Religious Figures

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Entry Category: Religious Figures - Starting with O

O’Donnell, John F.

John O’Donnell, a Roman Catholic priest, served as pastor in various parishes across Arkansas in a career that spanned over sixty years. During that time, he also became known for his work on social justice and civil rights, sometimes being labeled a renegade. Unafraid to speak his mind, he stood up for his beliefs even when it made him unpopular. In a 2015 Arkansas Catholic article, he said, “My viewpoint was that we ought to be at the forefront of peace and racial justice and common sense and respect….We must live and act as we believe. I think the church or the priest should be there promoting justice.” John F. O’Donnell, the youngest son of Irish immigrants Henry and Bridgett …

Ogden, Dunbar H., Jr.

Dunbar Hunt Ogden Jr. was a Presbyterian minister who played an important role in the effort to desegregate Central High School in Little Rock (Pulaski County) in the mid-twentieth century. His support for the Little Rock Nine was controversial, and his efforts split his congregation. Ultimately, faced with diminishing support, Ogden resigned his pastorate and left Arkansas, taking over a church in West Virginia and eventually retiring in California. Dunbar Ogden Jr. was born on August 15, 1902, in Columbus, Mississippi. One of seven children born to Dunbar H. Ogden, who was a minister, and Grace Augusta Cox Ogden, Ogden was brought up in Knoxville, Tennessee, and Atlanta, Georgia. He attended Boys High School in Atlanta before going to Davidson …

Orr, David

David Orr was one of the earliest preachers in northeastern Arkansas, settling in the state in about 1828. During his time in the region, he started nine different churches and founded the Spring River and Rocky Bayou Baptist Associations in the Ozark Mountains east of the White River. Although Orr was exclusively a Baptist preacher, he was also interested in modern-day religious revelations, such as those of the Mormons and New York farmer William Miller. After his birth in Bourbon County, Kentucky, in 1798, Orr lived near Cincinnati, Ohio, seventy miles away from his birthplace. While in Cincinnati, he was influenced and baptized by Jeremiah Vardeman, a fiery revivalist preacher during the Second Great Awakening. Orr married Eliza Caldwell in …