• A quiet summer walk through the Marching Bear Group of effigy mounds

    Effigy Mounds

    National Monument Iowa

Reminiscences of a Pioneer Boy

Ellison Orr
Ellison Orr circa 1923
Effigy Monument National Monument Museum Collection
Cover of Book

Eastern National Sales Item # 260529


In 1924 when Ellison Orr was 67 years old, he embarked on a project to write down what he could recollect of his childhood and early life growing up near Postville, Iowa. Rather than sit down at one time and write all that he could recall at the moment, he would instead write up sections as memories came to him, such as coming face-to-face with a prairie wolf, helping his mother with house chores, or stealing eggs from a passenger pigeon nest. The result of these efforts was the creation of a manuscript, Reminisces of a Pioneer Boy, written in sections over a 21-year period. This manuscript, which is extremely rich in very descriptive stories, describes wild places and the lives of people that, while being vaguely familiar to us in these times, takes place in a time and place that, when compared with life in Northeast Iowa today, is largely occupied by people who live a foreign lifestyle and exist on a very foreign landscape.

The original manuscript is privately owned; Eastern National has published a clean / edited version. Attached is a pdf (5.6 MB) of a photocopy of the original manuscript showing pages 1 - 10 (from the monument's museum collection).

Did You Know?

Great Bear Effigy Mound Group

In 1880, Alfred J. Hill and Theodore H. Lewis formed the Northwestern Archeological Survey for the purpose of surveying mounds in the Upper Mississippi Valley. Lewis spent eleven field seasons in Iowa and was the first to map mounds in the present Effigy Mounds National Monument.