Joshua Fry

From Thomas Jefferson Encyclopedia

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Fry-Jefferson Map of Virginia (1751). Library of Congress
Fry-Jefferson Map of Virginia (1751). Library of Congress

Joshua Fry (1700-1754) was a surveyor, pioneer, and professor mathematics and natural philosophy at the College of William and Mary. Born in Somerset England, he went to Oxford and emigrated to Virginia by 1720. He left the college to find a fortune and moved to Goochland County between present day Scottsville and Charlottesville. In 1745, Albemarle County was formed out of Goochland County and Fry was named first presiding Justice of the county and surveyor.

With his friend, Peter Jefferson, son of Thomas Jefferson, and prominent land-owner in his own right, they helped establish the boundary of Lord Fairfax's grant on the northern neck in 1746.

In 1749, they worked together again in mapping the colony for Governor Lewis Burwell, thus producing the "Map of the Inhabited Parts of Virginia" (1751). It was dangerous work, but it produced one of the first detailed maps of the colony at the time.

Fry was one of the negotiators of the treaty of Logstown (1752) that allowed for white settlement southeast of the Ohio River. When the French and Indian War broke out, Fry was commissioned commander-in-chief of the militia with George Washington as his second in command. He died in camp near Cumberland Maryland. George Washington then took over command.

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