A big fellow with a fine, vigorous physique, even in middle age. Sports a full beard and moustache.
Traits & Characteristics
Booming 'hail fellow well met' type with a shrewd and sly nature. Something of a philanderer with the ladies in the past, is now a little more circumspect.
For his support of the current Grant administration in the Territories, has been rewarded the plum post of United States Post Master for Kalispell, but most of his money comes from dry legal work around property, claims and water rights. Regularly has to travel to Helena and other towns in the Territory.
Aliases / Nicknames
'The Beau-laurels' townhouse in Kalispell's upmarket Residential District.
Kith & Kin
Wife: Mrs Dorothea Bosco Orr, née Dransfield.
Daughter: Anaesthesia Ether Orr
There are also rumours of illegitimate offspring.
1832: Born of Anglo/Welsh heritage to bad-lands farmers in Cross Plains, Texas.
1844: Takes part in some of the early Cattle drives as a 'Little Mary' on the Chuck Wagon
1847: At 15 rides Drag as a proper cowboy
1850: Saved enough money to pay for some schooling
1855: Spends less time on the trail and more arranging business and legal side of the cattle drives. Resides for some time in Kalispell, Montana Territories, conducts an affair with one Mary ap Evans, who becomes pregnant.
1856-57: Moves East to study law full time, becomes involved with Dorothea Bosco Dransfield, a wealthy heiress whom he marries.
Daughter Born 1st May 1858. Avon, nr. Hartfort, CONN. The birth is difficult and Mrs Orr's advanced young doctor uses Ether as an anaesthetic. In gratitude, Mrs Orr decrees that the baby girl be named Anaesthesia Ether.
1861: No copperhead, Orr heads South and offers his services to the Confederacy although he considers secession an awful mistake for the South.
1866: With the end of the war, Orr helps organise the newly revitalised Cattle Drives, employing a large number of ex-slaves and impoverished Texans. Spends his time between various points on the trail but, after recieving a mysterious letter, moves his family to Kalispell. His wife becomes the local school mistress for a number of years.
1873: After occupying a number of important offices, and organising the Local Masonic Lodge, Mr Orr becomes Postmaster in Kalispell.
Orr saw the Judge enter and made a small calculation in his head. Apart from anything that the Judge might have to say on the matter, in terms of votes, the situation was still the same: if the die were cast and it was two votes for and two against, he, as acting chair, would have the casting vote.
That confounded quack Danforth, no doubt showing off for the benefit the Steelgrave beauty, was loudly calling for a vote and 'Tricky Dicky' smelling which way the wind was blowing, loudly rapped his gavel on the sound block as Robertson took his seat. He held up his hands in a plea for silence.
He then began to explain the complicated process by which the affair must move forward, according to the overwrought and minute rules and regulations of the Town's internal constitution, drafted long ago by a lawyer as tricky as Dicky himself.
"Very well, very well. A public motion has been put by Dr. Danforth that the Committee vote on the proposal to give permission to build a hospital in Kalispell. Such a demand requires seconding by a member of the Committee itself. Do any of you gentlemen second that proposal to vote upon the motion?" he turned to Wentworth, Anderson and now Robertson. It only needed one of them to say an unequivocal 'yes'.
Dick Orr, for his part, couldn't be more delighted. He had thought to 'talk out' the motion - to filibuster until time ran out and the decision to build the confounded hospital adjourned to the following meeting. However, the Governor's unexpected and baffling appearance and then disappearance on the scene seemed to have breathed new life into the members of the public in the room, and they were filibustering for him. At the moment a very old man was standing up and orating painfully upon the complete history of plans to build hospitals in Kalispell.
"... and then old Josiah Pendlebury was planning to build one on main street. That's not the same Josiah Pendlebury as the Josiah Pendlebury I mentioned before, this was his son, but they were very similar both in looks and temperament. But, of course, that was stopped when the war broke out. Not the late war, you understand, I mean the Mexican War what we fought again General Santa Claus... er, Santa Anna. You see young Josiah Pendlebury... the son not the father, you understand... well he..."
When someone had called on the Council to 'shut the silly old fool up' Orr had indicated that it was 'imperative' that they listen to 'the voice of experience'. Hector Wigfall had given up trying to make notes on it all, and just sat mooning over Miriam Kaufmann, who, along with the other girls, was now ensconced on the front row of the public seats. Next to her was Arabella Mudd, and Arabella Mudd was painfully close to where the newly minted Deputy Charles Wentworth Jnr. was standing guard on the proceedings.
