"History of Lincoln, Oneida, and Vilas Counties Wisconsin"

Compiled by George O.Jones, Norman S. McVean and Others. Printed in 1924 by H.C.Cooper. Jr. & Co., Minneapoli-Winona MN. ill. 787 pages. The first two hundred pages are history of the three counties, the remainder of the book is biographies.


Orr, William C. engaged in the insurance, loan and real estate business in Rhinelander, Oneida County, is one of this city's most active citizens, not only in business but in various other things as well, and his activities are of a kind calculated to advanced the interest of the community in which he lives. He was born in the town of Nekimi, Winnebago County, Wis., Dec. 25, 1867, son of Samuel and Mercy (SIMPSON) ORR. The parents were natives of New Brunswick, Canada, who came to Wisconsin in the early 50's, locating on a farm in the town and county above mentioned, where they were early settlers. In 1905 they retired from active work and subsequently resided with their eldest son, James A., who took over the old homestead. The father died in Langlade County in 1916, having been a widower for 20 years, as his wife has passed away in July, 1896. They had been the parents of 11 children, six of whom-Laura, Alvin, Margaret, Mary, Benjamin and John-died of diphtheria in the fall of 1879. The others were: James A., now a resident of Clintonville, Wis.; William C., of Rhinelander; Jerome S., who died in 1898; Dwight E., of Oshokosh, Wis,; and George W., of Los Angeles, Calif. William C. ORR acquired his elementary education in rural schools and subsequently entered the Oshkosh Normal School, from which he was graduated with the class of 1895. For the next three years he was principal of the schools at Hermansville, Mich. On Oct. 12, 1899, Mr. ORR came to Rhinelander writing health and accident insurance, later taking the agency of the Aetna Life, and in 1901, with D. H. and S. T. WALKER, he formed the insurace firm of Walker, Walker & Orr, offices being established in the present Elks Club building. On S. T. WALKER severing his connection with the firm inf 1903, the style became Walker & Orr, and in 1905 the office was moved to the Merchants Bank building. In 1908 Mr. ORR bought his partner's interest and since then has conducted the business alone under the style of William C. ORR, Insurance, Loans & Real Estate. Prominent among the city's business men and well known throughout the country, he has identified himself closely with the local interests, especially those organized for some purpose connected with the general welfare of the community. He is one of the directors of the Chamber of Commerce and for 18 years rendered efficient service on the city election board. He has also for the last 20 years been superintendent of exhibits at the annual fairs of the Oneida County Agricultural Association and his work has helped largely to promote their success. In the spring of 1923 he became president of the Oneida County Fish and Game Protective Association, in which connection he has planned effective work during his tenure of office for the conservation of wild life in the county. As a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, he has helped to further and strengthen its work, is now serviing as president of its governing board, and for many years has been a member of the choir. His frateral society affiliations include membership in Rhinelander Lodge No. 242, F. & A. M.; Rhinelander Chapter No. 74, R. A. M., and Rhinelander Lodge No. 598, B. P. O. E., of the last mentioned of which he has been secretary for five years and was exalted ruler for two years. Mr. ORR was married in Rhinelander, June 25, 1907, to Nancy GILLESPIE, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel GILLESPIE, at one time residents of central Illinois but now living near St. Cloud, Minn. The domestic life of Mr. and Mrs. ORR has been perfected and brightened by the birth of two children: Ellen, born June 15, 1912, and Nanah M., born April 1, 1914. The family home is at No. 230 S. Stevens Street.

Transcribed by Susan Swanson, from pages 364-365 (with picture); History of Lincoln, Oneida and Vilas Counties Wisconsin; Compiled by George O. Jones, Norman S. McVean and Others; H.C. Cooper Jr. & Co, 1924

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