Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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ORR, James Lawrence, statesman, born in Craytonville, Anderson County, South Carolina, 12 May, 1822; died in St. Petersburg, Russia, 5 May, 1873. He was graduated at the University of Virginia in 1842, studied law, was admitted to the bar, and practised at Anderson, South Carolina, where he also established and edited the "Gazette." He sat in the state legislature in 1844-'57, where he denounced nullification, and was elected and re-elected to congress as a Democrat, serving from March, 1859. With the exception of his original contest, there was no opposition to his election. In congress, while he deprecated the agitation of the slavery question, he was a devoted friend of the Union. He opposed the compromise measures that were introduced by Henry Clay. While he was a member of the 33d congress he was appointed chairman of the committee on Indian affairs, and made an elaborate report on the best method of civilizing the various tribes, which, in the case of several of them, was adopted with considerable success. On the assembling of the 35th congress in December, 1857, he was chosen speaker. As a member of the Southern Rights convention in Charleston, South Carolina, in May, 1851, he opposed the policy, while maintaining the right, of secession in the several states, and to his efforts is attributed the failure of the secession ordinance that was framed on that occasion. On 4 July, 1854, Mr. Orr, with Stephen A. Douglas and others, addressed a Democratic meeting in Philadelphia, taking a strong stand against the Know-Nothing party, and is said by his arguments to have prevented many public men from joining its ranks. At the Secession convention he earnestly opposed the withdrawal of South Carolina, but when he found that the state was determined to secede he acquiesced and declared that he would yield his judgment and cast his lot with his state. He was subsequently appointed one of the three Confederate commissioners that visited Washington in December, 1860, to treat with the government for the surrender of the United States forts in Charleston harbor and to transact other business. On his return to South Carolina, he organized a rifle regiment which he led in the field until 1862, when he was elected a member of the Confederate senate, and served until the dispersion of that body at the end of the war. He was chosen governor of the state of South Carolina under President Johnson's plan of reconstruction, and served until 1868. In 1866 he represented his state in the Philadelphia constitutional union convention, and in 1872 he was sent to the National Republican convention. In 1870 he was elected circuit judge for South Carolina, which office he held until his appointment as United States minister to Russia in 1872. His death took place in St. Petersburg within two months after the presentation of his credentials to the Russian government. 0RR, John, soldier, born in 1747; died in Bedford, Hillsborough County, New Hampshire, 23 December, 1822. He served in the war of the Revolution and was so severely wounded at the battle of Bennington, Vermont, that he was crippled for life. He was for many years a representative and senator in the New Hampshire legislature, also state counsellor, and served for twenty years as justice of the peace.--His son, Benjamin, lawyer, born in Bedford, New Hampshire, 1 December, 1772; d, in Brunswick, Maine, 5 September, 1828, was graduated at Dartmouth in 1798, studied law with Samuel S. Wilde, and began to practise in Topsham, Sagadahoc County, Maine, but subsequently removed to Brunswick, where he attained eminence at the chancery bar. He was elected to congress as a representative from Massachusetts, and served from 1 December, 1817, till 3 March, 1819. He was the author of " An Oration on the Death of Washington" (1800).--Another son, Isaac, clergyman, born in Bedford, New Hampshire, in 1793; died in Amherst, Massachusetts, 28 April, 1844, was graduated at Yale in 1814. He studied theology, was ordained and became a teacher at the asylum for the deaf and dumb in Hartford, Connecticut, and afterward labored as a missionary among the colored people in Washington, D. C., and other southern cities, being employed by the American colonization society. He was proficient in mathematics and the natural sciences, and had a talent for mechanics, one of his inventions being an air-tight stove. He was a voluminous writer for the newspaper and periodical press, contributing forty-five letters signed "Hampden" to the New York "Commercial Advertiser," and eighty letters over the signature of "Timoleon" to the Boston "Courier." Among his unpublished manuscripts is a commentary on the books of " Daniel" and "Revelation."
--BEGIN-John William Orr
ORR, John William, wood-engraver, born in Ireland, 31 March, 1815; died in Jersey City, New Jersey, 4 March, 1887. He was brought to this country in infancy, his father settling in Buffalo, New York In 1836 John went to New York city, where he studied drawing under William Redfield. one of the most skilful of the early engravers on wood. The following year he was awarded a silver medal by the Mechanics' institute for the best specimen of engraving. The same year he began business on his own account in Buffalo, but he removed to Albany in 1842, where he was employed in making illustrations for the state reports on geology. In the latter year he received a gold medal from the State agricultural society "for the best specimen of domestic animals engraved on wood." In 1844 he went to New York city, where the remainder of his business life was spent. His first important work was for the frontispieces for Harper's "Illustrated Shakespeare." When Mr. Orr removed to New York, wood-engraving was but little used, but by advertising extensively, engaging the best assistants he could procure, and by introducing new inventions, he placed his establishment in the front rank in his profession, which position it retained for more than a quarter of a century. He employed skilled English, French, and German engravers, and adopted an original device for economizing their time. He engaged a young man to read to them daily, and it was found that the men became too much interested to waste their time in discussions and arguments that previously had caused them to neglect their work. Mr. Orr was an active member of the society of Odd Fellows, and from 1862 till 1871 edited and published "The American Odd Fellow," the official organ of that order.
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