Fries, John,c.1750–1818, American rebel, b. Montgomery co., Pa. After serving in the American Revolution, Fries became a traveling auctioneer. Strongly opposed to the federal property taxes levied (1798) for a possible war with France, he stirred the Pennsylvania Germans into an uprising (called Fries's Rebellion) against assessors and collectors. He hid from federal troops, but his hiding place was betrayed by his dog. He was arrested and sentenced to death, but President John Adams pardoned him.
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Fries, John(1750–1818) revolutionary insurgent; born in Montgomery County, Pa. An itinerant auctioneer, he became captain of a revolutionary militia company in Bucks County, Pa., (1775). In 1794 he participated in the so-called Whiskey Rebellion, when Pennsylvania farmers resisted federal efforts to impose a tax on their whiskey production. Then in 1799 he took the lead in resisting a federal property tax of 1798; he signed a petition denouncing the tax and led a band of 50 men to eject persistent collectors and to liberate prisoners in federal custody. Stopped by federal militia, he was twice sentenced to death for treason but was pardoned by President John Adams.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.