James B. Orman
James B. Orman, tenth Governor of the State of Colorado (in the thirteenth term), was born in Muscatine, Iowa, November 4, 1849; his parents removing thence to near Winterset, that State, in 1858. After four years spent in the schools of Chicago, he returned to his father’s farm, and until 1866 was there engaged in farming and stock-raising.
Governor Orman crossed the plains by stage-coach and became a citizen of Colorado in 1866, first locating in Denver. Here he engaged in dealing in draft animals, and during the ensuing two or three years transacted a large business. In 1869, when the ear of railroad construction in Colorado opened, he, in partnership with his brother, W. A. Orman, took the contract to build the Kansas Pacific road from Sheridan, Kan., to Denver; and it was by them that the famous and extraordinary feat in rapid construction of a railroad, mentioned in our history of that road, was accomplished. The successful results of that contact decided Governor Orman’s future business career, and since that time, in various partnership of which he has been in most instances the directing member, he has uninterruptedly been identified with the construction of many railroads in the western States and Territories, built part of the Canadian Pacific, and has had much to do with the physical creation of nearly every system of roads in Colorado.
Early in the Seventies, Governor Orman acquired large real estate interests in Pueblo, and then made that city, as it has ever since been, his home. Increasing his real estate holdings there in later years, he became a leader in the development of that city, which, with the results of his railway building, enriched him. On his own account, and in some instances in association with others, he erected many buildings in Pueblo, including the large opera house and several fine business blocks; in 1879 projected and began building the city’s present extended system of street-railways; participated in the organization and is a director of several of Pueblo’s financial institutions; an organizer and directing spirit of large ditch and irrigation companies in the southern part of the State and owner of extensive ranche properties there devoted to stock-raising; a stockholder in and director of several important manufacturing establishments; and interested in various other public and private enterprises in that city. For a long series of terms he was a member of the Pueblo City Council, and more recently Mayor off the city. These various activities, in most of which he still retains his interests, and his broad public spirit, have made Governor Orman a conspicuous figure in the upbuilding of Pueblo and the development of the southern part of the State.
In politics a life-long Democrat, Governor Orman was, in 1880, elected Representative from Pueblo county in the Third General Assembly, and in 1833 a member of the Senate of the Fourth General Assembly. In the session of 1883 when a United States Senator was to be elected he became the unanimous choice of the Democratic minority in that Legislature for that position. In 1900 he was nominated by his party as its candidate for Governor of the State; his candidacy was indorsed by the Silver Republican and the People’s parties, and in November of that year he was elected by a majority of 24,594 over Frank C. Goudy, the Republican candidate. He was inaugurated Governor of Colorado in January, 1901, for the term ending in January, 1903.