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  • Orendorff Family Collection

The Orendorff Family Collection follows the descendents of pre-Revolutionary war German immigrant, Christian Orendorff.  Christian Orendorff, a German immigrant, fought in the Revolutionary War as a Captain in the First Regiment, Maryland Continental Line. 

Alfred (1845-1909), the son of Joseph and Elizabeth Orendorff, married Julia Williams (1850-1908) in June 1870 and had three children: John born 1871, Alice born 1872, and Lydia Edna born 1885. Alfred was an associate with Herndon and Zane and later a partner in Herndon and Orendorff.  He won election to the Illinois General Assembly in 1873.  He served as Chairman of the State Central Committee of the Democratic Party and was 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.  

Alfred's son John married 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 worked at the Illinois State Historical Library as an assistant doing genealogical research.  She married John Francis Macpherson in 1911 and they had two children, Julia born in 1913 and John Francis born in 1916.  

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.  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.  W.J. wrote a book of family history and attempted to get it published.  W. J. died in 1897 as a result of an accident with a team of runaway horses. 

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. 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.  

The finding aid for the Orendorff Family Papers, 1868-1947 at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum may be found at

Photographs in this collection include portraits of John W. Orendorff, William J. Orendorff, and several family photographs.

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