John S. Orr was born in Guernsey County, Ohio, July 29, 1856. His father, John P. Orr, was an attorney and moved from Ohio to Missouri with his family when John S. was seventeen years old. Young John was educated in the public schools of Ohio and Normal School in Warrensburg, Missouri, after which he taught school in Missouri and in Oregon for several years. He took up the study of law while in Oregon and was admitted to the bar of that state in 1892. He practiced law in Klamath Falls, Oregon and was elected county judge of Klamath County. In 1901Judge Orr came to Reno and formed a partnership with Honorable Frank Norcross, which continued until 1904 when Judge Norcross was elected to the supreme bench. Judge Orr continued his law practice for two years when he was elected Judge of the 2nd Judicial District. In 1910 he was re-elected but he resigned the office in 1913 to return to his private practice.