Fries is named for Colonel Francis H. Fries ofNorth Carolina, founder of the WashingtonMills Company. By 1900, Fries and hisassociates had determined that the New Rivercould power a textile mill. The town wasincorporated in 1902, and by the followingyear a dam, a textile mill, and 300 houseshad been built. The town of Fries is alsoknown for its early influence on countrymusic. Henry Whitter, a local employee atthe textile mill, traveled to New York Cityin Dec. 1923 and recorded the "Wreck on theSouthern Old 97" and "Lonesome Road Blues."Inspired by Whitter, local musicians Kelly Harrelland Ernest Stoneman also recorded songs.