Odom Family

Submitted by Peggy Bone Colella

What information I have on the Odoms is quite sketchy. They have turned out to be a real challenge. It has been suggested that the name may have originally been Oldham. I have not been able to prove nor disprove this. It does appear that the earliest Odom/Oldhams were first in Virginia, migrating to North Carolina and later into South Carolina. The farthest back I have been able to prove is James Odom (also found Odam and Odum), grandfather of Rhoda Odom, wife of Leonidas Baker. I have been told James was a Revolutionary War soldier, but I have not been able to verify this. Not knowing for certain where he lived before coming to Tennessee makes it more difficult. There were literally dozens of James Odoms floating around the Carolinas and Virginia during this time period, and sorting them out has proved extremely difficult. It is interesting to note, however, that Charles Elliott's father, William Elliott, had a 300 acre land grant in Sullivan County, NC, (date unknown) and a James Odam had a 200 acre land grant in Sullivan County, NC, in 1784. There needs to be further investigation on this but Sullivan County records were destroyed by fire years ago.

I do know that my James Odom had a brother John in the Natchez Territory, Mississippi. First mention of John in Natchez records was in 1783. In 1794, John authorized and appointed his brother James Odom of Cumberland his true and lawful attorney to sue to recover supplies purchased by him, John. Research in the Natchez records finds two Odom/Odams in the territory at this time period, John Odam and David Odam, tobacco planters. John inhabited and cultivated 640 acres on headwaters of Cole's Creek, Second & Sand Creeks, in Adams Co., in partnership with a Berry West and William Baker in 1794. It would appear he also had a Spanish land grant of 500 acres, on the waters of Bayou Pierre, which he sold in 1799. John and his wife Elizabeth apparently had no children because, in 1828, they executed an indenture which placed what sounds like all their property under the trusteeship of Thomas Ford; he to take care of John & Elizabeth until their deaths and then to dispense their property to people who seem to be children of Thomas Ford. David Odam, who is proven to have been the son of Abraham Odam who died in Granville Co., SC in 1771, received a British grant of 200 acres on Holt's Fork of Boyd's Creek 30 mi. from Natchez, Prov. of West Fla. 1777. David later received a Spanish grant of 375 a rpens in the Natchez Dist., 18 mi. NE from Ft. Panmure. In 1787, he appears in Natchez records with wife Susanny. At the time of his death, in 1801 in Pickering (later Jefferson) Co., his wife Frances/Fanny is named exec. of his will along with his son-in-law Abner Pipes. David's will names wife Fanny, dau. Elizabeth Pipes, "each of our daughters" and "my 3 sons, John, Parker & Richard". One of the daughters may have been the Mary who was deeded a lot for $1.00 during the settlement of David's estate. I believe there may also have been a son David, Jr. A David Odam has an active part in the settlement of David Sr.'s estate, and in 1786, a David Odam who states his ages 27 years appears in a Natchez court record. This would make this David born ca. 1759. I have not yet been able to establish whether or not the son John named in David Sr's will is the John who is the brother of our James.

A little history lesson and some imagination might make the story read as follows:
(This is only conjecture, I cannot prove this is how is was.)
The Natchez Dist. was ceded to Great Britain in 1763 and remained loyal to the crown during the Revolution. Tories from the seaboard colonies, unwilling to participate in the forced resistance, moved their families to the District. Spain took control of the area from 1781 to 1798, at which time the Mississippi Territory was created. Perhaps David Odam was a Tory and after his father's death in 1771, moved his family to Natchez to avoid the conflict. If our James was David's son, he was likely the oldest and it would appear that he chose not to accompany his family to the Natches Dist. Jordan Gibson did take part in the Revolution, and while James may not have been married to Rhoda Gibson yet, he may have been acquainted with the family. This would certainly explain why James was not mentioned in David's will, but why wasn't David Jr. mentioned?

My James Odom was in Tennessee at least by 1791 when he provided bond for the marriage of Cornelius Herndon and Polly Harrison. Sometime between October, 1792, and January, 1794, he purchased 217 acres of Sumner County land from Reason Pleasant Bowie, father of James Bowie, (SCR, Deed Book #1). He also purchased 640 acres of land, on Desha's fork of Bledsoe Creek. This was land of Elijah Rolls being sold by the County Sheriff. James appeared on the 1820 census for Sumner County.

According to Jay Guy Cisco's book, HISTORIC SUMNER COUNTY, TENNESSEE, the Odoms and the Elliotts settled in Sumner County near the close of the eighteenth century. The Elliotts, three sons and one daughter, were of English descent. The two families settled on Station Camp Creek and between them owned all the land from Gallatin to about 3 miles west, extending from the Nashville Pike north to the Douglass Pike. The families intermarried and became prosperous. James Odom settled at Maple Grove, which was up the creek about a mile from the home of his son-in-law, George Elliott, at Wall's Spring. Charles Elliott, brother of George and also a son-in-law of James Odom, made his home across the creek from his brother at Walnut Grove. This was about a mile west of Gallatin.

