Fonds ID3735 - Odell family

Title proper

Odell family

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  • Textual record

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  • 1732-1935 (Creation)
    Odell (family)

Physical description

1.2 m of textual records

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Name of creator

(Branch begins ca. 1737)

Biographical history

Jonathan Odell (1737-1818), a physician and clergyman, had a wide range of interests. At various times he was a surgeon in the British army, a Rector of the Church of England in Burlington, New Jersey, and chaplain of the Pennsylvania Loyalists and of the King's American Dragoons in the Revolutionary War. He wrote poetry, composed music and maintained a lively correspondence on English linguistics, also writing works for publication on this subject. He was the first Secretary of the province of New Brunswick (1784-1812). Jonathan Odell married Anne de Cou. They had four children: William Franklin; Mary (unmarried 1773-1848); Sarah Anne (married Charles Lee); and Lucy Anne (married Charles William Rudyard).

William Franklin Odell (1774-1844) was more interested in the practical than the artistic or literary. He studied law with Ward Chipman, Sr., and was called to the bar in 1806. William F. Odell succeeded his father as Provincial Secretary, their combined tenure in office totalling sixty years. Carleton Farm near Fredericton, purchased by William F. Odell in 1825, became "Rookwood", the extensive Odell estate. He married Elizabeth Cooke Newell, daughter of the Rev. Samuel Cooke, the first Rector of Fredericton and a trustee of the Academy Reserve lands. William and Elizabeth had eight children: William Hunter; George Mountain; James; Charles; Isabella Hailes (Mrs. Twining); Anne (married Rev. George McCawly); Mary; and Elizabeth (married Thomas Ballie).

William Hunter Odell (1811-1891) was called to the bar in 1838. He served as a member of the Legislative Council of New Brunswick (1850-1867) and as postmaster-general in an anti-Confederation government (1865-1866), and was appointed a Dominion senator in 1867. Upon his marriage to Elizabeth Ann Bliss, daughter of William Blowers Bliss, he moved to Halifax but continued to spend summers at Fredericton. He oversaw a range of Odell-Bliss family business, property and investment holdings. He had four children: William Henry, Ella Worthington, Frances Elizabeth, and Mary Kearny.

Elizabeth Odell, daughter of William Franklin Odell and sister of William Hunter Odell, was the second wife of Thomas Ballie. In 1842, when Ballie was in financial trouble, he forfeited ownership of his estate, the Hermitage, which was acquired by William F. Odell and bequeathed to Elizabeth Ballie "exclusive of her husband".

Benjamin Kent was the father-in-law of Sampson Salter Blowers, who was the adoptive father of William Blowers Bliss (son of Jonathan Bliss). He in turn was the father of Elizabeth Ann Bliss who married William Hunter Odell.

Custodial history

Information about the custody of these records prior to acquisition is incomplete.

Scope and content

This fonds consists of family and business correspondence, estate records, property deeds and other records. The records of Jonathan Odell include his poetry and literary correspondence, his sermons, general correspondence and accounts. There are also records of his church appointments and some notebooks.

The records of William F. Odell include his correspondence, appointments, some surveyors' notebooks and his accounts. Records of William H. Odell also include correspondence, appointments and accounts. There are also records of Benjamin Kent, the Hailes family, Elizabeth Baillie, Samuel Cooke, James Hunter, William Botsford, Alexander Ross and Hugh Johnston.

There are family deeds and grants and other records of property belonging to or managed by the family including property in Nova Scotia, the College lands (reserved for the building of the King's College, which became University of New Brunswick), Rookwood and the Hermitage. There is correspondence with the Fredericton Parks Association, 1886-1921 about setting up a public park (Odell Park) on land formerly owned by the family and records of properties owned by Jonathan Bliss.

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Two sources: Mrs. Kinsley Hume, July 09, 1953; estate sale in Halifax, Mary K. Odell


Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Location of originals

S 29B - F 56

Availability of other formats

Restrictions on access

No restrictions

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Finding aids

Detailed inventory available

Associated materials

ID114 is a memorandum book created in the Provincial Secretary's office during Jonathan Odell's tenure of the office

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