The Valley of Heart's Delight




A prominent resident of Palo Alto whose wide experience, thorough knowledge of realty conditions, and valuable connections make him invaluable as a representative, influential dealer in real estate, is Horatio W. Orr, a native son of Santa Clara County, having been born at Mayfield on January 21, 1867. His father, Horatio Orr, was born in Vermont; and having come out to California by way of Panama in 1859, he first located at San Francisco, where he married Miss Mary G. Pickett, a native of Ireland of Scotch descent. From the Bay City he came to Mayfield, and in 1862 he rented land from Mr. Seale, the acreage being the site of South Palo Alto. He bought the first town lot sold in Mayfield, and in going in and out between San Francisco and the new town, he traveled over an old Spanish horse-trail. For many years he engaged in farming and dairying, and he spent the last years of his life at Mayfield, dying in January, 1920, at the age of eighty-three. He was always an active member of the Methodist Church, and having long marched with the Republican party, he eventually joined the ranks of the Prohibitionists. Four children had been granted this worthy couple. Horatio W. Orr is the subject of our review; Electa is the wife of Joseph Birkett and lives in Grass Valley; James Orr lives at Mayfield, and Newton in Colorado.

Horatio W. Orr attended the public schools of Mayfield, and studied for a year at Stanford. Then, until 1897, he engaged in contracting the building, still residing at Mayfield, but carrying on his extensive operations in Palo Alto and opened an electrical establishment; and for ten years he continued there in that field of activity. In 1907, he embarked with T. J. Floyd in the wall paper and trade; but in December, 1917, he sold his interest to Mr. Floyd, and he is now engaged exclusively in buying and selling real estate. With his long residence and continued activity in one line or another having to do with the development of this section, Mr. Orr is particularly qualified to advise the person seeking either town or country property.

Mr. Orr was married at Boulder Creek in Santa Cruz County, on August 10, 1904, to Miss Julia E. Tompkins, a native of Santa Cruz County and a step-daughter of Joseph W. Peery, who died at Boulder Creek, March 14, 1910, being one of Santa Cruz County's most honored pioneers and business men. He had been very active in building up the tannery, the saw mill and the shingle mill at Boulder Creek. He was born in Caleb County, W. Va., (Then Virginia) October 2, 1830. 'His father, Hiram Peery, was in the War of 1812, and at its close engaged in farming in West Virginia, later moving to Kentucky, when he became a planter. In 1850 Joseph W. Peery crossed the plains and tried his luck at mining, but in 1853 returned to Missouri. In 1859 he went to Nebraska and in 1862 returned to California and spent three years at Stockton, then removed to Santa Cruz County. In 1869 he settled at Boulder Creek and bought out the sawmill and became a large land owner. Mr. Peery's first wife died crossing the plains in 1862. His second marriage in Santa Cruz County, united him with Mrs. Alvira Mercy Tompkins, who had seven children by her first husband, Daniel D. Tompkins; Willis E., Josephine, Jennie, Walter, Julia, Alice and Elmer. She died at her home at Boulder Creek in her sixty- sixth year.

Mr. and Mrs. Orr have one daughter, Dorothy Jane. The family belong to the Methodist Episcopal Church, and Mr. Orr is a Royal Arch Mason and a Native Son of the Golden West.

Transcribed by Marie Clayton, from Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California,  published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page 545

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Santa Clara-The Valley of Heart's Delight