THE HISTORY OF ORMANVILLE
About 1846, David J. Orman, my great-great-great grandfather,
came from Indiana and settled in the then dense woods where Ormanville was to be. The timber was cleared away and fields of corn, wheat, etc. took its place.
At this time they began to build the town on land donated by David J. Orman. We do not know what business, except farming, was done between 1846 and 1870.
At one time Ormanville had between 45 - 50 homes, two grocery stores, sawmill, flour and feed mill, postoffice, church, hardware store, dry good store, furniture store, and a blacksmith.
Around 1870 the postoffice was moved to Ormanville from Point Isabell, which is located about a mile and a half Northeast of Ormanville. The postoffice was located in the back of a grocery store. A mail carrier would go to Ottumwa, Iowa with his horse and buggy, get the mail and deliver it to the post office.
It is not exactly known who started the first store, but Fred Harness Jr.had a store for awhile. Later a man named Mullins came from Albia and put in a store. Still later J.C. Thompson bought and enlarged the Oddfellows' Hall, which had been built about ten years earlier, into a two room general merchandise store. This store did business until about 1890, when Mr. Thompson moved to Belknap. It was then taken over by E.S. Berry, who had been running a dry goods store in Ottumwa. He continued the business until 1916, when the merchandise sales ceased in Ormanville.
Will Blythstone at one time made shoes at Ormanville before retiring to Ottumwa.
Samuel Owan owned and operated a saw and grist mill where lumber was sawed to build the houses and coen ground to make the corn bread, which they ate with fat pork and venison. This mill was later operated by Johnathan Heckart.
Abraham Kendall built and kepy the inn which took care of passengers who came on the stage.
David J. Orman was a blacksmith as well as a farmer and did repair work for the farmers until old age made it necessary to retire. Afterwards Hiram Leonard had a shop one half mile west of Ormanville, which he later moved into town.
Lafayett Thompson came from Ohio and took over the blacksmithing. He was later joined by his brother-in-law, Eugene Steers, who helped him build wagons, buggies, and later they built a chair factory where they made old fashioned split bottomed chairs.
The mail came to ormanville once a week on Friday. That was the day the grist mill ran, so the settlers would come to town to get their mail and supplies for the next week, either on foot or on horseback if they had corn to be ground.
The corn was carried in a two bushel sack thrown across the horse in front of the rider. Their eggs were usually carried in a basket and their butter in a bucket. They received from 3 - 5 cents a dozen for eggs, and about that much for butter.
The electric light line runs through where Ormanville used to be. The first few years when it was most prosperous, there were no electric lights.
Men would gather at the stores which are now oat and corn bins, tell their stories and drink their apple cidar. On mail day men and women would come from all around to tell their stories and to find out the news of the neighborhood.
The Ormanville Cemetery and the remains of the town are located ten miles southwest of Ottumwa, Iowa. The same man, David J. Orman, who donated the land for Ormanville donated the land for the Ormanville Cemetery which is on the hill North of Ormanville.
All that remains of Ormanville today