My Genealogy Hound

Below is a family biography included in Portrait and Biographical Album of Greene and Clark Counties, Ohio published by Chapman Bros., in 1890.  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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SAMUEL A. ORT, President of Wittenberg College and Professor of Systematic Divinity and Mental Philosophy, is recognized as one of the leading educators of this country, a man admirabty adapted to the duties of his responsible position. He comes of reliable Pennsylvania stock and was born in Lewistown, Mifflin County, Pa., November 11, 1843, being the younger of two brothers, the offspring of Samuel and Christina (Aurand) Ort. The parents of President Ort were likewise natives of the Keystone State, the father of Danish descent and the mother tracing her ancestry to France. The paternal grandparents emigrated from Germany to America in the year 1770, and settled near Lewistown, Pa., where, in 1804, their son Samuel, was born. The latter upon reaching man’s estate married a lady who like himself was very pious and who died when her son, Samuel Jr., was a lad of ten years. She had, however, already by her Christian example and training imbued her son with the spirit of her own piety and though he did not openly identify himself with the Church until approaching manhood, those early impressions became the underlying principles and motives of his after life.

Almost from his infancy Samuel Ort had been consecrated to the service of the church, and shortly after the death of his mother he was sent by his father about ten miles from Lewistown to the seminary in the beautiful Kishacoquillas Valley, where he spent three years, chiefly in the study of the Latin and Greek languages. At the expiration of this time, coming to Ohio, he entered Wittenberg College, where he distinguished himself as a close student of literature and from which he was graduated in 1863 with the honors of his class. Subsequently he spent two years in the study of theology at the same institution and in the meantime had been employed as a tutor in the preparatory department.

In the year 1865, Prof. Ort received a call from the Lutheran Church at Findlay, this State, of which he was pastor from that time until 1868. The following year he was the teacher of Latin and Literature in Hagerstown, (Md.,) Female Seminary. In 1869, he returned to Wittenberg and the following year was elected Assistant Professor of Mathematics and taught rhetoric, English Literature and logic. The Chair of Belles Lettres and English Literature was proffered him but he did not accept. Subsequently he was elected Professor of Mathematics. In the fall of 1874, he accepted a call from Louisville Mission, at Louisville, Ky., and once more, very much in opposition to the wishes of friends, left the college, entering upon his work there November 1. The erection of a church building was at once begun and from a small beginning the congregation increased in numbers until at the expiration of four years the membership, originally twenty-five, now aggregated three hundred and fifty and the Sunday School had grown from forty pupils to the neighborhood of six hundred, becoming the largest in the city and continuing such.

In Louisville, in 1875, Dr. Ort was joined in wedlock with Miss Anna Senteny. She is the daughter of Dr. W. W. Senteny, a noted physician of Louisville, Ky. There have been born to them seven children of whom two sons and four daughters are living. Dr. Ort was called to St. James Church, New York City, in 1879, and there as at other places where he had been the church received anew impetus. In the summer of 1880, he was elected to the Chair of Sacred Philology in Wittenberg College. Although he had entered upon a promising work in the great metropolis he was scarcely able to resist the call of his Alma Mater once more and accordingly accepted and entered upon the discharge of his duties as Professor of Theology in October following. In the spring of 1882 he was elected to the President’s Chair.

About this time the erection of a new college building was being agitated and in the canvassing of the city of Springfield which followed for the purpose of collecting funds, Dr. Ort in addition to his other duties took an active part. Notwithstanding the financial depression of that time, the work was successfully carried on until the necessary amount — $67,000 — was raised. The building was completed and dedicated June 16, 1886, and stands as a monument to the perseverance and labors of President Ort, besides being the finest college building in the State. Dr. Ort, in 1884, was elected Professor of SystematicTheology and this entailed upon him still further duties and labors. Wittenberg College, however, is the child of his fostering care and he regards no efforts too great and no labors too irksome so long as he has strength mentally and physically to perform them. Each term in the history of the college gives ample indication that it is steadily advancing in everything pertaining to the best good of its pupils, numbers of which are graduated each year and go to take honorable positions in the world.

For a period of six years, beginning with 1873, Dr. Ort officiated as Secretary of the General Assembly of the church. He preached a sermon at its opening in Baltimore in 1875, also at Wooster, Ohio, in 1879, and was elected President of that body at Omaha, Neb., June 2, 1887. He was editor-in-chief of the Lutheran Evangelist published at Springfield from 1881 to 1885. In 1887, he delivered the first lecture in the Holman course before the theological students at Gettysburg, Pa.

Dr. Ort possesses literary talents of a fine order and has been a deep thinker and a close Bible student. Noticeable among his productions are “The Doctrine of the Resurrection “Criticism of Theistic Argument;” three articles on the “Ministerium an address on the “True Idea of Brotherhood, “in pamphlet form; “Jesus and the Scientist;” “Christ the Climax of Humanity,” and others of equal importance and interest. As an instructor, Dr. Ort possesses in a marked degree the faculty of interesting his pupils and elucidating the great questions with which they have to deal in a manner which fastens it upon their memory. As an orator, he stands second to none in his particular field of labor and he possesses a bright originality of thought which exercises a charm over his hearers. Personally he is genial and companionable and has gathered around him hosts of friends, not only in educational circles, but in the entire community. He occupies with his family one of the pleasantest homes in the city of Springfield, this being located near the college and in all its surroundings indicating cultured tastes and the refinements of modern life.

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This family biography is one of the many biographies included in Portrait and Biographical Album of Greene and Clark Counties, Ohio published by Chapman Bros., in 1890. 

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