IOWA ITS HISTORY AND TRADITION VOLUME III 1804-1926
Orville James, popular ex-sheriff of Buena Vista county and for a number of years one of the leading business men and enterprising citizens of this locality, and now living in honorable retirement in Storm Lake, was not favored by inherited wealth or the assistance of influential friends at the outset of his career, but by perseverance, industry and the exercise of sound judgment, has attained a comfortable station in life, and has made his influence felt for the general good of his community and county. Mr. James was born in Wyandot county, Ohio, on the 19th of September, 1844, and is a son of Benjamin and Melissa (Ritcheson)James, the former a native of Maine and the latter of Ohio, where they were married and spent their remaining years. They were the parents of eleven children.
Orville James was reared in the Buckeye state and attended the public schools of his home neighborhood. On September 23, 1863, at the age of nineteen years, he enlisted in Company A, Twelfth Regiment Ohio Volunteer Cavalry, with which command he served until the end of the Civil war, escaping without injury, though he took part in a number of the most hotly-contested battles of that conflict. He was mustered out at Nashville, Tennessee, and received his honorable discharge at Camp Chase, Ohio. He then went to Crawford county, Ohio, where he was employed at day labor until 1872, when he came to Storm Lake, Iowa. For a time he followed farming and also handled live stock for a number of years but at length engaged in the livery business in Storm Lake, to which he devoted his attention for twenty-seven years. In 1909 he retired from active business affairs and has since lived quietly in his attractive home in Storm Lake.
In 1872, in Ohio, Mr. James was united in marriage to Miss Mary L. Hanks, who also is a native of Ohio, and a daughter of William and Margaret(Thompson)Hanks. Her parents were natives of Ohio, whence they came to Iowa in 1875 and engaged in farming, though maintaining their residence in Storm Lake, and there they both died. They were the parents of eleven children, of which number two are living. Mr. and Mrs. James became the parents of a daughter, who died in infancy. Mr. James has always been an earnest supporter of the republican party and in his earlier years took an active and effective part in public affairs. He served four years as sheriff of Buena Vista county and ten years as constable, faithfully discharging the duties of those offices and earning the reputation of an able and fearless officer. He is a member of E. D. Baker Post, No. 8, Grand Army of the Republic, of which he has been commander for the past ten years. He has led an active and useful life and at all times has been as true and loyal to his country as when he followed the nation's starry banner into the southland as a defender of the Union.