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Below is a family biography included in Portrait and Biographical Record of Berrien and Cass Counties, Michigan published by Biographical Publishing Company in 1893.  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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GEORGE A. ORRIS, born in Germany September 6, 1830, is a representative agriculturist and an intelligent and industrious citizen, for the past twenty-five years numbered among the substantial farmers winning their upward way in Berrien County, Mich. Since 1866 our subject has been a constant resident of Weesaw Township, enterprisingly identifying himself with all matters of mutual welfare and progressive interests. His father, Orris Orris, a native of Russia, emigrated from the land of his birth to Germany during the invasion of Bonaparte, and in his new home married Miss Mary Rhinebarger, born in the Fatherland. The parents were in humble circumstances in life, but gave their children what advantages of education they could afford. The mother died and later the father with his family emigrated to the United States and, having made a safe passage, landed in Baltimore in 1831, and from Maryland after a time journeyed to Pennsylvania. In the Quaker State the father entered into a second marriage, and for twelve years made his home in Little York County, where the second wife passed away after ten years of married life.

In 1842 Orris Orris, with his son, George A., journeyed to the farther West and located in Michigan, settling in Chikaming Township, Berrien County. The father was among the pioneer settlers of this part of the State and in the course of his work was obliged to cut a road through the woods. He purchased one hundred and sixty acres of heavy timberland and, together with our subject, cleared, cultivated and improved a farm. In this locality he married his third wife, and, having lived some time upon this homestead, sold the property and bought another farm. The wife soon after dying, Father Orris went back to Ohio and spent the last two years of his life with a married daughter. Mr. Orris and his sister Catherine were the only children of the first wife. George, the youngest of the two, remained with his father until twenty years of age, when he married and began life for himself. His education was very limited and confined to three months’ instruction in the common schools. Although he left his native land when only a babe, he could not speak English well when he came a lad of twelve years to Berrien County. His father started him in life by giving him eighty acres of woodland, which, with energetic industry, he soon cleared.

Later Mr. Orris sold his first farm, and in 1865 invested in the fine homestead he now owns, and where he has since resided. His purchase of one hundred and twenty acres, eighteen of which were cleared land, was further improved by a log house and barn. To the original acres twenty more have been added and the farm of one hundred and forty acres, brought up to a high state of cultivation and improved with excellent buildings, is one of the best in its locality, seven miles northwest of the thriving town of Buchanan and two miles southeast of Glendora. Our subject was united in marriage with Miss Julianna F. Cool, a native of Germany, whose parents emigrated to the United States in about 1846. The pleasant home has been blessed by the birth of two daughters and two sons: George; John; Caroline, wife of William Hoose; and Letta, wife of Ferdinand Smith. The father of Mr. Orris was in religious affiliation a Roman Catholic, but our subject and his estimable wife are both faithful members of the Christian Church. Mr. Orris cast his first Presidential vote for James Buchanan and has ever since remained a strong Democrat. He served with ability as Constable for one year, and for fourteen years efficiently discharged the duties of Overseer of the Highway. Our subject is a member of the Farmers’ Mutual Fire Insurance Company of Berrien County and, actively associating himself with the public enterprises of his locality, is esteemed as a liberal-spirited citizen and possesses the high regard of an extended acquaintance.

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This family biography is one of numerous biographies included in the Portrait and Biographical Record of Berrien and Cass Counties, Michigan published in 1893. 

View additional Berrien County, Michigan family biographies here: Berrien County, Michigan Biographies

View a map of 1911 Berrien County, Michigan here: Berrien County Michigan Map

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