IAGenWeb Project - Allamakee co.

Darius S. Orr


Still residing on the old homestead which his uncle entered many years ago and which Darius S. Orr subsequently acquired by purchase and where he has gained prosperity, he is not only prominent in agricultural circles of Allamakee county, but has to his credit a long and distinguished service in the National Guard of the state, in which he served for a number of years with the rank of lieutenant colonel. A native of Post township, he has grown up with this section and has not only been a witness of the wonderful transformation that has taken place as primitive conditions have given was to the onward march of civilization, but has been a helpful and cooperant factor in bringing about the prosperous conditions which the present generation enjoys.

It was in a small log house one mile northeast of Postville that, on June 4, 1859, Darius S. Orr saw the light of day, his parents being James and Margaret A. (Ellison) Orr. The father was a native of the north of Ireland, where he was born March 15, 1829, while the mother was born in New York state in 1834. When a boy eleven years of age the father crossed the ocean with his parents, the family locating in Schuyler county, New York, at the head of Seneca lake, where he grew to manhood. He received his education in the common schools of Schuyler county and at the Plattsburg and Starkey Seminaries and for several winters followed teaching in New York, while in the summers he assisted his father with the work of the farm. In Iowa he also taught for six terms. The year 1855 marked his arrival in Allamakee county and here he was married on January 1, 1856. The home farm upon which the father settled had been entered from the government a year or two before his arrival by a brother, and there James Orr continued successfully in farming and stock-raising until 1898, when he and his wife removed to Postville, where they still live retired. The father has passed the age of eighty-four and the mother is seventy-nine years of age, and both are highly respected and esteemed as among the early pioneers. James Orr was prominent in public life in his days, having held the offices of township trustee and assessor, besides other positions, He and his wife are the parents of seven children, of whom Darius S. is the second in order of birth.

In the acquirement of his education Darius S. Orr attended public school in Postville and after laying aside his text-books, worked for his father until twenty-one years of age. He then rented the homestead for ten years, his labors being attended with such good success that he was enabled to buy the place and there he still resides in the cultivation of two hundred and twenty-five acres of highly improved land. He has added to the improvements by the erection of modern buildings and has installed modern machinery and implements in order to facilitate labor and improve the productivity of the soil. He gives considerable attention to stock-raising, breeding shorthorn cattle and Shire horses, as well as Poland China hogs. Progressive and energetic, he follows the most approved methods and, by scientific rotation of crops and fertilization, keeps his land in the best condition.

On November 26, 1889, Mr. Orr wedded Miss Bertha Harris, a native of Grand Meadow township, Clayton county, born January 12, 1871. Mrs. Orr is a daughter of *William and Charity (McDonald) Harris, the former a prominent retired farmer of Post township. In their family are six children, of whom Bertha is the second in order of birth. The others are: Herman Howard, who resided in Postville; Edith, the wife of Ernie Churchill, of Monroe, Wisconsin,  Edna, who married Fred Oehring, of McGregor, this state; Glessner, the wife of Arthur Webster, of Postville; and Adelaide, residing with her parents. Mr. and Mrs. Orr have four children, as follows: Ethel, whose birth occurred October 29, 1890; Edith, who was born September 13, 1892; Ester, born February 27, 1896; and Eva, who was born November 14, 1898. All are still under the parental roof.

In his political affiliations Mr. Orr is a republican, stanchly upholding the candidates of that party at the polls. Although he never personally aspired to political honors, he served for some time efficiently as township assessor. He has given a considerable part of his time to a worthy cause by rendering, for twelve years, service in the Iowa National Guard. In the six years after his enlistment he had, by gradual stages, attained the rank of lieutenant colonel and as such commanded the Fourth Regiment. He has ever been interested in matters military and has willingly given his time and attention to that branch of the state government, recognizing its importance and beneficial influence upon the young men. Fraternally he is a member of the Ancient Order of United Workmen. Viewed from every side, the career of Mr. Orr is worthy of the highest commendation and may serve as example for the younger generation. While he has made himself financially independent by close application to the work on hand, he has been an important factor along lines of progress not only as an agriculturist, but also in moral and intellectual upbuilding. He is recognized as a forceful element in his locality and enjoys the highest esteem and fullest confidence of all who come in contact with him in a business or social way. 

-source: Past & Present of Allamakee County; by Ellery M. Hancock; S. J. Clarke Pub. Co.; 1913
-transcribed by Diana Diedrich

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