Pueblo County, Colorado
Orin A. Derby

Contributed by Jean Griesan.

Orin A. Derby, superintendent of the Kansas and Colorado division of the Missouri Pacific Railroad, has been identified with the citizenship of Pueblo since the road entered this city, December 1, 1887. The position of train master, which he had previously filled, he continued to hold until April, 1888, when he was appointed to the place he has since so efficiently and acceptably filled. The division of which he is in charge extends three hundred and fifty miles from Pueblo to Hoisington and Great Bend, Kan. The Derby family was founded in Massachusetts in 1680 by settlers from England. Later generations removed to Connecticut, and from there to Vermont. J. M. Derby, our subject's grandfather, was born in Vermont, and engaged in farming in Corinth, that state, but in middle life migrated to Licking County, Ohio, of which he was a pioneer. He continued to reside there until his removal to Iowa, where he died October 6, 1864, at seventy-eight years of age. His father, who was a fanner at Corinth, was one of the Green Mountain boys, who bore so honorable a part in the Revolutionary war.

Hon. G. A. Derby, our subject's father, was born in Licking County, Ohio, and in 1856 removed to Iowa, where he became a grain merchant and dealer in agricultural implements. For four years, during the Civil war, he held the office of sheriff of Wapello County. In 1870 he removed to Utica, Seward County, Neb., of which he was almost the first settler. He platted the town, sold off lots as he had opportunity, made many valuable improvements, and in later years held important city and county offices. In 1896 he was an elector for the presidency, on the Republican ticket. Now seventy-eight years of age, he is living retired from the business cares that once engrossed his attention.

The mother of our subject bore the maiden name of Harriet Brown. She was born in Vermont and died in Nebraska in 1893. Her father, James Brown, a native of New Hampshire and a farmer of Vermont, was the son of a Revolutionary soldier, and his wife, a Miss Shafter, was the daughter of a patriot of the Revolution, while her nephew, Orrin A. Shafter, was a soldier in the war of 1812. The patriotism of the family maybe judged from the statement that fifteen members took part in the Revolution, twenty-seven in the war of 1812 and one hundred and eighty-three in the Civil war. The Shafter family is one with many distinguished connections, including General Shafter, of the Spanish-American war, John G. Saxe and the Slaughters.

The family of which our subject is a member consisted of fourteen members, all but two of whom attained maturity and seven are living. One of these, A. F., enlisted at sixteen years of age in the Union army, becoming a member of the Forty-seventh Iowa Infantry. Orin A. was born in Newark, Licking County, Ohio, November 15, 1843. In 1854 he accompanied his parents to Union City, Ind., and two years later went with them to Ottumwa, Iowa. In 1861 he enlisted as a member of Company B, Thirty-sixth Iowa Infantry, which was mustered into service at Keokuk, Iowa, and was assigned to the department of the Gulf. Francis M. Drake, the recent governor of Iowa, was lieutenant-colonel of the regiment, which took part in the siege of Vicksburg and some twenty engagements in southern Arkansas. He was mustered out, as sergeant, at Davenport, Iowa, September 7, 1865, after an honorable service of three years and one month.

After filling the position of deputy sheriff at Ottumwa for two years, Mr. Derby became interested in the lumber business of E. D. Rands & Co. His railroad career began in 1870, when he became purchasing agent for the Midland Pacific, then building west of Nebraska City. After three years in that capacity he accepted a position with the Northern Missouri (now the Wabash) and for eight years was employed as conductor between St. Louis and Kansas City, his headquarters being at Moberly. In 1882 he went to Hiawatha, Kan., where he was first a conductor, and later a yardmaster on the Omaha division of the Missouri Pacific. Finally he was promoted to be road master, and in April, 1887, was transferred to Council Grove, Kan., as train master, during the building of the Colorado branch of the Missouri Pacific. From Council Grove he came to Pueblo. His long service has been such as to reflect the highest credit upon himself, and his retention in service by the same company proves their high estimation of his ability. He is a member of the Colorado Association of Railway Superintendents, of which he has been vice-president. A Republican in politics, he is a firm friend of the McKinley administration and its representatives, and believes that the policy adopted by the government during the late war with Spain has been such as to reflect the greatest credit upon our country. At different times he has served as a delegate to conventions of his party. . Fraternally he is connected with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and Hiawatha (Kan.) Post of the Grand Army.

During his residence in Ottumwa, Iowa, Mr. Derby married Miss Sarah E. Hedrick, who was born in that city. They became the parents of nine children, namely: O. A., who is employed by the Missouri Pacific Railroad Company in Pueblo; Mrs. Nellie G. Howell, of Kansas City; Orin A., Jr., agent for the Missouri Pacific at Arlington; Sarah E., Mrs. G. L. Walker, of Pueblo; Edna, who is employed as a stenographer in her father's office; Clara, Virgil, Frank and Mary.

Extracted from "Portrait and Biographical Record of the State of Colorado," published by Chapman Publishing Company in Chicago in 1899.

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