to go to Fanny if she survived him (she didn’t, dying in 1901)
3. Walter J. Guthrie was to pay $100 to Lauretta Guthrie for the law books.
4. He willed $100 to Ralph Freetly
5. After his wife’s death, all of his properties and belongings were to be evenly given to Mary J. Guthrie, Annie E. Smith, and David B. Freetly to “share and share alike”. He notes of David’s indebtedness to him:
– A $300 promissory note given to him by Walter J. Guthrie,
– $190 in cash “for repairing his wells in June,1888”    Note: At this time David was noted as working in the Parker area on oil wells.
– 2 notes of $200 be paid to Apollo Savings Bank. It was stated that these debts, if not paid back before Jacob’s death, were to be deducted out of his share of the estate.
6. He gives Walter J. Guthrie the right to sell any of his holdings in order to settle any debts upon his death.

*The 1900 census shows Jacob and his wife living in Apollo and having a 28-yr-old “servant”.

*David was born on Oct 31, 1842.
*The 1900 census lists David B Freetly living in Apollo with his wife Thala and son Ralph.
*The 1910 census shows David at age 67 living with his son Ralph on Armstrong Avenue.
*On February 23, 1920, David died from an accidental fall from a window at his son’s house.Lauretta Guthrie was Mary J. and John Beatty Guthrie’s daughter, and my mom always called her “Aunt Laura Guthrie”, whom she cared for in Lauretta’s later years. In reality she would have been my mom’s great Aunt. Aunt Laura Guthrie gave my mom and dad the house I originally grew up in. This happened sometime after 1940 as the 1940 census shows my mom, dad, Clara, and Shirley along with Aunt Martha Freetly living at 304 N. Third Street and a Harry and Emma Cox living at the 312 N. Third Street where I began life.