JAMES BRADLEY ORMAN, Colorado’s 12th governor was born in Muscatini, Iowa, on November 4, 1849. He was educated in Iowa public schools, and in 1869 he moved to Denver, where he went into the construction business with his brother. His business turned into one of the largest and most successful railroad construction companies in the West. Orman still holds the distinction of having built more miles of railroad in Colorado than any other any man. He entered politics when he was elected city councilman of Pueblo, an office he held for several terms. He was a representative to the Third General Assembly in 1880, served in Colorado’s Senate from 1883 to 1885, and was mayor of Pueblo in 1897 and 1898. He was the Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate in 1883, but was defeated by three votes. On November 6, 1900, Orman was elected Governor of Colorado, and on January 8, 1901, he was sworn into office. During his tenure, he dealt with labor problems that occurred at Telluride, and labor issues between the owners of the Smuggler-Union Mines and the Western Federation of Miners. A normal school in Gunvison was established, a food and dairy commission was formed, and an Australasian land-tax system was initiated. Orman left office on January 13, 1903, and returned to his various businesses. He also served as Receiver of the United States Land Office. Governor James Orman died on July 21, 1919, and is buried in Pueblo, Colorado.
Colorado State Archives
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 1, Westport, Conn., Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.