Jacob T. Rorick

Some two hundred years ago and about forty years before the Declaration of Independence, the first Jacob T. Rorick landed in America and settled on the river that bears the name of his fellow countryman, Henrich Hudson. This first Jacob T. Rorick was the great-grandfather of Jacob Thompson Rorick, of The Dalles. The latter’s parents were Mark and Ann E. (Moore) Rorick, who were natives of New Jersey, and in that state he was born in 1853. His grandmother Moore was an aunt of Rev. John Russell, who was a candidate of the prohibition party for president.

Mr. Rorick 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 the Oak Grove Academy, after which he taught school for a time, in the meanwhile taking a course at the State Normal School at Ypsilanti. He then began the study of law and took a law course at Michigan State University. For some reason, he abandoned the practice of law and turned his attention to the newspaper business, becoming the editor of the Bad Axe Democrat, which he conducted for eight years, and during this time he was appointed the postmaster of Bad Axe, Michigan, by President Cleveland, serving in that office for four years.

It was in 1892 that Mr. Rorick came to Oregon, locating at Grand Haven on the opposite side of the river from The Dalles. There he secured twenty-three hundred acres of land and of this he still owns thirteen hundred acres. He also has one hundred and eighty acres in Benton county, Washington, under ditch, devoted to fruit and alfalfa. He has given much attention to cattle raising and was one of the organizers of the Castle Rock Land Association. While in the cattle business, Mr. Rorick always believed in full-blooded sires and his Durham bulls were all of registered stock. Closing out his cattle business, he took up dairying and used only Jerseys, again adhering to registered sires. Since 1909 he has practically retired from active connection with farm work.

Mr. Rorick has always evinced an interest in public affairs, though in no sense is he a politician. He has served on the school board; was twice candidate for mayor of The Dalles; and for eight years served as one of the city water commissioners. He served as director of The Dalles Chamber of Commerce from 1915 to 1917, when he was elected president of that body, occupying that office until 1919. He is vice-president of the Oregon State Champer of Commerce, and one of the five eastern Oregon directors of that important organization. He has been a Mason for forty-six years, and a Knight Templar for twenty-eight years. He has held all of the chairs in the blue lodge and is a Noble of the Ancient Arabic Order of Nobles of the Mystic Shrine.

In 1881 Mr. Rorick was married to Miss Carrie E. Eldridge, whose great-grandfather was a soldier in the Revolutionary war. She is a daughter of Rev. H.P. Eldridge, a Baptist clergyman of the middle west, who left his pulpit and fought gallantly with the Federal army during the Civil war. The living children of Mr. and Mrs. Rorick are: Mark, who is a chief yeoman in the United States Navy; Faye, wife of Clifton Condon, of The Dalles; Jay T., Jr., and E.H., a supercargo in the service of the United States Shipping Board. There are eight grandchildren, two of whom, Jay T., 3rd, and Elizabeth, they are rearing.

Source: Carey, Charles Henry. 1922. History of Oregon. Volume 3. Chicago: Pioneer Historical Publishing Company.

Jacob T. Rorick

Jacob T. Rorick, editor and proprietor of the Bad Axe Democrat, published at Bad Axe, Mich., was born in the State of New Jersey, Feb. 9, 1853; he is a son of Mark and Ann E. (Moore) Rorick, the former of German-English extraction, the latter of Irish descent, and both natives of New Jersey, where they lived and died.

The subject of this sketch attended school the first 15 years of his life; he was then engaged in working on a farm by the month for a period of seven years, after which he engaged in teaching school, some 14 terms, in the country; he then became Principal of the Schools at Canandaigua, Mich., for three terms, then acted as Principal of the Schools at Fayette, Ohio. He emigrated to Michigan in the year 1867, having been engaged for a short time previously as clerk in a grocery store. Several years since, he was engaged for a time in dealing in produce, with a fair degree of success. He came to Bad Axe in July, 1884, and purchased the press from William T. Hutchinson and entered immediately upon the duties of publishing a paper known as the Bad Axe Democrat, which he has continued up to the present time, a more extended sketch of which will be found elsewhere in this work.

Mr. Rorick was married in Lenawee Co., Mich., April 16, 1881, to Carrie Eldridge, daughter of the Rev. H.P. and Sarah (Averill) Eldridge; she was born in New York, Feb. 4, 1858. They have by this union one child, Mark Eldridge, born Feb. 1, 1884. Mr. Rorick is a member of the Order of Freemasons, belonging to Lodge No. 173, Medina, Lenawee Co., Mich. In political faith Mr. Rorick is, as the title of his paper would seem to indicate, a Democrat of strong type. He holds to the principles of no compromise with wrong, but to hew to the line and let the chips fall where they may. On the subject of religion he is a freethinker.

Source: Portrait and Biographical Album of Huron County Containing Portraits and Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens of the County. 1884. Chicago: Chapman Brothers.

Jacob Thompson Rorick

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.