GENERAL ALFRED ORENDORFF. - General Alfred Orendorff a recognized leader in legal circles of Springfield, a representative of the Democracy whose influence has been a potent element in framing the policy of his party in the state, is numbered among those whose labors have had direct bearing upon the history of Illinois for more than a third of a century. Though he has desired and achieved personal success he has placed it not before the prosperity of his city, and though he has wished for the triumph of his political views and the ascendency of his party, his deepest interest has been for the welfare of the state and nation.
General Orendorff was born in Logan county, Illinois, in 1845, his parents being Joseph and Elizabeth Orendorff. The father was a farmer and miller who died in the year 1853, the son being at that time but eight years of age. He continued to reside upon the old homestead farm until his father's death, when he accompanied his mother on her removal to Lincoln, Illinois, where he attended the common schools. His early educational privileges were supplemented by study in the Illinois Wesleyan University at Bloomington, and his advanced literary course served as an excellent foundation upon which to rear the superstructure of professional knowledge. Making the choice of law as a life work he matriculated in the Albany Law School of New York, in which he completed a thorough course by graduation in the class of 1866.
General Orendorff then returned to Illinois, and established himself in practice in Springfield, becoming an associate of the firm of Herndon & Zane, who were successors of the firm of Lincoln & Herndon. When Mr. Zane withdrew from the firm on his election to the bench General Orendorff became a partner of Mr. Herndon under the style of Herndon & Orendorff, a relation that was maintained for fifteen years. He then became associated with James A. Creighton under the firm name of Orendorff & Creighton, and when the junior member was elected to the bench Mr. Orendorff became associated with Robert H. Patton. He possesses all the requisite qualities of the successful lawyer and the favorable judgment which the world passed upon him at the onset of his career has been in no degree set aside or modified, but on the contrary has been strengthened by his able handling of the many important cases intrusted to his care. His strong intellect, keenly analytical and trained in the severest school of reasoning and investigation, has made him a distinguished lawyer, and in his career he has manifested the industry which is as essential in the professions as in industrial or commercial life. His careful preparation of cases, and his extensive reading have brought to him a comprehensive knowledge of the principles of jurisprudence and his name figures upon the legal records of Illinois as one of the foremost representatives of the calling which stands as the conservator of the rights and privileges of the individual.
General Orendorff has also been identified with law making bodies of the state. He was elected a member of the general assembly in 1873, and served on the judiciary committee, which adapted the statutory laws to the articles of the new constitution. At the age of nineteen he organized and was commissioned captain of Company I, One Hundred and Thirty-third Illinois Infantry Volunteers. He served as adjutant general during the administration of Governor Altgeld, and in the year 1882, and again in 1884 he was the candidate for state treasurer on the Democratic ticket and succeeded in greatly reducing the Republican majority, polling a large vote, which indicated his personal popularity and the confidence reposed in him not only by the Democrats of the state, but also by many of the adherents of the opposition party. He has been chairman of the Democratic state central committee, and has frequently been a delegate to the national convention of his party. Unfaltering in his allegiance to the Democratic platform, his earnest advocacy is the result of careful and diligent investigation. He has a statesman's grasp of affairs, and the questions which have divided public opinion into two great parties have ever been to him matters of deep concern. His intense and well directed efforts have also been a potent element in community affairs, and as a champion of many measures for the city's welfare his efforts have proved far-reaching and effective. He is the president of the Sterling Life Insurance Company, of Springfield, and also of the International Bank & Trust Company of Vinita, Indian Territory. He is a director in the Illinois State Historical Society, is the president of the Sangamon County Bar Association, and was formerly the president of the Illinois State Bar Association. He has been prominent in Odd Fellows, Workman and Masonic circles, and holds membership with the Elks lodge, the Sangamon Club of Springfield, and the Iroquois Club of Chicago.
In 1870 General Orendorff was married to Miss Julia J. Williams, a native of Springfield, and a daughter of Colonel John Williams. Three children, a son and two daughters, have been born unto them: John, Alice and Lydia. The son is secretary of the Bank & Trust Company of Tishomingo, Indian Territory. The elder daughter is at home, while Lydia is a student in the National Park Seminary at Washington, D.C. The family residence is a scene of many attractive social functions, for General Orendorff, his wife and children are widely and favorably known in society circles in Springfield. They reside at No. 725 South Second Street, where the beautiful residence in its appropriate furnishings indicates the cultured taste of the family. General Orendorff's wife and daughters hold membership in the First Presbyterian Church. His labors crowned by successful accomplishment entitle him to rank with the representative professional men of Springfield, and his identification with public
movements touching the general interests of society cause him to be numbered among the most prominent and public-spirited citizens.