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Delaware County, Iowa


 Biography Directory



William N. Odell






        Mr. Odell is a retired farmer living in Greeley and is enjoying a life of leisure made possible by former years of well directed labor. He was born in Michigan on the 24th of September, 1850, a son of Job and Mary (Nicol) Odell, natives of Tennessee and Preble county, Ohio, respectively. Both removed to Michigan in the '40s and in that state their marriage occurred. In 1851 they came to Delaware county, Iowa, making the journey with two ox teams and also driving some milk cows. The family home was established upon a farm in Elk township, which the father entered from the government. Conditions of life in this county were then very primitive and the first residence of the family was a log cabin with a clapboard roof and puncheon floor and the door was fastened with a string latch which, however, always hung out in welcome as the family possessed in marked degree that hearty hospitality so characteristic of all pioneers. This rude house remained the family dwelling for fifteen years and the parents lived upon the farm until called to the Great Beyond. Together with John Martindale the father built one of the first mills in the county-the Fountain Spring mill, situated near Greeley. He was a republican in his political allegiance and was the first assessor of Elk township. In his family were seven children, namely: Gabriel H., now a resident of Cedar Rapids, this state; Abigail, the wife of A. B. Smith, of Nebraska; William N., of this review; Nancy E., who married Frank Taylor, of Virginia;  C. M., deceased; I. C., a farmer of Elk township; and John B., deceased.


William N. O'Dell


     William N. Odell was educated in the common schools near his home and as a boy was also trained in the work of the farm, thus acquiring a knowledge that has been of great value to him since starting out on his own account. He remained at home until his marriage, which occurred when he was twenty-three years of age. After that event he rented a farm for a year and then purchased forty acres of land in Elk township, where he resided for ten years in a log cabin. He then sold his farm and purchased eighty acres elsewhere in Elk township and removed to his new property. He lived there for twenty years and by degrees added more land to his holdings until he became the owner of one hundred and twenty seven acres. In 1902, however, he sold his land and removed to Greeley, where he purchased a fine residence and where he is now living in retirement from the cares and anxieties of active business life. While engaged in farming he was known as a progressive and energetic agriculturist and his fields yielded abundantly.
     Mr. Odell was married in 1873 to Miss Sarah J. Webster, who was born in Ashland, Ohio, February 22, 1854, and is a daughter of Isaac and Mary (Brandt) Webster, natives of Pennsylvania and Wayne county, Ohio, respectively. In 1867 the family removed to Iowa and located upon a farm in this county, where the father passed away. The mother is still living at the age of eighty three years. To their union were born five children, namely: Mrs. Odell; D. C., of Springfield, Illinois; John A., of Independence; Ida, deceased; and Effa C., the wife of F. S. Marshall, of Idaho.
     Mr. Odell is a republican in his political belief and has served four terms as township trustee, his repeated reelection to that office proving the acceptability of his work. He has also been a member of the school board for a number of years. His wife is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church and takes an active part in the various phases of church work.   

     Fraternally Mr. Odell is a Mason and has crossed the sands of the desert with the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine. His blue lodge membership is in Lodge No. 225, A. F. & A. M., of Greeley. He has been a resident of this county for over six decades and practically his entire life has been spent here as he was but an infant of one year when brought here by his parents. He passed through practically all of the experiences of pioneer life and although there were many inconveniences and hardships there also were many compensations and he looks back upon the days of his childhood and youth with pleasure. However, he appreciates fully the advantages of the present day and takes great satisfaction in the thought that he aided in the development of the county from a pioneer section to the prosperous agricultural region of today. His fellow citizens recognize his worth and splendid qualities of manhood and give him the respect which only true merit can command.



~ source: History of Delaware County, Iowa and its People, Illustrated, Volume II. The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1914, Chicago. Page 314-317.  Call Number 977.7385 H2m; LDS microfilm #934937.

~transcribed and contributed by Constance Diamond for Delaware County IAGenWeb


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