James Odom's wife was Rhoda Gibson. Their daughter's obituary said that Rhoda's father had been scalped by Indians and lived to tell about it. There were several Gibsons in Sumner County during its early settlement. I believe Rhoda's father was Jordan/Jourdan Gibson. He was mentioned in a lawsuit between James McCain and Wm. Graham before the Committee of the Cumberland Association in Davidson County in April, 1783. He may have been one of the Gibsons who came to the Cumberland Settlements with the Donelson Party. Jordan Gibson received a North Carolina patent for 640 acres of land 17 Apr. 1786. According to the Draper Manuscripts, he was at Bledsoe's Lick during the summer of 1787. He was killed by Indians at the Lick in February, 1788. In April, 1788, James Odom, James Harrison and George Gibson of Sumner County motioned for the Sumner County Court to have the estate of Jourdan Gibson, deceased, divided into four equal parts. No further information on the settlement is available. If one part went to each of these 3 men, who got the 4th part? I have not found any more information on this settlement.

According to a WPA survey done of the Gallatin Cemetery in the 1930's, James Odom died 16 June 1825, age 72 years. Rhoda Gibson Odom died 2 Dec. 1817. They were buried in the family plot on their farm, but when the farm was sold, all the family graves were moved to the Gallatin Cemetery. They are located just inside the main gate on the left. James Odom's will was not proven until May of 1829, but I am told this was not unusual in those days.

Children I have found for James and Rhoda Odom: (order may not be correct)

  1. Elizabeth Odom b. 14 May 1778 d. 24 Feb. 1846 (age 67 yrs. 9 mos. 10 days). According to her father's will, she was the eldest. m.1. Charles Elliott who died in 1808 - They had one daughter, Maria P. Elliott, who died 10 Nov. 1846 age 47. Maria married 25 Dec. 1816 Elijah Boddie b. 8 Sept. 1787 Nash Co., N.C. d. 24 Sept. 1851. Elijah Boddie was a young man from a wealthy and distinguished family of North Carolina. His grandfather was Nathan Boddie of Edgecombe, a member of the Mecklenburg Congress. Elijah was a man of wealth and a philanthropist of the highest order. He was a lawyer who never took a fee. Maria and Elijah Boddie had 11 children, the eldest being Charles Elliott Boddie.

    Elizabeth married second, 22 June 1813, Rev. Leaner Blackman. James Odom served as Bondman for their marriage. Rev. Blackman served the Methodist Church, Cumberland District, in 1810 and 1811. He left the district in 1813 to serve as Chaplain with Andrew Jackson and the Tennessee Volunteers in the Natchez expedition. Rev. Blackman drowned in the Ohio River, in 1815, in a freak accident while on holiday with his wife.

    Elizabeth married third, 10 Dec. 1817, Joseph T. Elliston of Nashville, father-in-law of her brother, Harris Odom.

  2. Sally (Sarah) Odom m. 18 Aug. 1806 Benjamin Tarver who died 11 June 1824 age 54 years. At the time of her father's will (in which the spelling appears to be Tarren or Tarrin), they had children Jordan, James, Bird (?) and Eliza. A gravestone next to Ben Tarver's says Mary E. Tarver b. 20 June 1821 d. 28 Sept. 1841 - daughter?

  3. Polly (Mary) Odom - b. 1785 d. 13 Oct. 1857 married George Elliott who died 31 Jan. 1861 age 80 years. George Elliott was a Colonel under General Coffee in the Creek War and at the Battle of New Orleans. For years George Elliott was the owner of the finest race horses in the South. He was a personal friend of General Jackson, who was a frequent visitor at Wall Spring. Colonel Elliott was noted for his strength, generosity and honesty. He lived to see the start of the War which rent his country, in which his son Eli Elliott fought gallantly for four years.
    Children of Mary and George were:

    1. Eli Odom Elliott b. Feb. 1831 d. Jan. 1897
    2. William E. Elliott b. 1808 m. Elizabeth H. Sanders
    3. Cynthia Elliott b. 1807 m. Walter Morris
    4. Elizabeth M. Elliott b. 1814 m. Maj. George Allen Wyllie
    5. Julius Calvin Elliott b. 1824 Killed at the Battle of Monterey, 3 Nov. 1846, age 21
    6. Calvin Elliott b. 1829
    7. Jane A. Elliott b. 10 Feb. 1823 d. July 1855 m. Dr. Wm. Edwards
    8. Georginia Elliott b. 25 Aug. 1834 d. 25 Aug. 1834
    9. Mary K. Elliott b. 16 Oct. 1833 d. 2 May 1858 m. Jesse E. Joyner - children: Mary Alice and Elliott Joyner
    10. Eleanor Elliott b. 1841

  4. Moses Odom - mentioned in James' will but not found in any Sumner Co. records. There was, however, a Moses Odom in Wilson County as early as 1806. (Might he have been an uncle for whom James' son was named?) He owned 150 acres and was a member of Captain Crawley's Company.