"Psssst, Charlie!" came Arabella's whisper. "Pssst!!!" As soon as she managed to catch the lawman's eye, she pointed at his symbol of authority. "I like your badge!"
"Pssst!..... Pssst! Charlie! ... d'ya like my outfit?" she hissed next, indicating the sack she was wearing in her guise of 'Little Orphan Arry' "It's kinda draughty!" she half whispered, half laughed, indicating her bony white knees and shins. Normally she would have been scandalised to show even her ankles, but this was fancy dress, so it was all right.
OOC PS If someone doesn't demand that the council vote on the hospital, Orr will successfully 'time out' any decision being made.
Arabella, Miriam and Bridget had been just about to throw a protective ring around their delicate leader and poetess, Miss Orr, to ward of Deputy Wentworth's never-to-be-executed orders, but instead had been the first to come face to face with the august party who now invaded the meeting.
"It's the Territorial Governor!" gasped Anaesthesia, amazed. Arabella goggled at this news. "Do we have to kneel?!" she asked, thinking that's what you would do if a Territorial Governor or a King or a President or a Grand Vizir should happen to amble in on you while you were half way through a tableaux vivant.
"No, curtsy ladies, curtsy!" ordered the well bred Miss Orr.
A smile on his face. “Very nice, ladies." To the girls. He walked to the front of the room. "Good evening. For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Thomas Samuel Houser, Territorial Governor Samuel Thomas Houser.” He looked then to the members of the Town Council. This gentleman is Territorial Senator Lincoln Ellisworth, and, and you all know Dutton, Duton Peabody who now serves as my Aide, and the man who insisted I come to your fair town."
Orr stood, as much out of shock as respect for his political boss, and glanced over to Leah Steelgrave, who looked as amazed at the turn of events as himself. He somehow managed to pull himself together, and addressed these most inconvenient visitors:
"Governor, Senator, Am I to assume that you are here to make a gubernatorial intervention into the sovereign affairs of this municipality?!" he asked with a dignified mien.
“Gentlemen, I’m not here to take over your meeting, not at all, however I, I see that Miss Steelgrave is present, which is the reason I am here. Hullo Leah” Governor Houser began, turning back to those present. “You, you’ll forgive me for the intrusion, and I’m sure that none of you have any idea of the work this young woman did on your behalf, just to be permitted to build a hospital, and yes, later, an orphanage, once the railroad is built.”
Hello Leah? For a few prurient minds in the room, the penny dropped.
"Oh Governor, may I assure you, that we have heard all about Miss Steelgrave's efforts many..." Dick Orr looked daggers at the girl who never shut up about herself and her dang hospital "... many times." But the head of the territory merely continued to eulogise the attractive brunette.
“I am just as sure that none of you realize the amount of money expended by her to make this dream of hers a reality.” He then slowly scanned the council members, then back to the citizens. “Now, now, it would seem to me, that the gift of these right of ways would conjure up some feelings of, of gratitude. And, and maybe you gentlemen of the council, might see your way clear to forgive her last name, and, and to allow her to select the site for these buildings, oh, which she has said that, that the construction costs will be borne by her and not town funds.” He smiled and nodded. “And, and through some shrewd investments on her part, the hospital should remain self-sufficient for, for years to come.”
"My sentiments exactly!" cooed Orr, who could smell which way the wind was blowing.
"Oh Father! You said that the hospital would be an ulcerous hotbed of disease and the orphanage would attract useless waifs and strays from miles around!" gasped Anaesthesia, aghast at her own father's duplicity. But Tricky Dicky just laughed "Oh ho ho, dear daughter, it is merely my duty to play 'Devil's Advocate' in these matters, to make sure that the Council discusses all sides of the argument, takes on board all possible views. Now, Mr Wigfall, if you would just... MR WIGFALL!!"
While every single other person in the room had been staring fixedly at imposing figure of the venerable Governor, Hector alone hadn't even noticed him and it was only now that he drew his eyes away from Miriam Kaufmann's beautiful, bare shoulder!
"'Betters' is open to debate!" In the back of the room, Jonah stood, putting in his opinion. "It's abhorrent how you can delay the best in medical care for the citizens of this territory, and no," he smirked as he looked directly at Orr, "I'm not implying that I am the best there is, but a man can only do with what he has to work with. A new hospital will give us advanced equipment and services, and attract the best."
