Orlando D. Oathout is one of the enterprising farmers of Monona Township, Clayton County, his home being on section 8. He was born September 2, 1839, in Eaton Township, Madison County, N.Y., where he received his education. From boyhood he was a great student and came to the west with his parents in 1855. He helped to cultivate the farm on which his father settled, and in the winter of 1860 began his work as a teacher in this county. During the summer season he assisted his father in the farm work and in the winter taught school until 1871, when he met with a most unfortunate accident, being thrown off a mowing machine in front of the blade, which cut off his right hand. Since that time he has necessarily confined himself to teaching, having been in charge of graded schools in Clayton, Luanna, Garnavillo, North McGregor and Volga City.
The father of our subject was Solomon Hart Oathout, who was born in 1809 in Madison County, N.Y. In early life he followed his trade of cabinet-maker, later devoting himself to agricultural pursuits. His ancestors on the paternal side came from Holland, one of the name in direct descent, Johannes Oathoudt, having settled in the Mohawk Valley near Albany, N.Y. Following down the line we find his son was Alexander, his grandson, John, and his great-grandson, Solomon H., the father of our subject. All of the family spelled the name as given above until after marriage when the"d" was omitted. Grandfather Oathout, whose birth occurred in the Empire State, was a soldier in the War of 1812, and Solomon H. was a Captain of a militia company in his native state.
Our subject's mother was before her marriage Eliza Abbott, her birth having occurred April 20, 1811, in Madison County, N.Y., and her marriage January 1, 1834. Her father removed to Medina, Ohio, about 1834, where he made a permanent home and died. Solomon H. settled in Eaton Township after his marriage on a farm of one hundred acres, which he cultivated until 1855. In the spring of that year he came to this county, making a settlement o the farm now owned by our subject, which was then all wild land, without fences nd with only an old log house on the premises. he bought thirty-four acres, paying for the same $340, and the family occupied the little log cabin until 1871, when they built a frame addition to it and later erected a new home on the site of the old one. The father, who was amember of the Congregational Church at Monona, was a Deacon in the same and a member of the choir. He was a well read man, much interested in astronomy and biography, and during the last years of his life read the bible through every year. His death occurred January 8, 1885, and his wife, who survived hiim a few years, departed this life October 6, 1890. They are the parents of ten children, seven of whom are living: Moses W., Orlando D., George W., Josephine E., Alpha M., Albert C. and Alice. Henry C. died at about the age of thirty-seven years, and George W. during the late civil War was a member of Com;any K, First Iowa Cavalry.
December 28, 1880, O.D. Oathout was married at Clayton to Mary Ruegnitz, who was born in Germany. Her father is Carl Ruegnitz, and her brother Charles is a resident of Elkader. (See sketch elsewhere in tis volume) Mrs. Oathout was born September 9, 1858, in Mecklenburg and was educated in the schoools of Clayton. Later she became a teacher, successfully conducting graded schools for twelve terms. Our subject and his wife have had four children, three of whom are living: namely: Anna L., Mary E. and Martha. the home in which they dwell was built in 1872 by our subject's father.
Mr. Oathout has always been greatly interested in educational work and was elected County Superintendent in 1881, serving as such for two years, and for twelve years was Secretary of the County Normal Institute and has occupied a similar position in the Division Society of Monona. He and his wife are members of the Congregational church of this place, in which he is a Deacon, and also a worker in the Sunday-school. Politically he is a Republican. Fraternally, he is a member of the Grand Lodge of Iowa in the Ancient Order of United Workmen.