OLIVER H. P. ORENDORFF. There are yet living a few of the early settlers of McLean County, among the first of whom was the family whose history we purpose briefly to relate in this personal notice of the oldest member now living. Mr. Orendorff has been a resident of Bloomington Township since 1823, having come here on the 2d day of May of that year. He was the third in order of birth of eight sons and five daughters, and his father, William, was born in Georgia, March 26, 1792. His grandfather, Christopher, is supposed to have been a native of Virginia, and was of German ancestry and parentage. The history of the family in the United States dates back prior to the Revolutionary War. Christopher Orendorff was a farmer and miller by occupation, and removed from his native State to Illinois, where he permanently located after having been a citizen of several other States of the Union. He died in Logan County at the age of sixty-five years.

William Orendorff, the father of our subject, when a young man removed from Georgia to North Carolina and thence to Tennessee. Later he went into Kentucky, and at the age of nineteen years was married to Miss Sarah Nichols, who became the mother of three children, two sons and one daughter. While still a young woman she departed this life in the State of Kentucky. Mr. O. was the second time married, after coming to Illinois, to Miss Lovina Sayles, a native of the State of Tennessee, and who became the mother of five children, of whom our subject is the eldest son and second child. William Orendorff came to Illinois in 1816, locating in St. Clair, whence he removed to McLean County in 1823, and settled in Bloomington Township. There were then but very few white people in this region, the family of Mr. O. being the second one to make settlement in the township, and here the mother of our subject died on the 9th of November, 1831.

The third wife of William Orendorff was Miss Susan Ogden, to whom he was married in this county in 1834. This lady became the mother of two children, a son and daughter, and died in 1844. William Orendorff married his fourth wife, Miss Naomi Able, on his sixty-second birthday, and of this union there were born four children, all of whom are yet living. There was a difference of fifty-four years between the birth of his first and last child. He and his last wife are now both deceased. He was born March 26, 1792, and died May 12, 1869. Mrs. Naomi Orendorff survived him only two years, dying in 1871. He was the father of fourteen children, seven of whom are yet living. William Orendorff was a man of more than ordinary ability, and became prominent in the affairs of his adopted township and county. After coming to this locality he was appointed Justice of the Peace, and had jurisdiction over a large portion of this State while it was yet a Territory, and upon the organization of the county and township he held the various local offices.

The subject of this history lived with his father until he was twenty-two years of age. His brother, John Lewis, was the first male child born in Bloomington Township, his birth occurring Jan. 20, 1826. After our subject had attained his majority he was married at the home of the bride's parents in this township, to Miss Sarah L. S. Hendricks. daughter of John and Jane (Brittin) Hendricks.

Mrs. O. was born in McLean County, July 24, 1831, and remained under the parental roof until her marriage. Her father was a Virginian by birth, and a direct lineal descendant of President Taylor. His daughter Elizabeth, the eldest sister of Mrs. O., was the first white child born in McLean County, her birth occurring on the 3d of May, 1823. The family history was interesting and eventful, and one which its later descendants may peruse with pride and satisfaction. John Hendricks and Jane Brittin were united in marriage in Champaign County, Ohio, and settling upon a farm in that county remained for some years, when they decided upon a removal further West. Accordingly, in 1821, they set out overland for the Prairie State, arriving here in the fall of the year, and spending the first winter near the growing village of Springfield. Early in the spring they set out for their final destination, McLean County, and established a home on section 27, in Bloomington Township, upon which they remained until they closed their eyes to the scenes of earth. The father died Jan. 15, 1838, and the mother Dec. 17, 1856.

Mr. and Mrs. Hendricks were devoted Christians and prominently connected with the Methodist Episcopal Church. They were extremely hospitable and charitable, and their doors were always open for the weary, whether stranger or neighbor. They were generous to a fault, and would rob themselves to contribute to the comfort of others. Their home was the place of meeting for the Methodist Episcopal congregation for a number of years, and the father was a Class-Leader in that denomination for a long period. This excellent and worthy pair were known throughout the county as Uncle John and Aunt Jane Hendricks. Mr. H. was a stanch Whig in politics and died before the old party was abandoned.

Mrs. Orendorff’s birth occurred on section 27, in this township, July 24, 1831. When but in her seventh year her father died and she was reared by her mother, with whom she remained until her marriage. By her union with our subject she became the mother of two children: Mary J., the wife of William M. Cox, a farmer of Bloomington Township, and George P., who married Miss Ceatta Hollis, and is at present residing on his father's farm. Mr. and Mrs. O. are connected with the Christian Church of Bloomington Township. Our subject has held the offices of his township, and was once a candidate for Sheriff. He once received a fine silver spoon which was given as a prize to the oldest settler who should be present at the Logan County Fair, held in Atlanta. Each county had three representatives, Mr. O. being the oldest one present.

The homestead of Mr. Orendorff is pleasantly located on section 27, and he is surrounded by all the comforts of life. He has been engaged in agricultural pursuits the greater part of his life, and has uniformly met with success, which is the reward of industry and perseverance.


Portrait and biographical album of McLean County, Ill. : containing full page portraits and biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county, together with portraits and biographies of all the governors of Illinois, and of the presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), 201-2.




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