"Yes, yes" Orr sighed wearily, "... please add Dr. Danforth's name to the minutes, Mr. Wigfall. I hadn't realised that Miss Steelgrave had brought her personal lapdog along to the meeting, as well as her hired gunmen to try and overawe the Council. You can note that Dr. Danforth fully supports the motion to provide him with a sinecure of Chief Medical Officer for the hospital." he drawled.
This remark seemed to sting Tildy into action again.
"You know, yer majesty, I mean Mr. Orr, you might want to give a think on how you got this here position?"
"Your Majesty, I like that, very good." Orr chuckled at Matilda's jibe, even if it was aimed at himself.
"You got elected and it seems to me going against the will of the people of the town is a surefire way of getting you voted right out next election. I can pretty much promise you if you don't decide on constructing this hospital there are going to be a whole hell of a lot of us who will do everything we can to see you lose this election," she pointed out in a clear loud voice.
The resultant murmur of assent from the crowd made it impossible for Orr to reply immediately, and his eventual success in getting quiet by banging his gavel only gave the feisty and beautiful saloon owner to get another few words in.
"It takes a mighty bold man and a very stupid politician to go against the tide of public opinion," she added with a smirk.
The black-bearded Dick held up his hands in a sort of mock-surrender. "I have to own that our lovely Mrs Deverau has a good point: but I am afraid that my chief responsibility as a Town Councilman is not to garner popularity or votes, but to make the right decisions for the prosperity of our community. Oh, yes, the idea of a hospital and orphanage appeal mightily to the limited intellects and overdeveloped emotions of the fairer sex, but this matter has been given full consideration by the men of the..."
"Chair recognises Mrs Emeline Bla... oh, Pike, now, of course." said Orr lazily as Em sprang to her feet.
"You'll discuss the proposed hospital and orphanage!" Emeline jumped up, her tone firm. She wasn't much one for activism, but that Orr man was just...obnoxious, and she wasn't going to let him get away with this!
Dick leaned forward, resting his elbows on the desk and steepling his fingers before him, looking upon the pie-making mistress of the Lick Skillet with a sort of patronising bemused look on his face at her excited yelp.
"And you will discuss, sir, not dismiss! If there isn't fair debate on the topic, with fair input from both sides, I promise you, they'll have the news all over the territory, from Helena to Denver, that our fine town council is against improvement, against the safety and good health of our citizens, and against security and kindness to children!"
Orr turned to Hector "Mr Wigfall, please note that Mrs Pike ordered the Town Council to discuss, not dismiss, the Hospital and Orphanage" he directed him with a slightly derisive tone in his voice.
"Discuss not dismiss..." mumbled Hector as he scribbled.
As one lady sat down, another popped up. "Like a room full of Jack-in-the-boxes!" Orr grumbled to nobody in particular.
It was when Emeline Pike stood up and spoke her mind that the fire coursed through Leah's veins, and she came to her feet as the Deputies wife sat down. "In the off chance that someone does not know me, I am Leah Elinor Steelgrave, only daughter to Elinor and Elias Steelgrave."
"I'm sure that we're only all TOO aware of your face and voice, Miss Steelgrave. Feels like we've been listening to you describing your vanity projects for a long, long time." retorted Orr.
She began, "I am here on the matter of the hospital that you 'gentlemen,' and I use the term with much disdain, have been avoiding since the first of the new year, now half gone. Do your worst. I am prepared for that eventuality, you can count on that. Anything that I might say or do here tonight would be a waste of breath or energy."
"Well, I'm glad that we agree on that, Miss Steelgrave, perhaps, then, you should resume your seat and let you elders and betters take care of the business of the Town!" chuckled Orr smugly, hoping that scribbler McVay was getting these bon mots down for his report.
Already the small but growing collection of members of the public were calling out their opinions at the meagre Town Council, as Orr sat and grabbed his gavel.
"That sir, is a gross misnomer. It is most assuredly not the Steelgrave Hospital. It is the Kalispell Hospital! Probably a good idea if you were to remember that for future reference!" The voice was strong and defiant, belonging to one Leah Steelgrave, who marched in and took in seat in the front row, directly across from Mister Orr.
