My Genealogy Hound

Below is a family biography included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Hot Spring County, Arkansas published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1889.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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Col. William H. Orr, proprietor of the Commercial Hotel at Malvern, has been in the hotel business for the past fourteen years in this State, and now runs one of the best hotels in Arkansas. The Commercial is finely furnished throughout, and has a capacity of about fifty guests, the dining room having seating accommodation for 100. Under the watchful eye of the proprietor everything is kept in the best of order, and the wants of the guests are promptly attended to; consequently the Commercial is the first hotel in the city, and patronized by the better class of travelers. Col. Orr was born in Lewistown, Penn., in 1824, and was the son of Thomas A. and Catharine (Reighley) Orr, natives of Ireland and Pennsylvania, respectively. Thomas Orr was a miller by trade, and died in 1827, at the age of thirty-four years. Mrs. Orr’s father was a prominent farmer of Lancaster, Penn. In 1847 William H. Orr commenced business for himself at Ripley, Ohio, where he was engaged in merchandising for about three years, then moving to Cincinnati, Ohio, where he embarked on the wholesale and commission business for twenty-five years. He also carried on distilling for eighteen years of that time, consuming 600 bushels of grain daily, and employing fifty-five men. In 1876 he emigrated to Hot Springs on account of his health, and took charge of the Grand Central Hotel at that place, afterward running the Ginn Hotel. Remaining in Hot Springs for seven years, he then went to Malvern, purchased a lot and erected the Commercial, of which he has since been the genial proprietor. Mr. Orr was married in 1848 to Miss Sarah Gray, a native of Ohio and a daughter of Lewis Gray, a prominent citizen of Ripley, Ohio, and a Kentuckian by birth. Mr. and Mrs. Orr are the parents of four children: Thomas L. (who is at present in the hotel business with his father), Charles G. (a prominent merchant and contractor of Hot Springs), Anna (now the wife of W. W. Dutton, the present clerk of Hot Spring County, and a sketch of whom appears in this work), and Alfred S. (a merchant in Pine Bluff.) The Colonel is an active, outspoken man in what he thinks is right, regardless of consequences, and stands high among his fellow-men.

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This family biography is one of 52 biographies included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Hot Spring County, Arkansas published in 1889.  For the complete description, click here: Hot Spring County, Arkansas History, Genealogy, and Maps

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