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Below is a family biography included in The History of Miami County, Ohio published by W. H. Beers & Co. in 1880.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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JAMES T. ORBISON, carriage-blacksmith, Troy. One of the most interesting biographical sketches that appears in the Concord Township series is that of James T. Orbison, the eldest son of Henry and Mary A. Orbison, who were among the early settlers in this county. They came from Lexington, Va., in 1807, and settled on the quarter-section upon which now stands part of the town of Piqua, and the D. & M. depot. His father was one of the first distillers in the Miami Valley, and the first still was capable of making only one barrel of whisky per week. He afterward became one of the strongest temperance advocates, and would not allow his team to haul logs to make staves for a whisky barrel. He was in the war of 1812, and did his whole duty at his own expense, loading a sled with flour, whisky and provisions for the soldiers on the frontier. James T. Orbison, the subject of this sketch, was born in Spring Creek Township Sept. 18, 1810. When about 2 years old, some Indians passing by, while he was playing in the yard, picked him up and carried him away. His mother hastily informed her husband, who mounted his horse and pursued them. When they were overtaken, he demanded the child, which was reluctantly given up. Soon afterward, his father purchased the farm, now owned by John Peterson, in Staunton Township. Young Orbison attended the district school near his father’s farm, and received a good education for those, early days. His teachers were James Concannon, Joseph Rollins, Sallie Tucker, David Blue, Jonathan Gerard, John Carey, Dr. Stewart and O. C. Evans. He worked for his father until the age of 19, when he concluded to learn the blacksmith trade; went to Cincinnati and became an apprentice of Henry Valette, for whom he worked two and a half years. He was so apt at his business, and obliging withal, that his employer gave him the last six months of his time, with full pay (this, at that time, was only $40 per year and board). After leaving Mr. Valette, he went to Louisville, Ky., and worked there eight months; but, liking the society of Cincinnati better, he returned, and engaged with William Holyoke at $1.25 per day and board. The shop was located where the National Theatre building now stands, and Cincinnati was then only a small place. After eighteen months’ work for Mr. Holyoke, he returned to Troy, and in September, 1834, opened a forge on his own account. Having now spent thirty-five years as a single man, he became engaged to, and soon after married, Miss1 Elizabeth J. Adams, second daughter of David Adams. They at once commenced housekeeping, in the good old-fashioned way, and their honeymoon was spent under their own roof. They lived on the corner of Main and Oxford streets, and here their first child was born, on April 2, 1847; her name was Mary E., and she afterward became the wife of James C. Robb, and is now living at Ft. Bennett, Dakota Territory; the next child, Julia E., was born Jan. 21, 1849, and is now the wife of Ringgold W. Meily, of Lima, Ohio; James L. was born Sept. 21, 1851, and is now married to Miss Eva Vankirk, of Cincinnati, in which city they now reside; Alice J. was born Jan. 5, 1855, and is now the comfort of her father, and the pet of the family. But trials come to us all, and, after a long illness, the loved wife was tenderly laid to rest by the side of her kindred in Rose Hill Cemetery, March 28, 1862. For more than a half-century, James T. Orbison has been an active mechanic, and stall makes a full hand at the forge. He has, in his possession, the funnel through which the whisky was drawn at his father’s still seventy-four years ago, and also a plowshare that his father brought from Virginia in 1806. He is an excellent talker, possessed of a very retentive memory, and we are indebted to him for many things of interest that appear in this work. He belongs to no church, but attends Presbyterian services. He is now comfortably located in a neat, substantial cottage at 419 Walnut street, between Franklin and Canal streets, and his latch-string is always out for his friends.

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This family biography is one of 964 biographies included in The History of Miami County, Ohio published in 1880 by W. H. Beers & Co.  For the complete description, click here: Miami County, Ohio History and Genealogy

View additional Miami County, Ohio family biographies here: Miami County, Ohio Biographies

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