Monday, March 14, 2011

Backward Glance - Margaret Jane Orr

Margaret (Orr) Topping with two of her sisters

Our main Irish connection is through Margaret Jane Orr. She was born in Ontario, Canada on December 26, 1833. Her parents were Edward Orr and Margaret Frazier. Edward was born in Belfast, Ireland. Margaret was born in Sligo, Ireland. They were married near Montreal, Quebec, Canada, about 1828. So, you see, Margaret was 100% Irish by blood, but Canadian by birth! Apparently, her pride in her Irish heritage was very strong, as it carried down through the generations, each claiming to be Irish.

In Canada, Margaret married a Wallace. They had a son, Wilford Lincoln, in  1857. However, Wilford seems to have used the surname Orr all of his life. The whole family emigrated from Canada sometime between 1851 and 1859.

The family seems to have gone first to Wisconsin, where Margaret married John Topping on November 13, 1859, in Plover, Portage County.  Her surname on the marriage record is Wallace. Both of John and Margaret's daughters, Ella and Virginia, were born in Portage County. John Topping served during the Civil War in the Union Army from Wisconsin. He was killed in 1862 at the Battle of Antietam.

In 1870, Margaret and her children were living at Des Moines, Jackson County, Minnesota, next door to her parents. On the 1880 census, she is recorded as living in Colfax Township, Page County, Iowa.

Both of Margaret's parents died in Jackson Township, Jackson County, Minnesota; Edward in 1884 and Margaret in 1885.

Margaret died on June 22, 1893, in Blanchard, Page County, Iowa. She is buried in the Blanchard Cemetery.

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