The Athlete

This week's Sepia Saturday theme features sports paraphernalia, and so I present for your delectation my grand-uncle Hugh Nelson Orr, grandson of last week's featured cattleman, Hugh Nelson Orr. Among other things, young Hugh was a consummate athlete. There was only one photo of him in the old family album (handed down by Hugh's sister Jessie Orr Bentley, my paternal grandmother), but it provided such a good likeness that I was easily able to spot him in the following photos from the 1911 (his junior year) and 1912 (senior) annuals from his alma mater, Cripple Creek (Colorado) High School.
From the album: Hugh's senior portrait

Cover photo of the Sangre de Cristo mountain range, near Cripple Creek

Hugh is on the far left, looking revolutionary.

Hugh in back row, third from left

If it didn't say "Bob Stevens," I'd swear the middle front player was a girl

Hugh in the middle row, far left

Hugh front left. I love the Wild West setting, complete with what appears to be a cowboy on a horse-drawn buggy in the background.

Hugh seventh from right; "sweaters presented by Association for not losing a game." More delicious frontier architecture!

Hugh in cryptic but less sweaty endeavors, back row, far right

Cub reporter Hugh, Junior year, back row, second from right

Editor Hugh, Senior year, upper center
A sampling of pages

The next I hear of Hugh is twelve years later in the Oakland Tribune:  he is a lawyer in Oakland, and his wife is "Attacked by Six Gangsters"!

The story continues, "When questioned by the police, Mrs. Orr gave her name as Miss Lucile Webster, 1825 Allston Way, Berkeley, and said she was a sister-in-law of Hugh Orr. Later, however, she was identified by her husband, who said that she and the sedan had been missing since Saturday morning. VICTIM AND SPOUSE REFINE STATEMENT. When one of the suspects picked up at Ninety-eighth Avenue was brought before the woman at police headquarters, she became hysterical and slapped him in the face. Later, when she collected hei[?] she declared that he was not one of the men. Mrs. Orr is the mother of a 5-year-old son [Gaylord Orr II], who was at [home] with his father in Berkeley."

The following day, the Oakland Tribune has this follow-up (scanning of the article is not perfect):
"The Oakland police reported no new developments today in the search for the six thugs responsible for the attack upon Mrs. Agnes Orr, wife of Hugh Orr, Berkeley attorney, 1727 Channing Way, and her escort, William J. Jackson, 9520 Sunnyside Street, as they were sitting in an automobile parked on Mountain Boulevard at 3 a.m. Sunday morning. Two men arrested Sunday as suspects were released. Both Mrs. Orr and Jackson failed to identify them as members of the gang. A third, Manuel Perry, was detained on a charge of carrying concealed weapons. The police reported that when arrested he had an automatic revolver and 5 rounds of ammunition. Orr declared yesterday that there had been no uouuie[?] him and his wife and that he did not anticipate any. He said his [wife] had been to a party at Jackson's house and that on their way home they were obliged to stop the car on account of a blow-out. Jackson had just changed tires, he said, when the six men in a touring car drove up and attacked them. Jackson [was] kicked into unconsciousness and thrown to the side of the road. Mrs. Orr was carried off in the gangster’s automobile and later abandoned in an isolated part of the city."

And interestingly, three months later, on July 14, this article appears:
"Charging cruelty, Mrs. Agnes Orr of Berkeley, who was named defendant in a divorce suit recently filed by her husband, Hugh N. Orr, an attorney, today brought counter-suit in Superior Court, asking that she be awarded the decree, custody of a child and all of the community property. The cross-complaint was filed in the office of the county clerk, shortly after noon. Mrs. Orr, among other allegations, declares that her husband lived in their Channing Way home in Berkeley with another woman from October 26 to December 27 [1923] while she was visiting her mother in Colorado. Orr's petition for divorce, which [was] filed more than a month ago, followed an alleged attack upon Mrs. Orr and a man [who] gave the name of Jackson, as they were sitting in the Orr automobile in a lonely spot in the Berkeley hills. In her cross-complaint Mrs. Orr denies charges of her husband that she would take the family automobile and absent herself from home without his permission."

Hugh subsequently married again and adopted his new wife's son from a previous marriage, as well as fathering a son with her in 1937.


  1. I guess I could match a number of sporting groups but not the more formal ones. I shall have to check out who produced the school ,magazine - not the students for sure.

  2. Hugh, is/was one handsome man. Interesting post, sporting is and will forever be big business!

  3. Hugh was certainly into the sports scene! That last, however, was quite something. Whoa!!!

  4. That is a juicy story in the paper. Sounds like it could be a script for a silent movie. I wonder if much is missing from the bottom of the article after she gave a wrong name and if she stayed married to Hugh..

  5. Seeing Hugh in so many photos began to remind me of "Where's Waldo?" That wife ...

  6. Did not anticipate that last story!
    Somehow, with all those activities, Hugh was involved in, it is not surprising that he became successful later in life. Which makes you wonder if that had anything to do with the gangsters attacking his wife?

  7. Wow. What a yarn. Was their marriage OK after all that?

  8. Hopefully you plan to continue the story of Hugh and his wife after this, rather than just leaving us wondering!

  9. A tale right out of the pulp magazines. A fine post. Makes me want to follow it up with some research.

  10. Exceptional post. What a mystery!

  11. This post took me back to the mid 80s when I holidayed in Colorado and went to Cripple Creek - what a quaint town!
    And I agree, please continue the story sometime.

  12. OK then! I added a postscript with some further new stories I dug up.

  13. That’s a very fine collection of memorabilia.