Joseph Frye

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"Joseph Frye was born in 1712 in Andover, Massachusetts.  He died in 1794 in Fryeburg (then in the Province of Maine and a part of Massachusetts.)   The earlier Gordon History of the Town mentions only that he himself used a compass in running the boundary lines.  The first division lots were surveyed and laid out during the spring and summer of 1762 by several surveyors, as five different proprietors were credited with from 27 to 36 days "attendance on the surveyors"; and in May 1763 Frye charged the proprietors for the cash he paid at Boston for 1/2 barrel of pork and 3-1/2 gallons of rum (plus freight to Biddeford) "for the use of surveyors while surveying land in said Fryeburg".   Barrows History of Fryeburg states that "Frye was by profession a civil engineer, and was able to run-out his grant himself.  He 'early' joined the Massachusetts Militia served in 2 French & Indian Wars as well as one year of the Revolution."  From Helen M. Leadbeater's letter from Fryeburg, Maine dated January 3, 1959.   There is a Surveying Compass in the Smithsonian Institution used by Joseph Frye.  It is possible that he made it." 

Reference:  Smart, Charles E.  The Makers Of Surveying Instruments In America Since 1700  Troy, New York:  Regal Art Press.  1962

Instrument shown is from the collection of the National Museum of American History, a division of the Smithsonian Institution




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