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Portrait and Biographical Album of Benton County, Iowa
Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887

DR. SAMUEL ALLEN OREN, senior editor and proprietor of the Mt. Auburn Star, was born Nov. 16, 1854, at the residence of his grandparents, on North Broad street, Philadelphia, Pa. His grandfather was Michael Pray. The genealogy of the Oren family, like many other American families, is short; and yet it is older than the nation. It may be traced as follows: John Oren begat Joseph Oren, who was born in 1754; Joseph Oren begat John Oren, Jr., who was born Nov. 18, 1792; John Oren, Jr., begat Jesse Oren, who was born Sept. 22, 1824, and Jesse Oren begat Samuel A. Oren, as above named.

John Oren, Sr., and his son Joseph were extensive land-owners, and lived near Newberry, York Co., Pa., about twelve miles southeast of Harrisburg. Here they passed through many troubles during the Revolutionary War, having their house leveled to the ground in mid-winter, and ten children, with their mother, turned out to find shelter from snow and ice among those who had escaped the rage of the raiding war party. About this time the maternal great-great-grandfather, Jacob Keller, escaped capture and a supposed death by jumping into the Susquehanna River, at the junction of Sweet Arrow Creek and the river, into which trap he had been chased. The river and creek were both high and filled with floating ice, and the falls or rapids only a half mile off. Jacob Keller took his chances, and succeeded before reaching the falls in mounting a large cake of ice, and went over safely, landing about three miles below on a small island, where he remained nearly three days, waiting the closing of the river. The island has ever since been called Keller's Island, in commemoration of this very remarkable escape from death. It was uninhabited at the time, and a fast of nearly three days in a temperature below freezing, and after such a passage down the river, must surely indicate strong vitality and a fast grip on life.

Dr. Jesse Oren, father of Dr. S. A., is well known to many of the readers of this chapter. He is a regular physician of the Old School, and practiced medicine in Philadelphia in an early day. He served on the Russian Medical Staff, with the rank of Major, during the Crimean War, and moved to Iowa in 1856 after its close.

Dr. S. A. Oren is a graduate of the College of Physicians and Surgeons, of Keokuk, Iowa. He also graduated in the Homeopathic Department of the Iowa State University, being the first graduate in that department. In this institution he also graduated in the Law Department, and was admitted to practice in the Supreme Court of the State and the Federal Courts. But why this course in law? The answer is, to improve his judgment in business affairs. The poet has said that "a little learning is a dangerous thing," but Dr. O. does not believe it except in a qualified sense. As to the advice "Drink deep, or taste not at all," he holds as a dangerous doctrine. Better take all you can get, the more the better, and still the head will be clouded.

Dec. 25, 1878, Dr. Oren was married to Miss Kate E. Welton, daughter of ex-Prof. H. S. Welton, of Iowa City, formerly of the faculty of the State University. He has three children — Samuel Leo, Arthur Allen and Lillie Eva. For his wife he has only praises, and he knows that she is always ready and willing, whether the "grade be up or down hill." In 1880 he moved from La Porte City to Mt. Auburn, where he is now variously occupied, but always busy. He owns a drug-store, practices medicine, is the senior editor of the Mt. Auburn Star, agent for several companies, is in the stock business, and owns some fine Clydesdale horses, imported, and grades of all ages and of both sexes. He also has Short-horn cattle of both sexes for sale. At the present time one of Moniger's best raising is at the head of the herd. The farm operated contains about 1,000 acres. He also owns and operates 213 acres in Bremer and Chickasaw Counties, on the county line near the Wapsie River.

As to Dr. S. A. Oren's early training, it may be sain that he was brought up on the farm at work and study. Study from 5 to 6 o'clock in the morning, until breakfast was called. This was true when at home in the winter time, as at other seasons. At the age of three years he was able to read manuscript, and well remembers being placed, on several occasions, on the bar counter in the hotel of Wm. Fox, of La Porte City, then occupied by M. Fero, and strips written by the guests were handed to him to read. He was generally able to read this promiscuous matter, which sufficiently attests the care his parents had bestowed upon him. This drill was never abated, and perhaps was pushed to an extreme. At least he well remembers when he was put upstairs, and told to "call for dinner when so much of a Latin verb could be conjugated, and not before;" "and don't you forget it." "Depend on no one, but draw drafts on self," was the ever ready advice of his father. To be thrown overboard is often the only stimulation to develop a healthy growth in the individual. "None drown that are worth saving."

Dr. S. A. Oren is a Republican in training. He and his wife are active members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, at Mt. Auburn. He feels too young to boast of the good he has done, but rather hopes to row up with the flood tide and anchor before it ebbs. In this hope of doing good he recognizes that every action of his constitutes a link in the chain necessary to accomplish the end sought.

Source Citation: "1887 Benton County, Iowa Biographies"  [database online]  Benton County IAGenWeb Project. <>
Original data: "Portrait and Biographical Album of Benton County, Iowa." Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887, p. 357-358.
Transcribed by: Sue Soden. Submitted to the Benton County IAGenWeb Project on February 18th, 2009.  Copyright © 2009 The IAGenWeb Project.

Return to: 1887 Biography Index

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