John P. Ordway

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Ordway's "Twinkling stars are laughing love", published 1855
1855 playbill for Ordway's Aeolians at Ordway Hall

John Pond Ordway (August 1, 1824 – April 27, 1880)[1] was a doctor, composer, music entrepreneur, and politician.

Born in Salem, Massachusetts, in the mid-1840s John Ordway and his father Aaron opened a music store in Boston. John was also a music publisher and composer; his song Twinkling Stars are Laughing, Love (1855) was recorded by the Hayden Quartet as late as 1902 and 1904. Dreaming of Home and Mother (1851) was a popular sentimental song of the Civil War era, and continues to be played; it is popular in China and Japan in translated versions.[2] Around 1845 he organized Ordway's Aeolians, a blackface minstrel troupe[3] which performed at Ordway Hall in Boston and also nationally to promote Ordway's publishing business.[4][5] Future bandleader/composer Patrick Gilmore worked in Ordway's store and also appeared with the Aeolians. James Lord Pierpont's first major composition "The Returned Californian" in 1852 was written expressly for Ordway and his troupe. A number of 19th century songs were written for the Aeolians and/or dedicated to Ordway, including Jingle Bells.[6][7][8]

Graduating from Harvard Medical College in 1859, Ordway was one of the first surgeons to volunteer at the start of the Civil War, serving in the 6th Massachusetts Militia. He was one of the Union surgeons sent to tend to the wounded after the Battle of Gettysburg.

Ordway served from 1859 to 1873 on Boston's School Board, and one term (1868) in the Massachusetts House of Representatives.[9] He was opposed to corporal punishment in schools, sponsoring a bill to that effect in the legislature.[10]

Ordway was also responsible for founding the Massachusetts Angler's Association, the forerunner to the Massachusetts Fish and Game Association. He died in Boston, Massachusetts.

His nephew Lucius Pond Ordway (the son of his older brother Aaron Ordway) was a major backer of 3M in its early days and served as its president.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ History of the Military Company of the Massachusetts, Now Called the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts, 1637-1888, p. 91
  2. ^ notes on Dreaming of Home and Mother in Asia
  3. ^ article on Minstrelsy from New York Clipper, 1860
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-01-23. Retrieved 2013-10-07.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link) A Walking Tour of the Boston Theatre Districts
  5. ^ listing for appearance in Halifax, Nova Scotia
  6. ^ Jingle Bells, with dedication
  7. ^ dedication of song to lead singer of Ordway's Aeolians
  8. ^ a dedication to J. P. Ordway
  9. ^ Massachusetts General Court-John Pond Ordway
  10. ^ Ordway speaks against corporal punishment