Orendorff Family Papers, 1868-1947


Orendorff Family Papers, 1868-1947


Orendorff Family


Papers, 1868-1947


.53 linear feet (1 and ½ manuscript boxes)


Canton family and Springfield family, descended from pre-Revolutionary war German immigrant, prominent in business and political history of Illinois.  Christian Orendorff, a German immigrant, fought in the Revolutionary War as a Captain in the First Regiment, Maryland Continental Line. He had a son, Christopher, born in 1770.  Both the Alfred Orendorff family of Springfield and the William J. Orendorff family of Canton are descendants of Christian through Christopher.  Alfred (1845-1909), the son of Joseph and Elizabeth Orendorff, was married to Julia Williams (1850-1908), the daughter of John (1808-1890) and Lydia (1823-1894) Porter Williams.   John Williams came to Springfield in 1819 and had gone to work as a clerk for Elijah Iles.  In 1830 he bought the store from Iles.  He also became involved in banking, the railroad, mining, a watch factory, and politics. Lydia had come from Lima, N.Y., where her father, Asa Porter, was a commissioner of highways.  Her half sister was Mrs. Elijah Iles.  Alfred Orendorff and Julia were married June, 1870 and had three children: John born 1871, Alice born 1872, and Lydia Edna born 1885.  Alfred, who had served in the Civil War as a Captain in Company I of the 133rd Infantry, had graduated from Albany Law School in New York in 1866.  He had been an associate with Herndon and Zane and later a partner in Herndon and Orendorff.  He was elected to the general assembly in 1873.  He was Chairman of the State Central Committee of the Democratic Party and a frequent delegate to the national convention.  He was president of the Sterling Life Insurance Company of Springfield, president of the International Bank and Trust Co. of Vinita, Indian Territory, president of the Sangamon County Bar Association and the Illinois State Bar Association, and a director of the Illinois State Historical Society.  Son John was married to Maebelle Culver in 1903, and was the secretary of the Bank and Trust Company of Tishomingo, Chickasaw Nation, Indian Territory, and worked at the Tishomingo Electric Light and Power Company.  Alice never married but was involved with the Orendorff Place Improvements Association and secretary for the Women’s Auxiliary of the First Presbyterian Church.  Edna attended Monticello Seminary, majoring in History.  She worked at the Illinois State Historical Library as an assistant doing genealogical research.  When she resigned there in 1928, she started a genealogical research and manuscript business.  She was married to John Francis Macpherson in 1911 and they had two children, Julia born in 1913 and John Francis born in 1916.  Macpherson died in 1921 and Edna lived until 1976.


W. J. Orendorff (1829-1897) was the son of John and Margaret Sayle Orendorff who came to Illinois in 1818 and settled near what is now Canton.  In 1850 W.J. went into partnership with his sister Caroline’s husband, William Parlin, manufacturing and selling plows.  Parlin & Orendorff Co. grew from W.J. Orendorff hauling plows in a wagon from farm to farm to having fifty sites in the United States, Mexico, Canada, and other foreign countries where their implements were distributed wholesale.  In 1856 W.J. married Mary Rohrer and they had four children.  He represented his district, as a Republican, in the General Assembly from 1884 to 1886.  He was the president of the 1886 Orendorff Reunion which brought together family from all over the United States, including the Cameron descendants.  Christopher Orendorff’s daughter, Mary, had married John Cameron who lived in New Salem and had boarded Abraham Lincoln in his home for about two years.  W.J. had written a book of family history and had attempted to get it published.  W. J. died in 1897 as a result of an accident with a team of runaway horses. 


                                                            Orendorff Family                                                     Page 2


Ulysses Grant Orendorff (1865-1943), his son, became the Secretary Treasurer of Parlin & Orendorff and remained with the company until it was bought by International Harvester in 1918. U.G. was an active member of the Canton community.  He bought the local newspaper in 1911 and named it the Canton Ledger.  He was President of the First State Bank & Trust of Canton and the president of the Board of the Canton Park District.  He married Daisie Baughman in 1896.  He continued his father’s interest in the family history and contacted many Orendorffs’ across the country collecting genealogical information with the plan of writing a book.



