Edward Orr

of Belfast, Ireland

1860 - 1906

 Publican & Barman

[and possible 'Saloonkeeper']


Edward ORR was born in Belfast, Ireland, on 9 May 1860, before the establishment of civil registration in Ireland in 1864 [PRONI: MIC 1P/2/3]. He was the son of Thomas & Mary [nee DUNLOP] Orr. Edward was baptised on an unrecorded date in the Malone Presbyterian Church, Belfast, at which time his father was described as a 'Publican' who was resding in the Malone Road.

One photograph with a likeness of Edward is known to exist - a small 'carte-de-visite' photograph, made by Plimmer of Belfast around 1870. This shows Edward as aged about 9 years.

Edward was married to Nellie [Martinson ?] O'Connor in St Anne's, in the Parish of Belfast, Diocese of Connor, on 9 November 1885 (Entry No. 151). At that time, Edward was said to be 25 years old. Edward and his father Thomas were both said to be 'publican's. Nellie was said at the time to be a 19 year old spinster (so born perhaps in 1866). Her father was identified as Samuel O'Connor, a contractor. Witnesses to the ceremony were James Martin [GEOFF ?] and Eliza Ann MARTIN. Nothing further has been discovered about them.

Both Edward and Nellie were said to have been living on Gaffikin Street in Belfast, at the time of their marriage - he at No. 18, with no number given for Nellie. No evidence of their residence there has been found in the 1884 Directory of Belfast [published in March, 1884; the next Directory was published on 24 February, 1887, and there are no obvious references to them this year, either]. The 1884 Directory shows that William Hemphill was a 'publican' located at 18 Gaffikin Street in Belfast, at the corner of Gaffikin and Blondin Streets. Hemphill was again shown to be a 'spirit dealer' at this address when the 1887 Directory was published. It seems plausible that Edward was working as a 'barman' in Hemphill's establishment, and that Nellie may have been a 'server' or a 'barmaid' there. Google maps and street view suggest that nothing in that location today appears as it would have in 1886.

No obvious traces of Samuel O'Connor or his daughter Nellie have been found prior to the date of her marriage, in records from either Ireland, England, Canada or the United States, and no solid traces of either Edward or Nellie have been found after 1885.

An 1892 State of New York (USA) census record from the 29th Election District of the 18th Ward of Brooklyn, Kings County, New York [accessible through <www.ancestry.com>], offers what may be a very hazy hint that Edward and Nellie moved to the United States after they were married. Page 8 of the set, toward the bottom of the right-hand column of names, lists Edward Orr, 31 years of age (so born in late 1860 or very early 1861), a native of Ireland, a 'saloonkeeper'; his wife Nellie, 24 years (so born in about 1867 or 1868), an American native; and a daughter named May M Orr, born in the United States in about 1890. Both Nellie and May were noted to be American C[itizens], according to this census schedule. A notation at the top of the page suggests that Edward and his small family were living on Myrtle Avenue in Brooklyn on 16 February 1892, the date specified as 'enumeration day'.

Records and schedules from the 1890 Federal US census have not survived, unfortunately. And Directories from Brooklyn for 1889 [accessible through <www.archive.org>] and 1894 [Lain's 1894 Brooklyn Directory, for the year ending May 17, accessible through <www.ancestry.com>] show no listings for this man named Edward Orr [Lain's 1894 edition shows listings for 2 men named Edward Orr - a 'news'paperman, and a 'slateroofer'. It's presumed that neither of these two is 'our man']. No plausible civil record of a circa 1889-1892 birth of a girl named May M Orr has been discovered. Nor have any plausible pointers to death records for either Nellie or young May M Orr turned up in the area before 1906.

Edward was named in his father Thomas' Last Will and Testament, which Thomas wrote at Barrow-in-Furness, Lancashire, on 7 October 1897. To one daughter, Thomas bequeathed £400; to another, £300; to his third surviving daughter, £200. And to Edward, Thomas also bequeathed £200. Thomas died in Belfast at the home of his daughter Jane McCUTCHEON, on 22 April 1901. It's more than likely that Edward received his bequest after his father's Will was proven in the Principal Probate Registry of England and Wales on 3 August 1901, but the surviving Probate record provides no insight as to where, and under what circumstances, Edward might have been living in 1897, or where he might have been if he ever in fact received his due. There is no mention in Thomas Orr's Will of Edward's wife or possible child.

No details concerning Edward or Nellie have been found in surviving enumeration schedules, from any place, that were created during the 1900 Federal US census; the 1901 Census of Ireland; the 1901 Census of England and Wales; the 1901 Census of Scotland; or the 1901 Census of Canada.

And no obvious or plausible details from ship's passenger manifests have turned up which might help determine whether Edward and Nellie had departed from the United Kingdom, and travelled to either Canada or the United States after their marriage in 1885, or returned prior to Edward's death in 1906.

Edward Orr died in Belfast, on 17 February 1906 [cause = pulmonary tuberculosis, at No. 62 Melrose St (Entry No. 18, Page 224]. This address was where Edward's older sister Jane [nee Orr] McCutcheon lived, and it was Edward's nephew, Thomas McCutcheon, who advised the District Registrar about Edward's demise. 62 Melrose Street is today at the south-east corner of Melrose and Lorne Streets, in Belfast, but it's not known whether the street has seen house renumbering since 1906, or not.

Thomas McCutcheon reported that Edward Orr had been working as a 'barman', and that he had been suffering with pulmonary tuberculosis for about '4 months' prior to his death, as Certified.

A search of the Will Calendars through the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland's website shows that Edward did not leave a Will that was proved in the courts in Belfast at any time after he died. Similarly, there is no evidence of a Will proven in Edward's name, or of a Grant of Administration governing any Estate he may have died possessed of, in records associated with the Principal Probate Registry of England and Wales.

No death notice or obituary appears to have been published in Belfast or other Northern Ireland newspapers, after Edward died.

When he reported about Edward's death, Thomas McCutcheon also affirmed that his uncle Edward was married. Thomas McCutcheon did not state that Edward was a 'widower', so Nellie must still have been living. Neither did Thomas McCutcheon indicate that Edward had been separated of divorced. But no obvious traces have been found which would lead us to believe that Nellie possibly travelled to Ireland with her husband, remained there after Edward died, re-married there, or [perhaps ?] returned to the United States.

Edward Orr is memorialized along with his father Thomas, who died five years earlier, on a grave site monument found in the Balmoral Cemetery in south-east Belfast in 2005. Officials at the Belfast City Office who are responsible for such things have advised that no burial or interment records from Balmoral Cemetery are known to have survived.

 Thomas Orr and son Edward - memorial stone, balmoral cemetery, belfast, 1901 and 1906 (aoh)Thomas Orr and son Edward - memorial stone, balmoral cemetery, belfast - 1901 and 1906

Contact Bruce D. Murduck   concerning any matter at all.

Are you aware of any [other ?] facts or photographs which provide information about

Edward or Nellie Orr, Edward's father Thomas Orr, Edward's mother wife Mary, or any other relative?

We would love to learn about them, and add them to this collection. Thank you for your help!