Thursday, July 21, 2011

Godlove Orth (1817-1882), Godlove Orth Behm (1828-1888)

   One of Indiana's more prominent public figures during the 19th century, Godlove Stein Orth was born in Lebanon, Pennsylvania on April 22, 1817, a descendant of Balthazar Orth, a German-American patriot during the Revolutionary War. Godlove Orth attended college in Gettysburg and passed the Pennsylvania bar exam in 1839. After relocating to Indiana, he set up a law practice in LaFayette. During the 1840 presidential election, Orth began stumping for candidate William Henry Harrison, and started to make a name for himself (politically speaking) throughout Indiana.
   In 1843, Orth was elected to the Indiana state senate as a Whig and served six years. During his time there, he became acting Lieutenant Governor of Indiana in 1845, while serving as President of the Senate. During the 1848 election, Orth served as a presidential elector for Indiana on the Taylor-Fillmore ticket. During the 1850s, Orth resumed the practice of law, and at the dawn of the Civil War in 1861, he was named as a delegate to the peace convention held in Washington, D.C. This convention was brought about in an effort to stave off the impending violence, but the crisis couldn't be averted. When war finally came, Orth did his patriotic duty and entered into military service, albeit in the position as Captain of a company of local citizens. He didn't see battle, and after a few months service, he returned to his civic duties.
  In 1862, Orth was elected to the U.S House of Representatives from Indiana and took office in March of 1863. He served four terms in the House, and before his service ended in 1871, he chaired the Committee on Private Land Claims. In 1873, he was again elected to Congress and served another two-year term. 

                                                Godlove Orth during his congressional service.

  Orth was not a candidate for renomination in the 1874 election, and the next year was named by President Grant as Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to Austria-Hungary, commencing in March 1875. Orth served overseas for a little over a year, resigning his diplomatic post in May 1876. Three years later, Orth was elected to Congress for the third non-consecutive time and took his seat in March 1879. He served until his death, December 16, 1882, and was buried in his native state of Indiana. 
   In an aside note, while doing research for this article, I managed to find a picture (courtesy of of Godlove Orth's gravestone, located in LaFayette, Indiana. Curiously enough, if one takes a look the aforementioned photograph, you'll notice that the man's name is written incorrectly as "Godlove Stoner Orth", proving either that the stone carver fell asleep at the wheel while engraving it, or really liked the green stuff!

                                         Something doesn't seem quite right about this stone......

  In an addendum to Godlove Orth's article, on May 1, 2012 another politician was discovered who also has the unusual first name "Godlove". Read on to find out more!!!

   The nephew of the preceding gentleman, Godlove Orth Behm was, like his uncle, originally born in Lebanon, Pennsylvania. Born on January 7, 1828, young Godlove O. Behm studied at the Moravian School in Litz, Pennsylvania and later emigrated to Indiana in 1845. Soon after his arrival, Behm began the study of law in the office of his famous uncle and was admitted to the Indiana bar at a very young age.
  A few years after passing the bar, Behm was elected to the Indiana State House of Representatives in 1851, representing Tippecanoe County. At the age of 23 he was the youngest member of the legislature and during his one year term sat on the Judiciary committee.
  In the years following his legislative service, Behm distinguished himself in other aspects of public life, including service in the Civil War. From 1862-63 he was Captain of the 100th Regiment of the Indiana Volunteers and in 1863 was named as Lieutenant Colonel of the 116th Indiana Infantry. 
  After being mustered out of the military, Behm returned to his earlier law practice and in 1869 was appointed by then Indiana Governor Conrad Baker as Prosecuting Attorney for the Criminal Courts of Tippecanoe County. Behm served only four months in this post before being named by President Grant as the Assessor of Internal Revenue for Indiana's 8th District. Behm held this position until 1873, when he resigned and returned to practicing law with his younger brother, Adam Orth Behm.
  Godlove O. Behm continued with his law practice until his death on March 26, 1888 in Lafayette, Indiana. He was subsequently buried in the Greenbush Cemetery in Lafayette next to his wife Sarah, who predeceased him in February 1883. The rare portrait of him shown at the top of his profile here was discovered in an 1876 Atlas of Tippecanoe County, Indiana. Aside from the numerous maps located in this atlas, there were also quite a few prints of then prominent Tippecanoe citizens, of which Mr. Orth was one.

                            This roster was found in the 1851 Indiana General Assembly Journal.

1 comment:

  1. Godlove (Gottleib) Orth has his family tree at: