The Honourable Judge Smith
Orr - Orrville, Wayne Co., Ohio
emigrants and adventurers were not only fleeing poverty,
or religious and social persecution, but they were enticed
by the thought of a better life and free or exceedingly
cheap land. To many anything was better than the
environment from which they came; they were incredibly
resolute and also remarkably mobile for their time. They
went to Canada and the wilds of Prince Edward Island and
Nova Scotia; to the humidity of Alabama, South Carolina
and Georgia; to New York, Pennsylvania; and the Ohio
valley. Some were in the Mormon trek to Utah. In all these
places they made their mark by fighting off the native
Indians, clearing land and establishing townships some
bearing the Orr name - Orrville, Wayne Co. Ohio is such a
place named after an early pioneer Judge Smith Orr, son of
Samuel Orr who went to America in 1801. Living a hard
frugal, life the family managed to buy small plots of land
and gradually accumulated some 300 acres. Some of this
land was used to found the township that bears the family
family originated from Talliard, Parish of
Donoghkiddy, barony of Strabane, Co. Tyrone. The townland
is associated. with Lisconbuy, Cloghogie and Benelealy in
the Civil Survey of Donegal, Londonderry and Tyrone (
Simmington, Irish Manuscripts Commission).
Smith Orr was the youngest child of 8 born in 1797 but at
the cost of a mother, Sarah, who died in childbirth.
Following the 1798 Rebellion and its aftermath the family
sailed for a new life in America in 1801. They settled
first in New Castle, Delaware and it was not until 1812
that Samuel decided to take his family West. They took a
stage coach to Cumberland, Maryland, which was the end of
the line, and then joined a wagon train along the Old
National Pike. They left the wagon train at Wheeling on
the Ohio River and went forward pushing hand carts to
arrive in the late Spring of 1812 in East Union Township,
Wayne Co. and settled on a farm at Apple Creek. Samuel
died in 1818 and is buried in the old cemetery there.
was reared in the wilderness that was all about them and
learnt to read and write at home; importantly he also
learnt mathematics and was subsequently a surveyor in the
community and the state for 40 years. He married Maria
Foreman in 1818 and began married life in a log cabin on
Apple Creek. They bought a small farm in Baughman Township
in 1821 and in 1825 they bought the 160 acre `home farm`
one mile south of where Orrville now stands. They lived
here until 1854 and their only child, William, was born
there in 1826.
years Smith Orr saw opportunities with the coming of the
railroad and set up a saw mill for supplying railway ties
and fuel logs as well as buying several small plots of
land that were subsequently set out as plots for the new
town that would become Orrville. He was elected a justice
of the peace at a young age and re elected for over 25
years; and was selected to be a judge of the Common Pleas
Court which he held until abolished by the Constitution of
Ohio in 1853. Smith took an active part in politics and
was a member of the Union Convention which met in
Baltimore in 1864 and re nominated President Abraham
Lincoln. He died in 1865 and is buried in the old
cemetery in Orrville .
a hub for the family in Ohio and some excellent work was
done by a local inhabitant, L G Weiss, who constructed a
substantial family tree in 1968 and amended it in 1972.
This tree, in the form of a
Register Report, has been updated from my own research and
contacts with descendants - special thanks to Deb Spano in
NY and Vinson Tate in OH.
If you see
any amendments or have further information I would be very
pleased to hear from you.
the Orrs of Mercer Co., PA.
I have been
asked many times about possible links and have finally
come across a connection between Ohio and Pennsylvania
Orrs. It comes about through the marriages by male Orrs to
Ross J Orr
of Apple Creek, OH, married Ethel May Hofacre 18 Jan
Warren Orr, Mercer Co., PA married Martha Alice
Hofacre in Perry Towenship, Mercer Co. PA.
Hofacre are cousins:
Ethel May`s ancestors are : Alonzo Lawrence (1869); John
(1841); George (1794) and Michael (1767).
Alice`s ancestors are: George Werner; George( 1794);
Johannes Michael (1769)
Johannes Michael Hofacre were brothers.
It may be a
circuitous route to the connection, but remember that they
were all immigrants and had a common interest, especially
in a community of farmers, to migrate to places where the
land was available and, hopefully, cheap. They grasped
opportunities when and wherever they could and would have
been on at least nodding acquaintance, and probably
members of the same church. There is some truth in the
saying " the family that prays together, stays together".