kids encyclopedia robot

Emil Frey facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
Emil Frey
Emil Frey, 1890.jpg
Frey in 1890
President of Switzerland
In office
1 January 1894 – 31 December 1894
Preceded by Karl Schenk
Succeeded by Josef Zemp
Head of the Military Department
In office
Preceded by Walter Hauser
Succeeded by Eduard Müller
Swiss ambassador to the United States
In office
Preceded by Office created
Succeeded by Alfred de Claparède
Personal details
Born (1838-10-24)October 24, 1838
Died December 24, 1922(1922-12-24) (aged 84)
Nationality Swiss
Political party Free Democratic Party
Military service
Battles/wars American Civil War

Emil Johann Rudolf Frey (24 October 1838 – 24 December 1922) was a Swiss politician, Union Army soldier in the American Civil War and member of the Swiss Federal Council (1890–1897).

Early life

Frey was born in Arlesheim, in the Canton of Basel-Landschaft, to Emil Remigius Frey and Emma Kloss. His father was a liberal separatist politician.

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

Emil Frey 1862
Frey in the Union Army, 1862

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 [1861] 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.

Swiss politician

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.

Literary works

  • 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")
kids search engine
Emil Frey Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.