Judge Rorick Answers the Call

 Had Long Been a Leader in City’s Life

Was Known as Indian’s Friend

Coming West to Develop North Dalles Tract, He Held Many Positions of Trust

A gifted and stalwart citizen of The Dalles passed from the stage Wednesday afternoon when Judge J.T. Rorick ended a career of almost four score years, most of which had been intimately and prominently associated with the history and development of The Dalles and vicinity.

Although Judge Rorick had been in failing health for a number of months, he remained fairly active to the day of his death. Last Friday, when the circus came to town, he expressed a desire to see the animals and was driven to the circus grounds, where he witnessed the arrival of the animals with all the joy of a boy. As late as Tuesday, he insisted upon being dressed and meeting his friends and it was difficult to make him keep his bed. Active and energetic throughout his life, he refused to be repressed even by a serious illness.

With the judge when he passed away Wednesday afternoon were members of his family, although his daughter, Mrs. Clifton F. (Faye) Condon, who motored from Redondo Beach, California, arrived a short time after the end had come.

The funeral will be held at 2:30 tomorrow (Saturday) afternoon at Callaway’s Chapel. Rev. Oswald Taylor of Portland will conduct the services of the chapel, with the Masonic services at the graveside. Old friends of Judge Rorick will serve as honorary pallbearers.

Was of Revolutionary Stock

About 40 years before the Declaration of Independence, the first Jacob T. Rorick landed in America and settled on the river which bears the name of his fellow countryman Hendrik Hudson. He was the great grandfather of Jacob Thompson Rorick, subject of this sketch. The latter’s parents were Mark and Anne E. Rorick who were natives of New Jersey, and he was born in that state February 9, 1953 [sic]. He was educated in the district schools of Michigan, where he was sent on the death of his parents to live with an uncle. Later he entered Oak Grove Academy, after which he taught school, in the meantime taking a course in the State Normal School at Ypsilanti. He then began the study of law and took a law course at Michigan State University. Before completing his course, however, he entered the newspaper business, becoming editor and publisher of the Bad Axe Democrat, which he conducted for eight years. During that time, he was appointed postmaster of Bad Axe by President Cleveland, serving four years.

Was Friend of Indians

Judge Rorick came to Oregon in 1892, when he became interested in the tract of approximately 2300 acres situated at North Dalles. He made his home there and became prominent in the north bank section. He had a great sympathy and friendliness for the Indians of the northwest and made many friends among the Yakimas and Warm Springs tribes. He learned the Indian language and his advice was sought on many tribal matters. Few men in this section of the country achieved the same influence over neighboring tribes as did Judge Rorick and, after had moved to The Dalles, the lawn of his home here was often the scene of an Indian pow wow.

When the Lewis and Clark Exposition was held in Portland, the management sought to obtain an exhibit of Indians for the entertainment of Eastern visitors. Judge Rorick was suggested as the man who had the influence to secure such an exhibit and he contributed much to the interest of the exposition with the group of northwest Indians whom he secured.

Later Judge Rorick conceived the idea which, having its inception here in The Dalles, has developed into the annual Round Up at Pendleton. So much interest was aroused by the appearance of the Indians in Portland that the Judge decided to continue the idea in an annual Indian conclave at the old fairgrounds here. It proved popular and successful from the start, but was not continued here and subsequently the idea was adopted and enlarged by the Pendleton people.

Moving to The Dalles in 1909, Judge Rorick at once became prominent in civic affairs here. He served on the school board, was twice candidate for mayor of the city, was chairman of the city water commission, serving for eight years, and was a director of The Dalles Chamber of Commerce from 1915 to 1917, when he was elected president. He also served as director and vice president of the Oregon Chamber Commerce.

Judge Rorick had been a Mason for 56 years and a Knight Templar for 38 years. He was a charter member of the Al Kader Temple, Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, in Portland.

In 1888 occurred in Ohio his marriage to Miss Carrie Eldridge, whose ancestry in this country also dated back to Revolutionary times. She passed away in 1921. Children surviving include Mrs. Clifton F. Condon of Redondo Beach, California, Jay T., Jr., and Estell H. Rorick of The Dalles, and Mark O. [sic] Rorick of Washington, D.C. A sister, Miss Elizabeth Rorick, aged 84, of Jersey City, N.J., also survives.

Source:  The Dalles Optimist, August 19, 1932.


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