Ellison Orr, prominently connected with business interests in
Waukon as superintendent of the Standard Telephone Company, has
been actuated throughout all of his business life by a spirit of
enterprise and initiative and has advanced step by step to be one
of the most substantial and representative men of the community
where he makes his home. He was born on the Orr farm near
McGregor, Iowa, June 15, 1857, and is a son of James and Margaret
Orr, of Scotch-Irish ancestry. The father emigrated from Ireland
at the age of twelve and settled with his parents in New York
state, coming to Iowa in 1856 and purchasing a farm one and
one-half miles northeast of Postville, whereon he resided for
Ellison Orr grew to manhood upon this farm and acquired his education in the Postville public schools. After laying aside his books he taught for a number of winter terms in the district schools in the vicinity of his home and from January, 1891, to June, 1893, was teacher of the seventh and eighth grades of the school in Postville where he attended in his youth. After three years devoted to educational work he accepted the position of clerk in the Postville State Bank and retained it for a similar period of time, later again turning his attention to farming, an occupation which he followed until 1898. In that year he was elected clerk of the court for Allamakee county and he did such able and effective work that he won reelection to the office, serving in all from January 1, 1899, to January 1, 1903, and proving discriminating, far-sighted and conscientious in the discharge of his duties. On the 1st of January, 1904, Mr. Orr was appointed general manager and superintendent of the Standard Telephone Company and in the fall of the same year he moved to Waukon, where he has since resided. He possesses an initiative spirit and an executive ability which he has since resided. He posses an initiative spirit and an executive ability which have been important factors in his success in his present position and under his able management the affairs of the concern have prospered exceedingly, the business has increased in volume and the details of operation have been put upon a modern and businesslike basis.
Mr. Orr married, November 2, 1881, Miss Belle Makepeace, whose parents resided in Winneshiek county. To their union were born four children: Fred a construction foreman for the Standard Telephone Company; Harry a civil engineer in the employ of the Missouri Iron Company; Florence, who is engaged in teaching; and James, at school.
Always interested in anything pertaining to questions of public education and anxious to do his part in promoting education facilities, Mr. Orr has accomplished some beneficial work in matters relating to the public schools and especially as a member of the board of trustees of the State College of Agriculture located at Ames, a position which he held from July 1,1904, to July 1, 1910. He was for thirteen years a member of the State Militia, resigning in 1897, at the time of its reorganization, as first lieutenant and quartermaster of the Fourth Regiment. He belongs to the Presbyterian church of Waukon and has been a Mason since attaining his majority, being now a Knight Templar. He cooperates in all movements for the material, intellectual and moral progress of the community and is recognized as one of the foremost business men of the city, his remarkable success in an important capacity placing him in an enviable position in business circles.
-source: Past & Present of Allamakee County; by
Ellery M. Hancock; S. J. Clarke Pub. Co.; 1913
-transcribed by Diana Diedrich
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