Family History and New Family Friends
Paul Orr was the son of Captain Orr and his wife Mary Faeth. Paul's date of birth is unknown. Because his wife was born in 1765, his birth year is assumed to be close to hers. Paul paid taxes in 1823 on a property in the Townland of Rhee, which is in Aghadowey Parish in the County of Londonderry, near Coleraine.
He married Isabelle Boyd Orr, and operated a grain mill, which would probably have been on the Aghadowey or Macosquin Rivers. He is said to have been ill-tempered, and he and Isabelle separated. She had inherited money from her family, and they divided the property. She got the home and its five acres and two cows. "Paul kept the mill on the Reafs. In later years, he sold it and came to America. His history closes here; no one knows what became of him."
Children who immigrated to the United States
James (Abt 1798-24 Mar 1870), married Jane Reed (Abt 1803-2 Apr 1888). Arrived in Canada in 1834 and settled near Fort Wayne in Allen County, IN, in the mid-1830s.
William (12 May 1803-21 Nov 1878), married Jane (Jennie) Adams (12 Aug 1802-14 Dec 1894). Arrived in Canada in about 1832, and settled near Mount Vernon in Lawrence County, MO in 1837, after first going to Ohio in 1833.
George (9 Jul 1805-25 May 1889), married Elizabeth Brown (12 Feb 1812-12 Aug 1874). Arrived at the Port of New Orleans and settled in Lawrence County, MO in 1861.While most of his children came there are fewer descendants in this family.
Ann (18 Sep 1809-23 Oct 1895), married Valentine Shirley (14 Feb 1804-11 Dec 1895). Settled in Quincy (Norfolk County) MA and Philadelphia. Most did not come until the late 1880s.
Martha (About 1815-died Aft 1850), married John Mitchell. (She never came to the U.S., but her grandson, Samuel Knox, did, arriving in NY in late 1883, and brought his mother and siblings.) Sam and siblings settled in Lawrence and Jasper Counties, MO. Some of Martha's son Alexander's family (Gilmores) also came to the U.S. and settled in Philadelphia. Many descendants stayed in Ireland or went to Canada or other Commonwealth countries.
Isabelle (1819-1864), married Ephraim Campbell (1807-1863). Ephraim died en route and Isabelle soon after. Their children settled first in Lawrence, then Jasper County, MO. Mother and children arrived in New York in 1863 and went to Mount Vernon.
There were two other children. Eliza (about 1807-died after 1882), who married William McMurtry, and Robert (about 1820-about 1832). Eliza (Orr) McMurtry and her husband cared for her mother (Isabelle Boyd Orr) in Ireland. Unfortunately, most of Eliza's family died of TB. She is said to have had one daughter who immigrated to Scotland. Robert died in Ireland at about age 10.
Detailed information on these families is on ancestry.com. Look for a tree titled "Orr, Cochran, Rooney."
Our Debt to Earlier Reunions
Relatively little would be known about the many branches of Paul and Isabelle (Boyd) Orr's family were it not for the 1954 Reunion.
Much of the information gathered to date began with Descendants of Paul Orr and Isabelle Boyd Orr, prepared by a committee consisting of Lettie Hickman Wilkes, Jessie Stemmons, and Harold Campbell, published by the Orr Reunion Association, Mt Vernon, MO, 1954. This booklet is out of print. However, a CD of updated information is distributed at the reunion each year, and the information is available as a book http://www.createspace.com/4360480or published on http://www.ancestry.com
More About Our Irish Roots
Townland of Rhee
The Townland of Rhee is about 300 acres, within Agahadowey Parish. Many of the residents were involved in the linen industry, especially Valentine Shirley's family (husband of Ann). Early information on this Orr family said they lived on the River Rhee. However, Rhee was actually the townland and the river was the Macosquin River; it was a custom to call a river by the townland name.
There were several prominent Orr families in Aghadowey, but at this point it is not clear if Paul Orr was directly related to them. The other three Orr brothers in Aghadowy were John, William, and James. Their family tree is described in the book Aghadowey: a Parish and its Linen Industry by Rev. T.H.Mullin (1972, Belfast, Century Services Ltd.). Paul and Isbelle do not appear, but two of that James Orr's sons (James, born in 1747 and William born in 1751) have no additional information. All other men are noted as having married or died without marring. Perhaps one day there will be a link.
The Paul and Isabelle Orr family attended the Aghadowey Presbyterian Church. Information on its cemetery and some of the parish marriage records are now posted on the Internet. However, Book 1 does not start until 1845, after William and James and left Ireland. In Marriage Book 1, there are records of the weddings of Eliza Orr McMurtry’s daughter Margaret (who married John Neil on 24 Jul 1858), and Martha Orr Mitchell’s daughter (also named Martha), who married Robert Knox (on 25 Oct 1861).
Other Towns in Northern Ireland
It appears that as adults the children spread out a bit.
The Campbell blacksmith shop (Isabelle's husband Ephraim Campbell) was at Ballytaggert, in the Parish of Macosquin. This area is 4.5 miles north of Coleraine, which is also 4.5 miles northwest of Balleymoney on the River Bann, 7 miles from Kilrea.
George Orr was a teacher in Ireland for 17 years before coming to the U.S. He taught at Moneydig and Muttonhollow Bally Rhee, which is 12 miles from Belfast.