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About James Lawrence Orr
James Lawrence Orr (May 12, 1822 – May 5, 1873) was an American politician who served as Speaker of the United States House of Representatives in the United States Congress. He later served in the Confederate Congress during the American Civil War and was the 73rd Governor of South Carolina.
Orr was born at Craytonville, South Carolina located in Anderson County, South Carolina.He graduated at the University of Virginia in 1841 and became an attorney. He served as a Democratic Congressman from South Carolina from 1849 to 1859, serving as the Speaker of the House from 1857 to 1859. Congressman Orr was an advocate of states' rights who used his position of power to assist those persons who promoted the continuation of slavery. He foresaw the consequences of the decision by South Carolina to attempt to secede from the Union, but he remained loyal to that State. He was one of the three commissioners sent to Washington, D.C. to negotiate the transfer of federal property to the State of South Carolina; the failure of these negotiations led directly to the bombardment of one of the highest-profile federal assets within South Carolina, Fort Sumter.
After Fort Sumter and the outbreak of the American Civil War, the former congressman organized and commanded Orr's Regiment of South Carolina Rifles, which saw little action before he resigned in 1862 and entered the Confederate Senate. Ironically, the regiment continued to bear his name throughout the war and fought in some of the most prominent battles of the Army of Northern Virginia. In the Senate, he remained a strong proponent of states' rights.
At the end of the war, Orr was elected governor in 1865 of the state of South Carolina and served until 1868 with the passage of a new state constitution. He died in St. Petersburg, Russia shortly after being named Minister to Russia by President Ulysses S. Grant. He is interred in the First Presbyterian Church Cemetery in Anderson, South Carolina.
-------------------- Info added per DAR's "Lineage Book of the Charter Members" by Mary S Lockwood and published 1895