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Below is a sample of a family biography included in Portrait and Biographical Record of Johnson and Pettis County Missouri and published by Chapman Bros. in 1895.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details in a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

REV. JOHN I. ORRISON. For a number of years Mr. Orrison has been engaged in ministerial work, and he is now pastor of the Christian Church of Ionia City, though he is a resident of Sedalia. His life has been devoted to the preaching of the Gospel, and while he has at times been employed in other capacities, everything else has been subsidiary to his chosen profession. As a speaker he is fluent and interesting, and in his Scriptural explanations few excel him. In his sermons it is his aim to make the Gospel truths so simple and clear that even a child may grasp their beauty, and his discourses are full of forcible remarks, tersely and concisely stated.

In addition to holding the pastorate of the Ionia City church, where he has been for three years, Mr. Orrison has been for two years in Lincoln, Benton County, one year at Hayden's Grove, and three years at Cloverdale. By birth an Ohioan, he was born in the city of Belmont, October 14, 1850, and is a member of a Quaker family, of Scotch-Irish descent. His grandfather, Israel Orrison, who served in the War of 1812, was a native of Loudoun County, Va., whence he removed to Belmont County, Ohio, in an early day, and there purchased an improved farm. Amos, our subject's father, was also a farmer, and still resides on the old homestead in Belmont County, where he was born. He is an active member of the Christian Church, and in politics is a Democrat.

The mother of our subject, Elizabeth Ann, was born in Belmont County, Ohio, to which point her father, John Kinney, had removed from Belfast, County Down, Ireland. He was for some years engaged in the hotel business, and was a prominent Orangeman. Mrs. Elizabeth Orrison is still living, and is now (1895) sixty-six years of age. Her family consisted of five sons and two daughters, and all but two survive, John I. being the eldest. He was reared in Belmont County, Ohio, where the rudiments of his education were gained. Later he attended Bethany (W. Va.) College for two terms, and then began to teach in the neighborhood of his home. Five years were devoted to that profession in Ohio, after which he went to Nebraska and taught at West Point, Cuming County. On his return to the Buckeye State he taught school for three years in Belmont County.

Retiring from the teacher's profession, Mr. Orrison engaged in the general mercantile business in Belmont, and later went to Mt. Vernon, Ky., where he spent two years, 1884-85. Coming to Sedalia in 1886, he entered the Missouri Pacific shops, and was employed in the boiler department for two years. After two years in the mercantile business he entered the ministry. In 1869 he was ordained an Elder in the Christian Church, and the following years preached at irregular intervals until 1890, when he accepted the pastorate at Walnut. He continued there for five years, and meantime preached at Green Ridge for two years, El Dorado for two years, and at Gilead for one year. As above stated, he now has charge of the churches of Ionia City, Lincoln, Hayden's Grove and Cloverdale. Since 1893 he has been employed in the grocery store of Brandt & Cruse, at No. 608 Ohio Street, from which it will be seen that he is a very busy man.

The first marriage of Mr. Orrison took place at Belmont, Ohio, his wife being Susan Kemp, who was born in that place, but who died in Sedalia. They were the parents of seven children, namely: Jennie, a member of the Class of '97, of the Sedalia High School; Kemp, who belongs to the Class of '96; Burt; Willie; Lowell; Annie G., who died in childhood; and Granville. In Sedalia, May 25, 1892, Mr. Orrison married Miss Alice G. Hockaday, who was born in Mexico, Audrain County, Mo. Her grandfather, Isaac Hockaday, was a pioneer of Kentucky, and participated in the early Indian Wars. Her father, Isaac N., was born in Winchester, Clark County, Ky., and was orphaned in boyhood. He assisted his brother in laying out the town of Fulton, and afterward engaged in farming, then conducted an hotel business, and later became a pioneer of Mexico, Mo., where he traded in real estate. Some years were spent in Colorado, then a short time in Cass County, Mo., and in 1884 he came to Sedalia, where he died the following year, aged seventy-four. Politically he was a Democrat, and during the war was a stanch Union man. His religious connections were with the Christian Church.

The mother of Mrs. Orrison, Sarah Catherine Shortridge, was born in Scott County, Ky., and had three children, with the youngest of whom, Mrs. Orrison, she now makes her home. Her father, William Shortridge, was an early settler of Fulton, and there remained until death; he had gone thither from Scott County, Ky. Mrs. Orrison received good advantages in girlhood, and for two years was a student in the normal at Warrensburg. For eight years she taught in the Sedalia schools, for two years was Principal of the schools at Green Ridge, and in all was engaged in school teaching for about twenty years. She is the mother of one son, named Irvine Newton.

To such an extent has Mr. Orrison been engrossed by his personal duties, that he has had little time for public matters. However, he is a thoughtful reader of current literature, and keeps well posted upon topics of national importance. His affiliations, politically, are with the Democratic party, and he supports its principles whenever an opportunity is afforded. Socially he belongs to the Masonic fraternity and to Crescent Tent No. 4, K. O. T. M.

This family biography is from Pettis County and is one of 478 biographies included in Portrait and Biographical Record of Johnson and Pettis County Missouri published in 1895.  For the complete description, click here: Pettis County, Missouri History, Genealogy, and Maps

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