MG 613 - Orth Family Collection

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Scope and Content

The collection contains primarily papers of the Orth family with photographs and photographs of other families who were part of the Orth family through marriage.

The documents of the Orth family include:

Genealogy and biographical materials; photo copies of correspondence between Dr. Henry L. Orth and the Bureau of Pensions concerning his claim for a pension; a cover of the family Bible with entries from 1733 to 1777; certificates to Dr. Henry L. Orth from the American Medical Society and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; newspaper clippings about the Executive Mansion and Family Album column; letters written to Anna Orth by her Grandmother, 1894-1902, and letters from her sister and mother from abroad in 1903; a diary kept by Mrs. Henry L. Orth on her trip abroad in 1903; a diploma presented to Mary W. Orth from the Harrisburg Female Seminary, 1857; and family photos.

The remainder of the collection contains photographs and information of other families:

Photographs of the Bailey-Gross family

Photographs of the Basinger family

Photographs of the Bayard family

Photographs of the Churchman family

Photographs and genealogy of the Kerr family

Photographs of the Reily family

Photographs and newspaper clippings of the Sebree family

Photographs, genealogy, and estate sale of the Shipley family

Photographs of the McCormick family

Photographs, program, and clipping of the Weir family


The Orth family traces its lineage back to Balzer, or Balthaser, Orth who emigrated from his home in the Palatinate of Germany to Lebanon Township about 1730. The history of the Orth family is also part of the local history of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. They became one of the prominent families of the town and had ties to many of the other founding families through marriage.

Christian Henry Orth, known as Henry, son of Adam, a pioneer in the manufacture of iron, inherited his father's business upon his death and became the owner of New Market Forge. He was elected state senator in 1801 and served three years. He moved to Baltimore in 1812 where he died in 1816.

Edward Lawrence Orth, son of Henry Orth, born in 1814, was brought by his mother the former Rebecca Rahm to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania where he was educated in borough schools and in the Harrisburg Academy. He began the study of medicine with his brother-in-law, Dr. Luther Reily, and graduated from Jefferson College in 1834. He established his practice in Harrisburg and married Martha Cummings Kerr, daughter of Rev. William Kerr of Donegal and his wife, Mary Wilson Kerr. Dr. Edward Orth died in 1861.

Dr. Henry L. Orth, son of Dr. Edward Orth and Martha Cummings Kerr, was born in Harrisburg in 1842. He entered Harrisburg Academy, then Yale College in 1859. At the outbreak of the Civil War he was appointed medical cadet and commissioned in the regular army where he remained until 1865. In 1866 he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and was appointed surgeon of the Northern Central Railroad Company. He later was elected visiting physician of the Harrisburg Hospital and in 1891 was elected Superintendent and physician of the Pennsylvania State Lunatic Hospital. He married Elizabeth Bridgeman Dixon, daughter of Joseph Shipley and Sarah Edwards Bridgeman of Wilmington, Delaware. Dr. and Mrs. Orth had three children: Edward L., Anna Shipley Dixon and Roberta Elizabeth.

Date(s): 1733-1960

Extent: 2 boxes, 21 folders, 71 records