  5. Eli Odom - died 31 Oct. 1869 age 76 years. The Odoms, the Elliotts and the Wyllies were slave traders and, until the Civil War, were very wealthy. Eli Elliott was the largest slave trader in the area. He married, 17 July 1823, Catherine (Katie) Phagan b. 8 Feb. 1805 d. 18 Jan. 1842, niece of George Elliott. James Odom was bondman for their marriage. The only child of Eli and Katie Odom was Eleanor (Ellen) Catherine Odom b. 7 May 1841 d. 19 Apr. 1866. Ellen married Charles W. Trousdale, son of Gen. William Trousdale, a prominent citizen of early Sumner Co. and twice Governor of the State of Tennessee.

  6. Harris Odom b. 15 May 1798 d. 28 Dec. 1852 - his father's will states he was the youngest son.

  7. Eliza - an infant buried with her mother

Harris Odom, Esq. became a prominent citizen of the Gallatin community. In 1815, he served on a committee of 100 citizens to plan the celebration for the return home of the Tennessee Volunteers from the Seminole Wars. In 1828, Harris Odom was a trustee for the Gallatin Female Academy. According to Davidson County, TN marriage records, he married 23 Sept. 1823, Adeline T. Elliston b. 29 Jan. 1806 d. 16 Jan. 1878, daughter of the Honorable Joseph T. Elliston and his wife Louisa Mullen of Nashville. After Louisa's death in 1816, Joseph Elliston married Harris' sister Elizabeth Odom Blackman. Several references have been found to the fact that Harris Odom and his father-in-law were partners in business under the name Elliston & Company, merchants, between 1819 and 1823. There is no record of the location, but it was likely Nashville.
Harris and Adeline Odom had 8 children:

  1. Louisa E. Odom b. 18 Jan. 1826 d. 21 Sept. 1891 m. Col.John Larkin Saffarans b. 11 Feb. 1823 d. 4 June 1879 son of Daniel Saffarans and Betsy Baker, see p. 2.James Odom b. 28 Dec 1827 d. 18 Aug. 1828
  2. Rhoda Gibson Odom b. 26 Sept. 1829 d. 10 Mar. 1895 m. 19 Nov. 1846 Leonidas Baker
  3. Mary Elliott Odom b. 24 May 1831 d. 17 July 1891. Mary has been confused with her 1st cousin Mary K. Elliott because both married Jesse Joyner. Harris' daughter Mary m.1. 20 Nov. 1850 Dr. Napoleon Bonaparte Newsom b. 11 Feb. 1822 d. 6 Aug. 1856.
    Their children were:
    1. Addie Newsom b. 6 Dec. 1851 d. 9 Jan. 1910 m. James Bennett Barnes b. 18 Nov. 1849 d. 28 Apr. 1891
    2. Harris Odom Newsom b. 15 June 1853 d. 16 Oct. 1876
    3. Ansel B. Newsom b. 18 Jan. 1855 d. 21 Feb. 1855 buried next to his father. Mary m.2. Jesse Joyner - Children were:
    4. Alice Joyner b. 1855 d. 1903 m. Andrew Fuller Williams 1856-1904
    5. Patsy Joyner
    6. Cullen Joyner
    7. John Joyner
    8. Sally Joyner
  4. Joseph Thomas Elliston Odom b. 13 Apr. 1833 (his gravestone was badly weathered and could not be read; I am grateful to Eva Denning, of Gallatin, for her help with this family) d. 1914. Joseph is listed as one of the Confederate Veterans buried in the Gallatin Cemetery. Joseph m. Ann Jane (Jennie) Sanders Malone b. 29 Dec. 1836 d. 25 Dec. 190? The research of Robert Odon of Ohio adds that Joseph was a Captain in the Confederate Cavalry, serving in various commands but mostly under Bateau's and Bell's command. Robert says that after Harris Odom's death, Joseph and his mother spent the remainder of her life fighting off creditors in court. Joseph applied for a military pension in 1904.
  5. Guluma/Guglielma C. Odom b. 3 June 1839 m. 5 Jan. 1875 Lucius M. Temple. (Early TN Marriages by Sistler give date as 27 Mar. 1856.)
  6. Harriett Winters Odom b. 27 Nov. 1841 d. 27 Oct. 1873 m. John Sylvester Baber, of Wilson Co., b. 23 Jan. 1837 d. 3 Nov. 1897
    Children were:
    1. Louisa Baber m. 14 Jan. 1884 William Black
    2. Sarah (Sally) Baber b. 24 July 1863 d. 20 June 1913 m. Winfield Scott Baker s/o Isaac and Mary Hines Baker
    3. James Odom Baber b. 14 Apr. 1865 d. 2 Dec. 1933 m. 25 Nov. 1891 Kittie Connell Baker d/o John Blakemore and Olivia Mathes Baker
    4. Adeline Baber b. 16 Jan. 1868 m. John Head
    5. William Baber b. 25 Oct. 1870 m. Ida Mager
    6. Milton Baber b. 15 Dec. 1871 d. 22 June 1923 m. Lizzie Walker
    7. John Baber b. 9 Oct. 1873 d. Apr. 1875
  7. James H. Odom b. 22 Sept. 1846 d. 30 Nov. 1865
  8. Adeline (Addie) Odom b. about 1848 - died young

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