Correspondence, news clippings, announcements and invitations, speeches, will and probate papers, account book, manuscript, and genealogy records documenting the Orendorff family history.  Includes correspondence of: Lydia and her grandchildren; Alfred and his children while he was “on the campaign trail” and John while working in Tishomingo; W.J. with J. McCan Davis regarding his book and Mr. Davis’ articles appearing in McClure’s Magazine, a letter from Ida Tarbell of McClure’s to W.J.;  Edna regarding her job at the State Historical Library, Orendorff Place business, her genealogical business, and various family members including cousin Lydia Coe in California from 1939-1947 ; and U.G. with various family members regarding family history. Wedding announcements and invitations and Lydia’s invitation to a “hop” for the 1869 graduating class of West Point.  Speeches, containing much family history, given at the 1886 family reunion.  A copy of the 1798 will of John Orendorff and probate papers of J.F. Macpherson.  Alfred’s account book with expenditures and savings for all of his children.  Handwritten and typed manuscript of George Williams book, The Covered Wagon and his notes on Indian trails and history in the Sangamon county area.  Numerous genealogical forms received by U.G. from Orendorffs’ across the country.


Access: Open for Research


Acc. No.:  80-27


Processed by:  Laurel Bowen, 1979-1980 and Connie Butts, Dec. 2000


                                                            Orendorff Family                                                        Page 3

                                                              Container List


Box     Folder

                                    Alfred Orendorff

1          1                      Papers, 1868-1907

Oversize MS 1                        Lincoln Centennial Association-Life Membership Certificate, January 20,

                                       1909 [Previously Acquired?]

Oversize MS 2                        State of Illinois, Executive Department-Commission as Member of the

                                       Commission to Make Arrangement for Celebration of the One Hundredth

                                       Anniversary of the Birth of Abraham Lincoln, at Springfield, Illinois on

                                       February 12, 1909 [Signed by Governor Charles S. Deneen] [Previously


            2 BV               John Williams Estate (Alfred Orendorff, Administrator) Accounts, 1890-1894


                                    W.J. Orendorff

            3                      Papers, 1886-1896


                                    Alice Orendorff

            4                      Papers, 1877-1931

            5                      Papers-The Covered Wagon [Book, Manuscripts, and Notes]


                                    Lydia Edna Orendorff Macpherson and J. Frank Macpherson

            6                      Papers, 1894-1929

            7                      Papers, 1930-1936

            8                      Papers, 1929-1947 and Undated

            9                      Papers, re:  John F. Macpherson Estate (Lydia E.O. Macpherson, Administratrix)


            10 BV             Papers-Classics in the Kitchen, by Jean Aaberg and Judith Homme Bolduc (Los                                           Angeles, California:  Ward Ritchie Press, 1969) (Inscribed by Jean to Mrs.                                                 Macpherson


                                    U.G. Orendorff

1 ½      1                      Papers re:  Genealogy of Julia Drake, 1926-1931

            2                      Papers re:  Genealogy of Aaron B. Orendorff (Texas, Kentucky) 1914-1923

            3                      Papers re:  Genealogy of Christian Orendorff (Toyan County, Kentucky)


            4                      Papers re:  Genealogy of Edward Orendorff (Canada and Virginia) 1917-1921

            5                      Papers re:  Genealogy of Enoch Orendorff and Rosanna Orendorff, 1913, 1923,                                           and Undated

            6                      Papers re:  Genealogy of Esau Orendorff (Delaware), Undated

            7                      Papers re:  Genealogy of John Orendorff (Canton) 1914-1926 and Undated

            8                      Papers re:  Genealogy of Thomas Orendorff (Bloomington) 1921-1925 and Undated         9                      Papers re:  Genealogy of W.J. Orendorff, 1885-1927

            10                    Papers re:  Genealogy of William Orendorff (Bloomington) 1923-1924 and Undated

            11                    Papers re:  Genealogy of  ? [J]ohn Orendorff (Mont.) 1923


                                    Orendorff Family

            12                    Papers of Other Relatives, 1860, 1870, 1882 and Undated


“Orendorff Family Papers, 1868-1947,” Chronicling Illinois, accessed March 19, 2019, http://alplm-cdi.com/chroniclingillinois/items/show/483.