Biography and History

Jonathan Odell, a clergyman, was born in Newark, New Jersey, and died in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada. He was the son of John Odell and Temperance, a daughter of Rev. Jonathan Dickinson, first president of the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University). Odell graduated from the College of New Jersey in 1754, and received the A.M. degree also from there in 1757. For three years Odell taught at the Nassau Hall Grammar School. He was trained in medicine but entered the Church of England ministry. He served as parish priest at Burlington, N.J., and at Mount Holly, N.J. With the outbreak of the American Revolution, Odell became a strong Loyalist to the British Crown. He wrote poetry that was sung by British prisoners. His case came up before the New Jersey Provincial Congress, and, on July 20, 1776, he was ordered to sign an oath not to aid the British. He was placed on parole, and was ordered to keep within a radius of eight miles from the Burlington County courthouse. He remained there till December, but then fled to New York. There he worked for the Loyalist cause as an administrator and satiric poet-propagandist. In 1784 Odell emigrated to New Brunswick, Canada, having been appointed provincial secretary as a reward for his loyalty to the Crown.

Source: From the finding aid for C1151