ORLANDO WHITNEY. Prominent among the leading farmers of Central Illinois may be mentioned the gentlemen with whose name we introduce this biographical notice. He is thorough and skillful in the management of his affairs, highly successful and well-to-do, and is a great lover of fine horses, number of which may always be seen at his well-regulated homestead on section 36, township 13, range 12, Scott County. He has for the prosecution of this industry all modern conveniences and buildings, and in consideration of his close attention to business it is not surprising that he has attained to his present position.
Mr. Whitney was born at the homestead where he now lives, June 8, 1836 and is the son of Jonah Whitney, a native of Massachusetts, who emigrated to Illinois as early as 1835, and settled in this county, when a large portion of the land was still the property of the Government. He entered eighty acres from "Uncle Sam" and subsequently purchased several hundred acres, the greater part of which he brought to a good state of cultivation, and built up a good homestead upon which he spent the remainder of his days.
Mrs. Mary A. (Wadsworth) Whitney, the mother of our subject was the daughter of John Wadsworth, a descendant of William Wadsworth. It was this loyal patriot, who immortalized himself by hiding the charter of the Colonists in the old oak tree when Andros was endeavoring to gain possession of it and thus deprived the people of their liberties. For years afterward this oak tree stood a monument to the deed, and was ever reverenced as the "Charter Oak" To the parents of our subject there were born three children, those besides Orlando being Amelia and Albert, who died when about eighteen and twenty years of age respectively.
Orlando Whitney was reared to man's estate at the old homestead and became familiar with farm pursuits. He studied his lessons in the log cabin with seats made of slabs and desks made of boards fastened to the wall. The roof was covered with clapboards and weight-poles held them down; a log was cut out at one end of the structure and filled in with a row of window panes, this constituting the only window. The system of education was quite in keeping with the architecture of the temple of learning, but the boys of that period grew up almost without exception, strong of muscle and healthy in mind, well fitted to perform their part in the drama of life.
Young Whitney at an early age developed fine musical talents and taught singing school before reaching manhood. He also gave lessons on the violin and cornet and was the leader of the Cornet Band of Manchester for four years. On the 11th of September, 1862, he was united in marriage with Miss Sophia, daughter of James F. Curtis of Manchester Precinct. The young people commenced their wedded life together at his present home, and Mr. Whitney followed his chosen vocation of farming from that time onward. Six children in due time came to the fire-side, five of whom are now living, namely: George, Nellie, Kate, Albert, and Frank. George married Miss Nannie Ray. They live on his father's place, and have four children - Earl, Richard, May, and an infant son unnamed. Nellie, (Mrs. Edward L. Smith) also lives near her childhood's home, and is the mother of three children - Kenneth, Morris, and an infant daughter named Nellie C.; Kate is the wife of Thomas Hubble, of Manchester Precinct. The wife and mother departed this life May 31, 1886.
Our subject contracted a second marriage, Oct. 28, 1888, with Mrs. Mary (Dunn) Wines, widow of Andrew Wines and daughter of Andrew Dunn, deceased. Of her first marriage there were born three children, none of whom are living. Mr. Whitney is the owner of 800 acres of land, while his wife owns 180 acres in Neosha County, Kan. His horses are graded Norman, Hambletonians, and Almonts, and he is able to exhibit some of the finest specimens of the equine race in this part of Illinois. He has a race-track on his farm, where he does his own training, and as a result of judicious purchases and wise management he has several colts, which trot a mile in three minutes and one that could make it in 2:30. He also gives considerable attention to graded Holstien and Short-horn cattle and Poland-China swine. He keeps a number of goats among his pigs and chickens, believing them to be a preventive of cholera.
In political matters Mr. Whitney usually supports the principles of the Republican party. Naturally his extensive farming interests absorb the greater part of his time and attention so that he has little inclination to enter upon the responsibilities of official life. He and his excellent wife, together with their son, George, and daughter, Mary, belong to the Christian Church at Manchester. Their hospitable home is the frequent resort of the many friends whose confidence and esteem they enjoy in a marked degree. Mr. Whitney occupies no secondary position among the extensive and successful agriculturists of Scott County.