James Copeland & Margaret Anne Ferrell Orr
James Orr figured very prominently in the early history of Highland. He was a college graduate, school teacher, church leader and exemplary father to a very large family. He was born January 1, 1865, at Clover Creek, Tooele County, Utah Territory, son of James Copeland and Elizabeth Jane Green Orr. His father and mother were converts to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from Scotland and Wales. James went to school in Clover Creek and was a very good student and athlete.
He was not baptized until he was twenty years old and began serving a mission on November 5, 1888. After a few months his younger brother, Charles drowned in the Snake River, then on April 1, 1890, his mother died. Shortly after that his father became seriously ill so he was called home. When he arrived at the St. John railroad station on June 6, 1890, there was a coffin on the platform for his father and he road home sitting on it. He served nineteen months of his mission.
Shortly after his father passed, he went to Salt Lake City to attend the University of Deseret and after receiving his teaching certificate he married Margaret (Maggie) Anne Farrell of Alpine, daughter of John Bell and Francis Jemima Sweatt Farrell, born October 20, 1874. They moved to Avon, Cache County where he taught school - eight grades in one room.
In 1899 they moved to Alpine for a short time then to Highland (Number 54 on the 1958 Highland map - the Hyrum Healey home), where he taught school and was active in the Church and community. He was set apart as the fourth presiding elder of the Highland Branch on April 29, 1900, with James Brown and William Loveridge as his counselors. He was a great leader and fulfilled his responsibilities well. He was skilled as a speaker and talented in music as well, playing the guitar and singing duets with his wife.
James and Maggie were blessed with fourteen children: Maggie, Althea, Malcolm, Elwin and Ella (twins), Ethel, Beulah, James, Charley, Leona, Fontella, Lucille, Mary, and Ivan. James died at six months and Fontella died at nine days. They lived in other places in Highland (Number 89 and Number 74 on the 1958 Highland map) and always had a nice garden. The Edward Winn home (Number 74 on the 1958 Highland map) was owned by Mathias Cowley and Orr's would take melons to them in Salt Lake City.
When the Alpine School District was consolidated, James was chosen as one of the first trustees.
His health was not good as he suffered from stomach trouble and a bad heart for many years, being unable to teach school for a number of years. He died of a ruptured appendix in the LDS Hospital in Salt Lake on February 8, 1917, at fifty two years. Maggie lived more than forty years after his death, passing away on July 10, 1959. They are buried in the Alpine City Cemetery.
Source: HIGHLAND HISTORY: A compilation by Charles T Greenland II for the Highland Historical Society
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