Sunday, October 2, 2011
Pacificus Ord (1816-1900)
A prominent lawyer and judge during the California pioneer era, Pacificus Ord was originally born in Maryland on October 16, 1816, one of twelve children born to James and Rebecca Ruth Cresap Ord. Within three years of his birth the Ord family resettled in Washington, D.C., and it was here that Pacificus began a career as a painter when he reached adolescence. In mid 1842 he relocated to New Orleans, where he was admitted to the bar in 1844.
Ord relocated from Washington D.C. to California in 1848 and was named as a member of the first California Constitutional Convention in 1849. In that same year Ord was elected as a Justice of the California Territorial Supreme Court, although no source mentions how long he served. In 1855 he was appointed as the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California and served in this capacity for four years, resigning in 1859.
During the early 1870s Ord returned to Washington, D.C. and engaged in stock farming. He died on May 11, 1900 in Washington at the age of 83, and was subsequently cremated. The portrait of Pacificus Ord above appeared in a 1905 edition of the New York Sun, which featured a full page article detailing the history of the Ord family. One should also note that Pacificus's younger brother was Major General Edward Otho Cresap Ord (1818-1883), who commanded troops under Ulysses Grant during the Vicksburg campaign.