Orion Littell Rider, a leading attorney of Vinita whose professional ability is indicated by the large and distinctively representative clientage accorded hire, has served his fellow citizens in various capacities and has always done able and conscientious work. His birth occurred in Mason county, Illinois, on the 7th of January, 1874, and his parents were Dr. Robert G. and Harriet M. (Littell) Rider, the former born near Cleveland, Ohio, and the latter in the state of New Jersey. The father was a physician, acquiring his professional training in Pennsylvania, and he first opened an office at Mobile, Alabama, whence he removed to Havana, Illinois, where he engaged in practice until the outbreak of the Civil war, when his patriotic spirit prompted him to lay aside all personal considerations. On the 1st of October, 1862, he was made captain of Company K, Eighty-fifth Illinois Infantry, which he had raised, and on the 12th of May, 1863, won promotion to the rank of major. He participated in the battle of Kenesaw Mountain, Georgia, and remained in command of his regiment until wounded near the close of the war. After receiving his discharge from the service he returned to Havana, Illinois, where he continued to follow his profession until 1880, when he removed to Ringgold county, Iowa, where he engaged in practice for four years, and then lived retired until his death, which occurred in November, 1889, at the age of seventy. The mother long survived him, passing away in April, 1921, when in her eighty-fourth year.
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Mr. Rider attended the high school at Mount Ayr, Iowa, was for two years a student at Western College of Toledo, that state, after which he completed his college course in Grinnell College at Grinnell, Iowa, which conferred upon him the degree of Bachelor of Philosophy in 1894. In that year he became private secretary to the president of Grinnell College, continuing to act in that capacity until 1895, when he went to Toledo, Iowa, and became a clerk in the law offices of the firm of Struble & Stiger. There he pursued his legal studies until he entered Drake University at Des Moines, Iowa, which he attended for a year, completing the entire law course during that period and winning his L. B. degree in 1900, and being made valedictorian of his class. He entered upon the work of his profession at Vinita, and his ability soon won recognition. From 1900 to 1907 he served as assistant United States district attorney and after completing his term of office he was associated with Judge Parker, associate judge of this district, until 1911. He then practiced independently until 1913, when he went to Fairbanks, Alaska, as counsel for the receiver of the Washington-Alaska Bank, and after spending a portion of two years in that country returned to Vinita. A few months later he was called to St. Louis, Missouri, and from 1914 until November, 1917, was connected with the legal department of the Southern Surety Company of that city. In the fall of the latter year he once more took up his professional work at Vinita and is now engaged in general civil practice. He has been entrusted with many important litigated interests, and his pronounced ability has secured for him a large clientele. He is well versed in the principles of jurisprudence, prepares his cases with great thoroughness and care, and the skill with which he presents his cause has won for him many favorable verdicts. He also has financial interests, being a director of the Farmers State Bank.
In 1904, at Vinita, Mr. Rider was married to Miss Grace Fortner, a native of Fayetteville, Arkansas, and a daughter of Dr. Benjamin F. Fortner, whose birth occurred at Dallas, Texas. Her father followed his profession at Siloam Springs and Fayetteville, Arkansas, until the early ’80s, when he came to Vinita by the overland route, becoming well known as a physician throughout the Cherokee Nation. He was associated in practice with Dr. Oliver Bagby from 1887 until 1906 and then removed to Springfield, Missouri, but returned to Vinita in 1916, passing away in the following year. He had made extensive investments in land and was one of the most influential and highly respected residents of Vinita.
In July, 1918, Mr. Rider enlisted for service in the United States army and received his training at Camp Taylor near Louisville, Kentucky, where he was stationed until the close of the war. Prior to entering the service Mr. Rider had given his active support to all war measures and he is a most loyal and patriotic American. He is a stanch republican in his political views and has taken an active and prominent part in public affairs, serving as mayor of Vinita and giving to his city a most progressive and businesslike administration, productive of excellent results. He was one of the organizers and the first vice president of the Rotary Club of Vinita.
In 1920 he was president of the organization and represented that body at the international convention held at Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1921. He is a member of Dale Peace Post, No. 40, of the American Legion, and his fraternal connections are with the Elks Lodge, No. 1162, and Vinita Lodge, No. 5, F. & A. M. When not occupied with his professional duties he spends as much time as possible out of doors, finding enjoyment in hunting and fishing. Endowed by nature with superior intellectual powers, he has attained a position of distinction in the ranks of his profession. He has used his talents not only to further his individual interests but also to advance the public welfare and Vinita numbers him among her foremost citizens.