May 30, 1912
ORR, GEN. WILLIAM P. - Gen.
William P. Orr died Thursday at 6:15 p.m. at his home in Piqua. He had
been ill fifteen weeks. Much of this time he had been either delirious or
unconscious. From the first his illness had been of such a character as to
give his family and friends little or no encouragement. For
two days it had been such that his condition was very critical and members of
his family had anticipated the end. For many years General Orr has enjoyed
at home and abroad the distinction of being the first citizen of Piqua.
Even those who, from one cause or another opposed him, acknowledged and accorded
him this honor. General Orr is survived by two sons, A. Morrison Orr and
Louis Orr, both of Piqua. William P. Orr, was born in Covington, this
county, April 30, 1834. His parents were Joshua and Ann (Worley) Orr.
His early education was gained in the public schools of Covington. When
seventeen he came to Piqua to learn the carriage painter's trade, but when he
was eighteen in 1852, he started for California overland, driving a team of five
oxen over the old emigrant trail, making the trip in 113 days. This has
been a little known incident of his career, for he seldom mentioned it. It
was then, however, that developed in him the elements of industry and firm
determination, that made him in after years the successful business man.
Living in California two years working in the mines, making and saving money by
which to return home. Returning to Covington in 1854 he engaged in the
grocery and mercantile business. In 1869 he removed to Piqua. It is
not too much to say that the growth and prosperity of Piqua have been identical
with the growth and prosperity of General Orr. It is idle to reflect upon
what might have been the possibilities had he remained in Covington.
It is quite within the possibilities the fortunes of the two places today might
have been reversed. He interested himself in many enterprises. He
engaged in the grain business. He operated a line of boats on the M. and
E. canal. He built three strawboard mills, the Hotel Plaza in 1891, with
S. K. Statler, the Orr-Flesh block with L. M. Flesh in 1892. He was
largely interested in the Orr Felt and Blanket Co., the Atlas Underwear Co., the
Favorite Stove & Range Co., the Citizen's National bank, the Piqua Savings
bank, and other enterprises that have largely helped in the growth of Piqua.
He has been vice president of the Piqua Rolling Mill Co., now a part of the
American Sheet and Tin Plate Co., president of the Piqua Strawboard Co., now a
part of the American Strawboard Co; president of the Piqua Furniture Co.,
president of the Citizens' National bank, a director of the Seventh National
bank of New York. He also was a director of the Piqua Underwear Co.,
treasurer of the American Linseed Co., and a director of the American School
Furniture Co., president of the Miami Valley Railway company, president of the
Piqua club, a director of the Young Men's Christian Association. For more
than thirty years General Orr, was a councilman, much of that time serving as
president. On May 8, 1846, General Orr enlisted as a private in the 152d
O. V. I. and was mustered into the U. S. service as captain of Company B.
He served with his regiment until the expiration of its term of service, being
mustered out on September 2, 1864. The regiment was made up of companies
of the 28th and 35th O. N. G. When mustered out of the United States
service the regiment maintained its standing in the National Guard. In the
reorganization Captain Orr was elected lieutenant colonel. On January 13,
1896, Colonel Orr was appointed and commissioned quartermaster general on the
staff of Governor A. S. Bushnell, with the rank of brigadier general.
General Orr served four years on the staff of Governor Bushnell, during which
time the Spanish war broke out. During that comparatively brief struggle
the position of the quartermaster general was neither a sinecure nor an
ornamental place. It was one of hard work. General Orr went to
Columbus April 25, 1898, and actively entered upon the duties of his office as
quartermaster general. Under his direction and supervision Ohio equipped
12,000 soldiers, and sent them to the field. At the close of the war
General Orr was highly complimented for his efficient services as quartermaster
general of Ohio by Secretary of War R. A. Alger. General Orr had been a
Republican in his politics. He became a Republican with the birth of the
party. He voted for John C. Fremont in 1856 and for every Republican
presidential candidate since. In 1890 he was nominated for congress in the
then Fourth district, and although defeated, reduced the normal Democratic
majority from 3,500 to 1,410. In 1892 he was again a candidate for the
Republican nomination in the Seventh district, receiving the support of Miami
county for 621 ballots. In 1896 he again sought the nomination but was
defeated after a long and hard contest at the hands of the district.
General Orr was a life member of the board of trustees of the Memorial hospital
and its president from the beginning until his death. Given unselfishly,
unostentatiously his labor for the _____________ hospital was a labor of love.
Particularly was this true following the death of Mrs. Orr in 1909.
General Orr was married in September 1854 to Miss Martha Morrison. To them
were born two sons, Aaron Morrison Orr and Lewis Hoover Orr ________________
January 1833. General Orr was married a second time March 25, 1884 to Miss
Frances J. Meily, in St. Marks chapel, Westminster Abbey, by Archdeacon Farrar.
She was called away in September 1909. For more than 38 years General Orr
has been a member of the Presbyterian church. He had been for many years a
member of Alexander Mitchel Post No. 158, Grand Army of the Republic. He
was a member of the first board of trustees of the Ohio Soldiers and Sailors' Orphans'
Home at Sandusky, serving continuously until the office was abolished in 1911.
The funeral was held at the First Presbyterian church in Piqua Sunday afternoon
at 3 o'clock, Dr. John Montgomery and Dr. W. O. Thompson, of Columbus
officiating. After the services at the church the remains were taken
to Forest Hill cemetery and placed in the Orr mausoleum.
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