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About Major Edward Ord II
Edward Otho Cresap Ord, II (November 9, 1858 – April 4, 1923) was a United States Army Major who served with the 22nd Infantry Regiment during the Indian Wars, the Spanish–American War and the Philippine-American War. He helped direct relief work after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. He was a military instructor, an expert linguist and spent time in painting and writing poetry. He was also an inventor who patented a new type of gold pan and different types of rifle and handgun sights.
Young Edward Ord was the eldest male of 15 children (13 lived past childhood) and was born at Benicia Barracks, San Francisco, now part of the Benicia Arsenal, Benicia, California on November 9, 1858. His father, the then Captain Edward Otho Cresap Ord (October 18, 1818 Maryland–July 22, 1883 in Havana, Cuba and buried on July 22, 1898 in Arlington Cemetery), married Mary Mercer Thompson (January 22, 1831 Virginia–July 15, 1894 San Antonio, Texas) on October 14, 1854. His father was a career military officer who was a hero in the Civil War and had served as a Major General of Volunteers. After the war, he reverted to being a Brigadier General in the Regular Army.
On August 2, 1870, the family was in San Francisco, California with seven children. Young Edward, the eldest son, lived with servants and was taught by tutors and in public schools. His life in the west was one of which his father was a senior military officer, a decorated Civil War hero and he was “his father’s son.” His life was privileged compared to others. As he grew up he watched both military officers and men show respect and courtesy to his parents. Later young Edward attended the public school in Omaha, Nebraska. He was appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy in 1876, but withdrew after his second year.
In 1879 he was appointed second lieutenant in the 22nd Infantry Regiment, U.S. Army.
By June 1880 his parents were in San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas. His father was the Commanding General of the Department of Texas. His father retired from the Army on December 6, 1880 after serving 41 years. His father began a second career that built the Mexican Southern Railroad from Texas to Mexico City. His family stayed in San Antonio.
In 1880, young Edward was stationed at Fort Mckavett, Menard, Texas. He married Mary Frances Norton (May 27, 1857–June 27, 1947) on November 10, 1879 in Bexar County. She was the daughter of Charles Gilman & Frances (Brown) Norton.
They had the following children:
Edward Ord, born September 1880 in Bexar County, Texas.
Harry Ord, born October 1881 in Bexar County, Texas.
Jules Garesche “Garry” Ord, born October 1886 in Colorado.
Ellen F. “Nellie” Ord, born October 1889 in Benecia Barracks, Solano, California.
Mary N. Ord, born October 1895 in Arkanas.
In July 1883, his father died in Havana, Cuba of yellow fever while enroute from Vera Cruz, Mexico to New York City. Young Edward was given leave for his father’s funeral at Arlington National Cemetery which was attended by many politicians and Army personnel.
His brother, Jules Garesche “Gary” (September 9, 1866–July 1, 1898), was a United States Army First Lieutenant who was killed in action after leading the charge of Buffalo Soldiers of the 10th U.S. Cavalry up San Juan Hill. History now records that “Gary” Ord was responsible for the "spontaneous" charge that took the San Juan Heights during the Spanish-American War in Cuba on July 1, 1898.
Military career 1
The 22nd Infantry Regiment coat of arms.Second Lieutenant Ord of the 22nd Infantry served in the Indian campaigns in Texas in 1880, and later commanded the Seminole Indian scouts in 1882 to about 1890. Since 1870, the U.S. Army invited Black Seminoles to return from Mexico to serve as army scouts for the United States. The Seminole Negro Indian Scouts (originally a black unit despite the name) played a lead role in the Texas Indian Wars of the 1870s. The scouts became famous for their tracking abilities and feats of endurance. Four men were awarded the Medal of Honor. They served as advance scouts for the commanding white officers and the all-black units known as the Buffalo Soldiers, with whom they were closely associated. After the close of the Texas Indian Wars, the scouts remained stationed at Fort Clark in Brackettville, Texas.
