John Orr came home from work as usual on July 2, 1906. Unfortunately, things at home were not as usual. His wife, Nita, was missing, and so were her belongings. He inquired with a neighbor and discovered she left in a carriage with another man. This was not the first time.
Orr grabbed his revolver and set out for Union Station in Bristol, Virginia. He found George Hamilton Jones first. Nita was already inside a train headed for Rural Retreat, Virginia. Era newspapers stated the couple had planned to elope. Jones stood outside on the platform and prepared to board when Orr found him.
Orr shot Jones three times, twice in the back and once in the head. Orr ran into Tennessee after the shooting; the state line was just a few feet away. Crossing the line didn’t help, as the authorities apprehended him, anyway. Orr’s wife boarded another train headed to an unnamed location in the east. There is no further record of her.
Jones was a long-time friend of the family, particularly while they lived in Johnson City, Tennessee. The Greenville stonemason stated he had nothing against Orr. He admitted Orr had previously attacked him over Nita, but never fully explained why they continued a relationship. Surprisingly enough, Jones lived an hour after being shot.
Orr said Jones ruined his home and his marriage. He stole his wife’s affections. He claimed the “unwritten law” in court. The unwritten law once allowed an individual to take justice into their own hands, to restore their personal honor, or that of a family member. He was sentenced to 19 years in prison, however escaped jail in 1907.