Emil Frey facts for kids
Quick facts for kids
Frey in 1890
|President of Switzerland|
1 January 1894 – 31 December 1894
|Preceded by||Karl Schenk|
|Succeeded by||Josef Zemp|
|Head of the Military Department|
|Preceded by||Walter Hauser|
|Succeeded by||Eduard Müller|
|Swiss ambassador to the United States|
|Preceded by||Office created|
|Succeeded by||Alfred de Claparède|
October 24, 1838|
|Died||December 24, 1922
|Political party||Free Democratic Party|
|Battles/wars||American Civil War|
Frey's family provided refuge for Friedrich Hecker when he fled the repression following the revolution in Germany in 1848. After attending gymnasium in Basel, Frey went to study in an agronomical institute in Jena. In 1860 he emigrated to the United States, arriving in Belleville, Illinois, an area with many Forty-Eighters, veterans of the 1848 revolutions in Europe. For a while he worked for Hecker, but they had a falling-out.
Career during the American Civil War
Frey entered the unionist 24th Illinois Volunteer Infantry Regiment as a private. Frey wrote in his essay "My American Experiences" that "on 17th of June  I enlisted in the 24th at Chicago. On that same day I was appointed by Colonel Hecker to be the colorbearer of the regiment, and in the evening we left Chicago for Alton, Ill." Hecker was his commander, and they became friends again, with Frey sharing a tent with Hecker's son. Frey was later promoted to first lieutenant but resigned on 17 June 1862. He began raising a company for the Second Hecker Regiment (The 82nd Illinois Volunteer Infantry Regiment) and became the company's captain. Captain Frey was taken prisoner at the battle of Gettysburg on 1 July 1863 and held in Libby Prison for eighteen months before being exchanged for Captain Gordon, a Confederate prisoner under sentence of death.
After the Civil War, Frey returned to Switzerland. From 1866 to 1872, he was a member of the cantonal government of Basel-Country. In 1870, he married Emma Kloss (born 1848) from Liestal, with whom he had five children: Hans (1871–1913), Emil (1872–1913), Carl (1873–1934), Anna (1874–1893) and Helene (1876–1944). In 1877 Emma died from pulmonary tuberculosis, aged just 28 years.
In 1872, Frey was elected to the Swiss National Council, council he presided in 1875/1876.
From 1882 to 1888, Frey was the first ambassador (Minister) of Switzerland to the United States in Washington.
He was elected to the Federal Council of Switzerland on 11 December 1890 and handed over office on 31 March 1897. He was affiliated to the Free Democratic Party. During his office time he held the Military Department.
He was President of the Confederation in 1894.
From 1897 to 1921, Frey was director of the International Telegraph Union.
- Aus den Erlebnissen eines Schweizers im Sezessionskriege, Bern 1893, (translated: "From the experiences of a Swiss in the War of Secession")
- Die Kriegstaten der Schweizer, dem Volk erzählt, Neuchâtel 1905, (translated: "The Swiss Acts of War, told to the People")
Emil Frey Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.