ORLANDO FURNAS, miller, Blue River Township, is a native of Clinton County, Ohio, and third son of Joseph and Elizabeth (Ballard) Furnas. Joseph Furnas was born of English parentage, in South Carolina, and at the age of two years was taken to Ohio, in which state he resided from 1804 to 1838. In the latter year he moved to Marion County, Ind., and opened a tavern on the Old National Road, which business he conducted several years. His wife dying in 1847, he returned to Ohio, where he farmed until 1852, and then engaged in the milling business. He subsequently resumed farming, and followed that occupation until his death on the 13th day of January, 1870. He lost his first wife in 1845, and later married Mrs. Howk (nee Compton), by whom he had one child. By his first marriage Mr. Furnas had a family of eight children, three now living, to wit: the subject of this sketch, Mrs. Mary J. Lewis and Mrs. Ruth E. Guyer. Orlando Furnas was born on the 8th day of October, 1835, and when young, learned the miller's trade with his father, in Clinton County, Ohio. He worked at the trade in his native state, and later in Marion and Johnson counties, Ind. He was at one time employed in the Carlisle mill, Indianapolis, and in 1856, started a mill on Eagle Creek, Marion County, for David Baker, with whom he remained two years. He next operated a mill in the town of Bridgeport, the same county, which burned in 1859, entailing upon him a serious loss, in fact breaking him up financially. Shortly after this disaster he went back to Ohio, where he worked at milling about eighteen months and then returned to Indiana, and became superintendent of Beeler & Fletcher's large mills in Marion County, where he was employed for thirteen years. In 1875, he came to Johnson County and purchased what was known as the Old Foster Mill in Blue River Township, which he has since improved and supplied with machinery for the manufacture of flour by the roller process. The mill stands on the west bank of Sugar Creek, has a capacity of sixty barrels per day, and is one of the best and most successful mills in the county. Mr. Furnas has been identified with the milling business since 1852, and is one of the most expert manufacturers of flour in this section of the country. He has been successful financially, owning mill property representing a value of 412,000, and a finely improved farm of 150 acres. He was married in 1858, in Marion County, Ind., to Miss Rebecca Ross, of Montgomery County, Ohio, daughter of Henry J. and Sarah (Carter) Ross. Mr. and Mrs. Furnas are the parents of six children namely: Sarah A. (deceased), Cyrus I., Henry E., Eugene, Ella and Lucy Ann. Mr. Furnas has always taken an active part in politics, and in 1883, was elected representative in the legislature on the republican-prohibition ticket. He is a member of the Masonic order, and with his wife, belongs to the Methodist Episcopal Church.
Transcribed by Cheryl Zufall Parker
Banta, D.D. History of Johnson County, Indiana. Chicago, IL: Brant & Fuller, 1888.