Pueblo County, Colorado
James Bradley Orman

Contributed by Karen Mitchell

James Bradley Orman (1849-1919) -- also known as James B. Orman -- Born November 4, 1849. Governor of Colorado, 1901-03. Died July 21, 1919. Interment at Roselawn Cemetery. A prominent railroad contractor who came to Colorado by mule train in 1868, Orman was the quintessential self-made man. Orman was mayor of Pueblo, served as a state senator and became governor in 1901.

This gentleman was born November 4, 1848, in the State of Iowa, at Muscatine, from which place he removed at an early age to Winterset, Madison County, and at the age of twelve to attend school from Winterset to Chicago, Ill. At Chicago he attended school, public and select, as long as he desired—about four years—and returned to Winterset to extensively farm, deal in and raise stock on a large farm owned by his father. The next four years was passed in successful farming and speculation in stock. The information of the opportunities for business presented by Colorado attracted his attention in 1866, and induced him to close his unsettled business, and take the stage for Julesburg, Colo. From there he traveled with the mule teams of his brother, W. A. Orman, to Denver. In the early day of 1866, the shipping into Denver on wagons nearly all supplies for man and beast used in Colorado, created a constant demand for freight animals of all descriptions, particularly for heavy mules and horses, the Mexican mustang, California broncho and Indian kuise, with which the country was stocked, being too light for serviceable freighters. With characteristic foresight, he took advantage of this demand, and for several years he brought large numbers of mules to Denver from Kansas City and St. Louis, and rapidly disposed of them. Railroad contracting has been his business for the past twelve years. It is a business for which he is naturally qualified, and he is as well known by the name of " the railroad contractor" as by the name of Orman. He began railroading, in partnership with his brother, by taking contracts on the Kansas Pacific Railroad. when that road was being built from Sheridan to Denver, a distance of 230 miles, and helped to complete it into Denver. He and his brother then began contracting on the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad. He has been contracting on the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad from the grading of the first mile to the present time. In the different firms of Orman & Co.; Moore, Carlile, Orman & Co.; Carlile, Orman & Crook, and Orman & Crook, he has helped to build five-sixths of the main line of the Denver & Rio Grande from Denver to Leadville, and nearly the whole of all its extensions, which are El Moro, San Juan, Del Norte and Wagon Wheel Gap: Silver Cliff, Kirber Creek and Kokomo Extensions, and the Iron Mine Branch, twelve miles out from South Arkansas to a rich and productive iron mine owned by the railroad company. Orman & Crook, in June, 1881, bought the interest of the Hon. James N. Carlile in all railroad contracts they were interested in together, and now carry on the work alone, and have added to their other contracts a contract to build fifty miles of the Kokomo Extension down Blue River. He has accumulated a fortune. He owns a large number of building lots on the mesa, and on several of them he has built fine dwellings, which he rents to tenants. A view of his residence is presented in this volume. He owns stock in the celebrated mineral water artesian well, and in partnership with his former railroad contracting partner, the Hon. William Moore, he is putting up the Moore & Orman Block, a large block in South Pueblo. Mr. Orman has had many public honors thrust upon him. He is Vice President of the Pueblo Street Railway. He has been City Councilman since the city's incorporation, and was Representative from Pueblo County to the third State Legislature, held in 1881. The J. B. Orman Hose No. 1, honored him by giving his name to their company. The loss of his brother, W. A. Orman, by death, on the 19th of March, 1880, will be a sorrow to his sympathetic nature till his own occurs. His portrait speaks the energy and ready action he possesses.  History of the Arkansas Valley, Colorado O L Baskin & Co., Chicago, 1881

to the Pueblo County Index Page.

Please e-mail comments and suggestions toKaren Mitchell.
© Karen Mitchell