Reminiscences of a Pioneer Boy

Ellison Orr

Ellison Orr circa 1923

Effigy Monument National Monument Museum Collection



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. Attached is a pdf (5.6 MB) of a photocopy of the original manuscript showing pages 1 - 10 (from the monument's museum collection).

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