W. Orr, one of the oldest and most prominent citizens and merchants of Maysville, was born near Cleveland, Ohio, in 1818. He is the son of James and Mary (Ekman) Orr. The father immigrated to Missouri at an early age, and located in St. Louis, where he engaged in ship carpentering until his death, which occurred about 1842. The mother was born in Pennsylvania, and died about 1867. The subject of this sketch was reared on a farm until about sixteen years of age, when he began as an apprentice to learn the hatter's trade at Columbia, Mo. Completing his apprenticeship, he worked at his trade for a number of years. He then removed to De Kalb County, and engaged in farming about eight miles east of Maysville. In 1867 he removed to Maysville, and embarked in merchandising, which he has continued until the present. In 1861 he was appointed sheriff of De Kalb County, and, at the expiration of the time for which he was appointed, he was elected by the people to that office, and re-elected as long as eligible. He was then elected treasurer of the county, and filled that office about four years. In 1856 he was united in marriage with Miss Ann West, who was born in Missouri. They have had six children, two of whom are dead.
Source: History of Andrew and DeKalb Counties, Missouri (Chicago: Goodspeed Publishing Company, 1888), pp. 576-577.