First Lieutenant Ord participated in the feared revolt of the Ghost Dancers supposedly led by Sitting Bull in mid-December 1891 and took part of patrols in Montana through the end of 1892 trying to keep the peace. This was during the time when Sitting Bull was killed by an Army officer.
Lieutenant Ord with the 22nd Infantry Regiment fought at Santiago July 3 to July 17, 1898. There he was promoted to Captain. After the war, Captain Ord remained in Cuba for nine months as interpreter on the staff of General Alexander R. Lawton. There he suffered from a mild case of yellow fever.
In late 1900 or early 1901, Captain Ord was sent to the Philippines from Benicia Barracks when Philippine rebellion broke out. He participated in battle at San Isidro then other battles during the Moro Rebellion on Mindanao and Jolo.
Ord, like his father would continue to suffer from yellow fever and its second phase. Unlike his father, he would live but require a long sabbatical from military service. He was forced to retire on October 10, 1903 due to the physical disabilities of yellow fever contracted in Cuba.
On April 18, 1906, just after the San Francico earthquake Ord was appointed a Special Police Officer by Mayor Eugene Schmitz and liasioned with Major General Adolphus Greely for relief work. He wrote a long letter to his mother on the 20th regarding Schmitz' "Shoot-to-Kill" Order and some “despicable” behavior of certain soldiers of his former 22nd Regiment from the Presidio who were looting.
In 1908, he was the military instructor at St. Matthew's school in San Mateo, California and later at the University of Alabama. During this time period he continued his correspondence with Mexican leader Geronimo Trevino (1836–1914), mostly about the health of Trevino's son Geronimo Trevino y Ord, but also discussing aspects of the Mexican Revolution until his friend’s death in 1914.
Military career 2
In 1915, Ord was a military aide on the staff of the governor of Arizona. He was also a liaison with Army unit that included his former regiment. He saw service on the Mexican border due to the rise of tension along the border following the Battle of Agua Prieta. This was where Pancho Villa sustained his greatest defeat and his units were disorganized and wandered around northern Mexico foraging for supplies. Desperate for food and fresh horses, Pancho Villa camped his army of an estimated 500 horsemen outside of Columbus, New Mexico on the Mexican side of the border in March 1916. On March 9, 1916, he invaded the United States for supplies and arms which resulted in the Battle of Columbus. Ord had been given the rank of Major and served Arizona well in organizing and arming militia units. No major raids across the border took place in Arizona.
As the result of his Arizona service, on June 3, 1916, Ord was advanced to the grade of major on the Army retired list. In early 1917, he returned to full active duty, serving at Big Bend, Texas; Fort Sill, Oklahoma; and Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
In December 1918, due to complications of his yellow fever sustained in Cuba, he retired due to ill health from the Army.
In 1920, Ord was residing in Oakland, Alameda, California. Ord was listed as an expert linguist and possessed exceptional artistic ability, devoting much of his leisure time to producing landscape & seascape paintings and to writing poetry.
Ord was also an inventor who patented a new type of gold pan and different weapon sights. He was a co-owner of several mines in Arizona, California, Mexico and Utah. Papers pertaining to the inventions of E.O.C. Ord II are in the special collections section of the Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley. These include Ord’s patents, original drawings and diagrams, advertising material and instructions on use of the "Gold-Pan-Batea", an improved Gold Pan which recycled water. This led to the formation of the California Gold Pan Company and later of the Household Utilities Manufacturing Company. Papers include correspondence and business papers of mine holdings and interests in and around California, Arizona, Utah and Mexico. There are also three diaries; 1) One by William Ord in 1869 of surveying and prospecting in California and Nevada. 2) Two by E.O.C. Ord II, from a prospecting trip to Inyo County, California in 1908-1909 and in 1910 to Zero Mine in Arizona. This collection also includes a sketch of Bradshaw Fissure drawn by Ord.
Ord was a Roman Catholic by religion. He died at Eagle Rock, Los Angeles, California on April 4, 1923.