"O" is for Orr, James Lawrence [1822-1873]

May 28, 2020

Credit SC Public Radio

"O" is for Orr, James Lawrence [1822-1873]. Congressman. Governor. After serving in the General Assembly, Orr was elected to the U.S. Congress as a States-Rights Democrat and served five terms [1849-1859]. By sentiment a Unionist, he believed that the state’s interests would best be protected by a strong national Democratic Party. In 1857 he was elected Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. With Lincoln’s election, he supported secession and was a delegate to the Secession Convention. He served in the Confederate Senate from 1861 until 1865. Under South Carolina’s 1865 constitution, he was became the state’s first popularly-elected governor. In 1868 he was removed from office by federal authorities. He later joined the Republican party and, in 1872--as a gesture of sectional reconciliation--James Lawrence Orr was appointed United States Minister to Russia.