Transcribed by Pamela Wagler from: Biographical Review of Des Moines County, Iowa: Containing Biographical and Genealogical Sketches of Many of the Prominent Citizens of To-day and Also of the Past, Hobart Publishing Company, Chicago, 1905.


William Orr was born May 23, 1827, in West Virginia, and died in August, 1896 when in the seventieth year of his age. He came to Des Moines county, Iowa, when about twenty-six years of age, thus casting in his lot with the early settlers whose efforts proved the foundation for the present prosperity and upbuilding of the county. He was a school-teacher by profession, and for a number of years was thus engaged in Morning Sun, Iowa. He was also proprietor of a store in Morning Sun for a time.

After a residence of ten years in this county he was married to Miss Catherine Logan who was born Aug. 20 1840, and whose death occurred Oct. 16, 1893. Through his wife he later inherited two hundred and twenty-five acres of land in Franklin township, the parents of our subject having been pioneer settlers of Des Moines county. The father died July 2, 1884, at the advanced age of seventy-seven years, and his wife passed away in 1878 at the age of seventy six years. They were members of the Reformed Presbyterian church, and were people of the highest respectability, who enjoyed in full measure the confidence and esteem of those with whom they were associated. Mr. Orr turned his attention to agricultural pursuits, and remained a resident of Franklin township up to the time of his death. In all the relations of life in which he was found he was active, enterprising, and reliable.

James Campbell Orr, who follows general farming and stock-raising in Yellow Springs township, is a native of Iowa, being born in Franklin township, Des Moines county, March 27, 1867. He is a son of William and Catherine (Logan) Orr. His father is a native of West Virginia, while his mother claimed Pittsburg, Pa., as her birthplace. His father died at Mediapolis, Iowa, about 1896, and the latter passed away in Franklin township, Oct. 25, 1894. The public schools of Mr. Orr’s native township afforded him his early educational privileges. His entire life has been devoted to agricultural pursuits, for when he attained his majority he determined to make his life work that to which he had been reared, and today finds him located on the Armstrong farm of one hundred acres in Yellow Springs township, one quarter of a mile from Mediapolis. His land is well drained, so that the fields are rich and productive. He also raises from thirty to forty head of White Chester hogs annually. His enterprise and good business ability are manifested in the fine appearance of this farm, and in the success which has attended his efforts since he attained his majority.

Mr. Orr was first married to Miss Jane Logan, daughter of William Logan, by whom he had one child, William, born Jan. 20, 1897. Mrs. Orr died Jan. 21, 1897, aged thirty four years. June 3, 1901, Mr. Orr was united in marriage to Miss Clara Asmussen, a daughter of Fred and Louisa (Fulmer) Asmussen. Mrs. Orr was born in Franklin township, Sept. 14, 1878, and attended the Diamond school of the same township. Both her parents were born in Germany, her mother being only two years old when she came to America. Her parents were married in Iowa, where they still reside in Franklin township, her father carrying on his trade of painter and decorator. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Orr two children have been born: Frederic, born Aug. 7, 1902, and died Aug. 27, 1903; and Louisa, born June 19, 1903. Mr. Orr is a Republican in his views, but is not an aspirant for office. Mr. and Mrs. Orr are both well known in the community where they make their home, and count their friends by the score.

William John Orr, son of William and Catherine (Logan) Orr, spent his boyhood days as a farm lad and obtained his education in the district schools, gaining a good knowledge of the common branches of English learning. He has always preferred to follow farming rather than other business interests, and is now located on the Dr. Milligan farm on the northeast quarter of Section 16, Yellow Springs township. Here in his work he displays practical and yet progressive methods, keeping in touch with the modern ideas in farming, and his labors are attended with good results.

Feb. 25, 1903, Mr. Orr was united in marriage to Miss Pearl Scott, a daughter of Robert Allen and Amanda (Purcell) Scott. She was born in Northfield, Des Moines county, Jan. 18, 1879, and like her husband has a wide acquaintance in the county in which she has spent her entire life. Both Mr. and Mrs. Orr attend the Presbyterian church, and in his political views he is a Republican.

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