Lawrence Orr was born May 14, 1882, and raised in the township of Crab Orchard, which is now known as the Hickory Grove community. Mr. Orr purchased 10 acres of land near Hickory Grove where he built his family's first home. When a road was made to connect his property to Hickory Grove Road, the street was named Lawrence Orr, which is now Lawrence Orr Road. The original home, where he and his wife, Addie, along with their 10 children lived, still stands at 5025 Lawrence Orr Road.
Lawrence Orr was an active member in the African-American community where he encouraged home and land ownership and the right to vote. He was a Saint Paul Presbyterian Church life member and a member of a committee that petitioned the county school board to build new schools for African-American children. In the early 1930s, the committee was awarded four schools, including one now known as J.H. Gunn Elementary School. Mr. Orr owned and operated a general store directly across the street from the school site from the early 1930s until his death in the mid 1940s. This was the first black-owned store built between Central Avenue, Hickory Grove Road and Newell Hickory Grove Road, a radius of 15 miles.
The school names were voted on by the school community.
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