Grayson County 

Orr Family


Orr Family of Van Alstyne
(Please send in photographs, genealogy, stories and other info abt the Orr Family)

Van Alstyne Public Library
Genealogy Collections

Orr family figures prominently in history
by Teri Bishop, Managing Editor

The Orr family figured prominently in Van Alstyne's history, even though the life of one of its patriarchs was cut short by a fatal auto crash in 1966.
Garland and Samantha Orr were cotton and corn farmers in the Van Alstyne area, contributing much to the economy and the way of life here.
Garland Orr was born on May 19, 1903, to Mancel and Samantha Orr.  He married Samantha Haynes on Nov. 17, 1931, in Durant. Okla.
They were Methodists, and he gave community service through the Knights of Pythias.
His wife also was born in Texas, to Mr. and Mrs. Doug Boyd.  She served the community as a member of the Heroines of Jericho Lodge.
A grisly auto accident took Garand Orr's life on the evening of March 28, 1966.  He and his brother, Hugh, were driving on a twisted blacktop road four miles east of the city between Van Alstyne and the Cannon Community when they had a head-on collision with an automobile driven by Mrs. Anna Belle Neill, 42.
Garland Orr and Mrs. Neill lost their lives instantly when their two vehicles collided.  Hugh Orr and Mrs. Neill's children - Larry, 15, and Lind, 10 - were taken to the hospital in serious condition.
Many area residents, black and white alike, attended Garland Orr's funeral on Saturday, April 3, 1966, at Morning Chapel CME Church.  He is buried in Van Alstyne Cemetery.
His obituary, which was printed in a Sherman newspaper, identified him as a "Negro".
Samantha Orr died many years later, at the age of 84.  She was a well-respected community worker.  She also is buried in Van Alstyne Cemetery.  Their nephew, Lt. Col. Clyde Orr, not only served his community but also his country.
In March 1970, he and his family moved to Ethiopia, Africa, where he was assigned to advise the Ethiopian army about infantry tactics and operations.
Before that, he was the commanding officer of the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Basic Combat Training Brigade at Fort Ord in California.
His father, Hugh, survived the terrible crash of 1966 to see his son accomplish great things in the military.
Many Orr Family members still live in Van Alstyne, including Robinson Orr Sr., Robinson Orr Jr., and his wife, Patricia, Walter Nelson Orr and Nicole Orr.



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