Richard Orr stood and gave the young woman a stiff bow and intoned her name "Miss Steelgrave" noncommittally. He went to sit down again, but now the feisty and attractive Saloon owner was haranguing them again.
"I been to a few town council meetings in various towns and there is always something called New Business where the council opens things up for discussion from the floor. Surely not everything has to be scheduled ahead of time, Mr. Orr? "
"That's right!" shouted someone from behind her.
"Don't we live in a democracy?" she added.
Before Orr could dismiss this facile line of argument, Matt Wentworth weighed in on her side.
Looking over to Orr, he smiled, "I do believe, Miss Devereau has a point, don't you agree?"
"Certainly not!" the Postmaster said quietly so that only those at the council table could hear. "But the scene I had hoped to avoid has been unfortunately thrust upon us. I don't know who blabbed about this meeting but I'm afraid we are now faced with a situation of riot if we do not at least pretend to listen to the spurious arguments for the Steelgrave Hospital." he frowned. "I regrettably suggest we wave through Mr. Cullen's business and use what remains of this meeting in killing this fool notion off once and for all." he sighed, looking down sadly at his annotated copy of the boring legal document on the table. Hector scribbled all this down, with a rather self-important look on his face.
BAM! BAM! BAM! Orr banged his gavel, and a couple of nervous types actually started for their six-shooters.
"I bring this meeting of the Kalispell Town Council to order!" He boomed. "Present: Mr. Matthew Wentworth, Mr John Anderson, Honorary Treasurer, myself Richard Orr, Secretary and Acting Chair. First point of business, Planning Application by Mr. Robert Cullen, passed on the nod. Any new points of business?..." before the members of the public could all shout out, he reminded them "... Tax-paying members of the community may speak through the chair, and new motions proposed by members of the Council only."
He looked about the audience as if wondering who would pipe up. Maybe Leah wouldn't get picked to say her piece, and some well-meaning but tongue-tied idiot might manage to get in first and totally foul up the proposal about the Hospital.
Enough of the 'Hospital Faction' had been leaked information about the surprise meeting to bring them bustling into the meeting hall: red-faced and anxious to discuss the matter and get permission to build the thing passed, and he had little doubt that many more would tumble through the door as he tried 'exasperatedly' to get the meeting going.
When 'Tricky Dicky' Orr made a plan, there was only one thing that could derail it: the presence of a pretty woman. Matt Wentworth was content to merely acknowledge the clever and alluring Mrs Deverau: Orr considered the man must have insipid water in his veins instead of hot, red, American blood, to ignore such a flame. For his part, he could not resist a moth-like journey over to her, to play around her flaming good looks.
Looking up at the various gentleman - and boy - she simply commented, "Your clock is about five minutes fast. Not that anyone would ever say the same about the council, would they?"
"Mrs Deverau, you are as witty as you are beautiful this evening." the handsome, bearded (and married!) man declared, turning a proffered shake of her hand into a kiss of the back of her dainty glove, while in the background a squinting Hector Wigfall looked between his own watch and the clock on the wall, deciding which to adjust, before settling on neither.
"You will excuse me, I hope, while I attend to this tardy Council's business. Perhaps we may converse together later." Orr oozed in his deep Texan tones, excusing himself with a little bow.
He re-joined Wentworth, and now Anderson. They were quorate now.
Remembering that the town council had asked his father to do some looking into the hospital and orphanage plan, Matt continued, "In regards to the matter, we asked him to look into, that report is now with Judge Robertson who will present the findings, if the subject comes up."
Staring intently at Orr, he then asked, "Is the subject going to come up?"
"Well, I'm afraid, Gentlemen, that the subject of the Hospital or Orphange has not been submitted to me either as an agenda item or as a matter of 'Any Other Business' for this meeting." frowned Orr. Of course it hadn't - nobody had known the meeting was happening.
"I have on the table a standard planning application by a Mr. Robert Cullen for building works on his claim which I was hoping we could go through in some detail. It is rather a long document but I have looked it over myself and there are no major problems with it, but I expect it will take us the whole meeting to look through." he informed them ponderously.
"Of course, in the Mayor's absence, I as Secretary will be Acting Chair of this session..." Oh, tricky Dicky knew the Town Council's Constitution like the back of his hand.
"I am sorry to say that it is highly unlikely that the matter of the Steelgrave Hospital will be discussed tonight." he sighed, sitting at the table and picking up his gavel.
