The O’Rears have long been tillers of the soil, and owners of the land they tilled. Our branch of the family is no exception. It was said at one time one could travel all of the way from Frankfort, in Franklin County to Versailles, in Woodford County, Kentucky and never be out of sight of land owned by some member of the O’Rear family.
They always had great regard for conservation long before it became popular and would refuse to do anything that would hurt their land. This was brought to my attention when as a young man I bought my first farm, "Stony Lonesome" in Woodford County, Kentucky (I still live there). My Aunt Hazel O’Rear Bradley and Uncle Bill Bradley were kind enough to come by and help me get my place ready for occupancy. Aunt hazel horrified me by severely pruning back the bushes and vines by the house and when I remonstrated that she was killing my bushes, she said: "You are just like all of the O’Rears. They don’t want to cut any of the living things because they think this will hurt their land." She then explained to me that plantings grow and multiply and if not pruned back would soon defeat their ornamental purpose, besides, they would grow back all too soon. (Apparently written by E.C. O’Rear II.)
Martin O’Rear of Walker County, Alabama (father of Sam, Elijah, and Jessie O’Rear Webb) was no exception to this family trait. Many years ago Neilson B. O’Rear of Jasper Alabama, then living in Washington D.C. told me the following story (as I wrote it down at the time).
"My Uncle Martin O’Rear at one time owned a large amount of land in Walker County. A lumber company offered him $50,000 for the timber on a small part of it but he would not sell it, and his children at the time were going to school barefooted."
I have to identify with Cousin Martin on this one. I can recall going to school barefoot, and even preferred it to wearing shoes. Anyway, Sam, Lige, Jessie, and I turned out all right in the end.