Old Settlers Enoch and Quintus Orendorff

By Jared Olar
Library assistant

Among the old families of the Delavan and Hopedale areas are the Orendorffs, whose ancestors settled on land in what would become Tazewell County during the 1820s. This family name has previously appeared in this space, when we recalled the shocking account of the brutal murder in 1860 of the wife and little daughters of George W. Orendorff of Delavan. Most of the clan, of course, experienced far less tragedy than did George, but their lives were often notable and sometimes attracted the attention of early historical writers.

An extended biography of Darius White Orendorff, with a detailed genealogical narrative of the branches of the Orendorff family in Tazewell County, was included in the 1894 “Portrait and Biographical Record of Tazewell and Mason Counties,” pages 656-660. Mentioned in this genealogy was Darius’ kinsman Enoch Thomas Orendorff, who was born Nov. 29, 1799, in Jefferson County, Va., first coming to the territory that would soon become Tazewell County in 1826. (See also Charles C. Chapman’s 1879 “History of Tazewell County,” page 445 – the Orendorff name is frequently met in Chapman’s history.)

As pioneers of the county, Enoch and some of his Orendorff siblings and kin (name originally spelled “Ohrendorff,” and sometimes later spelled and misspelled “Orndorff” or “Orendorf”) were grouped among Tazewell County’s “Old Settlers.” Thus, among the biographies of the Old Settlers of Tazewell County that were published in the 1873 “Atlas Map of Tazewell County,” the following brief, glowing sketch of the lives of Enoch Orendorff and his son Quintus is found on page 90:

“Quintus Orendorff was born in the present limits of Tazewell county, November 10, 1828. He is the oldest child of Enoch T. and Rosanna Orendorff, who were both natives of Kentucky (sic). He emigrated to Illinois and settled in the present limits of Tazewell county in 1826, where he was soon after married to Miss Rosanna Orendorff. They have had by this union a family of four sons and one daughter; three of the former are still living, viz.: Quintus, residing in Delavan; Dr. Charles, residing at Kansas City, Mo.; and John L., who is engaged in the jewelry business at Delavan. Mr. Orendorff followed farming through life. He was called out near the close of the Black Hawk war, but was not engaged actively in any of its campaigns. Himself and family were members of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. He was one of those energetic and moral citizens, whose influence in the community for good was duly felt and appreciated. His earthly labors closed April 2, 1852. The death of his worthy and estimable wife occurred April 15, 1851.

“Quintus Orendorff, in his early culture, was indebted to parental training and the common school facilities of Tazewell county. To these he had, by application and observation, coupled with his own experience, added a fair practical business education. He was married September 24, 1854, to Miss Emma E., daughter of John and Anna Kelly, of Delavan, and formerly of Providence, R. I. They have had, by this marriage, a family of two sons and three daughters, in the following order of birth, viz.: Oren B., Anna B., Olive B. (deceased in infancy), Charles B., and Jesuline B. They are living with their parents. Mr. Orendorff began life as a business man with some capital. He erected a steam flouring mill in Delavan in 1855, which was the first in the town. This enterprise, in the sequel, was a convenience to the community and a loss to himself. He commenced a mercantile career in Mason County, Ill., where he established in December, 1858, and continued there until December, 1869, when he located in Delavan, where he is now engaged in the sale of groceries, queensware, and confectionaries. As a husband and a parent he is kind and affectionate; as a citizen and business man he is public spirited and reliable. He unites to an active temperament probity and an earnest zeal. His first impressions are usually correct, although he is sometimes impulsive. He is a firm supporter of moral and intellectual culture, and takes pride in the education of his children. As Mr. Orendorff is one of the oldest native citizens of Tazewell county, and having been long identified with its interests, he is too well known to need any eulogy at our hands, as the record of his past life is the true index which points out his real value as a citizen and upright business man.”

Quintus died Sept. 24, 1904, and is buried with his wife and children in Prairie Rest Cemetery, Delavan. Many other members of the Orendorff family, including the parents of Quintus, are buried in Orendorff Cemetery in rural Hopedale.

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