Family Papers : 1766-1919.

Call Number: HIL-MICL FC LFR .O3F3P3
Category: Family
Creator: Odell, Jonathan, 1737-1818.
Description: 2 microfilm textual records () ; 35 mm
Background:
            Jonathan Odell was descended from a Massachusetts family who had come to America circa 1635. He attended the College of New Jersey (Princeton University) from which he received an AM degree (Master of Arts), and later studied medicine before serving in a medical capacity with the British forces in the West Indies.    Following a period of time in London, he decided to take holy orders and was ordained a deacon in 1766 and a priest in 1767 by the Bishop of London. He was then licensed by the Bishop as a missionary of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel and inducted by Governor William Franklin into the pastorate of St. Ann's (later St. Mary's) Church, Burlington, New Jersey, in July of 1767.

Because of his Loyalist sentiments, which he made no attempt to hide, he was at first restricted in his movements by being put on parole and limited to the east side of the Delaware River within a circle of eight miles from the Burlington court house. Later, he was hunted by the rebels, but managed to flee to the British lines in New York. Confiscation of his property soon followed, and in order to support himself, he supplemented his SPG allowance with the pay from his appointment as Chaplain of the Pennsylvania Loyalists, and later the King's American Dragoons. While in New York he became involved, quite by chance, as a confidential agent in the Arnold-Andre affair. He excelled as a satirist through compositions in both prose and verse, satire being one of the principal literary weapons on both sides of the conflict. Odell excelled above all others in this medium as he attacked the Whig leaders with his pen.

With the end of the Revolution, the exodus of thousands of Loyalist refugees from New York began. They were bound for the western part of Nova Scotia, and in 1784 this territory became the new colony of New Brunswick. Odell came to New Brunswick in November of 1784, having been appointed provincial secretary, registrar and clerk of the council in the new administration of Lieutenant Governor Thomas Carleton. He settled in the capital named Frederickstown (Fredericton) in honour of a son of King George III, and remained there for the rest of his life. Very quickly he obtained grants of land for a glebe, and for the land on which Christ Church would be built. In addition, he secured extensive personal holdings for his family.

With his retirement in 1812, his son, William Franklin Odell (1774-1844) succeeded to the office of provincial secretary, and father and son held that office for a period of 60 years. Until the end of his life he continued to write both prose and verse for public occasions and as personal tributes.

Contents:
            The Odell Family Papers relate mainly to Jonathan Odell and to his son, William Franklin Odell. Much of the material pertains to property in Fredericton, for example, the Academy Reserve Lands, Carleton Farm (Rookwood) and the Hermitage, and includes an extensive collection of surveyors' plans. The material consists of deeds, surveyors' notebooks, grants and receipts. 

Other records include: poetry; sermons; correspondence with Jonathan Bliss, Ward Chipman, George Ludlow, Samuel Salter Blowers, and others; an index to material about Odell in the publication, History of the Church in Burlington, by C.M. Hill; a manuscript copy of, A Visit from St. Nicholas, by Clement C. Moore, 1825; appointments; accounts with Governor Carleton; genealogical information; and Jonathan Odell's will dated 1814. Correspondence and appointments, 1817-1844, for William F. Odell, and the will of William Hunter Odell (1811-1891) dated 1887, are included in the Papers

Available in print is a draft letter from Joseph Aplin to Blowers in reference to the slave case Delancey vs Woodin (1801), and the legal opinions of the others relating to the case. Attached to the letter is the pro-slavery legal brief by Thomas Ritchie. Ritchie hand Aplin were counsel for Delancey.

Originals: The original records are held by the New Brunswick Museum Archives.
Archival Ref. No.:
Finding Aids:
            A brief inventory description, which contains incorrect inclusive dates for the Papers, is found at the beginning of each reel. 

A microfilm shelf list is available in print.

A detailed table of contents of the Odell Family Papers is available in print. This finding aid, which was prepared by the staff of the New Brunswick Museum Archives, is a work in progress. The Archives has graciously provided the latest edition (1998) of the finding aid so it can be used in conjunction with the Papers.

Electronic Finding Aid Record: Odell, Jonathan Family Papers Shelf List.pdf
Notes: As the finding aid to the Odell Family Papers was prepared many years after the Papers were microfilmed, the arrangement of the Papers, as represented in the finding aid, may be somewhat different from the arrangement of the material in the microfilm.

Another series of Odell Papers is available in the Loyalist Collection and is shelved at MIC-Loyalist FC LFR .O3J6P3.

Part Of: The Odell Family Papers on microfilm in the Loyalist Collection form part of the Odell Papers in the New Brunswick Museum Archives.
Other With: