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Below is a family biography included in The History of Greene County, Illinois published by Donnelley, Gassette & Loyd in 1879.  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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ORR, WILLIAM L. abstract expert, residence North Main Street, east of Square. W. L. Orr is a native of Washington County, Pa., and was born in 1832. In an early day he moved to Wheeling, West Virginia, where our subject passed his early years, and received a liberal education, by diligent study in the public schools. On leaving the school room he looked about him for a profession or trade that would prove a source of income. Proceeding to Sligo, in his native State of Pennsylvania, he became apprenticed to the trade of machinist and engineer. For this vocation he developed an aptitude that marked his entire subsequent career; as a mechanic earning the reputation of acquiring a better knowledge of mechanics than the general run of aspirants, and on serving his apprenticeship secured employment as engineer on the steamer Josephine, plying between Pittsburg and Cincinnati. For nine years his home was on the Mississippi River, where he served through all the grades of engineering, to a high position. On quitting the river packets he made his way to St. Louis, where he became employed in various establishments, subsequently proceeding to Beardstown and Alton. While quietly pursuing his vocation here the war of the Rebellion came on, when he took an active part in the transferring of arms to the State Arsenal at Springfield; afterwards tendering his services to the Navy Department, he was assigned to duty as a commissioned engineer on board the gunboats Tyler and Pittsburg. Remaining in the service of Uncle Sam until 1866, he returned to Alton, where he remained until his removal to Carrollton, in 1867, where he engaged, first as clerk, and subsequently embarked in the mercantile business. As a Mason Mr. Orr takes a leading position, ranking as an officer in the Grand Chapter. He is well known for his kindly disposition, liberality, and his temperate habits of life tend to a hearty vigor that has made him a great lover of field sports, in which he has developed a skill that has made his name a familiar one in Southern Illinois.

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This family biography is one of 744 biographies included in The History of Greene County, Illinois published in 1879.  View the complete description here: The History of Greene County, Illinois

View additional Greene County, Illinois family biographies here: Greene County, Illinois Biographies

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