Pvt., Company Co. E

Burnet's Battalion, 1st Texas Sharpshooters

2 Mar 1843 - 30 Oct 1927


Stephen C. Ransom

RR 02 Box 16BC

Caldwell, Texas 77836

James Odell was born in Ray County, Missouri 2 Mar 1843, the son of Nehemiah and Lucy Hicks Odell. He died 30 Oct 1927 at the Confederate Home in Austin, Texas.

The Hunt County Texas Odells are definitely his relatives but I can't find him in the 1850 census, although I know he's in Texas somewhere (came to Texas in about 1844 when 1 year old). The Odells were an "odd" lot. It seems they married cousins, swapped children back and forth between families, etc.

His first wife (possibly second but the one he had known children by) was Margaret Annie Wallis. He reportedly married a widow of another resident of the Confederate Home late in his life (Margaret had died 19 Dec 1890).

James and Margaret are buried in the Oakwood Cemetery, Austin Texas, Section 3, Plot 797.

Children of James and Margaret Odell were:

1. James Turner Odell, b. 28 Feb 1873, d. 14 Nov 1946

2. John W. Odell, b. 28 Nov 1874, d. 31 Jul 1932

3. Joseph Lafayette Odell, b. 13 Nov 1876, d. 3 Jul 1955. Joseph Lafayette Odell is my great grandfather; Robert Clifford Odell was my grandfather; Melba Ruth Odell is my mother.

4. Kitty Dapsile Odell, b. 14 Nov 1878, d. before 1970

5. Jeremiah, b. 20 Oct 1880, d. after 1970

6. Anile Brammer Odell, b. 15 Oct 1882, d. 18 Apr 1915

7. Grover Cleveland Odell, b. 24 Sep 1884

8. Mary Magdelene Odell, b. 20 Jun 1886, d. abt. 1968

9. Thomas Jefferson Odell, b. 16 Mar 1888, d. 12 Nov 1939

10. Jessie LoRena Odell, b. 30 Jan 1890, d. after 1970

His occupation: apparently had a hauling business - see notes below.

Notes from my Family Tree Maker file follow:

Not only was James Odell in Co. E, Burnet's Battalion Texas Sharpshooters but so was a John Odell, age 18 (b. ~ 1844), Pvt., Co. E, enlisted 4/30/1862, Hunt Co., TX, whereas James Odell is shown as 19 (b. ~ 1843), Pvt., Co. E, enlisted 4/30/1862, Hunt Co., TX. So, they are in the same company, enlisted at the same place and same time. Good bet they're brothers or cousins! There was also a John F. Odell in the 9th Texas Infantry, Co. I, age 22 (b. ~1839), Pvt., enlisted 10/9/1861 at McKinney in Collin Co., TX. Note that James Burnet was of the 9th Texas Infantry and later formed the Texas Sharpshooters.

Also note that in Texas State Confederate Archives, a James Odell is shown as 1st Corporal, Co. for Precinct 5, Hunt Co., 14th Brigade Texas Militia, enlisted 7/6/1861, 18 years old, R&F 79, company commissioned 10/10/1861, 1 muster roll dated 7/20/1861 AND, so is a Rheuben Odell in Co. for Precinct 5, Hunt Co., 14th Brigade, enlisted 7/6/1861, age 22 (and again a Reuben in Co. for Beat #8, Hunt Co., 14th Brigade, enlisted 7/20/1861, aged 23). So, are both these Reubens the same? Is Reuben a brother?

A Nehemiah Odell also was in Co. for Precinct 5, Hunt Co., 14th Brigade, Texas Militia, enlisted 7/6/1861, aged 38 years. Is this the father? Also, a William Odell was in Co. for Beat #8, Hunt Co., enlisted 7/20/1861, aged 26. Abraham Odelle was in Co. in Beat #2, Hunt Co., enlisted 7/6/1861, aged 40.

James Odell enlisted at Greenville, in Hunt County, Texas, on either 4/30/1862 or 5/15/1862, at age 19, in what became the 1st (Burnet's) Battalion Texas Sharpshooters. He was transferred to Company E by roll dated 12/10/1862 which covered the period of 7/15/1862 to ?. Was left sick in Brigade Hospital at Port Hudson Louisiana 5/6/1863, as per the rolls for May through October 1863. He was a Private throughout all the rolls. He is a Private in all that follows - Rolls are as follows:

#1: At Bonham (Texas?) dated 5/15/1862 is muster-in roll for Capt. B. D. Martin's Company Texas Volunteer Infantry dated 5/15/1862 - says enrolled 4/30/186_ at Greenville, Hunt Co., TX. by B. D. Martin for 3 years or war;

#2: for 5/15 to 7/15/1862 - present and enrolled date given as 5/15/1862;

#3 (now shows as Burnet's Battalion Texas Sharpshooters: for 7/15 to ___ dated 12/10/1862 - transferred to Co. E;

#4: shows as a muster-in roll - is at Camp Jackson Lamar Co. Texas, dated 12/10/1862, shows muster-in date as 12/1/1862, says enrolled 5/15/1862 at Hunt Co. by B. D. Martin;

#5: for 12/10/1862 to 2/28/1863 - present & last paid by E. J.Shelton to 10/31/1862;

#6: for Mar & Apr 1863 - present & last paid by E. J. Shelton to 2/28/1863;

#7: for May & June 1863 - Absent, left in Brigade Hospital Port Hudson, La May 6, 1863;

#8: for July & Aug 1863 - Absent, left sick in Brigade Hospital Port Hudson, La 5/6/63;

#9: for Sept & Oct. 1863 - Absent, left sick in Hospital at Port Hudson La. 5/6/63, last paid by E. J. Shelton to 2/28/1863.

In his old age, he resided at the Confederate Home in Austin. He was a member of the Dick Dowling Chapter, United Confederate Veterans in Houston, Texas.

As per his pension statement, he would have been about 1 year old when moved to Texas i.e. about 1844.

James Odell was buried in Austin, Texas at Oakwood Cemetery, Section 3, Plot 797. His wife is buried there also. Tombstone states "James Odell, Co. E, Branham's Tex. Mil. C.S.A."

Texas State Archives (#21943) Confederate Pension Application dated 1/29/1913:

He was 70 years old (as of 3/2/1913); born in Ray County Missouri; resided in Texas for 69 years; resides in Harris County for last 15 years at 702 Girard St. Houston; Served 3 years Co. E, Capt. J. M. Kuykendall, Major Burnett's Battalion Texas Sharpshooters, Maxey Brigade; Transferred from Co. E to Capt. Branham's Texas Militia in winter 1863; Enlisted in infantry - in Co. E Cavalry Branham; included were two affidavits of two men who served with him; also two letters from him to Judge Jones, Commissioner of Pensions.

Death Certificate info: date of birth 1843; death 10/30/1927 at Austin Travis Co. Texas at Confederate Home; cause of death Uremia; burial at Oakwood; informant T(?). C(?). Hairston(?) of Austin Texas; father and mother not provided; shown as being married; birthplace Missouri.

Aunt Lessie (Joseph L. Odell's daughter) said James was off fighting Indians and when he returned, his first wife had died giving birth. The child lived and lives in California (would have been in the 1970's). He remarried. She also said that James owned a hauling company around Marble Falls, TX and his company hauled the granite for the state capital. Another story said he had a mail route in Austin TX. Another said he may have deserted the Confederate Army. The pension and witnesses prove this one to be wrong.

©Ron Brothers and Stephen C. Ransom, 1998. All Rights Reserved

August 3, 2000

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