Sylverius S. Orwig, lawyer and formerly one of the city commissoners of Independence, is a native Kansan, born in Montgomery county, Jan. 2, 1879, a son of William and Alice Jane (Webster) Orwig. The American branch of the Orwig family was established in Pennsylvania by George Orwig, who emigrated from Germany in 1747, and founded the town of Orwigville. There David Orwig, the grandfather of Sylverius, was born and reared, but later removed to Ohio when that country was little settled, and established a home in the nearly unbroken wilderness. William Orwig was born in Tuscarawas county, Ohio, but his parents moved to Illinois during his infancy. He was reared in that state and enlisted in the One Hundred and Twenty-fourth Illinois infantry, with which regiment he served three years, or until mustered out at the close of the Rebellion. He came to Kansas in 1869 and took up a claim in Montgomery county, where he continued to reside until he gave up active life and moved into Independence to enjoy the last years of his life in a rest from toil. Alice Jane (Webster) Orwig was born in Iowa. The family originally came from the State of New York and were among the pioneer settlers of Lucas county, Iowa. The first members of the Webster family in America came from Scotland and located in New England before the American Revolution, in which struggle for independence descendants of this family participated. She met William Orwig and married him in Montgomery county in 1874; they at once went to the claim owned by the groom and started the home where their six children were born and reared. They are: Mrs. Tressie Vincent, Foyil, Okla.; Mrs. Lula Fetherngil, of Independence; Beatrice V., a student at Emporia; Edwin C. and Elmer D., twins, at home; and Sylverius S., the second child and eldest son. The boyhood of Sylverius S. Orwig was spent in Independence, where he attended the common schools and graduated from the high school in 1899, having the honor of being the valedictorian of his class. During his preliminary school days, Mr. Orwig had determined to devote his life to the study of law, and in the fall of 1899 entered the law department of the University of Kansas, where he graduated with the degree of LL. B. in 1902. The following year he opened an office in Independence. He was twice elected justice of the peace and served one full term, but resigned in his second term to enter upon the duties of city commissioner, to which office he had been elected by a flattering majority, an unusual position for so young a man. In conjunction with his former partner, P. L. Courtright, Mr. Orwig instituted the first contempt proceedings under the prohibition laws against the sale of intoxicating liquors within the boundaries of the state. The case was conducted so ably that John Marshall, later attorney-general of Kansas, sent for copies of the proceedings and the same procedure was used in other cases to stop the liquor traffic in the state. He is a Master Mason and member of the independent Order of Odd Fellows. He is a Methodist in religious faith and is taking an active part in church work. He cast his first vote as a Republican and has never wavered from the beliefs and principles of that party. He takes an active part in all local affairs and uses his influence for the upbuilding and improvement of the city.Pages 266-267 from volume III, part 1 of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed December 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM195. It is a two-part volume 3.
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