Joseph Fry, Jr. was born in Upper Saucon Township, Pennsylvania. He engaged in mercantile pursuits in Fryburg (later Coopersburg, Pennsylvania). He was a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in 1816 and 1817, and served in the Pennsylvania State Senate from 1817 to 1821. He served in the State militia and attained the rank of colonel.
Fry was elected to the Twentieth Congress and reelected as a Jacksonian to the Twenty-first Congress. He was not a candidate for renomination in 1830. He resumed business activities, and was a member of the State constitutional convention in 1837 and 1838. He died in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Interment in Union Cemetery.