As Mr. Wentworth entered Hector glanced up and saw him; he rose and gave a half-assed sort of a bow or nod of acknowledgement of respect and then plonked down in his chair again, trying to get his notepaper in order and fill his fountain pen.
Dick Orr looked around majestically and the pleasure at seeing that it was Matt who had arrived was clearly etched upon his patrician brow.
Opening the door to the meeting room, he saw Orr standing near the table where the town council sat. "Good evening, Mr. Orr, " he said as he closed the door behind him, "Care to enlighten me on what this meeting is all about?"
"Hullo Wentworth! Oh, we just need to wave through some urgent business that has come up." he boomed, pacing over to shake the hotelier's hand. Just a normal handshake - firm and dry though it was. When he had first met the man he had given him a masonic handshake, but not receiving one back, had regretfully concluded that he was not of the brotherhood.
"It shouldn't take too long if Anderson or Robertson will get a move on: we only need one more to be quorate. I'm hoping the public won't get wind of it and start crowding the agenda with their petty quibbles. Oh, and er, if you happen to see my daughter, I'd appreciate if you didn't mention this little affair, she's been bending my ear about that dratted hospital again!" he added.
"What's become of Cory anyway?" he then asked the other man. not that he particularly missed the relatively newly elected Mayor's meagre contributions to the meetings. "Nobody's seen him or his daughter for months."
Perhaps Wentworth, like a spider at the centre of the web, catching the flies who travelled in and out of Kalispell, might have picked up on some intelligence on the matter. He had no clue, of course, that Matt was a professional agent working for the Government.
Mature Content: No.
Author: Mr Richard Compton Orr.
With: Mayor Scott Cory (?); Judge Ben Robertson (NPC); Matt Wentworth; John Anderson (NPC); Hector Wigfall acting as amanuensis for Mr Orr. Location: Town Council Meeting Room. When: Early-Mid July 1876 Time of Day: Early Evening.
Blood is thicker than water.
That had been 'Tricky Dicky' Orr's main consideration during his ongoing opposition to Steelgrave's brat of a daughter's bombastic and self glamourizing little plan to build a hospital and orphanage in Kalispell. But, increasingly, he was stuck between a rock and a hard place. Oh sure, political cronyism had its uses: thanks to his position as a party animal of the Grant administration, the Governor of the Territory, another creature of the party machine, had secured him the salaried post of Postmaster (no pun intended) of this Town which not only provided a stipend, modest in comparison to the dollars he made in his legal and business dealings, but also a certain degree of power and pull in local affairs.
The downside was that the Governor, he gathered, was increasingly pro- the plan and now, nearer to home, so was his own darling sweet little daughter, Anæsthesia, who had actually extemporised a poem lauding both the scheme and Miss Steelgrave at a local meeting of the Ladies Society! As Secretary of the Town Council - a position involving some degree of work, and therefore coveted by few - he held the power of actually calling the meetings, and therefore was able to play the age old politician's trick of prevarication and filibuster: the council hadn't had a meeting in months, and thus Miss Steelgrave's plan could be neither motioned nor passed. Also, as Secretary, he was responsible for producing the minutes (although he paid a scribe to do the donkey work) and thus was sometimes able to somewhat rewrite the history of the deliberations of this august body.
However, at the end of the day, he had his own motions to propose and had been reluctantly forced to call a meeting. He arrived first and ensconced himself in his usual position, flanked by his amanuensis, or scribe, young Hector Wigfall: funny, sitting together like that, a stranger might actually take them for father and son, so alike were they. Orr wondered who would turn up next. Wentworth was usually pretty prompt, Anderson and Judge Robertson would probably turn up, if a little tardily. As for Mayor Cory, no one had seen him for months: was the fellow even still alive? Maybe not. The possibilities of the Mayorship dangled before his own eyes, only to be dismissed: the Mayoral chain glistened, but all that glistened was not gold.
He had called the meeting with very little notice, of course, in the hope that no members of the public would get wind of it and crowd the public gallery as was their right under the constitution of the increasingly large town.
@Flip @JulieS @Stormwolfe+ anyone who wants to be there.
Sagas of the WIld West is a roleplaying game set in a fictionalized version of the town of Kalispell in Montana territory. Our stories begin in 1875 and are set against the backdrop of actual historical events.Sagas was inspired by the classic television and movie westerns. Our focus is on writing, storytelling and character development.
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